The Amazing Spider-Man 2
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an action game that ties in with the film of the same name. There's mild violence as Spidey beats up the bad guys and dodges their various attacks. Parents definitely need to watch for the game's in-app purchase pushes, as some items -- such as popular alternate costumes -- are only available via direct purchase (of up to $15). There also are some personal privacy concerns, as players can receive in-game email from people on their friends lists.
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What's it about?
Players explore Manhattan, helping curb street crime and unraveling a bigger story line tied to the film by tapping and holding the screen to swing via web. Spider-Man's "Spider sense" alerts users when an enemy is about to hit, and, if the correct screen button is hit in time, they'll be able to counterattack and wear enemies down. A virtual thumbstick on the left side of the screen controls direction, and action buttons for punching, shooting webs, or jumping are on the right. By thwarting crime, players boost their experience and are able to earn "Spidey dollars," which can be redeemed to upgrade Spidey's powers.
Is it any good?
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 takes many of the elements that made The Amazing Spider-Man so appealing, but it manages to destroy the game's appeal with a sometimes barely functional control system and an audacious system designed to get you to spend money on top of the fairly high price of the game.
Navigating via the game's virtual joystick is a frustrating, inexact ordeal -- and the game's push of a store and very, very slowly earned power-ups (which, natch, can be purchased) reek of greed, as does the breathtaking prices on optional, additional costumes. The game requires an Internet connection, but does not manage in maintaining it. Several times, as we began play, the game insisted no Internet connection was available, as other Internet-essential iPad functions worked fine. And it rules out playing on the go for many owners. The open-world nature of the game is nice, but the story-based missions seem slapped together, and the side missions feel like filler. (And we won't even go into bugs that let you web swing, apparently via clouds, into the Manhattan harbor.) Despite the name, there's nothing "amazing" here.
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