The Amazing Spider-Man 2
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an open-world action game with frequent brawling combat. Spider-Man punches and kicks his enemies, knocking them out and tying them up with webs so the police can arrest them. There's no blood, and no one dies in the fighting, but an important character is killed in a non-combat sequence. As in the comics, Spider-Man/Peter Parker is a genuinely good -- and good-humored -- guy who tries to protect those he loves while helping the people of New York. He only fights when it's necessary to stop or prevent crimes, and he doesn't kill bad guys.
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What's it about?
Not based on the film of the same name so much as it is a sequel to the previous Amazing Spider-Man game, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 picks up with Peter Parker still searching for the man who killed his Uncle Ben. He swings through a New York City open-world environment, tracking down notorious gangsters before encountering bigger plots with several famous villains from the Spider-Man universe, including Kraven the Hunter and Electro. Plenty of petty criminals are lurking around Manhattan, too, and Spider-Man needs to track them down and put a stop to their law-breaking activities if he wants to generate positive news stories to keep up his do-gooder public image. Peter also can put his photojournalist skills to use by snapping pictures, searching out lead-generating audio logs, and tracking down a variety of collectibles lurking around the city, including comic book pages.
Is it any good?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 feels like a hurriedly cobbled together cash grab of a game. Swinging and crawling around a free-to-roam New York ought to be exciting and liberating, but awkward controls keep players from ever getting comfortable moving about. Combat is more palatable, if only because it's less frustrating. But the brawling action -- tap one button to attack and another to dodge when you see Spider-Man's spidey sense tingling -- is derivative of other superhero action games (most notably Warner Bros.' recent Batman games) and dissatisfying in its simplicity.
The best parts of the game are those that don't involve any fighting or web-slinging. Stan Lee's turn as a sage comic book store proprietor offering Peter advice in place of his uncle is terrific, as are the full-length, classic Spider-Man comics that players can read in his shop. But such treats don't make up for the thoroughly lackluster action. You know there's a problem when you'd rather spend your time with a comic book superhero game reading its unlockable graphic novels than stepping into the spandex of its titular character.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in games such as The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Unlike some heroes, Spider-Man doesn't use weapons or kill his enemies. How does this make you feel about him? Does he have strong character for showing mercy and restraint, or is he weak-willed because he lacks the conviction to put a permanent end to threats?
Discuss the famous axiom that with great power comes great responsibility. If you had superpowers, would you devote yourself to helping others, or would you simply use your powers for your own benefit?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99-59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Activision
- Release date: May 12, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures
- ESRB rating: T for Mild Blood, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.