How many Spider-Man games must we go through before a game developer out there *cough ROCKSTEADY cough* will do the web crawler some much needed justice!? I’ve only played a handful of the web slinger’s escapades and I can tell you that I’ve played enough to know that I don’t need to partake in the rest of them. I thought we could take a moment and go through some of the reasons why these games never seem to capture the gaming frenzy as others like Batman or The Last of Us do.
It’s funny how the games almost always try to focus on the fact that Spider-Man can swing around from building to building. (or in some cases in a park above the trees … not sure what happened there) But Spider-Man is more capable of many other amazing things than just web slinging. Sure some games have given the player the ability to use spider sense or fun ways to trap an enemy with webbing yet none of these seem new or the best utilization of what they are. Also, why not give everything an actual original spin? In the new Batman game, they give you the ability to have what many considered spider sense for Batman … which he never has had but was a welcomed addition to the gameplay. Are game developers just lazy with the Spider-Man property?
I blame this partly on the fact that a lot of the games have been built or based upon the movies which don’t entirely portray Peter in the comedic light. I’d say that the Amazing Spider-Man 2 (the movie) was the best portrayal thus far of his antics and off-beat humor but I’ve heard tell that the recent installment still isn’t as funny as it should be. What gives? With the Deadpool game, as much as I could complain about it, they at least give him the humor and hijinks that many people have grown to love about that particular character. Why then do we tend to ignore the fact that Spider-Man is normally quite clever and able to deliver subtle witty jokes at the most inopportune times? The best version we received (in my humble opinion) was the Ultimate Spider-Man game … and even that wasn’t on par with what I was looking for.
Same ol’ Villains
If the next game features Green Goblin as the main antagonist then I’m going to up and quit holding out any hope of someone doing a great Spider-Man game. It seems that because of the weight the movies have put on the creative game designers they can’t seem to muster up anything else other than the villains we’ve already seen. We’ve been given time and time again, the Green Goblin, Sandman, Venom, Kingpin, Electro, and Rhino. You know what, there are many others out there that could prove to be useful in a pinch! Take the time to get to know the rest of the baddies that have gone up against Spider-Man and I assure you that you’ll be thanked greatly for it. (why is it that Carnage always seems to get a little side story in some of these games where I would think he could be the ultimate main villain all together?) Maybe you could even just have the 1 bad guy and surround them with a lot of little side characters or people that were not used to seeing. Just a polite suggestion.
No Peter Parker
Time and time again we’ve played a Spider-Man game without ever playing as Peter Parker. That is, until recently with the Amazing Spider-Man 2 game which now allows you to go galavanting around as Peter and doing little picture side quests. Peter is the nerd that everyone roots for, not because he’s extremely intelligent but because his story and what motivates him is something that resonates with a lot of people. I’d consider this a fairly important part of the game, maybe utilizing the cut-scenes or something to help illustrate what’s going on in his life amidst all the heroic antics.
Lack of Original Story
This might reflect a bit of what was said in the villains section but seriously how many times must we involve Mary Jane and/or Gwen Stacy as part of the overlying plot? How many times have we seen Green Goblin and/or Kingpin as the main nemesis pulling all the strings? When will some comic book writers or game writers take the time to give a new Spider-Man game it’s own original story? Many have gripes with the Superior Spider-Man series that ran this past year but I for one welcomed it. What it did was change things up completely. Spider-Man was different, he had a new edgy attitude, he wasn’t lovesick over Mary Jane, and he even killed someone – on purpose! That for me was a jump start that this particular comic book series needed. Now I’m not saying that all of the games suffered from this – but I’d say 80% of them did. One I can think of where I enjoyed it because it was refreshingly different was the Shattered Dimensions game. (partly because I loved the style of Spider-Man Noir) Which leads me to believe that they could really build something from the new Spider-Verse series. (look it up, it’s a trip!)
What it really boils down to is that we’ve had over 25 Spider-Man video games at one point or another. Out of those I’d dare say that only 5 or so were ever worth playing. Would you agree with me on this? What else can you come up with that plagued all the Spider-Man games up to this point? I’m hoping that something new (aside from the Amazing Spider-Man 2 release) is on it’s way for these new consoles. If a new game came out that had the story and design of the Last of Us along with the extremely fun gameplay similar to Batman Arkham City, I’d preorder that immediately.
Hey guys & gals, my name is Lucas Tetrault and if you like this post or any of the others I’ve written – please feel free to venture over to my Blog and take a gander at some other stuff I write about. Heck, you can follow me on Twitter if you want. I promise I don’t intend to waste your time.
I work as a Creative Director and spend time away from my job with my family, writing for Unreality, and trying to be creative with my own personal projects.