Thursday, May 17, 2012

13 things I'd like to see in the Amazing Spider-Man game

The Amazing Spider-Man game is set to release in June alongside the movie of the same name, and like the movie, I feel like it's going to be ok. Not great, just ok.  Movie tie-in games tend to be on the lack-luster side, and there hasn't been a great Spider-Man movie tie-in game since Spider-Man: The Movie: The Game for the xbox(no Spider-Man 2 was not great. Debate me in the comments!).  But what could turn The Amazing Spider-Man from a mediocre movie-tie in to the best Spider-Man game to date? Well here are 13 things to start with.
Spidey just looked at the new costume. What sense does any of that make?!

13) An interesting narrative with great voice acting
It's already being set after the movie, so it's narrowly escaping the "exactly like the movie plot but with ten hours of filler" pitfall, but you know what would really make a great game? A really good story. It's a strange thing that Spider-Man videogames usually have the most generic stories(bad guy is doing bad stuff, punch a bunch of thugs to get him to stop doing that), considering Spider-Man comics have some of the greatest and most interesting stories to read out there. Why not transfer one of those great stories to the small screen? Read Down among the Dead Men or American Son or Spider-Man: Blue or The Death of Gwen Stacy...actually, maybe skip that one.  And having great voice actors, especially voice actors from the movie, with generally funny and engaging dialogue will always make a game better.

12) Finding villain hideouts
One of the things I loved about Spider-Man 2 (one of the only things that is) was finding hideout tokens. They had a completely open-world city, and every now and then you'd come upon an open window or door that could open and discover a secret room with a bunch of thugs to beat up and a spinning token to collect.  It would be great to bring this back and a perfect reason to explore an open-ended New York.  Think how cool it would be finding a secret door in a bar or on a roof or in an alley-way and going into a little side mission in which you took on specific thugs and a mini boss!  Then if you found all the secret hideouts you could get a nifty "can't hide from me" Achievement!

Hello? Any thugs in here need punching?
11) Secret Forms of transportation
An open-ended New York is great, but we've seen open ended cities, and we've played them in other Spider-Man games. What would make it better? More ways of getting around!  Use the sewer system for bonus levels, getting around the city faster, and evading cops. Or how about car surfing? Or bringing back the helicopter swinging from Spider-Man 2? Or including a full subway system where Spidey can catch a ride on a speeding train?  All these would be super fun and make the game world feel bigger.

10) A way of defeating Rhino other than making him run into walls
Seriously. That is the game mechanic of the Rhino boss fight in every. Single. Game. Why even bother putting him in there if it's going to be the same fight from every other Spider-Man game?

How has no one thought of this game mechanic?!
9) Interesting uses of Web-shooters/web cartridges
You gave Spidey web shooters in the movie, that's one step in the right direction. But don't just use it as an excuse to pick up web cartridges scattered through the level! Make it so Spidey can only reload his cartridge belt at certain locations.  Give him different types of web ammo and different types of attachments to upgrade his web shooters. Hell, have customizable web-shooters! Maybe one type will make you faster at swinging, but another type will make harder impact webbing, and still another type will hold thugs longer. Think of the possibilities!

8) Random encounters with villains from the Spidey Universe
There will most likely be random encounters that you'll be able to do in this open world, like saving citizens or stomping bank robbers. But why not keep it from getting too stale by adding a handful of oft-known one-bit spidey vilains? The Ultimate Spider-Man game had shocker, how about the Prowler? Or Stiltman? Or Beetle? Or Boomerang? Or Tarantula? Or have variant gangs of thugs from big crime lords like Hammerhead goons or King Pin's Enforcers?

Stiltman, best Spidey villain ever, or just best villain ever?
7) A perceived Morality System
None of the games have really touched on the fact that Spider-Man has a darker side. he can be pretty frightening when he wants to, leading a lot of people to think he's more menace than hero. It looks like The Amazing Spider-Man is going to show a bit of his darker side, but why not have players have a hand in this? Obviously Spidey isn't going to rob banks or let criminals get away, but what I propose is more of a Paragon/Renegade system via Mass Effect. Maybe if he saves more citizens he'll be seen as good where as if people see him fighting all the time and breaking property they'll see him as more of a menace. Then you could read the Daily Bugle to see how New York sees you. It would be an interesting way to teach people about that whole responsibility thing through Spidey's eyes.  "Millions in damages? Hmm, maybe I should think about NOT throwing cop cars through store windows."

6) More fun extra suits
Yes, we have ALL seen the black costumed Spider-Man. But how about some not-so seen extras like The Amazing Bag-Man or the new Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man? Or maybe one of his clones like Kane? Or Spider-Girl? Or hey, how about a swinging Gwen Stacey? But if you want to make something interesting, why not have different suits with upgrades as part of the main gameplay? He made his own suit and the steel-tipped shoes are used for some reason, right? What about a stealth suit or electrified suit? And playing the Lizard as an extra at the end wouldn't hurt either.

If Ultimate Spider-Man ever has Amazing Bag-Man, I will immediately partially forgive it for all the sucking.
5) More Interactive objects/buildings
Spider-Man: The Movie: The Game had this, you could pick up and toss any number of objects lying around including tires, desks, and whole cars. It would be great if you could interact with your environment in this way too. Picking up cars, breaking glass, destroying street lamps, and going inside more buildings would be a great way of showing a living world. And why not be able to knock over or pick up random citizens? This also goes back to the morality system. You might find throwing a table at a thug in a bar and then tossing him through a window is fun, but the citizens probably won't think much of you.

4) A stealth system
Not a lot of people liked the Noir Spider-Man levels in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, but those were my favorite parts. People forget that Spider-Man is a sneaky character, and a lot of times he doesn't just go swinging in, he uses the shadows to play with thugs and throw them off balance. If the open-ended world has a day-night system, this would make for some great sneaking-around-stringing-up-thugs-to-street-lamps gameplay.

3) Spider-Man Skateboarding
We all saw the trailer with Peter Parker kickin' it with his board, and we all know that he'll have some sweet building grinding scenes as Spider-Man(seriously, you wouldn't LOVE that?!), but how about making it a mini game? When has there been a skateboarding Spider-Man? Can you honestly tell me doing kickflips off the empire state building and then web-swinging off wouldn't be cool? And obviously since he has sticky feet he should have no problem not losing his board.  C'mon game designers!

Move over Tony Hawk, it's Peter's time to shine.
2) Spider-Man Snap
There have been a few Spider-Man games that had side missions in which Spidey had to race to certain areas to take pics for the Daily Bugle, but none of them ever gave you an option to actually take the photos.  I know J. Jonah isn't going to be in the movie, but that doesn't mean you can't put him in the game.  How cool would it be if you could take pictures on the fly during fights? Maybe it could go into a little mini-game in which you set-up the camera on the roof-top, engaged in fighting thugs, and pressed a button mid battle to take pictures? Then you could get points or achievements based off of how good those pictures were!  Maybe it would even be integral to buying more powers and costume upgrades.  Take it one step further, later in-game you see YOUR pictures on random newspapers under a randomly generated J. Jonah hate headline!  Think how much the player would feel a part of that world!

1) The Web Yo-Yo
I will be the first to say that the Web Yo-yo has zero impact on gameplay and in no way helps Spidey fight better. And yet, it's a move that's iconic to Spider-Man's very character. You can't think of Spider-Man without picturing the web yo-yo, or at least remembering that iconic kiss from the first Spider-man movie.  He does it at least once in every single comic, and it's his signature pose when he's in any marvel group shot.  Spider-man hasn't had a decent Web Yo-yo since Spider-Man for the xbox, it's time to bring it back!

Admit it, this is one of the first things you want to do if you had Spidey's powers. 

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