The Amazing Spider-Man review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, 3DS, DS, PC
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Mercenary Technology
Medium: Digital/Vita Card
Players: 1
Online: No

If nothing else, The Amazing Spider-Man is the most puzzling addition to the PS Vita’s library we’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always happy to see more games on the Vita, but seeing as a) the movie it’s based on came out back in June 2012, b) the game it’s a port of came out at the same time, and c) the sequel game and movie will be here in just a few months, the timing of it all seems a little odd.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you. While the Vita has lots and lots of different types of games, one thing it’s a little lacking in is third-person action games from major publishers — and, obviously, The Amazing Spider-Man fills that particular niche quite well. Not only that, the original PS3 game was one of my favorite games of 2012, so getting the chance to replay it on my favourite system is quite welcome.

spider-man vita

Of course, the mere fact of the game’s existence doesn’t matter much if it’s not very good. And considering how large a game The Amazing Spider-Man is, concerns about how well the Vita would be able to handle an open-world superhero game seem entirely valid. So, on those two fronts, does the game succeed?

Let’s talk about performance first. I’m not going to lie: this game is a little bit ugly. Sacrifices clearly had to be made to fit an wide-open New York City onto the Vita, and the biggest of those sacrifices was that there are places in which The Amazing Spider-Man is outshone by some PSP games. It’s better looking than, say, the 3DS version, but anyone hoping for a perfect port of the PS3 game will be sorely disappointed.

That said, because they sacrificed looks, they were able to make the game run relatively well. There were one or two hiccups during cutscenes (which, frankly, baffles me), and there was the odd time where combat seemed to slow down a little bit, but on the whole, the overall experience is pretty faithful to the console version. You get the full story-line from the consoles (which takes place shortly after the events of the film), and you get it within an open world, which means you can take all the extra time you want to web-swing through the moderately busy streets of New York City, stopping crimes in progress and collecting the 700+ comic book pages scattered throughout the city. (And as someone who got to around 400 pages on the PS3 version before giving up that particular side quest, I can say that the ability to hunt those pages down while on the bus is quite welcome indeed.)

spider-man vita 2

Which leads into that second question, of whether The Amazing Spider-Man on the Vita is any good. After that last paragraph, of course, the answer should probably go without saying, but just in case it needs further spelling out: yes, yes it is. I’ve been craving a game like this since Gravity Rush, and now that it’s here it’s pretty much everything I could’ve hoped for. It’s obviously nowhere near as gorgeous as Gravity Rush, but it’s got a similar sense of “The world is my oyster, let’s go exploring!” I’m sure some people may question why they need to pick up 16-month-late port, but if the prospect of being Spidey on-the-go is at all appealing to you (or even if you’re in the mood for some fun, open-world action), then you definitely need to check this out.

Grade: A-