In The Amazing Spider-Man, the webslinger dispenses quick wit almost as fast as he dispenses justice. More importantly, he gets room to show off his high-flying acrobatics with a freedom his last two outings were lacking. This time, Spidey has the whole of Manhattan as his playground. As you fling yourself above the city, swinging past skyscrapers and vaulting from towers, you get a dizzying sense of what it would be like to slip into the famous red and blue costume.
It’s a joy when The Amazing Spider-Man thrusts you into this wide-open world. By holding down a single trigger, you propel webbing from your wrists, swinging in whichever direction you choose. Expectedly, you don’t necessarily see the webbing attach to anything nearby, which is fine: the joyous locomotion is all in the name of fun. Yet the game does a great job of providing the illusion that the laws of physics still vaguely apply. When you swish through a park that isn’t near tall buildings, you stay near the ground, practically brushing the grass underneath you. When surrounded by stately superstructures, you rise toward the heavens, from where you can look upon the entire city and admire its vibrancy.
Out here in the concrete wilds, The Amazing Spider-Man is at its best, simply because moving around is so much fun. Hundreds of collectible comic pages twinkle on rooftops and flutter in the air. They are simple but nice rewards for the act of locomotion. Come near a page, and you hear and see its telltale glimmer, and note the button prompt inviting you to fling toward it. These signs are enough to have you scanning the screen, searching for the elusive paper. But there’s more to the game than webswinging, of course: most of the story-based missions take you off the streets and send you into the sewers and other such interiors. Out in Manhattan, most tasks are optional and involve picking up asylum escapees and returning them to their institution, beating up muggers, and so forth.