Movie tie-in games always share a lot with their cinematic counterparts, but the upcoming Activision adaptation of The Amazing Spider-Man and the corresponding film shares even more mutated DNA than most.
After Spider-Man 3 was panned by film critics and crucified by fans, Sony went back to the start, retelling Spidey's origin story with a completely new director (500 Days of Summer's Marc Webb) and a new lead (Andrew Garfield of The Social Network).
The last Spider-Man game wasn't bad enough to require a reboot of that scale, but with scores averaging in the mid-50s for Spider-Man: Edge of Time it wasn't far off.
It makes sense that studio head Dee Brown was perhaps a little over-enthusiastic as he presented his team's new project. Beenox has something to prove.
One of the clearest signs of Beenox's confidence in its nearly-finished product is in the opening minutes of the game's E3 presentation when Brown focuses our attention on a newly-designed camera. It's zoomed in to an almost Gears of War level of closeness.
He invites us to examine the suit's level of detail, and he's right to do so, it looks fantastic. But more important is the symbolism of the new perspective. Amazing Spider-Man doesn't want to force Spidey into the mold of a generic action game hero, unlike predecessor Edge of Time. Beenox wants you to be Spider-Man.
That means returning to Manhattan, making the entire island your free-roaming playground. That means letting you swing wherever you please and making it look better and more acrobatic than ever before. It means combat, inspired by lucha libre wrestling, that puts agility at a premium over strength.
It's hard to overstate just how fantastic all of this looks. Set after the events of the film, this is a Spider-Man who's confident in his abilities, and he's perfectly graceful as he flips through the air and seems to glide from speeding car to car. The effect is heightened with the new Web Rush that lets Spidey pick any spot in the environment and automatically find a thrilling route to it full of perilous leaps and last minute swings.
Beenox didn't stop with nailing the core experience. This is a far more complete game than Edge of Time or Shattered Dimensions, featuring loads of collectibles (including full, readable comic books) and an skill upgrade system. Though it doesn't include the voices of the film's performers, it does feature Spidey co-creator Stan Lee as a playable character. Heck, Bruce Campbell even returns as the voice of an extreme sports reporter that critiques Ol' Web Head's performance.
As a massive fan of Spider-Man games, I was completely ready to be underwhelmed by the latest Beenox effort before I laid eyes on it. By the end of the brief demo I found myself completely ready and willing to believe.