The Amazing Spider-Man hits theaters July 3rd, but if you want to feed your Spider-Man hunger a little early, the video game is scheduled to be released June 26. I got an even earlier look at how this game will look and feel on the 3DS thanks to a convenient demo on the eShop.
The game starts with the Marvel, Columbia Pictures, Beenox, and Activision logo reels being presented in a very cinematic fashion. After the surprisingly plain "press start" screen, there are options to start a new game, edit settings, view extras (disabled), and activate "Vigilante" mode (disabled). Vigilante mode, according to Nintendo Power (June 2012 issue), will allow you to spend "action points" to unlock events around New York City. My guess is the system will use a map of NYC to allow you to choose a location.
When you start a new game, you are presented with difficulty settings, Human, Hero (default), and Super Hero. This screen does not indicate that it is about the difficulty of the game, but I found it fairly obvious what the three options were for. I played the game in the normal Hero mode and found it fairly well balanced, if not a little difficult due to the controls. The easiest setting, Human, was a little too easy, but maybe that's a good thing.
If you go to the Controls options in the Settings menu, you can invert the x and y of the camera controls. On the second play-through, I inverted y and it was a lot more comfortable. The settings menu also provides some basic audio options, including the optional subtitles for character dialogue, which only affects cutscenes.
At the start of every level, you are presented with a reminder of the control scheme on the top screen and a "Photo Challenge" on the bottom screen. The photo challenge in the demo is to "find the Oscorp logo inside the level and take a photo everytime you see it." I can see how these challenges would provide some replay value, but I recommend not going after the photos the first time through, because it would undoubtedly ruin the fun of everything else.
The combat in this game is phenomenal! It won't win any awards, but it feels like a console Spider-Man game from the PS2 era. It is very nice for a game with limited control input. The character animations are very entertaining, though also lack a sense of impact. The low quality visuals don't bother me much, because combat is very fun and fast-paced. For a portable title, this game does not disappoint!
As far as the music and sound effects go, it could be better, but it could be a lot worse. I enjoyed the voice acting, because it seemed a lot like watching the old cartoon series from the 90s. As far as I'm concerned, it is nice, but your opinion may differ. You will be glad to hear the cutscenes can be skipped.
If ever you get stuck in the game, you can easily restart the level or view your current objective. The objective helps a lot when you are aimlessly roaming about the level wondering where you need to go. The game does not hold your hand much, so you probably will get lost from time to time.
The most disappointing aspect of the game is the lack of free-roaming through the city. You are mostly confined to indoor levels in which Spider-Man does not have much room for web-slinging. Thankfully, some of the rooms are very large, and you can still have a lot of fun zipping around a room. I imagine the free-roaming aspect will be available in the Xbox 360 version, but the 3DS has very limited hardware resources, so you cannot expect the same level of depth.
Overall, I think this game is worth buying once it drops into the $25-35 price range. If it's any more expensive, however, it would be tough to recommend this game to anyone other than the most hardcore Spider-Man fans. The demo, however, is very fun and worth the download.