When it comes to gaming, Spider-Man weaves a tangled web

"Amazing Spider-Man 2" video game.

, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:40 PM ET

Look out, here comes the Spider-Man!

That’s not an cry of excitement, though. More like a warning.

Making video games based on superheroes has always been a peril-fraught endeavour. It’s a tricky proposition to take a hero with larger-than-life powers out of a comic book and put him into a game in a way that makes sense and is actually fun to play.

Making video games based on superhero movies is even more difficult – in addition to all the other hurdles, the game generally has to arrive in stores alongside the release of the movie, meaning there’s a hard deadline for completion and no extra time for polish.

So it shouldn’t come as a great shock that the Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game, out now for most of the current and last-generation game consoles, is not exactly snaring critical accolades in its web. As of this writing, review aggregate site Metacritic lists the game with an average score ranging from 49% to 57%, depending on the platform. It joins the ranks of dozens of terrible superhero games, ranging from the movie-based Iron Man 2 all the way back to Superman: The New Adventures for the Nintendo 64, widely considered one of the worst games of all time.

The recent Batman games developed by U.K.-based Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. Games Montreal have been an exception to the rule, in part because these studios have taken the time to get the character right. But also because of the nature of Batman himself: He doesn’t possess incredible powers and he’s not indestructible. He’s just a very fit dude with a costume and lots of cool gadgets, which allows for all kinds of interesting and relatable gameplay experiences.

But Spidey has had a good video game track record, too. Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, released in 2002 and 2004 respectively, were both excellent games. Ultimate Spider-Man (2005) and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (2010) were both pretty solid. Being able to swing among skyscrapers in a digital recreation of Manhattan never gets old.

Or does it? Quebec City-based game development studio Beenox has been responsible for most of the Spider-Man games released in the last five years, and while they’ve tried to shake the formula up a bit – Shattered Dimensions had players controlling four different incarnations of the wall-crawler from four separate universes – they seem to have either run out of ideas, or have been hemmed into a corner by the plot and deadline demands of producing a game spun off from a movie.

(Interestingly, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 publisher Activision didn’t send out advance review copies of the game, which is the equivalent of a movie being released without a pre-screening for critics. It seems to have paid off: Without bad word of mouth, the game’s first week of sales were incredibly strong.)

With great power comes great responsibility, but also great challenges in accurately framing that power in the context of a video game. Spider-Man is a unique character with abilities most of us would love to have, and game developers need to figure out a way to tap back into that while remaining faithful to spirit of Spidey and his world.

If they don’t... well, we’ve always got the next Batman game to look forward to.

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Godzilla

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Gotham Central

There’s been lots o’ buzz this week about the trailer for Gotham, the upcoming Fox TV series chronicling Det. Jim Gordon long before he became commissioner. The show shares a premise with the acclaimed but now-defunct Gotham Central comic book series, which ran between 2003 and 2006. Might be time to pick up the collected editions.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

ABC’s bold experiment in bringing the Marvel universe to television wraps up its first season on Tuesday, and while the show has been far from perfect, it will be intriguing to see how it all ends. Will they bust out a triple-A guest star for the last episode?

Borderlands 2 for PlayStation Vita

This week marks the release of the newly slimmed-down version of Sony’s powerful PlayStation Vita, but I’m more interested in the simultaneous release of Borderlands 2 for the handheld gaming gizmo. Time for running, gunning and looting on the road.

Point Break

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