Spider-Man 3 ReviewCain Dornan
Poor Spidey. While his movies have been hailed a success, bringing in insane record-breaking sales figures as they swept through cinemas around the world, his video games have failed to be quite as successful. And although developers have kicked-off attempts with big plans and even bigger promises to fans, they have ultimately arrived with a disappointing experience that sticks true to the games based on movies suck stereotype.
Spider-Man 3 is much the same. While its clear that developer Treyarch worked hard on delivering a satisfying, varied experience, countless niggling problems help to squash any praise that the game could have potentially received.
The game kicks off with an appropriate training level that is cleverly combined with the games first mission, which sees you escaping from a building engulfed in flames while battling the usual nasties and saving a helpless trapped victim. Youre instructed on the basics of the game, everything from web slinging to fighting and pulling off varied combos, before being thrown into the open, free-roaming world of New York City, which proves to look quite beautiful on the Xbox 360. Great lighting effects, coupled with a city that feels alive thanks to its streets filled with busy traffic and commuters, help to give a very pleasing first impression when you are first unleashed into the games world.
Unfortunately, this almost immediately ends when you step into your first real mission. The gameplay is largely dull and unoriginal, providing an experience that feels far too familiar with both previous Spider-Man games and other movie-to-game tie-ins. There isnt really anything exciting about the missions on hand, despite the freedom that you are given to select which mission youll take on next. Even partaking in a handful of side missions, such as helping cops arrest criminals or taking Mary Jane on thrill rides, fail to introduce any variation or excitement to its rather mundane presentation.
Missions stem along in series, each completely separate from another, where you are usually fighting to prevent one of the citys gangs from doing devious tasks or preventing some superhuman wrong-doer, such as Rhino or Lizard, from wrecking havoc across the city. Along the way youll encounter plenty of straightforward and unvaried henchmen to battle, making use of the games combo system that tries desperately to add some variation and excitement to the combat system, but fails miserably. Youll also encounter the regular easy puzzle or button-mashing boss battle, which usually end with your fingers tired from repeatedly pounding the controller buttons to deal damage to unoriginal bosses.
Unfortunately, a problematic camera that refuses to snap behind the character correctly and instead chooses to hide behind opponents or walls, as well as a staggered storyline that is hardly engaging or appropriately sticks to the movie in which it is apparently based on, and a tiring button-mashing combat system that fails to incorporate any variance or level of excitement into the gameplay, all contribute into dragging down a game that holds potential. And unless youre a collectaholic or enjoy searching a city landscape for things to photograph, youll likely choose to give many of the games optional side missions a miss.
Presentation-wise, Spider-Man 3 isnt spectacular. While swinging through NYC looks great, other locales, such as within buildings our fighting your way through the endless subway tunnels, look drab and fail to offer any form of eye candy. Character models are also disappointing: while Spidey himself looks great as he swings, jumps and dives, Peter Parker and the host of other characters and villains that you encounter look horrible when marked against Xbox 360 standards, as characters lack the level of detail and polish that one world expect on a next-generation title. Sorry Treyarch, jagged character models are simple not acceptable on the Xbox 360.
The game serves up the typical assortment of superhero music that fits the games theme well, but isnt something that will leave a lasting impression. Voice work behind notable characters have been sourced from the appropriate Hollywood counterparts, excluding Kirsten Dunst, who add to the relative similarities between the game and movie, yet fail to present an outstanding performance overall.
Unless youre a die-hard Spider-Man fan who must obsessively experience every ounce of mysterious action-hero, world-saving opportunity that Marvel chooses to throw at you, youre best off giving this one a miss, or renting it at best. While its not a terrible game, its far from being a great one, with Treyarchs desperate attempt at creating a stunning superhero experience largely going in vain thanks to its countless problems and annoyances that it suffers from.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.