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Spider-Man 3 Review
|ESRB rating: T
release date: May 04, 07 (released)
|» All About Spider-Man 3 on ActionTrip|
While Sam Raimi's new addition to the Spider-Man movie series is enjoying record income at the box office, we wanted to see if the latest video game based on Marvel's popular franchise is worthy of your attention. Of course, I'm fully aware that truehearted Spidey fans might snatch up the game right away, without waiting for anyone's opinion on the matter. Should that be the case, you might want to think twice before buying this game, and here's why.
I'm sure you all know the story. Remaining faithful to the movie plot, Spider-Man 3 introduces gamers to almost every familiar character from the big-screen adaptation. You face three main villains - the Goblin's descendant, Harry Osborne, the deadly Venom and at the grainy Sandman. All this was neatly packed with Peter Parker's relationship with Mary-Jane. So, there's plenty to do in the game, you can be sure of that. However, even with the first few steps, certain blunders move into focus.
Spider-Man 3 never delivers sufficient character depth nor does it take you through a remotely interesting plot. As far as storytelling goes, this game is a failure in every sense, with unrefined characters and an altogether weak narrative. Occasionally, missions introduce you to new and, at first glance, interesting characters, but, beneath the surface, there's really nothing noteworthy about them.
With promises of innovation, Activision sought to create a game worthy of the movie as well as Stan Lee's much-admired comic book character. However, as soon as you've finished a series of brief tutorial missions, you're sure to encounter a number of problems.
The first issue pops-up once you start web-swinging through the city. Maybe the aspect of swinging through NY is more enjoyable with a gamepad (on either the PS3 or the X360), but on the PC, this experience easily becomes a nightmare. The mouse/keyboard combo doesn't work all too well, particularly when pulling off crucial moves. If you honestly have to play this game on the PC, I seriously recommend, you get yourself a gamepad. Even so, controlling Spidey is difficult and when it comes to combat you'll often wind up pressing buttons on a hunch just to avoid getting clobbered by enemies.
There's one aspect which may still be fun to more devoted Spidey fans. Swinging between NY's skyscrapers and just exploring the urban environment can be fun. Except, with each swing you are required to keep a vigilant eye for nearby buildings, otherwise you're just back where you started - the ground. Now, as pragmatic as it may seem, searching for buildings in mid-air sometimes gets too damn tiring, especially when you must get to a specific location like a rooftop. Although the free-roam aspect to the game makes things a bit more interesting, it hardly justifies a reasonably entertaining single-player experience.
The real problem with Spider-Man 3's combat system is that it hasn't brought much improvement over earlier editions. Despite the developer's effort to implement these so-called improvements to the combat, fighting enemies boils down to the usual execution of different combos or a few well-placed fighting moves that cause heavier damage. Altogether, the gameplay mechanics haven't evolved in any way.
The famed addition of the black suit doesn't improve things either. The suit amplifies Spidey's strength and to let him go berserk every now and then. Essentially, the dark-suited Spider-Man doesn't bring any noteworthy elements to the gameplay. Combat, mind you, relies heavily on pressing the right keys or hitting the right button on the controller (should you be playing on the X360 or PS3). Pulling off combos is way too complicated, particularly on the mouse and keyboard. So, you may end up knocking out an opponent and trying to wrap-up your complex combo, while another enemy takes the opportunity to shoot you in the back. Frustrating, to say the least.
Due to a commendable amount of content on offer, the overall score was brought up a notch. Spider-Man faces a huge variety of villains, on top of having numerous missions and sub-missions to complete in order to improve upon his fighting skills web formula. Regrettably, quantity doesn't make up for the lack of quality. Some missions put Spider-Man's skills to good use though, such as using the Spider sense to locate bombs or track down mutant lizards. Frankly, even with a few honest attempts at making the game more enjoyable, both the missions and boss fights are generally disappointing and not in the least bit as fun as we imagined. Boss encounters usually boil down to a dull routine of pressing the correct buttons and pulling off the same sequence of moves repeatedly. Not much fun in that.
Unquestionably, one of the most annoying things about Spider-Man 3 is the dreadfully erratic camera movement, which makes character control rather difficult and may cause some serious eye twitching (like it did in my case).
6.1 Above Average
Some well-animated moves, substantial content on offer, some missions are intense, reasonably lengthy single-player;
HUGE hardware hog, rushed; technically, it's a mess.