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- Mornin '13
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- Xbox One Specs
Ultimate Spider-Man Review
PII 400, 64MB RAM, 500MB HDD, 16MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Sep 22, 05 (released)
|» All About Ultimate Spider-Man on ActionTrip|
Marvel is turning into a Hollywood steamroller. Every year, the company almost single-handedly makes the Hollywood industry look better by boosting the box office sales numbers with releases like X-Men, Spider-Man, and The Fantastic Four. The licensing of its longtime favorite comic characters has a universal appeal across different generations, which, in terms of market value, makes it a very precious commodity. And these days, as we all know, big movies mean big videogames. Activision knows full well that videogames based on big movie franchises are welcome additions, especially by avid comic book fans, and bought the rights to publish games based on the widely popular Marvel characters. So now, we're seeing a string of titles based off of Marvel comics - games like X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse, and the new Spidey game, Ultimate Spider-Man.
Exterminator, I have a bug on the wall!
I bet there are at least twelve million ladies out there that could find a good use for that tongue.
The good thing about this game is that Activision has done a solid job of backing up the production financially by bringing onboard famed comic book creators Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley. They have penned and illustrated the story and characters, turning a video game into a bona fide interactive comic book experience. The story is moved along via unique animated comic book panels that utilize the 3D Comic Inking Technology™. Sounds fancy sure, but it actually does work. X Men 2, while retaining that comic book feel to the visual, doesn't even come close to the quality of the Ultimate Spider-Man art. This have has the uncanny ability to render fully 3D characters that look like they've been hand-drawn rather than assembled from crude polygons. In addition, the motion-captured animation is flawless and that does wonders for making the characters more life-like. However, not all is great about the Ultimate Spider-Man graphics. While the characters themselves look marvelous, the New York City backdrop often appears crude (with lots of disappearing shadows and texture clipping), and over simplified. The downside is clearly due to the hardware limitations. If you turn on fog, the situation improves somewhat in terms of performance but this simply isn't enough. The cityscape still looks like hastily put up cardboard crops of skyscrapers and the frame rate is not perfect when you climb atop of tall buildings. Another thing is that the camera is pretty jerky and often erratic, offsetting the great physics and animation of the superheroes moving across the cityscape.
Gameplay-wise, the big news in Ultimate Spider-Man is that players take on the role of super hero Spider-Man AND super villain Venom, not to mention the guest appearances from The Human Torch, Wolverine and other Marvel characters. Does this add versatility to the gameplay? The answer is yes, but only to an extent. Because of the fact that the combat might often seem too simplistic, and that often, your success will rely on one winning move that works against a particular boss, you won't get to fully enjoy Spider-Man's neat abilities or the vicious powers of Venom's symbiotic suit. Granted, new moves are unlocked for your characters as you progress through the campaign, but all this comes too little too late for people with a short attention span. Still, you should bear in mind that the combat does have a modest learning curve, so it might be a bit more fun for you once you've accustomed yourself with the controls. The default control scheme is very good, so after some time, it'll be quite fun to just roam around the city as Spider-Man, crawling, swinging and hopping your way across the city. I've had a lot of fun simply doing that for a while.
Father, it's just a minor cold, you can lower the force field!
I still haven't learned how to turn corners. Blame it on the jerky camera.
The game plays like a GTA clone of sorts, but there is a problem with this. In order to make the main campaign a bit longer, the designers have made it so that you have to finish mundane and repetitive city goals (that consist of racing against time or opponents across the city, or beating up thugs and saving people in distress) before another story mission becomes available. While the story missions are exciting and well designed, with well directed cut-scenes, I got the feeling they are too far and between for players to fully enjoy the plot. Not to mention that even with the city goals, the main campaign ends up being very short. The rather boring tasks you have to finish between the story missions get old, fast. So while the game is conceptually reminiscent of the GTA series, it's much more linear in fact, shorter and less engaging.
Despite its noticeable drawbacks, however, Ultimate Spider-Man does manage to offer a thrilling blend of comic book and video game action. The way that the game utilizes modern technology to bring comic book characters to life is superb, and so is the fantasy world created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley. The gameplay does fall short here and there, but overall this is still a good game for Spider-Man and comic book fans in general.
Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, 3D Comic Inking Technology, story missions, sound effects, soundtrack;
Short, jerky camera, combat issues, graphics glitches, boring city goals in between story missions.
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