Spider-Man 3 (Mania.com)
By:Captain Gordon Edward
Review Date: Monday, May 07, 2007
Well another Spider-man release indicates that we have another Spider-man game on the shelves to eat up like candy. In the third movie we see Spider-man dealing with Venom, Harry Osborn / Green Goblin 2, and Sandman. Since this is a game base on the movie you will deal with each of these characters, but of course before battling Venom you get to try out the symbiote suit as the black Spider-man. This game follows the previous games just as it does the newest movie when it comes to the storyline, and that means that there will be plenty of alternative storylines and characters for you to interact with. This helps present an expanded experience for those that either love the movie or the series.
The game builds on the same engine that was used in the previous games following closely to the Spider-man 2 game. There is an open world for you to explore, as open as New York can be, with plenty of crimes to stop. A change from the previous game involves an interactive cut scene system for certain missions that require the player to press specific random buttons as they appear on the screen. If you fail to complete them the adventure will restart at the previous checkpoint. Completing missions help continue the storyline, but if you do not feel up to the task with them you may battle general crimes if you feel like playing a nice guy. Of course the game is not always about stopping crimes and fighting as there are also plenty of minigames to play, but they generally have you racing through downtown on web lines trying to accomplish one goal or another.
Some of these goals deal with Spider-man skydiving through rings to collect points. For this game I felt that the controls were fairly sloppy, but if you want to get all the achievement points on the game you need to keep working on it. There are general time-trials that will require you to zip from one section to the next, and the controls were great for these once you get used to them. If you are more of a shutterbug there are a few photo missions to keep you entertained. There is a storyline that has Spider-man defusing bombs in the city, and they were puzzle like, but they allowed you to explore Parker’s intelligent side. Of course there are other trials that have you battling the baddies, but at least you can fight against a colourful cast of general thugs.
Luckily the enemies in the game are fairly creatively designed. General thugs range from ninja clan members, to a gothic schoolgirl group (that are similar to the Jokers from Batman Beyond), lizards, tech soldiers, and finally a group of warriors called the Apocalypse. Beyond thugs there are boss characters like the Lizard, but those battles are a general mix of combat with interactive cut scenes. The general variance keeps you entertained for about the first ten hours of the game, but after that you may become a little bored if you are not a die-hard superhero.
Battle is where the game can be fairly entertain since you have a few options to keep the game entertaining. First is general combat, which allows you the option of hitting quick attacks, charged attacks, or also web attacks against foes. There is also a combo system, which also upgrades as you complete missions, that further empowers you to battle the way you like, but it can come off a bit like a button masher. With web attacks you eventually have the option of shooting web balls, but you also have the option of covering them in webs and spinning them around, or hanging them from lampposts. A change from the previous game allows the enemy to fall down after defeated, if strung up from a lamppost, which was very unfortunate.
Moving on from combat down to the nitty gritty, the game feels like a second serving of the Spider-man 2 game, which is a good and a bad thing. If you have not played the Spider-man 2 game this will be a great game to pick up and enjoy. If you have played Spider-man 2 in depth your attention span will be a little bit lacking because it feels like you have been here and done that, even despite the few changes to the game. The game also does not feel as long as the second one (storyline wise), but the crime mode adds much more variance and longevity over the previous version of the game.
Graphically the game builds off of the previous engine, which is great for the last generation systems. On the Xbox 360 the game looks a bit sharper but it does not hold a candle to Crackdown, which is disappointing because it could really shine if it did. The human models in cut scenes look sub par from what is now the new norm for next gen games. There are also a few issues where cars may end up phasing through each other, some invisible walls that you can stick to, and how the camera moves while indoors. I suspect this is mainly because the game was designed to fit the older systems as well as the new ones but it does not work as well as I had hoped.
Sound-wise beyond the voice work of the main characters from the movie, and Bruce Freaking Campbell, things are a little bland. The music in the background is forgettable to the point that I eventually just played my own soundtrack. Sound effects are on the soft side as well so the sound of your attacks will not matter beyond the first few hours. I wish there were a few more touches, like while swinging through New York that you would hear cabbies using colourful language at each other, but I guess that is frowned upon in the Marvel world.
In the end, the game is decent and you will get your money’s worth. It is better than most of the videogames based on movies but it does not recreate that epic feeling you had while playing Spider-man 2. They tried adding a few new features but in the end it was not enough to keep me completely entertained. I personally had fun with the game but I felt that it could have been so much more. The game has the odd bug or two, but it is enjoyable from start to finish. If you loved the Spider-man 3 movie, you should like this game quite a bit. Wrapping up, Captain Gordon gives Spider-man 3 a B-.
Mania Grade: B-
Platform: Xbox 360
Suggested Retail: $59.99
Fun Factor: B-
Reviewer's Wild Card: B-