2004’s PS2 based Spider-Man 2 release still stands as one of gaming’s better examples of how to take the big screen action, and transfer it perfectly to a gaming format, and when you remember there’s hundreds of the buggers out there, that’s a nice tag to possess.
Alright, it may have gone down the typical God of War style action/adventure route, but swinging around New York City in tight fitting Lycra was always going to be ridiculous amounts of fun. Well, unless you’re a scaredy cat who hates heights anyway.
So with the new film now in the cinemas, it’s no surprise to find the next gaming release ready to be picked up and played.
The big problem for Spider-Man 3 is simple. What was seen as fresh and exciting back in 2004 has been so far surpassed by the two God of War releases, that Spidey 2 might have well been released in the age of disco and flared trousers.
It’s been 3 years since that last release, and nothing much has changed. You still swing around New York City, using your Spidey sense to keep an eye out for missions to try your web slinging hand at.
Actually making your way around New York City still proves to be one of the game’s major plus points. Swinging from building to building, and getting high enough to get a bird’s eye view of the whole city is much more fun than beating up some bad guys. Though those who hate heights might want to forget perching on the side of some of the taller buildings. It’s a long way down…
Missions themselves are much more numerous than before. There are tonnes of minor tasks to occupy your time with, and you’ll find yourself pleasing hundreds of locals with your Spidey skills. Not that they’re very varied in their objectives, so expect to disarm a fair few bombs in your tight fitting clobber.
But that’s just your bread and butter. It’s the story missions that provide the real meat to Spider-Man 3.
You’re best off watching the film first, because the game glosses over that cracking story completely. We’re not going to give anything away here – we’re not quite that cruel – but there are 10 different stories to explore in total. It’ll last you a good 12 hours of gaming time, so there’s enough to chew on for quite a while.
The jump to the next-gen consoles hasn’t seen much of a visual uplift. Looks-wise, the Xbox 360 version doesn’t feel like much of a change from the cheaper PS2 release. Plus, the frame rate does start to judder once the action on screen gets a little intense. And that’s never good when you’ve just shelled out a few hundred quid.
That’s not the end of the problems though. The camera system can give you some major headaches. It’ll get stuck behind walls, and even flick around 180 degrees without any kind of prompting. All incredibly frustrating when it means you have to restart a mission for the umpteenth time because the camera messed up your web slinging accuracy.
Even the combat system feels ancient. Though the "bullet-time" feature – allowing you to automatically dodge your enemies’ attacks – is a nice addition, your basic enemies are so stupid it’s not even the slightest challenge to kick their collective asses.
The boss battles fare no better either. They hark back to the old days of repetitive action knocking incredibly tiny amounts from their health bar. Some can last a good half hour all by themselves, so make sure you keep some rations handy.
Not as exciting as the film, nor as memorable as the last game in the series. Spider-Man 3 might have its moments, but its many flaws do a damn good job of hiding them. One rushed out to be released simultaneously with the film I’m sure.