Spider-Man 3 Review
The first thing that you should know about Spider-Man 3 is that it is only loosely based on the movie of the same name. If you’re looking to relive the events of the movie scene by scene then you’re going to be disappointed. Not that this departure from the movie’s script is necessarily a bad thing, though. I’ve played far too many movie-licensed games that were nothing more than a contrived series of lame gaming clichés played against a backdrop of locations pulled from the related film. Don’t worry, you’ll still get to face Venom, Sandman, and The New Goblin in the game, but you’ll be able to pursue their storylines at your leisure and also take on other Spider-Man villains like Lizard and Scorpion. Throw in random street crime, races, and chances to thrill Mary Jane, put it all in a free-roaming environment set in Manhattan, and you‘ve got the set-up for a great game, right? Well, let’s see…
The game opens with a tutorial sequence set in a corporate office tower besieged by bomb-wielding criminals. This sequence will get you familiar with the combat in the game, as well as serve as your introduction to the problems with the combat in the game. The game features a combo-based fight system that is based on the standard heavy and light attack buttons. Your repertoire of attacks is further expanded by the ability to integrate your web-slinging abilities into your combos, and when you toss in jumping you get a fair number of ways to put the hurt on the bad guys. As the game progresses and you defeat more enemies, you’ll earn additional attacks and combos to use in fights. This all sounds like it has the makings of a good fight system, but in practice there are some fairly big issues with it. The first issue is that you will not only be fighting the minions of evil in the game, you’ll be faced with a never-ending struggle with the game’s camera. The camera just can’t keep up with all of the moving and jumping around that goes on during fights, and you’ll constantly fire off attacks into thin air because the camera angle threw you off – and that’s when the enemies are still on screen. Just as often the enemies will be swung off-screen by the camera, leaving you to frantically search for them while they get off a few cheap shots on you. Even if the camera was better implemented the battles would still suffer from the issue of repetition. Most of the countless grunts that you’ll face have the same basic “walk right up to you and start punching” mentality, and the easiest way to deal with them is to jump up, web one, and then beat him to death on your way back to the ground. Since the other enemies can’t hurt you while you’re airborne, battles are all basically the same bounce-beat-repeat bouts. The game brings your Spidey-Senses into play by popping up an icon above the head of an enemy about to make a powerful attack on you. You can then hit a button and go into the Spider-Man version of Matrix-time, slowing everyone around you while you unleash a series of attacks. If you time it right, you’ll briefly be given the chance to push another button and respond with a devastating counterattack. This “Spidey-Time” is pretty cool, but it’s too powerful and too overused. Even if you make it a point not to constantly slow down time for your fights, there are plenty of times when you’ll have to use it to survive – especially during the boss fights or special sequences.
The opening sequence will also introduce you to the game’s action sequences. Each one is a series of amazing Spidey moves that would be impossible to perform on your own, so the game keeps your interaction to minimum during these sequences. They play out almost as a cutscene in which a button is periodically flashed on the screen – hit the right button on time and Spider-Man performs an amazing move. Miss and you’ll see him fail miserably. It’s reminiscent of play in God of War or Dragon’s Lair, and will be a little difficult the first time through since you have no idea where the button presses will occur. Fail a few times and you’ll make it through with no trouble as the buttons and the time they need to be pressed do no vary between your attempts.