Spider-Man 3 (Xbox 360) review
"Gang wars take over the streets. An alien symbiote pops out of nowhere and gives him a new suit with incredible strength - but makes him a complete asshole. Kraven the Hunter, Calypso, the Lizard, the Rhino, the Scorpion, the Kingpin, the Sandman, the New Goblin, Venom - New York City is a battleground, and thereís only thing standing in the way of complete chaos is one little spider."
Itís a good time for Spider-Man. Heís in a serious relationship with the love of his life, Mary Jane. People have finally gotten tired of reading ĎSPIDER-MAN: MENACEí in the paper, and are treating him like the hero he is. Heís making good money at the Daily Bugle, and heís up for a staff position. For the first time in a long time, Peter Parkerís life is not sucking.
As any Spider-Fan will tell you, thatís a bad omen. Whenever Spider-Man is enjoying his life, thatís a sure sign that something extraordinarily bad is about to happen.
Gang wars take over the streets. An alien symbiote pops out of nowhere and gives him a new suit with incredible strength - but makes him a complete asshole. Kraven the Hunter, Calypso, the Lizard, the Rhino, the Scorpion, the Kingpin, the Sandman, the New Goblin, Venom - New York City is a battleground, and thereís only thing standing in the way of complete chaos is one little spider.
Thatís the odd thing about Spider-Man 3: Youíd think, being a movie adaptation and all, it would stay close to adapting the movieÖbut it doesnít. As a matter of fact, the movieís events account for, maybe, 15% of the gameís content. The structure is there and youíll be reliving some of the movieís better battles, but you spend the bulk of your time battling reboots of classic Spidey villains.
Which is a good thing, donít get me wrong.
Dueling with the Scorpion on the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. Heís stronger, heís faster, heís armored like a tank, but heís also crazy as a loon with the intelligence to match. Keep your distance, keep him distracted, pick your punches and take him down.
Trading blows with the Kingpin in his once-plush, now-trashed penthouse suite; he smashes you through walls, tears up the floor, pummels you with insane strength and never gets so much as a wrinkle in his suit - well-trained, well-connected and all muscle. You canít throw wild blows with himÖno. Youíve got to take your time. Look for counters. Use the strength and power and rage of your new suit and wittle him away to nothing.
Fighting with Kraven the Hunter in the sludge of New Yorkís sewers. He fights with the strength of his past prey; the speed of a panther, the strength of a bear, the flight of an eagle - he even goes invisible, and your spider-sense is the only way to track him down.
Oh, right. Spider-Sense. Almost forgot.
Spider-Manís trademarked Spider-Sense plays a huge role in the third iteration, much more than any before. It still increases reflexes; slows down time and lets weave through a horde of enemies without a sweat. But now, it also lets you see enemies and important objects through walls, peering clean through the dense urban jungle. Itís really more like Daredevilís radar-sense than anything Spider-Manís ever done, but Iím not complaining; you lose so much frustration from just being able to instantly find what you need to find. You donít waste time looking in every corner, you donít waste a minute a wondering what needs to be done.
Thatís good, no doubt, no doubt, because the ability is sorely needed; I donít know if itís the Xbox360ís incredible detail, I donít know if itís the fact that Spider-Man finally learned how to swim., I donít know if the new and massive Subway areaÖwell, it probably has a lot to do with that last one, really, but New York City just seems bigger now.
Itís sure as hell more detailed; car wrecks and traffic jams litter the streets, hot dog vendors and police on patrol, so many civilian models that youíll never see twins in the same spot. Youíre not stuck catching construction worker or snagging balloons in your spare time anymore; now you bust up gang hideouts and follow the police straight to the action; hostage situations, bank heists, even bombings can occur at any time when youíre roaming the city. In the chill of the night, at the scene of a crime, like a streak of light, you arrive just in time.
It feels real. More than ever, it feels like youíre inside a complete world - a complete comic world, but a world nonetheless.
Now, Iím not saying itís a perfect game - there are flaws. Spider-Man 3 has a handful of push-button sequences, interactive cutscenes which do a great job of showing Spider-Manís agility and style, giving every fight a certain cinematic flair. But, thing is, they tend to come out of nowhere. They tend to catch you by surprise. You tend to mess up the sequence a few times, and the game tends to take Spideyís health off for it. Going through an intense boss battle, surviving with only a smidge of heath, then losing because you pressed A B X Y when you should have pressed A B X X? Not fun. Very irritating.
But, ultimately, tolerable, especially when you take into account the overall product. Spider-Man 3 is a strong, seamless game, the kind that you spend a couple of days beating, play over once for the hell of it, then play an hour or two of every other day.
In a word: Amazing.
Staff review by Zack Little (May 10, 2007)
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