Spider-Man 3 (Xbox 360) review
"Let's face it: We can all remember a day when the Spider-Man games that were coming out were not so good (and ok, Spider-Man 2 for the DS wasn't either.) But starting out on the Playstation One, Spidey games began to show some true quality. They were fun! The newest incarnation, based rather loosely on the third movie in the blockbuster series is perhaps the best yet. Swinging through the air at 200 miles per hour in a to-scale New York City, 170 feet in the air, as you take on some of the most ..."
Let's face it: We can all remember a day when the Spider-Man games that were coming out were not so good (and ok, Spider-Man 2 for the DS wasn't either.) But starting out on the Playstation One, Spidey games began to show some true quality. They were fun! The newest incarnation, based rather loosely on the third movie in the blockbuster series is perhaps the best yet. Swinging through the air at 200 miles per hour in a to-scale New York City, 170 feet in the air, as you take on some of the most famous comic book villains around is every bit as fun as you would think -- and thankfully, controls more fluidly than you would ever have imagined possible.
The story from the movie is extremely compressed, almost to the point where if you haven't seen the movie you'd be lost. To compensate for the lack of development in the main story, however, there have been various and frequent minor story arcs tossed in. This might be seen as a cop out on Activision's part if not for the fact that some of these secondary story arcs are really freaking cool. Spidey fans want to see their favorite villains, like Rhino, Scorpion and the Kingpin. Ok, so actually I'm not sure if anyone actually really likes Kingpin, but it's nice that he's there. Some of these stories are intertwined, and they serve as an excellent means of lengthening the game while keeping the player interested.
What's amazing about the game, is that actually swinging through the city to complete these goals is a joy. It's rare that a game can be, at it's core -- simply moving from one place to the next -- fun. Spider-Man 3 captures this feeling perfectly. You'll swing through the air by latching a web onto a nearby surface, be it a building, tree, streetlight or helicopter with the RT button. What makes it fun is that Spider-man will pick up momentum and speed as he goes; there's no sudden 90-degree turns around corners. You'll be going way to fast for that. So to turn you'll either make a large swinging turn, or break off your web completely, flip through the air, and then launch another web to get you going in a new direction. Words can not do this justice. It must be experienced for you to understand the simple pleasure in it, but believe me when I say that doing it through a huge replica of New York is extremely fulfilling.
As you swing you'll pass over an amazingly beautiful and realistic looking city filled with many real-life land marks. It's amazing how great of a job the developers did in putting it together. Of course you can expect such prominent sites such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Central Park to be present, but they've really gone above and beyond the call of duty with this one. In addition to banks, plazas, and arena's such as Madison Square Garden you even have access to the subway stations. You can actually swing through the tunnels, travelling from station to station of which there are ten. Yes the real New York has more than that, but the existence of such a system in-game is shocking on its own. And really, it's kind of cool.
Despite the amazing cityscape, controls and graphics, however, the game does have one huge snag in the line. The combat is mediocre at best. Spidey has an array of punches and kicks, and of course he has the moves like the web ball and the ability to tie up his enemies, but it seems lacking -- there's just no impact in the fights. Spider-Man also packs a focus mode, where time seems to slow down, and you get a larger chance to react. Of course, with no limit on usage, you can easily spam it, making fights easy. What it boils down to, however, is that the fights are tedious and you'll want them to end as quickly. The part that is really irksome, however, is that fights were not this bad in the game based on Spider-Man 2; I remember being able to lift an enemy and swing through the air in that one. Where is that ability now? And what about being able to piledrive someone off the top of a building? Sure doing this from 210 feet in the air was sadistic, but it was fun! I just don't see why they removed some of these amusing and fun gameplay features during the development process of this game. Though to be fair, the bosses are pretty cool. You'll have to take each of them on in a different way in order to succeed. Button mashing will get you absolutely no where in those, and no amount of focus-mode abuse will save you. You'll have to figure them out like a puzzle and then use your findings to understand how to take them down. These fights are some of the game's shining moments -- and thankfully there is no shortage of them.
Besides the storyline missions, there are a plethora of side-events for you to do. There are everything from combat tours, where you fight members of a particular gang, bomb tours where you participate in a variety of button-pressing based mini-games to defuse bombs, to races where you try and get through a particular path in a set amount of time. The bomb disposals are pretty fun. You'll do things like rotate the control stick to unscrew a bomb's case, then mash LT and RT to pry apart a metal door, then maybe rotate parts on a grid to make the current properly reach one end to the next. They're timed, so they can be frustrating, but they're fun. The races can be really hard, but they also provide a chance to do something other than the actual missions, as you attempt to get trophies (bronze, silver or gold) based on your time. The combat tours are about the only thing that aren't fun at all about the game, thanks to the sub-par combat system.
All-in-all, Spider-Man 3 is a good game, with a lot to do in it. And when compared to most superhero games, or game's based on movies, it is well ahead of its competition. If you like Spider-Man and are a fan of action games, this is the one to get. If you liked the prequel of it, the game based on Spider-Man 2, its is a must have. For everyone else, it's no Dead Rising, and it's no Gears of War, but it's a good game in its own right.
Community review by sayainprince (September 12, 2007)
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