Friday, December 14

Spider-man 3 (7th Gen Review)

Available on: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Price: varies second-hand
I played on: PS3
Notes: There exists 3 versions of this game: 7th Gen (PS3, Xbox 360 and PC), 6th Gen (PS2, PSP, Wii) and the Portable (GBA and DS). There is also a mobile and TV game.

Spider-man 3 follows in the footsteps of the stunning Spider-man 2 on the PS2 which most consider being one of the best movie tie-in games ever made. The sequel does a bad job of living up to that though.

The story follows the events of the film it’s based on with Sandman, the black suit and Venom but adds some plots around gangs taking over New York. Honestly, the plot of the film is weak enough and although we get more details here with the Lizard and other villains it’s still awful. The opening and first half of the game feels far too slow and boring and the second half feels chaotic and rushed. This is not a game that has a talent for telling a story. Then again even if it was is the story of Spider-man 3 even be worth telling?

This game is also a graphical mess with a myriad of performance, visual and audio problems. I found it was common for textures not to load, models to clip through each other or even themselves and characters to get stuck in or on the terrain. The performance suffered from a very visible drop in frame-rate during most boss fights which lead to some annoying deaths. The audio suffers from mixing issues throughout the entire game. During the final boss fight, none of the sound effects or character voices was even audible. The best-looking part of this game is Spidey himself, the detail on his suit is amazing and the way he moves around corners while wall crawling is beautiful.

We do have an open New York to swing around as Spider-man which is always fun and this is what this game does best, although not without it’s problems. The biggest problem is how big the city feels, it seems far too often my swinging is interrupted by a strange lack of buildings to swing from. Spider-man just feels very small and as such getting around the city feels slow and stunted, the fast pace and fluidity of Spider-man 2 is a thing of the past. The other issue I have is that to do any tricks while in the air you need to tap L2 twice and then a button which makes doing these tricks feel annoying and not at all natural. In Spider-man 2, Web of Shadows and Marvel's Spider-man, web-swinging feels and looks great with you being able to get places fast and pull tricks off with ease. Whereas here this is just not the case. It’s still fun, just lacking next to other open-world Spidey games.

Combat is simple but fun with plenty of combos to learn and pull off and a slow-motion reflex mode. While using your Spider reflexes you will dodge any attacks and be able to counter-attack. The combos all feel powerful and fun with super moves being tied to a meter that fills during combat. Pulling off one of these will floor most enemies in the room making using them very fun. The issues with combat come back to performance as when you're in fights with lots of enemies the frame-rate will drop. If you’re inside you will be fighting with the camera as well as the bad guys. Enemies very often will ragdoll around until they get stuck in the floor or a nearby wall.

If this game worked then it could be a lot of fun but the sad truth is that it doesn’t work most the time. During the first half performance is not as bad with smaller fights and less set pieces but nothing interesting is happening and then during the second half when the plot gets interesting the performance takes a nose dive so there is no winning. I had some fun with this game but honestly, I would not recommend it to most people. Just pick up a good Spidey game such as Spider-man, Web of Shadows or Marvel's Spider-man instead.

Recommendation Rating: 3 out of 10.

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