Spider-Man 3 Review
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Spider-Man 3 is decent for a movie game, but ultimately isn't worth more than a rent.
- Plenty of challenges, and token hunting.
- Nice lighting effects and motion blur.
- Characters have high polygon counts.
- Repetitive combat, poor boss design, and hard to navigate interiors.
- Manhattan has no sound to it.
- Glitches, poor animation, and a stuttering framerate.
Oh Spidey, it’s certainly been a while. Last time we hung out in your universe you were cel-shaded and looked like a comic book. Well now you’ve got a fresh coat of paint and you’re back for more web-slinging fun… right? Kind of?
Developed by Treyarch, Spider-Man 3 places you directly in the boots of Spider-Man, A.K.A. Peter Parker. You’ve finally got the girl but you’ve lost your best friend due to a terrible misunderstanding. Now he's seeking chaos, destruction, and revenge, along with nine other villains from both the Spider-Man 3 movie and Spider-Man comic books. It’s your job to save the day within the ten different storylines the game provides. The only issue with having so many different paths to take is that none of them actually feel meaningful, simply broken-up and arbitrary. These 10 different storylines consist of 42 separate missions, which vary wildly from incredibly frustrating to exceptionally fun. First off, try to avoid anything involving indoor areas; as the interior design is horrid for both the rate of Spider-Man’s movement and the camera system (it can’t be re-centered). Burning buildings are particularly impossible to navigate even with a theoretically agile Spider-Man. Oh, was it mentioned that there are over 20 miles of sewers and subways? We don’t care either.
GTA IV isn’t the only game coming to Manhattan this year
On the bright side, the exterior city itself - where you’ll be spending most of your time – is well designed and a blast to explore. The city is a massive 2.5 times larger than the one found in Spider-Man 2, with remarkably minimal load times. Between climbing skyscrapers and chasing down helicopters, Manhattan simply feels like one large playground. That is, a playground with crime and gangs. Three gangs roam the city: the girls of Arsenic Candy, the brutes of Apocalypse, and the martial artists of Order of the Dragon Tail. In addition to their own missions and challenges, simply fighting random crimes in gang controlled zones raises your popularity among the respective residents. Tackle a crime-ridden red zone and bring it down to orange, then yellow, finally arriving at a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man green.
Physically swinging around Manhattan feels unchanged from 2004’s Spider-Man 2. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as the web mechanic was well-executed then as it is now. Press and hold R2 while aiming with your left analog stick to release a web-line onto a building (or other various objects), boost using L2, then jump off your line with X. Rinse, wash, repeat. Other variations include tapping R2 for a web zip directly to an object, pressing both R2 and L2 simultaneously to release two web-lines to swing with (once you unlock it), and pressing up on the D-pad to attach a web to the ceiling of an indoor area.
Unfortunately, the sub-par combat of Spider-Man 2 still remains in 3 despite the addition of a few new attacks. There's little skill involved, and despite how many diverse combo names Treyarch can come up with, Spider-Man 3 is without a doubt a button masher. It can be fun at times, but pales in comparison to anything with depth such as Devil May Cry. Hell, even last-gen’s The Matrix: Path of Neo has more complex combat than Spider-Man 3, and THAT was the definition of a button masher. There's also the highly-touted "black suit", but it really doesn’t add too much even if Spidey does look like a badass wearing it.
Boss battles are an exercise in pain and aggravation. Bosses can dodge most straight-forward attacks, so the best strategy is to sit back, dodge, then get a hit or two in before retreating. Neither dying nor being a little girl is entertaining.
On a good note, interactive cutscenes seem to be all the rage ever since the original God of War. Treyarch was keen enough to introduce them to Spider-Man, and what a favor they do the title. Not only are these sequences enjoyable, but they make for some of the few times that Spider-Man 3 actually feels on par with other current action games.
A pain on the senses
Spider-Man 3 features characters with fairly high polygon counts but poor animations for everyone expect Spidey himself. What’s the use of ... (continued on next page)
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