Spider-Man 3 is the first game in the series that sees the light on the newest consoles. Expectations where therefore – against better judgment – a bit higher than normal. After a couple of promises and screens this game looked to become more than an exercise to earn more money on a movie. The end result is as so often the case with such games: it isn’t horrible but they won’t be able to keep me in this web for long
Just as in the movie Spidey’s black suit is the main focus this time and as hero you’ll have to kick some ass against Venom, Sandman and Goblin along with a couple of hoodlums from other Spiderman stories. The result is that you don’t get dragged along by a storyline with plots but rather get to see pieces and bits that have little to do with each other and only succeed in justifying the action a bit.
The game’s large appeal lays of course in the open world called New York. In a very accessible but entangling way you can walk, swing and web yourself through the city. With some practise you’ll quickly feel the protector of the town and you’ll fly through it faster than a speeding bullet, looking for missions, opponents and accidental fights to solve.
The missions consist of seperate, smaller missions and of course the story missions that take you further into the global storyline. The latter will keep you occupied for about ten hours and is varied enough to keep your interest during that time. The side-quests are less refreshing with the typical tasks or races that always come down to the same thing. There’s clearly a lack of creativity and inspiration and more could have been done here! The makers did follow the fashion trend and added some of those “push the right button”-scenes as we now them from God of War, RE4 and Tomb Raider Legend.
Of course it’s all in a hero’s day work to kick ass and the game hardly manages to reach to the level we’re used by now. The combat is limited to button bashing with now and then a special move (more unlockable during the game) and some sort of bullet-time that’s too powerful and which makes ordinary opponents nothing more than brainless loss of time.
The boss fights disappoint even more as despite their nicely development history from the comics they appear to be more of the same but with a longer health bar. That this results in long, boring fights is something I won’t need to tell you.
On the graphics plain you also don’t need to expect revolutions or spectacular parts. The city is quite big but visually unappealing by constant reuse of textures and designs. The cars for instance are all copies of two or three models. Unfortunate as this immediately gets you out of the illusion of a real city. Streets are also very empty except for a trash bin or two and lack any personality. The animations aren’t too bad when it comes to the main character but opponents and NPC’s are clearly rushed without much love for a good result. The camera handling is again one to quickly forget. Setting it right is a task in itself and especially in smallers areas or while swinging you’ll quickly flip. With the crawling on buildings it’s even plain badly implemented which adds even more to the frustration.
The original voices from the movie, except of that from Kirsten “I don’t like games” Dunst, are all present. Unfortunately it sounds like they’ve all done their lines on an afternoon in their kitchen without really knowing what they’re talking about. It can hardly be called acting but the link with the real actors does still add to the atmosphere. The soundtrack and effects are also finished a bit thin which makes the city feel even more as a piece of cardboard instead of a real world.
In the end I would only suggest this game to real Spider-Man fans. Other gamers get a game with average gameplay, a couple of fun moments (like the webslinging through the city), a disappointing story and an underachieving presentation. Not really worth spending your hard-earned money on.