Spider-Man 3: The Game Reader Review
Another Spidey film, another game installment. While the film might not have charmed many Spidey Fans, can the game do any better?
In terms of story, SM3 offers a diverse, albeit uninspired effort to deliver a believable Spiderman story. Apart from the obvious movie plot, the game follows Spidey taking down 3 Rival Gangs who control various districts around the city, chasing The Lizard all around the sewers, taking pictures for The Daily Bugle and taking Mary Jane on "thrill" rides. The game tries quite hard to link atleast a few of these stories together, but the mixture turns out to be highly unimpressive and too convoluted.
Fans of Spiderman 2 or Ultimate Spiderman will instantly feel at home with the web swinging. Holding RT is used to shoot a swing line, whilst LT can be used to add some momentum to the swing. The 'A' button is used for jumping (double tapping will make Spidey double jump). Single tapping RT is used for web zipping,a quick way to get around the city. As in the previous games, swinging feels solid, and relatively flawless. And the whole experience gets even better once you get the speed upgrades.
Speaking of upgrades, SM3 changes the way Spidey gets new upgrades. Gone are the comic book stores or purchasing combos. Upgrades work more like Crackdown, as in the more you use something, the quicker you upgrade. The more you swing around the city, the quicker you get speed upgrades. The more you initiate combat,the more combos you learn and get more health and reflex upgrades. This system feels much more natural, and helps spidey develop his abilities evenly over time.
The combat system seems to have been given a good overhaul. Whilst nowhere as comprehensive as God of War or Prince of Persia games, combat does feel more fluid and "acrobatic" than in any of the previous games. There are tonnes of combos to learn, although after a while you get down to button mashing with a few of your favourite combos in mind. Unlike previous games, Spidey can use his webbing much more as a weapon in combat, and beat enemies by "yanking" them in the air and finishing them off before they hit the ground. Pressing and holding "LB" puts Spider-man in Reflex (a.k.a Bullet Time) mode. Spidey automatically dodges incoming attacks, and can even counter attack when in this mode. The attacking thugs get a yellow or red icon over their head, and Spidey needs to go into Slo-mo to dodge that attack. During the course of the game, Slo-mo becomes Spidey's best friend, even more trusted than his webbing itself. Virtually no boss can be beaten without Reflex mode. The Reflex bar depleted quickly, forcing spidey to fight foes in real-time. On the positive side however, the Reflex bar fills up relatively quick as well, allowing you to quickly inflict a massive dose of superhero damage on those puny thugs.
Another interesting feature of this installment is the use of Spidey's Spider-Sense. Clicking the Right analogue stick activates Spidermans Spider-sense, where the whole game environment turns black and white, except object of interests which remain colored. Spider-sense is unlimited as well, but you can only go in it for about 5-6 seconds at a time. The good news is that it doesn't have a meter like the Reflex bar, so you are in no danger of depleting or refilling it.
The most annoying aspect of the game however is its long,tedious,uninventive,frustrating and extremely boring boss fights. For the most part, boss fights involve doding attacks and countering with a single punch. A boss fight can last upto 30 minutes, and most of them involve just waiting for the boss to attack and then countering him. The only aspect which comes to the games rescue are the "cinteractive" moments whilst facing a boss fight, which involve simply pressing the right button presses on screen at the time. Although this is nothing revolutionary in the gaming world,it does offer a bit of interactive cinematic ass-kicking.
Graphically, the game looks pretty nice in HD. Spidey looks better than ever before, and the city is beautifully rendered, complete with reflections on the building and dynamic lighting. The game does suffer from some nasty collision detection problems however, and the camera angle is worse than ever before. The camera seems to have a mind of its own, and seems to swing wildly when indoors. Climbing buildings might be as easy as pressing the "B" button, but finishing the climb is a mini-boss battle in itself, since you can never be sure where spidey is going to land due to the appaling camera.
Spider-Man 3 delivers a richer and better experience than any previous Spider-man game. If you enjoyed the last outing of Spidey, you are bound to like this one too.The hard and frustrating boss battles, alongwith probably the worst camera in gaming history can easily throw you off the game, but this only mildly compensated by better combat and the evergreen swinging mechanism. All in all, SM3 delivers a decent all-round package will should keep any Spidey Fan entertained for a while. And in case you didn't enjoy the previous installment of the game, I would suggest you give this one a miss too.
Graphics : 7/10 Gameplay : 7/10 Sound : 7/10
7 / 10