Spider-Man 3 Review
To be honest I don’t even remember when I purchased this game, but I do know it was some time ago. At that time I thought the game was fun, but I got to a point that I simply could not beat, and ended up shelfing the game for quite some time. Recently I picked it back up and stuck it inside, figuring I had matured in gaming capability and was coherent enough to get through this game. Let’s see how I felt.
As you would expect the game revolves around your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, who at this point has been through a couple video games. The game starts you out with a tutorial where you quickly learn both fighting techniques and sequences as well as the system for exploring the world, including webbing and walking on walls and what not. Once completed you are allowed to roam the city of New York as you see fit, which is one of the more pleasurable things about this game. You can swing from one side of the city to the other in about ten minutes, less if you get some upgrades, which gives you the feeling of an open-ended world to explore.
This world is full of bad guys, and every once in a while you will find the occasional gang that you can just pummel for fun. But for the most part you’re going to need to trigger a mission to encounter these bad guys. There are a couple types of missions, and I’ll go over each accordingly. The first is main storyline, which will progress the natural flow of the game. Now I watched Spider-Man 3 the movie, and this isn’t quite like it, so don’t go into it expecting that. However you will see quite a few bad guys that you will recognize, and they present a challenge throughout the game. Each enemy group usually has about four missions related to them, and each mission took me around forty-five minutes on average, give or take. The bosses are obviously harder to beat than the minions, so the levels that contain them take significantly longer.
Another mission is the Mary Jane missions. These are extremely stupid, and I think most people will agree on that. Mary Jane needs to get across town quickly! Oh no! Therefore you need to pick her up and take her to her destination. Oh, but by the way, even though she needs to get there quickly, she wants you to swing high and low as she pleases. Why? I’m not sure. In the process of doing her requests you’ll collect hearts, and completing the mission requires a minimum amount of hearts collected. There is a time limit in-between checkpoints, and you need to get relatively close to the place that the checkpoint is for it to register. Between her yelling “Take me lower!” and the time limit beeping, these missions can become infuriating.
The other type of mission is the Daily Bugle missions. Mesh your world between Spider-Man and Peter Parker as you attempt to take pictures for the Daily Bugle. Usually these involve some lower-profile crime syndicates who you end up fighting anyway while taking pictures. One of the most frustrating missions came here, as a fake Spider-Man falls from a helicopter and you must catch him – I tried over ten times to no avail, but a solution on here might be helping me out. You might beat it on the first try for all I know.
The game is exceptionally long, and after over twelve hours or so I still hadn’t completed the main storyline, ignoring quite a bit of the side missions that I just mentioned. There are also race missions if you’re so inclined in which you try to speed through New York quickly, and medals are awarded accordingly. These are exceptionally hard and almost impossible without some of the powerups that you’ll receive later in the game.
Now while the game is fun, there are some weaknesses. Firstly, there are bosses that literally took me over an hour to beat – they just have such an amazing amount of health, and I just plain don’t do enough damage. This can get extremely tedious and the act of starting a new mission can become quite daunting. I’m not saying every mission is like this, but there are a couple. It seems to me that the combat system wasn’t tested enough. The inability to choose a difficulty also hampers this.
Secondly, quite a lot of the time I will forget exactly how to use the controls in the game. Although there is a pause screen with a picture of the controller layout, I’d very much like to revisit some form of tutorial sometimes. There are also large amount of button combos to learn if you’re so inclined to do better in combat, which can either be a positive or a negative depending on what type of gamer you are. Lastly, it is sometimes very unclear what you need to do (as was my case in “catching” the falling fake spiderman from the helicopter) which can lead to frustration and disappointment in the game’s system.
All that being said, there is a large amount of joy you get from webbing around New York City, beating up bad guys, and saving the girl. Although it has its flaws, it also has its strengths – it’s just deciding which is the more dominant. In my opinion, although it’s closer than I would like it, the pros outweigh the cons.
Single Player Score: 8/10
There is no multiplayer.
The graphics are okay, and given when the game is released they become exponentially better. You’ll be able to recognize spiderman, and the city of New York’s buildings look relatively nice. The fire and explosions are a bit bad, but overall acceptable. They put extra time into the main villains. Sometimes the camera angle will upset you as it attempts to fight you, and sometimes I found myself half looking through a building ,with the other half looking at the outside. The camera refocusing itself can sometimes have you going backwards when you are pushing forward on the control stick, which can get annoying. There are cutscenes that look relatively nice and convey the story well.
The sound is solid – you’ll hear some catchphrases out of Spidey’s mouth, as well as some of the villains. You’ll also hear the sound of explosions, gun fire, and “umphs” from people being punched. The best sound comes from swinging through New York as you’ll not only hear the sound of your webs but also the sounds of traffic and people, which really helps the atmosphere.
And lastly, you have to realize what you’re getting into. If you know you’re about to play a Spider-Man game you must realize that there is going to be a bit of button mashing, a lot of webbing, a lot of environmental searching, and a lot of bad guys to be punched. If you aren’t into combat fighting games or open-ended environment games, this might not be the game for you. If it is, you’re going to witness the intangible qualities of the game – a franchise that has been around for a while backing up the game, complete with the very recognizable Spider-Man and villains that you should be previously knowledgable about. This brings about a quality that quite a few video games strive to create by creating a base to put sequels onto (Halo 2, Gears of War 2, Left4Dead 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, you get the idea).
Sound/Graphics/DLC/Intangibles Score: 7/10
The achievements in this game make sense, but that doesn’t make them fun. You’ll get an achievement everytime you complete a main storyline, which is nice, but the majority of the others you are going to have to work for. As of this moment I have 550 TA, and as I said I’ve already invested over twelve hours into this game. There are another two achievements or so I can get easily, but the rest will require significant investment. You can get some for completing all the Mary Jane missions, all the Daily Bugle missions, etc, and there are some oddball ones for swinging X amount of miles or riding a car for X amount of miles. Now I’m sure you’re mostly interested in the high TA point ones, which are completing the race missions with gold medals. Not only will this require a significant investment in your time, but you’ll have to have completed the game first in order to get the unlocked content to make it even close to physically possible. It’s extremely frustrating and infuriating, and I don’t recommend it unless you have a severe interest in the game itself.
Achievements Score: 6/10
Total Score: 21/30 = 7/10 = 3.5/5
If you like Spider-Man, you’ll most likely like this game. If you don’t like Spider-Man, I have to wonder why you picked this game up. I myself have a relatively mild interest in Spider-Man, but had a decent amount of fun with the game. Sure, it can get frustrating, and I almost guarantee there will be at least one point where you get stuck, and sure, some of the achievements are near impossible, but it will truly make you feel like you achieved something. The open-ended world helps create a more relaxed atmosphere of the game, but I think it could have been significantly improved with a difficulty selection.