Being an editor, there are not many opportunities where we are allowed to let our excitement about a game come into play. There are times when we receive preview builds, or short clips that we can look forward to a game, but in terms of excitement I leave that at the front door when I get down to reviewing a game. When Spider-Man 3 landed on my desk, I have to say a few butterflies start whirling inside as he has always been a great comic book character and has had some great success as a video game adaptation as well. The big question is can Spider-Man turn its latest big screen appearance into a great video game experience? Read our full review of Spider-Man 3 for the Xbox 360 to find out.
The past few Spider-Man games have been nothing but great experience, expanding the Spider-Man universe in more ways than gamers could ever want. In fact, one of my favorite Spider-Man experiences was that of Ultimate Spider-Man, a different look at the famous comic book character that did a great job of expanding the world of Spider-Man in video games with an all around great experience. One thing that has plagued the franchise over the years is integrating the giant Manhattan city with great web slinging and an overall sense of missions. It has had the problem of staying on track and losing sight of its overall premise throughout the experience. So now many have wondered how the transition to the next generation of consoles would do for Spidey.
Let us start with the mechanics of Spider-Man 3, which for anyone that has played the last few Spider-Man games will be already very familiar with. The integration of the web slinging in Spider-Man 3 however is impeccable, with some of the most accurate superhero abilities ever to be integrated into a video game. Half the fun of Spider-Man 3 is just about slinging from building to building, mainly because of how much effort was put into the development of this feature to make it feel just right.
Spider-Man 3 literally has three parts of gameplay that separate each of the game’s main aspects. You have your own enjoyment of slinging around the streets of Manhattan, which for me was a good portion of my time with the game. Then you have the story based missions, normally the more drawn out missions that involve some sort of big boss fight, and then you have the side missions which consist of doing extremely random tasks, often which make little sense to the game.
There are two underlying problems that really stop this game from going anywhere forward. First off, the actual structure of Spider-Man 3 is as confusing and unorganized as I have ever seen a blockbuster title be. I often had no idea which missions to take, and which ones would further the game. For the most part the missions themselves were as convoluted as the game, which led to just an overall feeling of a ton of ideas that weren’t put together in any sort of rhyme or reason. This is a rather large project on many platforms, so you get the feeling that the overall task superseded the organization of the game.
The second problem and probably the more daunting of problems was the camera, which managed to become the ultimate annoyance of the game. I found myself constantly having to battle the camera through weird angles and often absolutely horrible sequences. Whenever you go into buildings or into tight alleyways you will notice the camera will often creep up too close and just take an off the wall look that just makes the experience much more of a chore. It’s unfortunate that the camera would put the game so far back, but when you get into the heart of the experience its no wonder what this game could have done with a more consistent camera.
So this is for the Xbox 360 right? We are expecting a next generation version of our favorite comic book character? Well let’s just say the extra horsepower didn’t translate all that well for our neighborhood Spider-Man, as the game has some of the worst looking character models I have seen from a game on the 360. Not only that but there are countless glitches throughout the experience that force the game to really suffer from what otherwise is a rather good looking game. The one thing you have to give the developers credit for is the reconstruction of Manhattan, which is gorgeous and highly detailed. Unfortunately outside of that, there isn’t much to write home about.
It is a real shame that a franchise that had so much success in the past has evolved into this shocker of a game on a next-gen console. Going into this review I was surprised that I hadn’t read more up on this game during its development, I was given some updates throughout its development, but no major advertising campaigns were waged and I just wonder if the game was possibly rushed for the movie release date. You do get the feeling that given the right development time the actual final product could have been leagues ahead of this title.
I hate to use the same line I have been using since first become a video game reviewer, but movie to video game adaptations have the highest tendency to over hype and under produce, and in the case of Spider-Man 3, that is exactly what happened. Spider-Man 3 is a game that has all the workings of being a great comic book video game, but the final product is deeply flawed and in need of some serious re-tooling.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.