I am a huge fan of super heroes, whether it is Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, you name them and I will probably say I think they are pretty cool. I just like the idea of being able to imagine something that is so different from what we are used to on a daily basis. One of the more successful super hero series has been Spider-Man, which began on the Playstation into a series that made you want to swing from morning to evening. With this game came many more following it, including games that were based off some of the recent Spider-Man movies, but can this latest game Ultimate Spider-Man possibly be the best one yet? Read our full review to find out?
One of the problems I have had with the past few Spider-Man games for the PS2 is that they have constricted heavily by the movie license, and it seems games that follow movie licenses never get that full feel like they should. Well now Ultimate Spider-Man is a game that is actually based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book series, which means that the developers could much more broadly use this license and kind of use their own imagination to expand the Spider-Man universe. So did not having to go with a movie license end up helping the game?
In Ultimate Spider-Man you have a pretty in depth storyline that takes place through a series of stunning comic book-style cut scenes. The story places you as of course Peter Parker, a teenager who has to deal with the daily struggles of life along side being a super hero. Right away you are also introduced to Eddy Brock, Peter’s friend who find a suit that was made by both of their fathers. From there you see Eddy’s transformation into the character of Venom and of course the story unfolds, and from there you play as both Venom and Spidey.
So you start the game, and one of the first things you will realize is that the game is separated into two parts. The first is the story side missions, which you can only get to by completing all of the city goals that need to be done. City goals are quite simply your duties as a super hero, so for example, a common goal is to go save people or stop gangs from fighting and hurting innocent people. Also in the list of city goals, there are my least favorite races, where basically you have to race around New York collecting goals as quickly as possible. The city goals at first were really nice because they introduce more variety to the gameplay, but as I progressed I found the city goals to loose their flavor and become more of a hassle.
Now onto the other side of the story, which is the missions that are involved in the story side of things, and that is the fact the missions are much more varied and have a lot of great ideas thrown into them. In the story side of things, you will switch off playing as Spider-Man and Venom and this also helps with the variety stands. When playing these missions you will also have a lot of boss fights with a lot of different Marvel super heroes like Wolverine, which happens early on in the game. These boss fights are where you see some of the best aspects of Ultimate Spider-Man and those are truly the best made in the game.
Playing as the two characters was a fantastic move by Treyarch, as not only do the two characters control close to the same, but their abilities vary enough to make the game interesting throughout. Of course some of the best times in the game are still playing as Spider-Man, where you roam the city of NY just swinging from building to building. You will find that of course playing as Spider-Man brings the acrobats into the game, and Venom is the brawler.
I was engrossed into this game from start to finish and this could have easily been the best Spider-Man game on this generation of consoles, had the developers deepened the experience. It will only take roughly ten hours to complete this game, and that is with most of the experience being the city goals, and not the actual story side of things. This is unfortunate because I was enjoying the game, and then all of a sudden the final boss battle comes (and trust me you will know it is the final one) and then the game is over and there really is no reason to keep on playing.
One of the most amazing accomplishments the developers over at Treyarch managed to create in Ultimate Spider-Man was the amazing cel shaded visual style that literally made a perfect version of the comic book coming to life. Just looking at solely the amount of detail put into Spider-Man and Venom, all you can do is sit back and marvel at what the developers put together. Both characters are so meticulously drawn out and so perfectly colored that it truly is just a pleasure to sit back and watch them go at it.
The other great feature Treyarch did with the visuals was make a very cel shaded style of New York City and this to was also a great accomplishment by the development team who made an extremely beautiful and well detailed city that I was very impressed by. The one and only problem I had with the visuals was the camera, which at times (not all that often) got in the way or got stuck in a tight area. But besides those occasional problems the overall presentation of Ultimate Spider-Man was very impressive.
This has happened to me a few times in a video game where I become engrossed in a game and forget that sooner or later it has to end, and unfortunately the developers choose to end it sooner rather than later. Although I can’t say the City Goals were properly implemented into the game, they still had some fun to them and the entire story missions were very enjoyable. It offered up plenty of variety something that many super hero games have failed to do. Ultimate Spider-Man was a blast for when it lasted, but once I got to the end I have to say the fun went down a bit because the game was so short.
Ultimate Spider-Man is still a great game even if it is a bit too short, because of all the accomplishments that were made in this game. First it proved that it might be better to take super heroes away from movie licenses and base them out of comic books, because it just felt like such a more open experience that I enjoyed from the beginning to end. Unfortunately the end came too quickly and I would highly recommend this game as a rental as it just doesn’t have the depth to make it as a for sure purchase.
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.