Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, NDS, PSP, GBA, PC
Developer: Vicarious Visions
ESRB: Teen [Violence, mild language]
If you haven’t read Our Review of the PS2 Version of this Game, I highly suggest you do. That way you’ll understand the gravity of what it means when I say that this game is the bastard son of the Spider-man 3 games.
There is one redeeming factor of the entire experience. Web-slinging through New York City is quite simply the best idea for Wii-mote implementation on the system yet. The set-up uses the Wii-mote/nunchaku combo, and web-slinging is controlled thusly: to swing with Spidey’s right hand you hold down the B button on the Wii-mote and flick your wrist. To swing from the left hand: hold the C button on the nunchaku and flick your wrist. See where this is going? The result is an experience that feels exactly right.
Now remember I said that the idea was great, not the implementation. In practice the results are hit and miss. At best the Wii-mote affords you complete control and you’ll travel fast and easy through the city. At worst the game will send you off on weird angles that you never anticipated and often slamming into buildings for no reason other than you got screwed by bad code.
I wish I could say that the rest of the game is hit and miss as well, but sadly misses more often than it needs to. The worst offense the developer commits is to have created quite simply the ugliest game I’ve seen in the last 5 years. Seriously it’s hideous. Stand atop a tall building and have a look around. Every building outside of 100 yards (estimation) loses its textures and any discernable graphical touches. What you see looks very much like Superman 64. It’s a bunch of neon colored LEGO buildings mashed together with a green gap in the middle (I pictured Central Park a bit more magnificent) and dubbed Manhattan Island. Even up close the graphics aren’t in order though. When all of the graphics are where they are supposed to be it looks like a good PSP game. I would say “great looking PSP game” but to be honest, there are better looking games on the PSP. I even had to laugh at the game a couple times because I kept finding buildings that only had half the appropriate windows. Sometimes there would just stop being windows halfway up the building. In one case there were windows all around on three sides, but the fourth was solid brick. I think somebody over at Vicarious Visions got tired of hitting “Copy and Paste.” Either that or they got lazy and tried to hide their incomplete work.
After the graphics it’s easy to select the next in line. To put in bluntly, the voice acting is terrible. Kirsten Dunst is her usually craptacular self and the enemies are straight up laughable. To top it all off, Tobey Macguire’s portrayal of Spiderman is more boring than Tobey Macguire. The voice acting was so bad I was embarrassed to leave the volume too high, lest my roommates hear. Even when people aren’t speaking the audio is bad. Upon writing this I had to actually go back to the game to make sure there was in fact music playing during the game because I honestly wasn’t sure. It’s there sometimes, not often though and when it comes in it’s not good.
Continuing on down the list we find the gameplay. For this one, I want to talk straight to the developers. Eh hem…To Vicarious Visions: Just because you have the player go to a random street corner and have them beat up a bunch of anonymous street thugs and say that they are thwarting a hostage situation, doesn’t necessarily make it so. You must engage the player with a bunch of unique activities to make the experience as close as possible to actually performing the act. Instead in Spider-man 3 there are four or five different types of missions which all consist of the exact same actions; going to a random street corner and beating up nameless thugs.
If I hadn’t received this game for review purposes and had actually dropped $50 not knowing what I was getting into, I would have been really angry. The free-form web-slinging is entertaining -- but only for a few minutes -- and after that there is nothing to fall back on. It takes everything that was good about the movie and ignores it. This game made me dislike Spider-man.
Author’s note: I brought you guys this video so you have an idea of what this game is like. Please keep in mind though, that nothing in the final version of the game looks this good and none of the mechanics play like they do in the video. Everything has been touched up so take it with some salt.
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