Spider-Man 3 Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Spider-Man has always been the ideal character to be inserted into a sandbox city environment, and with the release of the fantastic Spider-Man 2 movie tie-in we finally could realise our dream of donning the cool costume and ascending to the heavenly heights of The Big Apple. Now, with the release of the final film in the Spider-Man trilogy comes the not so shocking game tie-in, and well, lets just say it’s good to be Peter Parker’s alter ego once again.

Being a movie tie-in, obviously you’ll be crossing paths with the likes of Sandman, New Green Goblin and the very popular Venom. The game follows the plot of the movie closely, although there’s 10 other plots to get yourself involved in, which means that other Spidey villains are included to give the game some extra content beyond that of the movie as well as fan service for all those passionate Spidey fanatics out there.

Graphically Spider-Man 3 is a little disappointing for a high powered console such as the Xbox 360. The Spider-Man model may look excellent and there’s an impressive amount of traffic on the road, although the city environment doesn’t look quite as good as we had hoped and there’s certainly camera issues in some of the indoor environments. What’s even worse is the inexcusable lack of atmosphere, where’s the sound of distance traffic engines and blaring horns for example? We tried, but we couldn’t hear it. How about the muddle of voices of the inhabitants? Absent. Going down to street level doesn’t even coax any reactions from any passer-by’s, this is strange, as if we saw Spidey in the street we’d be fighting through the mob to get his autograph and then asking him to point us in the direction of any angry radioactive spiders.

The city of New York is apparently 2.5 times the size of the one featured in the second movie tie-in, and fortunately there’s plenty to do within this sizable environment. This time around random missions can be ignored if you’d rather focus your attentions on the major tasks or involve yourself in the various other activities that are spread throughout the New York metropolis. When you aren’t tackling any of the 42 main missions, racing, skydiving, bomb disarming and token collecting are your alternative. The random crimes meanwhile aren’t forced onto you this time around, although whenever they pop up they still are worthy of your attention as completing them gets you closer to cleaning up the city and making it less of a place to fear. Swinging around and finding points of interest thankfully isn’t too difficult either, as pressing the back button on this Xbox 360 version brings forth a map screen in which you can then select a mission to be guided towards.

That brings us nicely onto what Spider-Man specialises in, and that’s swinging through New York city with a purpose. Our hero is capable of some fantastic acrobatic stunts, although it‘s still somewhat simplified when compared to the older second movie tie-in where you could fire out web from each individual hand (two lines of web is possible later, although you sadly can’t individually fire webs out of each hand). Regardless of this, swinging through the city remains the greatest pleasure of the game and is still as breathtakingly beautiful as it was in Spider-Man 2.

Sadly the combat isn’t quite as successful, in spite of looking very stylistic, when you are fighting the tougher enemies and bosses it relies far too much on an “avoid and counter” philosophy. The reflex button basically slows everything down and makes Spidey automatically avoid many of the enemy attacks, allowing you to then counter with a move of your own. A meter does deplete during the use of reflex, which means that you can’t abuse it by having your finger on the button at all times. Yes, there may be plenty of combos and actions that you gain along the way, although if the combat was as good as the slick city swinging we’d have an even better game on our webbed hands.

There’s more new to the game other than the counter system, including Spidey’s black symbiote suit. Upon reaching a certain point in the story Spidey’s suit suddenly becomes a sharp contrast to his usual red and blue crime fighting outfit, this duller looking suit renders you more powerful, and you are even able to enter an angry rage mode to make short work of the opposition.

Also new is the interactive cut-scenes, which will be familiar to anyone who has played the likes of Shenmue and more recently, Resident Evil 4. These scenes certainly give the game more of a film-like feel and are full of such delights as Spidey leaping across airborne cars and vaulting over lasers. For those who don’t know, it’s all about matching the button presses with the ones on the screen, whilst watching Spidey do some amazing feats that only a superhero is capable of accomplishing.

Spider-Man 3 does a lot of things right (the amazing swinging), although it also drops the ball with a few elements (the combat is good, but flawed for example). Sadly, as Treyarch hasn’t managed to balance these two main elements, we have had to resort to concluding with a rather unflattering 7/10 at the foot of this review – now, if the game had just entailed swinging through the city streets…perhaps a 9 would have been here instead. Don’t take that the wrong way, though, as regardless of its problems, Spider-Man 3 is still well worth a look.