IGN Review of Spider-Man 3
It's been a rough year for the web-head. His movie wasn't the unbridled success most were expecting, the games that accompanied the film's release were universally panned, and his world-defining comic book event "One More Day" has been delayed.
Now -- to accompany the film's release on DVD and Blu-ray -- Spider-Man 3 has arrived on the PSP.
Will the horror ever end?
Okay. I'm exaggerating -- but not by much. Spider-Man 3 on the PSP is actually a polished version of the PS2/Wii Spider-Man 3 disaster from May along with a brand new conquest mode. If you're just joining me, I hated
Spider-Man 3 on the PS2. While using a loose interpretation of the movie's storyline (Spider-Man drops MJ off on the street and then follows her into her house, Spidey can take the black suit off at will, etc.) and a bunch of nonsensical missions (crush bombs with your fists to deactivate them, return stolen computer parts to random people on the street, etc.), terrible graphics literally popped in while Spider-Man sunk into the green carpet -- err -- grass of Central Park.
It was enough to make me burn my Spidey Underoos.
Sadly, that same take on the tale makes up the PSP's story mode -- in fact you're getting the same Lizard, movie, Morbius and Shriek storylines that you suffered through on the PS2/Wii -- but the graphics seem to be a bit more refined. Yeah, you'll still sink into the grass, but it won't be as deep, and there's still some hideous pop-in when you swing up on buildings, villains and cars; but the overall feel is a bit more slick. Spidey seems less jaggy, the color is somewhat improved, and the whole game just looks better.
Does that make it a better game? Yes and no. My main problem with the PS2/Wii version was how little care and time was put into it. These bumped-up visuals and new mode show Activision put some effort into this title and didn't just port the same busted version of the game -- but don't take that as a ringing endorsement.
If you missed it the first time around, Spider-Man 3's story mode has you swinging through New York and towards on-screen objectives that are marked with little pictures of whomever you're on your way to interact with. While you're tackling the Doc Connors segment, expect to swing towards a Lizard spotlight; when you're trying to get Morbius and his wife back together, look for the vampire face; etc. You'll randomly get the black suit early in the game and can then choose when to wear it. Wear it for too long, and it'll begin hurting you and Spidey will make a bunch of comments that don't make sense.
There'll be 24 missions that comprise the four storylines, but few will make you feel like Spider-Man. See, gangs have taken over NYC in this game, and you'll need to beat down endless amounts of thugs as you websling around town. Besides the fact that these battles just aren't interesting -- jump into the air and alternate between mashing the strong and weak attack buttons -- the scuffles just illustrate the flaws in the game.
For instance, one of the gangs has stolen some machine parts and the cops need them back. Spider-Man gets the tip on this scheme from an informant, walks -- literally -- 100 to 200 feet to an abandoned trailer in the middle of a random grassy triangle in the middle of New York, tears the doors off the cargo hold -- using an interactive cutscene, Spidey webs the doors and you alternate button presses to have the hero pull back on his organic ropes -- and gives the part to a cop.
Doesn't sound too bad, right? Well, then the cop tells Spidey they still need assistance and that there are other parts to find. Spidey then heads back to the same trailer he just cracked open, finds it resealed and goes through the whole excavation process again. Except this time he returns the device to some random guy on the street. Must be an undercover cop
that Spidey just happened to know.
Conquest mode is the same mixed bag of Spider-Man 3 craziness. The overall idea of the game is that you have five minutes to shoot around the city and rack up as many points as possible. City Events are highlighted on your map screen and the larger the green ring around the question mark, the more points the mission is worth.
My first time out, I leapt from the Bugle threw out my web and headed towards my first event, which I was sure would involve Spider-Man saving some kids, fighting a loose supervillian or running out for cranberry sauce.
Instead, a tourist asked me to pose for pictures. Worse? Before my five minutes were up, another mission would have me striking a pose for some dude I have to assume is visiting Times Square from Wisconsin or something. Other times, you'll finish up beating down a gang, head off to the next event and discover the objective you were going to is just a false alarm.
These meaningless missions only make me angrier when the sound wigs out and Spider-Man remixes his sentences with a stuttering beginning and an echo-ey sound. This happens a lot.
©2007-10-29, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved