The video-game was developed by Beenox and published by Activision, and by the time that it came out, I was much anticipating my opportunity to get my hands on it. I played it once on Xbox 360 to completion and once on the PlayStation 3 to completion, and so, a lot of what I say about it will go for both versions.
The story carries the refreshing approach of effortlessly combining simplicity and sophistication. the game revolves around an artifact referred to as the Tablet of Order and Chaos that is shattered into shards during an altercation between Spider-Man and Mysterio. It’s thrown around various realities and it’s up to our uncaped crusader to find them.
The premise is outlandish and silly, but not to the point where you feel like your intelligence is being insulted. It doesn’t always have a lot of depth, but seldom did I feel like it actually needed something to propel it onward. There were moments when I actually felt invested from a storyline perspective, but it would oftentimes be rare, and I was mostly in it for the gaming itself. It still feels like classic comic-book inspired entertainment, complimented nicely by a wide variety of characters. Deadpool, Kraven, Mysterio, Carnage, Sandman, Juggernaut, Vulture, Osbourne and many more, there’s a lot of well-known characters wreaking havoc across the game, with most of them being given enough emphasis to be really entertaining.
It doesn’t often feel like retreading either for characters that we have already seen in Activision video-games because characters like Osbourne and Vulture have new life being brought into them. Osbourne being much darker and psychopathic, whereas Vulture looks and feels darker with Nosferatu perhaps inspiring his appearance. Oh, and Dr. Octopus is female.
The imagery puts an effort at making everything feel different between universes, and it succeeds very well. At first, I remember disliking the graphics, thinking that they weren’t up to some standards, but over time, I have come to appreciate them as feeling very much like how they would coming straight from a comic-book. They did really good work with all four different worlds. Noir’s looking dark and mysterious, 2099′s looking slick and futuristic, and Amazing and Ultimate’s looking different enough to carry individualism.
As for the game-play, it operates within a linear level-system in-which each level is composed of one primary bad-guy to go after, and the levels emphasis the skills accessible to the particular universe that you are within. The most unique out of them all is Noir which implements stealth, something that hasn’t ever really been tried before in Spider-Man video-games. It’s good, however, there are some pet-peeves and glitches to be discovered. There were moments when I was bulldozing past guards that a door was supposed to open, and didn’t. So, I had to restart in hopes that the glitch would fix itself.
Thankfully, it always did.
There were times when I climbed on the side of the wall with a guard’s flashlight bringing me into the light, but since I wasn’t on the ground, the guard wasn’t able to detect me. Then, there’s just a couple other little nuisances and annoyances about some of the levels. Deadpool’s level was extremely entertaining because the humor of the character himself, but in-retrospect, you spend the entire time collecting tokens and the individual levels are long enough that it can actually get repetitive.
As I have said before, I think that Noir’s levels were certainly the most diverse of the four Spider-Man characters that you get to play as, however, the other characters don’t really feel too different except for a different coat of paint. Ultimate and Amazing feel a lot of like, however, 2099 occasionally implements features such as free-falling that keep it from being repetitive. The fighting controls themselves are good, albeit very standard. For combat, it’s a button-masher that doesn’t attempt to be anything other than what it is, that’s why Noir is the best to play as because it doesn’t emphasize the standard fighting. The boss-battles ranged from being very well done to being very repetitive, or overly simplistic.
Verdict: While, in-retrospect, the video-game offers more of the same in-terms of average fighting controls, problematic glitches and levels that can often be tedious. I thought that it was a very good game. While the changes between levels can often be superficial, the imagery is often so intricately embroidered that it’s difficult not to appreciate it. Some of the levels are particularly memorable, and it offers a lot of entertainment value. The story doesn’t have much in the way of heart-felt depth, but it does feel exactly like what a Spider-Man video-game should feel like.
It’s colorful and vibrant, filled with a collection of interesting villains, and Spider-Man is always around to tell us about responsibility or crack a hilariously stupid pun.
The immediate question that somebody is going to ask is how it compares to the rest of the Spider-Man video-games. Is it as good as the second Spider-Man movie-game? What about the Spider-Man games for the PlayStation One?
I hope to be able to do reviews for them too, but for now, I’ll say that I believe it at least measures up as a worthy successor to what we’ve seen, and a good game for any superhero fanatic’s collection.
Rating: Very Good