When talking about Spider-Man the game, Dale and I are pretty much in agreement when it comes to the minuet positives (i.e. abilities, fan extras) and negatives (camera angles, control). Where we disagree is in the overall conceptual direction and the success of that direction. In his opening paragraph, Dale said that this is the Spider-Man game that "got it right." While I don't doubt this is probably the best Spider-Man videogame ever made (though the old Atari 2600 one was pretty awesome for its time), I still think the developers missed the mark ever so slightly.
I really liked what Neversoft did with Tony Hawks Pro Skater because that was a game that focused more on what players are able to do action-wise rather then trying to weave a complex tale of harrowing love and war. Spider-Man may have a lot of cut-scenes and background story in comparison, but there's still plenty of effort and attention devoted to the abilities of Spidey and making sure gamers are in control of those abilities.
So I felt it was rather unfortunate that where the game falters is in level design and game structure. While there were all these cool web-slinging and wall-crawling moves at my disposal, I wasn't really given the proper environments that would allow me to have fun with Spidey's abilities or to really inhabit his character. I always felt like I was either too restricted by the linear platform-like stage layouts, too rushed by the frantic chase scenes or too bogged down by overly tough enemies and contrived puzzles.
I would have loved nothing more then a complete city for me to freely roam about and explore while swinging from building to building—wall-crawling my way in and out of places and perhaps stopping a crime taking place every so often. Given the nature of Spidey's super powers, the game should have been more free and open rather then linear and by-the-rails. With the game's current setup and pacing, I felt more like I was watching Spidey rather than actually becoming him.
With that said, Spider-Man is still a decent game with plenty to get excited about, but it's also one heck of a missed opportunity to do something truly worthy of Spidey's "amazing" moniker.
Disclaimer: This review is based on the PlayStation version of the game.
- Fraud Alert: Pete Smith, Content Producer - September 9, 2014
- Observations from PAX East 2012: What’s old is new again - April 12, 2012
- Observations from PAX East 2012: Are video game gimmicks finally maturing? - April 11, 2012