Monday, May 21, 2007

DOXOreview: Spider-Man 3 (Wii)

I'm just going to come out and say it, there isn't much good about this game. It was clearly a rushed effort and the final product...well I wouldn't go so far as to call it final, considering it isn't finished. The game makes it obvious that publishers were consumed by the black symbiote themselves, and by Symbiote I mean profit. Hit the jump for the full review.

Aesthetics 2/5

Unfortunately this game looks like an awful mess. Plain and simple Vicarious Visions was rushed to get this game out in time with the movie, as was Trey Arch in fact, and over all most versions, save for the DS, have suffered greatly. With that said the time limit is still little excuse for just how terribly unfinished this game is. Why not delay until the DVD release? I know the sales may not be as impressive but, call me old fashioned, I like buying games that are finished. The big problem with the graphics is the …well, just about everything is bad. While some of spidey’s animations are fluid but the environments make this one good aspect forgettable. The city is flat, to say the least. Textures, while remaining crisp even close up are none too inspiring. The buildings look like cardboard models, its horribly primitive. The worst thing about the city is that the textures disappear and things aren’t always drawn before we can see them…Yes, that means that buildings suddenly pop up. The game is clearly not finished.

Sound: 1/5

The game is about as aurally impressive as it is visually. There is nothing really worth hearing, Tobey’s delivery of Spidey’s quips seem even worse this time around and things are overall very repetitive. One interesting quirk I found was that I would sometimes save women with voices that changed after I put them down, occasionally even to a man. Its pretty bizarre. The sound effects are bland, but the classic ‘thwip’ of the webbing coming out of the remote is a nice touch. Music seems to sporadically come in and out just like it did in spider-man 2.

Gameplay: 2/5

One of the only satisfying things this game offers (if not ‘the only’) is the swing mechanic. I have to say that it works pretty well and the motion control feels really natural. This isn’t to say there is no learning curve, no, it’s a pretty steep climb but after about 20 minutes you’ll get the hang of it. Unfortunately though, this one aspect of gameplay doesn’t make up for the awful combat system. Total wag fest, I felt like I was tempting a dog to fetch the whole time. Motion does nothing to help the combat, it actually seems rather unintuitive and becomes more of a mini game where you have to get your timing right, just not good. There isn’t that wide a variety of combo’s either which makes fighting all the more boring. I think if they had implemented a fighting engine much like that of the Godfather: Blackhand Edition it would have been much more successful. Webbing is actually pretty tight during combat the motion control works well (bring hands up to fling somebody over your shoulder), but the variation just isn’t there to keep you interested. The nunchuck controlled camera seems like it could use a whole truck load of revision. Dodging is also handled by the nun chuck , when your spider sense goes off give it a quick flick, you’d think it would work well but leaves much to be desired. I would have liked to the direction of the flick play a role in the dodging, as it is any direction will trigger the same dodge which is dependant on the analog stick. Sloppy. The cineractives (interactive cut scenes ala RE4) stunk horribly of after thought. Not one of these ‘mini games’ offered an intense moment of anticipation like RE4 or GoW, in fact they were often too short to pose any sort of challenge and the fact that motion was involved just felt uncomfortable, luckily the motions were recognized rather well. You would think that I would talk about the black suit but frankly, I never really used it. It makes you stronger, supposedly fast and requires going through another of those cineractives to take off…maybe that’s why I never used it. Truth be told the suit made combat slightly less of a chore and I think that’s mostly due to the fact that fights are over faster when in the suit and in this game, the less time you spend fighting the better. Another couple things that annoyed me was the fact that there was no sprint button was an awful oversight, running and climbing was really slow and this would have helped immensely. Spider-sense seemed somewhat ignored, sure it flashes above your head prompting you to pump the nunchuck but its hardly intuitive, why no slow-mo? That was a great mechanic in Spider-Man 2 and the 360/PS3 version of the game. Missions were few and far between, and there was little variation.

Immersion: 1/5

While swinging around does feel pretty good the graphics just aren’t convincing, I’m no HD junky but I don’t like my cityscapes disappearing. Further more the story is just an awful mess- I know what your thinking - I loved the movie- this is not the movie, this isn’t even X3. The game borrows little from the movie and instead focuses mostly on the Lizard, Morbius and Shriek which I wouldn’t have minded if it wasn’t for the dumbed down presentation and rushed story telling. The game is short and so not much gets developed making it all feel like missions rather than a living narrative. The cut scenes are terrible. Some of them are comprised of 360/ps3 in-engine (And actually are taken right from the other games) while some were created by Vicarious Visions. This doesn’t SEEM too bad since it’s true that both games do follow the movie but also that both games have unique story lines as well. Well it IS bad, the difference in artistic design is jarring, so much so that it begins to cheapen the integrity of the product, and just takes you out of the story (just as if they had cast two actors for each role in a movie and played half with one cast and the other half with the others.) What’s worse is that Vicarious’ cinematics were less impressive than the 360/PS3 in game stuff (though I did like their rendition of venom over Treyarch’s) The voice overs added very little to the game despite some of the actors lending their talents, or rather, what was left of it after doing the movie. It seemed that the actors really weren’t too concerned with the game, voice acting was almost lifeless at times and often cheesy. The lines were also FAR too repetitive, and the longer the fight, the more you notice all three of those lines aren’t funny after the 400th time (heck after the first time they aren’t funny). I found myself playing through the game not because I was interested in it but rather because I am such a huge spider-man fan, and that I should play it. It was almost a chore., though swinging feels pretty good after a long day at work.


If you just need to be spider-man I’d highly recommend Spider-Man 2 or even the 360/PS3 version over this. Alternatively I hear Crackdown is a pretty fun sandbox game with some super hero elements.

Bottom Line:

The Symbiote has obviously corrupt Vicarious Visions, they pull an Eddie Brock in trying to play this off as a real game.

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