‘Spider-Man 3’ Swings to Wii
Ever since Activision scored the Spider-Man license in the late ’90s, Tony Hawk’s company has been perfecting a realistic swing technique in its line of Spider-Man games, along with a bigger version of Manhattan each time. That might sound good on paper, but at this point it feels like I’ve been playing the same game since 1999. The upside is that each iteration is generally better than the last. Not the case with ‘Spider-Man 3.’
This version of the Spidey engine most closely resembles 2004’s ‘Spider-Man 2’ with a ‘Grand Theft Auto’ type of open-ended, ‘sandbox’ gameplay. Everything you’d expect from the last game returns: a scale replica of Manhattan populated with criminals, loads of tokens, Easter eggs and skill challenges for Spidey to tackle. In fact, it is virtually identical, with some relatively minor additions, including a bigger city.
Activision has included a new ‘crime wave’ feature, which causes a series of disturbances city-wide as gang turf-wars break out; Spidey must aid the police by following marked points on the massive map to stop all the ne’er-do-wells from disturbing the peace.
If you get bored of swinging around the city collecting things, doing tricks and beating up criminals (and you will quickly if you spent any decent amount of time with the last game), you can choose to follow the story path.
Maybe you’re one of the couple of people that haven’t seen ‘Spider-Man 3’ yet. If so, you may consider skipping the game because it mostly follows the script and will spoil the story for you.
However, they have added some extra villains to increase the game length. For instance, J. Jonah Jameson is almost captured by some military types using the original flight suit from the first ‘Spider-Man’; the writers also adapt a storyline about the Lizard from the comic books to add to the action.
The problem seems to be that the game was severely rushed to be released alongside the movie. This is evident in a number of ways. On the Wii and Play Station 2 versions, the biggest problem is the graphics. This build (used on both systems) is really a scaled-down version of the Xbox 360 and Play Station 3 versions, which essentially means that the developers got lazy.
This might be understandable on the PS2 given that it is on its way out, but the Wii is the fastest-selling of the three systems, and second only to the Xbox, is in the most hands right now. A console-specific build for a big game like this, along with more development time, surely would have helped.
The result of this dumbing down is blurry textures, extremely polygonal buildings, short draw-distance, lots of fog, weak character models, choppy framerate and a mess of bugs (I got stuck in buildings and patches of grass quite a few times).
The consensus among critics on the 360 and PS3 versions seem to be that some of these graphical problems