With fanboy froth at an all time high, the buzz
surrounding the upcoming third Spider-Man movie is getting insane. Likewise, the
game has been receiving similar hype since it was first premiered during Sony’s
unveiling of the PS3. Now, it looks like both the game and the film are gearing
up for release, and having played through a brief hands-on walkthrough of some
of the game, I’d have to say so far so good. Spider-Man 3 takes the sandbox
concept set forth in its predecessor, and seriously ups the ante with a bigger
city, enhanced physics and web mechanics, a great new dynamic fighting system,
and of course, a new storyline that goes beyond the film. The next-gen
presentation of the game is great, and fans will get the movie tie-in they’ve
been hoping for.
The developers didn’t go much into the storyline,
which is completely understandable, considering that the film’s plot is wrapped
in a veil of secrecy. They did, however, divulge that the story of the game
would span 10 separate story arcs, only one of which would be of the actual
movie. Aside from the villains in the film (whomever they may officially or
unofficially be), you’ll also be able to take on classic foes like the Scorpion
and Lizard, who will receive the stylish treatment as the film’s villains,
updating their look to go along with how they could be perceived in the movies.
The swinging mechanics have been changed up
greatly since the last-gen games, presenting some truly great physics. Depending
on where you hit the building for a pendulum point, your swing will be greatly
varied. You’ll be able to run along the side of buildings and run on the ground,
all while swinging. It feels a lot more realistic than ever, and more natural.
Well, if there is anything natural about a man swinging around with
spider-webbing, I suppose.
The combat in the game can get pretty hairy, but
luckily you’ll have some great moves at your disposal. Spider-reflexes are an
integral portion of combat in the game. By holding down on the reflexes button,
time will slow slightly down and you’ll be able to automatically dodge your
opponents attacks and counterattack them by hitting the attack button at the
precise moment. The fluidity of counterattacks is something that you eventually
get used to, but the end result is pretty awesome and a necessary way to take
out groups of attacking opponents.
You’re Spider-Sense also plays a very important
part in the game. By pressing down on the thumbstick, you’ll be able to activate
it, sensing the location of enemies as well as mission objectives like hidden
The boss battles have a real large-scale
presentation, which makes them more cinematic than they’ve ever been. Instead of
fighting an enemy one-on-one in an enclosed space, the game splits up fights
into a variety of fighting, chasing and time-active button presses, making it
feel a lot like God of War. The Scorpion battle that the team showcased was one
such jaunt, where you begin fighting him in one building, and end up chasing him
through the busy New York streets as he chucks cars at you.
And then, there’s the Black Suit. The infamous
symbiote that adheres itself to Peter Parker is an important element of the
game, and manifests itself in a way that has a real effect on the gameplay.
Black Suited Spider-Man feels noticeably stronger than plain ol’ Spidey, moving
a lot faster and smoother. You’ll also be able to perform special rage moves,
where you can spam the R1 button on the PS3 SIXAXIS controller, and then perform
special attacks good at clearing out large gangs of enemies. One of these moves
allows you to web-up a couple of baddies, and smash them around like a sack of
potatoes, which looks a lot better than I probably made it out just then.
Graphically, the game looks pretty awesome on
next-gen hardware. The Xbox 360 and PS3 games are virtually indistinguishable,
and both benefit from excellent player models and a massive, fully detailed
environment, complete with pedestrians, cars, and time of day changes. The
animations are also pretty awesome. The Scorpion’s tail alone had 40 joints, for
example, which is more than a single character ever had in previous Spider-Man
games. There is a cool blur effect when you really start swinging your way
through the city, giving a nice added detail.
All in all, Spider-Man 3 is looking to be the
truly next-gen Spider-Man experience that fans have been waiting for. Look for
it to release alongside the movie this May.