Lets be honest. The hype of a big blockbuster movie is difficult to ignore. It's a quiet time for releases and out pops Spiderman 3. The movie trailer taunts you every other hour it's hard to resist. So you spend your £40, £50 if your are lazy, but what do you get? Well a competent action platformer. It doesn't feel next gen. I get the distinct impression that the basic game engine is an enhanced PS2/XBOX effort. Spiderman himself is nicely detailed. The other character models are often painful to look at, staggering around as if they have been subjected to botched face transplants and artifical limb replacements. The city itself is probably the saving grace. Swinging through the streets, leaping buildings and exploring the environment is a genuine pleasure. It's only when you start to get into the mission that things go awry. For starters you need to track down a mission marker. I half expected to see a character model waiting to speak to you but instead you get a spinning icon that you have to press X at. It destroys that illusion of being involved in a breathing world. Once underway the missions are quite enjoyable and varied. The many boss battles are handled well and the much needed restart points are generously spaced. With Boss fights often taking place over three or four rounds, this is key. During the final parts of the battle you are prompted to hit the correct coloured button at the correct time. Hit enough of these and Spidey will dance around on screen, avoiding attacks and generally doing things you couldn't hope to replicate yourself with the control you have.
That brings up another issue. The control system. Swinging works well, it's simple and effective. There are a few too many missed webs but you learn to cope with that. Combat is an issue. Despite there being, on paper, dozens of different moves to learn, you will end up hammering X and Y in a desperate attempt to pull off some kind of combo. The unlockable moves are often too convoluted to remember. The slow motion button seems a bit inconsistent as well. At times it seems to last for 20 seconds allowing you to mow down several enemies at once. Notably, during the frequent boss battles, you are seemingly restricted to about 5 seconds. Before you realise the effect has worn off you have received a smack in the face and a chunk of life lost. Battles often take too long as well. Punch two or three times, retreat, jump around, repeat. Still achievements are regularly unlocked which is always comforting. I suppose credit must also be given for getting the cast memebers to lend their voices to the game. It does add something to hear tobey maguire talking his way through the story. So to sum up then. A good game. It has moments of real freedom, web swinging is always a pleasure. The combat and repetitve nature of some of the boss battles does detract however. It never seems to reach the heights of greatness that I so desperately wanted it to. Still I keep going back to it so perhaps that's the point. Don't expect too much and you will find much to enjoy here.