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Spiderman 3 is Sony's baby. It is the kaleidoscope through which you can see their corporate colours dance. The film franchise is Sony owned and, now in its third outing, has a lot riding on its box office performance. The franchise has taken the comic book assets and developer its own brand over the three films. More interestingly for us is the fact that it is the font of this branding that they also chose for their latest home console.
As re-iterated by Teiyo Goto in CVG, 'it was also the wish of president Kutaragi, who insisted that I use this typography. In fact, the logo was one of the first elements he decided on and the logo may have been the motivating force behind the shape of PS3.' The question facing us now however is whether a game with such deep Sony connections has had the care and attention required to craft a subtle and satisfying Wii game. Will it be able to emerge from its heavy weight credentials and prove itself to be a worthy game?
Whilst doing a bit of preparation for the review, my cynicism wasn't helped when I discovered that whilst the 360 and PS3 had one team working on it (Treyarch), the Wii version was passed onto another team altogether (Vicarious Visions). Putting all that to the back of my mind, I readied myself for a surprise and popped the game into the slot. Ironically one of the first scenes we see is the cover animation billboard of Vicarious Visions. A few more clicks and we get to the menus which are accompanied by some nice sound assets from the film to get us in the mood.
Although the implementation is no worse than previous games, I think I may be experiencing serious waggle-fatigue. I am pretty much done with waggling the Wii-mote or Nun-chuck to trigger particular moves.
The game opens with a tutorial that introduces the controls. It does a pretty good job, although I would have preferred to be able to skip on when I was ready. That said, these tutorial missions are notoriously hard to weight and I think they have done a pretty good job. The guiding voice work that accompanies the introduction works exactlyly, with its tongue in cheek humour.
As you work your way through the missions you will encounter the randomizer mechanic. This ensures that no two missions are ever the same. That said there is still an awful lot of go here and save these good people from these bad guys. Into this mix is thrown the ability to switch Spidey suits, where it seems that red is the new black. The dark suit makes Spidey faster and more powerful, so you can quickly defeat most minor enemies. The red suit enables him to capitalise on a variety of upgrades, and over time becomes the clothing of choice for our super hero.
After 20 minutes or so and you will have the basic controls down, ready for some proper web slinging action. The controls essentially work pretty well, although this may be down to the robustness of the Wii's controllers rather than cleverly designed implementation. Although the implementation is no worse than previous games, I think I may be experiencing serious waggle-fatigue. I think I am pretty much done with waggling the Wii-mote or Nun-chuck to trigger particular moves. This generic action that doesn't relate to what my character is actually doing, does the opposite of what motion control should do, and it distances my movements from the action. We have really got to see more of the one-to-one movement that Wii-sports made so successful.
Apart from excessive waggling, and being forced to control the camera by twisting the Nun-chuck, the rest of the controls work pretty well. The most successful aspect has to be the swinging around the city; you trigger a new web by shaking the Nun-chuck and your direction of swing via its analogue stick. This leaves your other hand nicely free to access the other controls via the Wii-mote.
Graphically, I was pretty shocked how short the draw distance was. When you are swinging around the city this doesn't cause too much of a problem, but back on the ground you really notice the lack of detail in the distance. Granted this is a Wii title, but we are really paying the price for a title that has been mass produced to such a tight deadline. Both polygons and textures are quickly abandoned as the Wii struggles to keep up with the on screen requirements. The shift in graphics from the 360/PS3 to the Wii is enough to send most Ninty fans scurrying off for some cell shading.
A real positive through the game is the sheer volume of voice work. Although this must have swollen Toby McGuire's bank account still further it certainly makes the game feel much more film like. Additionally, the voice of the narrator we mentioned in the tutorials does a good job of saving some face for the game. His tongue in cheek lines nudges this title towards being a self aware B-movie rather than a busted Hollywood blockbuster conversion. He actually had me laughing quite a few times.
Final Comments: Overall, if you loved the film and want a distraction until the next triple-a Wii title is available, this could be a decent way to pass the time. You will have to be very forgiving in the graphics department, but this will be rewarded by a solid old style action game.
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