I’m back with Part 9 of “D.G.M.’s Gaming Life Before Gaming Respawn” where I will continue to discuss my thoughts on the series of games based on Spider-Man. There are plenty of these games based on Spidey’s comic and movie incarnations, so let us continue taking a fond look back at these games.
Spider-Man 2 (PS2)
Most gamers who also happen to be Spidey fans will remember Spider-Man 2, the very first open-world Spider-Man video game, as a legendary game during the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube era. Even though the concept of open-world gaming was already made popular a few years earlier through Grand Theft Auto III, I didn’t experience it myself because I never really got into those games, therefore Spider-Man 2 ended up being one of the very first games to introduce me to open-world gaming (preceded only by Jak II). This game loosely followed the story of the film of the same name and had Spider-Man dealing with Dr. Octopus, as well as extra baddies like Rhino, Shocker, and Mysterio. One thing I feel I should mention about this game was that its graphics, at least at first glance, were not all that great, even when compared to the previous movie-based Spider-Man game. That and the mostly okay story are my only real complaints for this game.
Everything else about Spider-Man 2 is absolutely fantastic. Traversing the city of New York with the improved web swinging mechanic was an absolute dream, and I actually felt somewhat of a rush as I first swung past multiple buildings and dropped from rooftops to the streets below. The combat system was also among the best ones in any Spider-Man game, before and after. In fact, the combat system in this game was clearly a prototype of the combat that would later be used in the Batman Arkham games. Instead of the multiple three hit combo approach the previous Spidey game took, the combat in Spider-Man 2 was relatively simple: square button to strike, triangle button to shoot webbing, circle button to dodge, and x button to jump. A few upgradeable attacks could be purchased with experience points to further open up Spidey’s ass kicking moves, and combined with his speed, agility, and web swinging, beating up thugs and super villains as Spider-Man proved to be a hell of a lot of fun.
The main missions are plenty of fun on their own, while the side-missions will have Spidey taking part in timed challenges where he takes pictures and delivers pizzas. Most of the game’s fun comes from the random crimes that pop up every few minutes, and they range from preventing muggings, stopping gang fights, rescuing people from sinking boats, fighting off mechs, and even (dum dum duuuum) retrieving lost balloons for little children. These side-missions never got old for me and they never stop, so one can continue to just enjoy being Spider-Man long after beating the main campaign. This truly was the first game to make you feel like Spider-Man, and in some ways it’s still the best one in that regard. Spider-Man 2 gets a score of 94%.
Spider-Man 3 (PS3)
This game was a noticeable step backwards from its predecessor, but still not a bad game. For one thing, the graphics were far superior, which was expected given it was a PS3 game. Character models were pretty good, though some of them had weird, bloated faces. The city of New York looked quite good with all the buildings, streets, and subways appearing very detailed. Like with the previous games based on the movies, Spider-Man 3 loosely followed the story of the third movie (which honestly is not as bad as everyone else makes it out to be, though it was certainly the weakest of the three movies), but it also added lots of other villains and extra missions for Spidey to tackle. Aside from New Goblin, Sandman, and Venom, other villains like Scorpion, Rhino, Lizard, Kraven the Hunter, Calypso, and Kingpin all appear as well with whole mission-based story arcs revolving around each of them. More standard enemies consist of gangsters, henchmen, mechs, and the like. The large number of varied missions focusing on different villains and characters made this game feel like something straight out of the Spider-Man comics, even more so than the previous movie based games.
Still, this game did have other issues. Combat was certainly not as fluid or accessible as before. Spidey had a number of different combos at his disposal, but many of them were unnecessarily long, requiring five or more button presses to pull off, making it feel like somewhat of a button masher at times. I preferred Spider-Man 2’s approach to limited combos that proved useful in different combat situations and required minimal button inputs. Furthermore, Spider-Man spends a good chunk of the game in the black symbiote suit, but it brings almost no change to the combat other than a rage meter which allows Spidey to momentarily increase his attack power and unleash his super attacks more often. Still, combat overall was fun enough and kind of fast paced, so it worked to a certain degree.
The other issue I had with this game were the QTEs. Not only did a lot of the button prompts in this game’s QTEs give you literally a full second at most to react, but you also had to be prepared to press the trigger buttons and even flick the left analog stick in any of four possible directions, along with pressing the four face buttons. This combination of many possible button inputs and a very limited amount of time to react to button prompts gave the QTEs a rather annoying trial and error quality that I did not appreciate. All things considered, this is not the best Spider-Man game, but it’s certainly not the worst one and is pretty solid overall. Spider-Man 3 gets a score of 81%.
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (PS3)
To me, and to many other gamers out there, this is the best Spider-Man game since Spider-Man 2, though it doesn’t quite reach the greatness of that game. This was also the first Spidey game since the two earlier PS1 games (not counting Ultimate Spider-Man) to not be a movie tie-in and instead focused on the comic book incarnation of everyone’s favorite Web-head. Similarly to the PS1 Spider-Man game, Web of Shadows revolves around Spidey dealing with another symbiote invasion of New York City, which began with Venom’s symbiote mutating and then spreading to everyone else around him, turning them into their own brand of symbiote freaks. Spidey himself is also partially affected by the symbiote, which not only has an effect on the game’s story, but also its combat.
Spidey can switch between his regular red and blue costume and the black symbiote suit on the fly, greatly changing up his combat abilities. Regular Spidey is extra quick and nimble, able to strike individual enemies with lightning fast combos, while symbiote Spidey can use shockwave and tendril attacks to damage multiple enemies simultaneously. Taking a cue from Infamous, this game includes a karma meter for Spidey and features certain moments where you decide whether Spidey goes the heroic route or lets himself fall under the sway of the symbiote and make naughty decisions. Each decision affects the cutscenes and the ending, though the core gameplay itself doesn’t really change. Helping injured citizens gives Spidey red points that add to his good guy meter, while not helping citizens gives him black points for his bad guy meter.
When it comes to pure, mindless fun, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows delivers. The awesome combo-based combat combined with the new aerial and wall crawling combat was fun already, but being able to beat up on a bunch of challenging and varied enemies made this game extra addicting. Spidey will be taking on gangsters/cops, high-tech henchmen, mechs, and of course, symbiotes. On top of that, he will be dealing with friends and enemies alike both in their normal states and after some of them have been affected by symbiotes as well. Many of these characters can be summoned by Spidey to assist him in battling enemies, and the roster of allies changes depending on whether Spidey is good or corrupted. Good Spidey can rely on Luke Cage, Moon Knight, and Wolverine to assist him, while corrupted Spidey has less savory individuals like Black Cat, Vulture, Electro, and Rhino to lend him a helping hand.
The main and side-missions were initially rather boring and repetitive, but later have you doing things like disarming bombs, rescuing groups of people from rooftops and shelters from advancing symbiotes, calling airstrikes on symbiote nests, and more. The game’s not perfect though and has a few issues. Glitches like enemies appearing inside walls occur every now and then, the lock-on feature can be iffy, Spidey sometimes reacts slowly to button inputs, random crimes pop up way too frequently, and beating the main game ends your playthrough completely, meaning you can’t continue free-roaming unless you start a new game. The story was also a little all over the place. These are mostly minor issues, but they do take their toll on what is otherwise a really fun game. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows gets a score of 87%.
Join me next week for part 10 of my modest little feature where I will discuss the last three Spider-Man games I played before joining this prestigious site. As always, there are plenty of other things to read as you anxiously await my next article. Check out some of these articles and reviews below:
Having spent hundreds of hours diving into the highly anticipated Fallout 4, Kane has at last emerged from his hidden bunker with a review of the game. As a big fan of Bethesda’s incredible post-apocalyptic series, Kane has a good idea of what makes a Fallout game great, so find out how this latest game lives up to its predecessors by clicking that mouse (or finger) of yours right over here.
After taking an extended (though not necessarily voluntary) leave of absence, Sean Morge, our resident Sith Lord in training, has finally returned with more of his trademarked (and justified) Konami bashing. Has Sean let the anger and hatred consume him further during his hiatus, or has his decreased exposure to the evils of the video gaming world drawn him away from the Dark Side? Only one way to find out, and that’s by checking out his latest “5 Points of Gaming” here.
All this craze over the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has inspired Michael to try out an apparently well known Super Nintendo title known as Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Will Michael find the Force to be strong in this one, or will his enjoyment of the game go the way of Princess Leia’s home planet of Alderaan? Come hither to his newest “Retro Respawn” to find out.