TITLE: Spider-Man 2
DATE RELEASED: June 28, 2004
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 1
XBOX SYSTEM LINK: N/A
XBOX LIVE COMPATABLE: No
HDTV Support: 480p
5.1 Surround Sound: yes
PLATFORM: XBOX, GC, PS2, GBA, NGAGE, PC, and PSP
Retail Price: $49.99
Kind of surprising that this is only my second review in this forum and yet I'm the moderator for it. Well I only review games I really like or really hate and also ones that have yet to be reviewed. This game fits in there so lets get into it....
First off I want to say that I am and always have been a huge spider-man fan. Not from the comics but from nearly every other media, I grew up watching old cartoons and watched this wall crawler evolve more and more throughout the years. When the first movie came out I got tickets instantly and just watched in awe as my old childhood superhero flew through the city of New York. I've seen the movie countless times since that day and have seen the new one twice already in theaters. So of course I had to see how spidey would be in video game form. But this is an Unfortunate game. Why? Because it shows that alot of work was put into it and yet it was rushed out so it could run along with the movie of the same name. This game could have been up there with the GTA series but a rushed game is never a good thing.
I remember when I put in the first spider-man Movie game. I had a blast swinging around a fake city even though you had no control on the web, it was only one continuous animation and you could not go higher or lower after a certain height. But none the less I had a blast and the combat system, although odd just kept me entertained. Well now I have the sequel and everything I could ever want to do as Spider-Man is in this game, although very glitchy at times.
The Setting, New York City
One of the best things this games has going for it is a free roaming, real scale model of New York City. If you want to go to the top of the empire state building, go for it. You want to fly across Broadway, be my guest. You want to go pay you respects at the world trade center memorial (spotlights beaming into the sky replace what were once the twin towers), please do it. You want to scale to the top of the Statue of liberty, have fun but you'll definitely be scratching your head on how to get there at first. I said this game had potential to have the greatness of the grand theft auto series and this is why. You can go around the city and follow the main story or you can stop some criminals trying to steal the cash from an armored car, or maybe you'd rather just get a pretty woman her purse back, or maybe you just want to see the smile on the kids face when you rescue there balloon. Well unfortunately you can't see them smile but I'll get to that later.
So whats better than having all of New York City to defend? Well being able to swing around it and scale to the top of every building of course. The swinging system has been completely redone. Now you can do anything and everything you see spidey do on the big screen. You have complete control, you want to shoot a web onto the building, just aim your thumbstick in that direction and fire away, it's that simple. You want to jump higher after getting to the top of your swing, just Hold A to charge your jump and release at the appropriate time. You can even grab onto a flying helicopter and take a tour around the city (this is also the way to get to liberty island). You can go to the empire state building, crawl to the top, jump off, and during your long free fall you can shoot a web just narrowly missing the ground that would have otherwise killed you. I had more fun swinging around the city than I had playing the spider-man 1 game altogether... and I loved that game. But web slinging isn't your only super power. You can climb any building by just pressing B on it, you can even do this when swinging onto the side of a building. From there you can charge your jump for a quick way to get on top of any building. You also have super speed, hold the left trigger down while running, swinging, or crawling for an almost unlimited speed increase. You can also run up the side of buildings for awhile by holding the left trigger and pressing B by the side of a building. Did I mention you can jump really high? As I said before you can do a super jump while swinging, running, or crawling by hold down A until your meter fills up and simply release whenever you want for that extra height boost. And of course you have your super human strength, incredible stamina, and quick spider reflexes (in the form of bullet-time, activated by the black button). Finally you have your spider sense which is used in combat, whenever you see a flash around spider-man's head, it means he senses danger. Quickly press B when seeing the flash to do a quick counter attack or dodge bullets. Also used in combat is your web which you can grab enemies with and throw them around. The combat system has been upgraded as well and although fighting game fans will love it's button sequence style of fighting, others will do just as fine by button mashing. So now that you know the basics of the game let me talk about the aspects of the game individually.
We'll start with graphics. During the opening fly-by of New York, you may think that it looks pretty bad, but once you get in the game it seems the textures are much better and the game runs alot smoother. Now you would think that having an entire city rebuilt top to bottom would ruin the graphic quality of the buildings, well that is not the case. The textures although not the best are just fine. The model of spider-man and the animations of him flying through the sky are flawless. But then you have all the cars and people on the street. This is where the graphics go downhill. There seem to be a very small number of civilian models on the street and the cars look horrible close up. Also the cars will disappear and go through just about anything, along with the people. It seems collision detection doesn't exist on the streets of New York. Not to mention that everyone on the street only has maybe 2 animations and their lips never move when talking (no smiles on the children with their saved balloons either). While on the subject of the cars I should mention that you'll never really see alot of traffic which takes away from the realism of New York also when you see a "high speed police chase", it looks as if both the car jackers and the police are going UNDER the speed limit. This really annoyed me as I would have loved to race a car down by swinging overhead. The muggers and criminals in this game also are extremely repetitive, I'd say they have 3 different male models and maybe 2 female models. Also the animation when fighting looks as if they have no bone structure, their limbs fly about in all directions without any problem. Also while fighting them it creates an unrealistic flash when hitting them and the bullets they shoot look more like fast moving snowballs. The models on the main characters (harry, MJ, Dr. Octavious, Peter Parker, Jonah Jameson, etc.) look pretty good, sub par but still good. Also this game does in fact have cinematics but very few, what is there looks amazing but I guess they ran out of time to create any more where it would be appropriate. But since the Graphics are great in some places and horrible in others, I have to rate them in sections which you will see at the end of the review.
Next We'll talk about the sound. Well it's not a muted game but it might as well be. Once again this game takes away from the realism of new York by not having much of any background noise. The web shots sound nice and all the normal sound effects are perfect. But this games doesn't have bad sound effects, it's that it is missing alot that you would imagine should be there. As for the voice acting, They have Tobey Maguire (spider-man), Kirsten Dunst (MJ), and the actor who portrays Doc Ock in the Movie in the game. Tobey Does a better job then you would think with a voice over. Everyone else (harry, Jonah Jameson, etc.) are not done by there movie counterparts but still do a very good job. The problem isn't in the voice acting but rather the script. Spider-man is known for cheesy comments and of course they are in there but some of the dialog just doesn't seem to fit. Also the witty bits of Spider-man are heard too many times in one sitting. As for Music, I am surprised I didn't hear the popular movie theme but what they put in fits. The music in this game seems to come and go as it pleases. The music scores themselves are very different from one another. You have one powerful orchestrated piece and then you have some techno music cut in during battle and have something that sounds very similar to the theme in "Mars Attacks" during the whole Mysterio part of the game. The music may get on some peoples nerves but overall it isn't too bad.
Now we move onto gameplay. I mentioned most of this in the above paragraphs so I won't go too much into detail. Basically you can follow the main story which makes you loosely go about the scenes from the movie by following check marks on your map. They did a great job with the map system so that you'll never feel lost. The missions they make you do are usually very short but sweet. You gain hero points from completing these objectives which can be used to "buy" new flying moves and attacks. you will run into a couple of familiar faces if you know the spider-man universe. The first real "Boss" you see is the Black Cat, but you only follow her around the city. The second you meet is the Rhino. These are the fun missions. The side missions you do are limited and can be very repetitive. I swear a kid lost a balloon at every corner (look at the fourth picture down at the end of the review). It still can be fun though for a quick thrill. What I find the most fun is just flying randomly through the city, finding some landmarks and just exploring. This is whats creates alot of the replay value for this game. The biggest problem in the gameplay department is difficulty. Nobody seems to be a match for spider-man once you get the controls down. You can go through 10 thugs without getting touched nor even touching the ground. The gameplay is the best thing that this game has going for it but it still was cut short due to being rushed.
The best way to put this game is to say it's the equivalence of Halo if it had come out a year and a half before it was ready. It is simply amazing how they created the Big Apple and replicated spider-man's web techniques. Activision obviously worked hard on this title and it shows but they can only do so much with the time given to them. I'd still say this game is worth a buy for any spider-man fan and a least a rent from everyone else.
Graphics - (city buildings, main character models) - 8/10
Graphics - (City Streets and other characters) - 3/10
Graphics - (Spider-man Animations and cinematics) - 9/10
Sound - (voice overs - main characters) - 9/10
Sound - (voice overs - other characters) - 5/10
Sound - (music) - 6.5/10
Sound - (sound effects) - 5/10
Controls - 8.5/10
Replay Value - 7.5/10
Gameplay - (main story) - 8.5/10
Gameplay - (side missions) - 5/10
Gameplay - (swinging/exploring) - 10/10
OVERALL - 8.5/10