Genuinely exciting superhero gaming.
While Spandex-clad crimefighters have always been the bread and butter of video gaming, until recently most heroes were simply shoehorned into generic brawlers, blasters and platformers. Developers casually toyed with Marvel and DC licenses but never allowing players to really feel like their inky heroes. Happily, all that changed with 2004s Spider-Man 2, where a beautifully realised virtual Manhattan was Spideys sprawling playground, giving gamers full control over his signature moves and delirious web slinging. And with the release of Sam Raimis new flick comes another chance to slip into the web-heads taut pants, in a gripping adventure that deftly polishes the earlier games rough edges.
This time, the most obvious change is the interactive cinematics that punctuate your swinging and capture the films most thrilling sequences; when Peter Parker first encounters the New Goblin, for example, and the action cuts to a lightning-paced in-game film, players are challenged to hit buttons in time with an on-screen indicator à la God Of War letting you steer the cutscene and play an active role in the games most visually striking moments.
Even better, the expansive digital city is almost three times bigger than before, giving players more scope for exploration and even allowing you to chase The Lizard through Manhattans subterranean sewers. The random challenges you encounter while wall-crawling have also been tweaked, the last instalments tedious pizza-delivery minigames replaced by violent gang battles that allow players to stray from the movie plot and pummel NYCs lowlife. And when it comes to battering the bad guys Spideys new black outfit adds depth to the traditional fisticuffs, providing a huge range of dark moves to master that are more brutal than the webmasters normal attacks and skilfully convey the rage that comes from wearing his shadowy suit.
If theres any criticism here its that Spider-Man 3 is overly familiar, an incremental evolution of the franchise rather than a revolutionary new approach. But for the chance to feel like the super-powered guardian of a buzzing city, this is essential.