We had the chance to try our hand with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version of Activision's upcoming Spider-Man 3. The Treyarch-developed title is based on the upcoming movie, which promises big things for fans of the wallcrawler. As we mentioned in our last look at the game, Spider-Man 3 will draw on both the movie's plot and Spidey's considerable comic lore for its adventure. We had the chance to try out a sampling of levels from work-in-progress versions running on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to see how this works in action.
We tried out six levels, some of which were demoed for us the last time we saw the game. The first level we tried was the game's tutorial level, which found our hero dealing with the Mad Bomber and featured a cameo from Nick Fury. The tutorial, narrated by the mighty Bruce Campbell, was straightforward and walked us through the basics of controlling Spidey. If you've played the previous movie-based games, you should be right at home with the fundamentals of kicking butt. The new combo system and implementation of Spidey's spider sense expand on the solid gameplay. This time out, you'll be able to chain together fat combos and, if you're quick, dodge attacks to stay out of harm's way.
Following the tutorial we jumped to a level that offered a different spin on the action, focusing on Spidey helping weed out some bad cops on the force. You're tasked with getting some photographic evidence of the bad eggs doing their dirty business. To do so, you'll have to swing to a set point on the map and use your spider sense to find the right spots to go to and snap your incriminating pics. Once you're in the spot, you'll trigger your camera mode and use the D pad to zoom in and out to properly frame your shot. Once you get the shots, you'll need to get back to your contact and get them the evidence.
The next bit we tried was the fight between Peter Parker and Harry Osborn, who takes up the crazy mantle left behind by his dad, Norman, the original Green Goblin. The fight sees Peter, in his street clothes, fighting Harry on his glider, and is broken up into two parts. The first finds you wrestling with him in a minigame sequence that has you matching onscreen button prompts to dodge his attacks and get some hits in. Once he's taken enough damage, you'll get flung off and have to throw down.
After we got through the New Goblin fight, we were able to check out a Scorpion-focused level tied to one of the game's 10 storylines. Upon infiltrating a research facility you'll take control of a brainwashed Scorpion and engage in some brawling. Once he's subdued his captors, the brainwashing rises a notch and sets him off to do his business, which is when you have to chase him down and fight.
Our final bit of webslinging focused on the mighty black suit and its enhanced power in fights with common thugs and the Sandman. The thug fighting was part of a standard run through the city that had you stomping out crime. Using the black suit was markedly different from using the red and blue original and allowed us to perform some wickedly painful attacks that hit mobs of foes. One thing to note, however, is that by using the black suit we were unable to earn experience and level the red and blue suit's abilities, which can come back and haunt you later in the game.
In addition to the levels shown, reps on hand filled us in on exclusive content for the PS3 collector's edition of the game, which will include an exclusive level and commentary from Bruce Campbell. The new level will put you in control of the New Goblin via the Sixaxis controller as he flies on his glider. The Campbell commentary will offer some behind-the-scenes insight on the game.
The visuals in the game were shiny in all the right places for a PS3 and 360 game. The main characters benefit from extra polygonal and detail love, while the lesser ones are a bit more understated. The environments were vast and varied, with nice day and night variations. The special effects, especially the ones used for spider sense and special attacks, serve as nice complements. The 360 and PS3 versions were comparable and didn't differ much from each other, although, if we get nitpicky, color looked a hair richer on the PS3.
The audio in the game is good with voice acting from the film's stars, supplemented by awesome Bruce Campbell-isms. The music suits the action and captures the cinematic feel the game is going for. Special effects and the like were good, albeit rough in some places, but they got the job done.
Based on what we played, Spider-Man 3 is looking like another solid entry in the movie series. The game appears to be covering its bases and offers a good mix of movie content with enough original stuff to keep things interesting. The additional content in the PS3 game seems like a cool extra we're curious to try out. If you're fan of Spidey, odds are you'll want to keep an eye out for Spider-Man 3. The game is set to ship this May, in time with the movie.