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Ultimate Spider-Man Review

Inner Ugly Outweighs Outer Beauty in

Ultimate Spider-Man


By Zach Shevich

                 A beautiful graphical technique and a new unique style of presentation is the feature in Ultimate Spider-Man, but the game, unfortunately, lacks on its inner qualities. The Activision-published game puts gamers in the role of Peter Parker, who in this universe is still in high school, has already donned the suit, and has hooked up with Mary Jane. His back story this time around has his father, and his friend Eddie Brock’s father, working on a special suit that will kill cancer cells. When the fathers realize that the suit is dangerous and they lock it up, but soon after they do so they both suffer mysterious deaths. Learning of the suit, Peter goes to steal the suit, wears it, and returns it after he too feels the dangers of the suit. Eddie gets mad and then steals the suit, which turns Eddie into the hero/villain Venom, and uses it to go after peter. Got it? Good, because the game takes roughly five seconds to explain all of this. Then right after, it throws the gamer, as Parker, into a fierce battle against Venom. This battle is more of a teaching-tutorial, which is much more fun than the average-everyday tutorial. The gamers will learn to punch, kick, jump, wall crawl, shoot webs, web swing, and save citizens, just as they did in the last few Spider-Man games. Soon after some Spider-Man action has been done, Ultimate Spider-Man does a 180 and then throws gamers into the role of Venom, and after another tutorial, and a new story line, gamers will begin to terrorize the innocents and take revenge for those behind the death of his father. The developers at Treyarch deserve credit for this aspect of the game, as both characters play noticeably different and are both fun to use. Whereas Spider-Man is more nimble, Venom is clunky, but Venom has great strength and the ability to regain health by feasting on people, while Spider-Man can’t regain health and is weaker. The only real upsetting thing is that all the time spent with Venom is in missions, while Spider-Man gives gamers the ability to free-roam the streets of a virtual New York (Queens and Manhattan). Yes, one can free-roam with Venom after he/she has beaten the game, but sometimes it just seems like it would be more fun to do nothing special with the big fella. And even though Spider-Man has the ability to free-roam, the gamer will have even less freedom than he/she had in the two previous games based on the two movies starring Tobey MacGuire (who this Spider-Man is not based on). Now, before one can continue onto story missions, a certain amount of the previously optional street crimes and mini-games must be completed. These can get very repetitive as gamers will be matched up against the same thugs over and over again. The only rarities one faces in the game is when the player will have to save an endangered citizen or be matched up against a special cameo character (more on that later). This repetitiveness is also found in the game play, which for the most part solely involves avoiding the opponent if he/she is attacking, then waiting to unleash a combo, then rinsing and repeating, followed by more rinsing and more repeating. It gets boring, but it is not too noticeable since like the last two games, Ultimate Spider-Man only will run gamers a few hours. This will take no longer then one uneventful weekend to play in its entirety. Provided that the gamer is not compelled to unlock the long list of unlockables (a feat accomplished in scavenger hunt fashion across the city for hundreds of tokens), there is just not too much to do in Ultimate Spider-Man. Repetitive missions, repetitive gameplay, and general repetitiveness outweighs the finer aspects of Ultimate Spider-Man.

            However, in the most recent game featuring everyone’s favorite wall crawler, there is much potential for future versions. As mentioned earlier, the graphical style is beautiful and unique, something that will be entertaining to watch as it is further developed. For example, during a cut scene, the gamer will see Spider-Man but in a side panel (used to show something happening off-screen or to show a different perspective), will see a gun being shot and the word “BLAM!” appears above the barrel of the gun. Also, delving further into the comic book realm from which Ultimate Spider-Man was born, there are many cameo appearances by Marvel characters including the Green Goblin and Shocker from the Spider-Man universe, and Wolverine (X-Men) and Johnny Storm (Fantastic Four) from outside it. It’s a fun addition and makes the game more exciting in a subtle way by being able to see another familiar face. Otherwise, most of the game’s positives have already been mentioned amongst the list of negatives. A lot of potential, but like beauty, potential doesn’t pay the bills (well…there are a couple exceptions to both of those).

            Overall, Ultimate Spider-Man is an interesting game that is definitely worth a rent, just to see what is could become. But with not-so-great gameplay and a lot of other not-so-great things that don’t even last very long, Ultimate Spider-Man only deserves 6/10.

Brought to you by The Fro Man Shevs