Spider-Man 2: The Game Review

Spider-Man 2: The Game is a 2004 action adventure superhero video game developed by Treyarch, The Fizz Factor, Digital Eclipse, Activision, Aspyr, Backbone Entertainment, and Vicarious Visions.  It was published by Activision, Taito, Capcom, MacPlay, and Nokia, and released for GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, N-Gage, Mac OS X, Nintendo DS, and PlayStation Portable. Loosely based on the Spider-Man 2 film, the story follows Spider-Man/Peter Parker struggles between his personal life which involves Mary Jane Watson and his superhero life where he joins up with a vigilante known as Black Cat battling a series of foes including the mad Doc Ock.


Positives:

  • Great web swinging mechanics
  • Great combat
  • Large open world
  • Tons of exploration
  • Tons of replayability
  • Fun gameplay
  • Tons of side missions

Negatives:

  • Map textures are bland
  • Lackluster story
  • Lazy voice performances
  • Dated graphics
  • Repetitive missions

Campaign:  The game features an extensive single player experience that is split into several chapters.  The player has the ability to choose either to go on with the storyline or swing around the city. The main story follows Peter Parker who is balancing his normal life with his crime fighting as his alter ego, Spider-Man.  However, when a failed experiment turns the brilliant Doctor Otto Octavius into the supervillain, Doc Ock, the whole city of Manhattan is threatened. Yes, the game is based on the movie but it would’ve been nice to have more emphasis on a better, more emotionally driven story.  But for a massive open world experience, this could be forgiven. One problem with the gameplay is how players are forced to perform hero missions in order to progress the story.  Through steady gameplay, the main game can be completed between 8 to 10 hours. (3 out of 5)

Gameplay:  Players are able to freely roam Manhattan, Roosevelt, Ellis, and Liberty Islands at their leisure and the massive open world gives a greater sense of freedom.  The wall-crawling and web swinging mechanics are just awesome making exploration and locomotion just fun as Manhattan is your playground. And what makes it so fun is how seamless and how addictive it is.  Unlike previous games where he shot webbing up into the sky, Spider-Man has to shoot webbing at an actual building. The player can do random tasks to earn “hero points,” which must be accumulated to continue with the plot and are spent on upgrading Spidey’s skills, either purchasing new ones or enhancing old ones. Upgrading Spider-Man’s skills improve his movement in the form of faster web-swinging, higher jumps, and more athletic abilities.

Even with the combat, Spider-Man gains several abilities such as yanking criminals into the air, swinging them around like a rodeo, and my personal favorite, tying enemies to lamp post.  Even the use of his “Spidey-Sense” plays an important role which helps Spider-Man counter and evade attacks. Even the “Bullet Time” makes for a great enhancement to the combat, especially when it comes to turning the tide of a fight.  Bullet Time allows Spider-Man to move faster than his enemies.  Some people could feel that this is a cheat but I thought it worked well. (4 out of 5)

Graphics:  Now, honestly time has taught us that graphics don’t necessarily make a game.  In fact, some of the world’s best video games have poor graphics.  And like most aged games, Spider-Man 2: The Game‘s graphics haven’t aged well.  In fact, it’s quite laughable.  The map is quite large but the textures do feel too plain lacking any depth to the building and landscape structures. Even the city doesn’t feel really active.  There are some moments where the camera angles can become bothersome, which is predominantly indoors.  Most of the civilian designs are just comical but better detail and more fluid animations are given to the main characters such as Spider-Man, who looks lean and athletic, and Black Cat, who looks sexy as hell.  (3 out of 5)

Score:  I can admit the game does have a really good voice cast.  The performances themselves are decent with film stars Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, Kirsten Dunst, and the awesome Bruce Campbell who provides narration.  But honestly though, this probably one of the weaker points of the game.  The characters do sound bland, lazy, and lifeless.  The music is decent and while swinging through the city does feel heroic.  There are some issues when comes to the music looping and it’s pretty obvious at many points.  The sound effects are pretty decent; the city does sound active and web-swinging is unique. (2 out of 5)

Replay Value:  The game’s replay value actually exist in its exploration.  The city is large so there’s a lot to explore.  There are the random pedestrian missions that do help make the world feel active with the large variety of crimes and emergencies to stop, which include: rescuing cops from a shootout, chasing bad guys in a stolen car, stopping road rage,  stopping robberies, retrieving stolen purses, saving kids’ balloons, saving civilians from falling from buildings, delivering injured people to the hospital, and save people from a sinking boats.  Also, “hidden” across the city are tokens and yes…finding them is quite addictive.  There are also in-game stats that keep track of your activities.  This includes but is not limited to: how many tokens found, how many civilians saved, how much web fluid used, and how many miles covered.  There are also numerous racing missions to complete and the buck doesn’t stop there. (5 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Spider-Man 2: The Game is a surprisingly good game and it’s quite easy to see how this game helped to revolutionize Spider-Man games.  It took everything about its predecessor and bumped it up several notches. Yes, most of the game’s problems lie in its dated graphics, lazy voice performances and repetitive missions.  However, the game excels at giving us a fun gaming experience as Spider-Man, a large open world with tons of exploration, tons of replayability, solid combat, an extremely sexy Black Cat, and fun web-swinging mechanics.  Spider-Man 2: The Game gets 3 out of 5.

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