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Ultimate Spiderman Review

Based on one of the best incantation of Spiderman, the Ultimate Spiderman game was born. The game from the moment you boot up looks phenomenal with its stylized menus and cell-shaded graphics. It truly looks like a comic book coming to life. Then you are taken through the basic controls as you fight Venom, after which you are put through every kind of mission you are going to encounter throughout the game. And finally after which you can enjoy the freedom of cruzing the through the City as Spiderman.

The web swinging in this game just feels so, so good. It uses mechanics similar to the one in Spiderman 2. The web attaches itself to building, poles, street-lights etc.. you are always moving at angles. You let go of the button at the best vertical angle to gather momentum to soar. Combine this with the double jumping, wall running, wall climbing and web zipping you have some seamless traversal mechanics and these just feel so good that it will never get old in the time you are playing the game.

The story revolves around Venom and Peter’s father; something-something spidy backstory time. But it is extremely well presented and all the characters are just brilliant. And for once I found a Mary Jane incantation which I like; I really liked the way their relationship was portrayed in the game. Spiderman is the wise cracking mouth we love him to be, and this is his best by far, by really far his best incantation in a game. The story never feels like it’s ever going places and it wraps up just when you think it is getting good. It’s quite a shame that so many characters and plot points are introduced but the game moves on ignoring them and ended before exploring them. But for what it’s worth, I really did enjoy the story, more appropriate to say I enjoyed the dialogues and characters. Ultimately it feels like an arc from a season

The open world of the game is a joy to swing around in and is unexpectedly detailed with the city being fleshed out. The game locks off most of its area with an area unavailable/invisible wall and it finally lets you free after you do the first 2 or 3 story missions atleast when it comes to the free roam. The game like many open world locks off its missions under an activity list, you have to do few side activities to progress. While this may sound like it’s the usual open world routine, it is really not bad here. The amount of stuff it requires you to do is modest and they act like pace breaks from the story and when the main missions do get intense these requirements are usually skipped. The side activities come in few forms, the first are random city events you encounter while roaming around. It feels like you are doing the actual job of Spiderman for once, the next two are combat missions and races. They both are self-explanatory and kind of get old but due to their limited number and ease it never feels like a drag.

The story missions are linear; the open world is simply a hub. The missions themselves are nice, and they do feel varied filled with set-pieces. And the events the city goes through can be seen in the open world part and that’s really cool. Rather than resetting the city like many other games kind of do. The worst part of the game are the combat encounters, they are so drab and boring. Spidey and Venom has very similar moves with some slight variation, Spiderman has simplified light and heavy attacks while venom has whip as light/mid-range attack while the heavy one is him clawing and you jump to dodge.  The bosses are nice, but due to the simplicity of the combat mechanics once you figure it out everything gets quite simple. They did try to mix it up by putting conditions on you, but most of the time they felt like annoyances than anything worthwhile. One thing that’s cool is the mission failure screen, the screen that puts you into peter parker’s shoes and makes you feel like you let everyone down.

The music while swinging around city is generally bombastic, the combat encounters and chase music can vary from mediocre and I can’t even remember. All the sfx have that comic book *wham* *Bham* feel to it. But overall the audio is underwhelming. But, the voice acting is nice, the characters feels well realized, and there was unexpected emotions and playfulness acc. to the situation requirement. I was never taken out of the world and that’s pretty awesome.

Outside of the story missions when you are simply soaring around the city with incredible ease and fluidity as spiderman you have a lot of cool things to find and do. There is something to find almost everywhere in the city. And the few times when you touch the ground you will be in-awe of the world, it’s just lovely to look at. It truly felt like I was inside a living city as shallow as it may be. What’s great is every one of these tokens and collectible you find unlocks something. Most of the time you will find these simply running around the city, and the few times you actively seek them out it’s great because the traversal mechanics are just so brilliant. And the fact that you unlock cool comic book covers, character arts, costumes etc..  means you always want to seek them out. And for every few milestones in the story, the city switches b/w day and night making everything feel fresh again.

The game is quite great. The major shortcoming I find is the tiny draw distance, I know this is was due to hardware limitation but when the textures are drawn-in and objects pop-up just a few meters in-front of you at the highest setting.. .it is slightly underwhelming. There is no widescreen support nor are there any hacks available, the game stretches to your resolution. I would advise to play in some 4:3 resolution with black bars if your screen is wide. And you will want to force Anisotropic filtering through your graphics driver cause the default filtering is just so blurry and a mess. You will notice a visual step up when you do. The story wraps up a little too quickly and its incredibly short. Regardless, this is personally my most favourite Spiderman game and it’s just a great game.  And soaring through the city is simply great. Infact you will want to boot up the game time after time just for the sheer joy of soaring around as spiderman.

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