You Realised This was a piece of merchandising, right? In case you didn't realise ft, ft says so twice on the first splash screen. 'Official Spider-Man Merchandise', it says, right next to the less official-looking 'Spider-Man Merchandise' badge. They might as well put a little BBFC grid on the back that says, Contains commercial cynicism. Suitable for clueless parents, naive fans and dribbling three-year-olds screaming 'Maa! Maa! Spoo-da-mang!' in the supermarket'.
There, that's my token dig at film tie-ins out of the way. Now I can admit that I've pretty much enjoyed a couple of the Spider-Man games so far, and this fits snugly into that Spideygame mould. Swing around the city solving crimes as you find them. Have your disbelief-suspension molested by 'mission activation' tokens, which progress the various storylines with cutscenes. Unlock more and more moves, and annoy more and more gangs. At worst it's an average string of scraps made bearable by the fact that you're swinging around like a good 'un. And to give Spider-Man 3 its due, the web-slinging feels good.
The missions are divided into fights, chases, defusing bombs, photography and swinging around with Mary Jane. It's not really worth describing all the mission types separately, because they all involve the same thing. You follow waypoints (so many waypoints) and then either have a fight or defuse a bomb. Defusing a bomb is a strange metaphorical process - it's a combination of Dancing Stage-style button-bashing, Paradroid and 'rotating the thumb stick'. Sound fun? It is, a bit. For a while. Not quite so much after the umpteenth bomb tour.
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Fighting is a process of building on your four basics - fast, strong, dodge and web - and your ever-growing bank of unlocked special moves. On mouse and keyboard, it's the predictable, unmanageable, third-person whirligig that'll have you puking out a forgotten sandwich, and this is also true of navigating the city. Once you set up your gamepad - and even that proved to be a shockingly difficult feat here - you'll only be lurching forwards occasionally to enter camera mode.
Play through the movie storyline as Spider-Man faces off against the Lizard and rampaging gangs. Web-sling and crawl your way through an open, fully 3D New York while using your amazing skills to save the city. Note that The Amazing Spider-Man needs 2GB of free memory to install. THE OFFICIAL GAME OF 2012's HIGHLY AWAITED SUPER HERO.
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When you consider that the game is far too ugly to be shown on an unforgiving monitor - cel-shaded Ultimate Spider-man looked infinitely better - and that it asks for an unjustifiable 6GB of HD space, and that we couldn't get more than 30 frames-a-second out of a fairly hot PC... Well, it doesn't seem like the best way to spend $30. Our advice would be to avoid the PC version of Spider-Man 3 like a spunk-filled bowler hat.