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Reviewed: Spider-Man 2 PSP
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: June 20th, 2005
Page: 2
Spider-Man 2 for the PSP was supposed to be a big-name launch title. Immense expectations were warranted, because the previous console iterations had been stellar, ground-breaking work, giving players an unparalleled look into what made it fun to be Spider-Man. Web-slinging was "realistic" in that it couldn't be done without something to swing from, roleplaying elements made the evolution of a fighting style work, and the game's emphasis on missions within a fully realized, explorable world allowed us to just swing around Manhattan, enjoying the scenery and beating up on super-villains and thugs alike.

For the PSP, sadly, every bit of that revolutionary gameplay was dumped. About the only thing remaining from the console games are the artwork, character models, and returning movie actors who reprise their roles in various voices.

In the guts of the game, however, there is no trace of the Spider-Man 2 engine. Instead, there's the old engine that Activision had used for earlier Spider-Man titles (both on the Playstation and for the not-so-fun original Spider-Man PS2 offering). Attack combos are still buyable and usable, but motion in the game is sadly reduced. Most sadly apparent is that webslinging, far from being the slightly out-of-control and fun activity, is limited to holding "R" and seeing Spidey swing straight forward as if he were flying. The animation of the webs is almost an afterthought, and it's patently obvious that the ability to swing has nothing to do with whether there's anything to swing from.

Additionally, exploring in the game is pointless. Rather than have an open-ended world to explore, the designers of the game (again limited by that old engine) lock players into 20 or so small missions, each of which takes no more than a couple minutes to complete. There's a decent variety, from hunting and battling bosses to rescuing innocent onlookers and preventing wanton destruction of property, but in total it's possible (and likely) to finish the game in about 5 hours or less, which is not much time at all.

I'm not sure why Activision did this - whether they just had to rush something out the door, or someone screwed up - but this one is best left on the shelf. If you want a real Spider-Man fix, you'll have to do it at home.

Added:  Monday, June 20, 2005
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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