First Impressions: As Spider-Man overheard some street thugs wanting to smoke "Mary Jane," he was sued for unnecessary brutality after mistaking their phrasing. Now unemployed, Peter can be found singing his Spider-Man jingle for coinage in the streets of New York.
Spider-Man first and foremost is a comic book character. When people today think of the geek-turned-wisecracking-superman, the widely popular blockbuster movies are probably the first thought to pop into their minds. That's where developer Treyarch wants to change the scales and remind people where Spidey's origins have always lied: in artistic literature. But to which series would portray Spider-Man in such an original way that's never been done before in games would be just the right path to go with one of the hottest reads in the comic biz? That choice of course is Ultimate Spider-Man. Rather than do the same old song and dance with the more traditional side of the grown-up Peter Parker, Treyarch is shrinking him down to size in his teen years when school was still his priority...but so is the entirety of New York City.
This is a story arc before Peter became the man in the mask, when Peter was but a teen. Still in High School, Peter works feverishly online at the Daily Bugle's website, as a brainy student, is a boyfriend to Mary Jane, and on top of everything else he's also Spider-Man. Before Eddie Brock met the alien symbiote and was transformed into the hulking, murderous, Spider-Man squasher, he was childhood friends with the very arachnid-to-be, Peter Parker. Then they split ways. Peter became Spider-Man. Eddie became Venom. Now these two are mortal enemies. That's how Venom sees it anyway, as Peter still wants to help his friend and to investigate what went wrong in their past. Namely, the truth about what happened to their parents.
Obviously there's no big budget film to bank another Spider-Man game off of this year, like what Activision and Treyarch set out to do last year. That's not stopping them from exploiting the wallcrawler in another way, however. So the question you might have burning on your brain, is how does Treyarch plan on establishing another action title set in the Spider-Man universe without the movie around? To answer that easily, they're going to base this new game off of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book series. But also, they're going to start by building off of the mistakes that they left behind in Spider-Man 2. In Spider-Man 2, there was a humongous model of New York built that Spider-Man could explore reaching from the highest towers and plunging straight down into the street level depths in the heart of the Big Apple. Treyarch went down the wrong path when they decided to leave the interactive NPC people of the streets a voice with only a limited number of missions to hand out to Spidey. These became overly repetitive. This time the company is heading in the right direction when they say they want to expand beyond the meager sampling of objectives from last time and refine these obstacles by giving Spidey new missions, new moves, and even a new character to play as.
Venom fanatics (I know you're out there): get ready for a dosage of excitement that'll have you doing backflips in your seat. He's going to be a playable character. Okay, maybe it's not such big news, considering the fact that players will have less screen time as him than they will Spider-Man. But the interesting thing is that while playing as Venom, players will get to tear up New York -- tossing vehicles and water towers, and also eating people. Yep. In one instance as Venom, a duel between himself and Electro will break out. The victor of this battle royal is the one Spider-Man will end up facing in a following sequence, since at the moment he's been pummeled into an unconscious state. Taking actions like chewing on meaty human flesh and ripping down electrical wires is what'll keep Venom's statistics in healthy balance. But when not playing as Venom, players will naturally be webslinging as Spider-Man in both saving people's lives and battling a bigger host of nemesis' than ever before. One of the main villains Spider-Man is to face (yet again) is Rhino. This time though it'll be a different kind of experience than ever before, as Spider-Man will have to chase Rhino first before he gets to lay the smack down. While Mr. Horny rampages through the city, Spidey will have to rescue people who become endangered in his destructive trail. For instance, a taxi will be tossed into the side of building high up with the driver trapped inside. Underneath the car on the street below is a child in risk of being crushed. It won't be too long before the vehicle plummets. Taking a morality path, Spider-Man will encounter multiple choices like this that'll ask players to choose who to save first based off of timed counters which'll hover over their NPC noggins. Some other mission types will see Spidey foiling bank robberies, pulling a taxi from a subway entrance, partaking in car chases, and putting rival street gang warfare to a halt as well. The good news is that there'll be a greater distinction between sidequests and main ones now -- and there'll exist a bigger variety of them so redundancy doesn't get in the way of a good time.
Swinging through New York in Spider-Man 2 was absolutely astonishing with the authentically tweaked web usage. Don't worry, that's not going anywhere. What's being changed now is the combat system. Where gliding through the air was a sheer blast, confronting knuckleheads with stiff combo-based attacks on the ground wasn't as much. This time, Treyarch is really going all the way when they're going to allow for Spider-Man to act much more fluidly; enabling him to flip off walls, lampposts, mailboxes, and the like and perform sweet combos and evasion tactics all the same -- more to the likeness of the comic character. Speaking of which, to act like a comic book character one must look like a comic book character. There'll be no gritty graphics for Spider-Man this time (not that Spider-Man 2 was very "gritty" per se). Treyarch is naming Ultimate Spider-Man's cel-shaded-like visual technique 3D comic inking. The game will look like a comic book in motion, using boldly outlined characters and objects, bright oranges and reds for explosions, and just an overall cartoony city that'll be compact more so compared to the size of Spider-Man 2. Assuredly though, in using the 3D inking technique, Ultimate Spider-Man is already looking to be more graphically enhanced than that of last year's plain-natured action game. The first non-cel-shaded cel-shaded-looking Spider-Man game is coming ladies and gentlemen... suck it in!