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Author Topic: Review - Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (Wii)  (Read 1857 times)

Mark

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Review - Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (Wii)
« on: May 22, 2009, 04:18:03 PM »


This game has seen some pretty rough scores and so I rented it with low expectations.  Surprisingly, we had a pretty good time playing it, but I can definitely see why its reviews are less than stellar.

This is a game that is clearly intended for kids.  This is a repetitive, barebones beat 'em up that offers very little else.

You can play the entire game in coop.  The first player is always Spidey while the second player can be any of the unlocked alternate characters (there are many to choose from as you advance in the game - I will list them in my second post since it is somewhat of a spoiler).

Coop is limited to 2 player local.  No online and no more than 2 players.  P2 can drop in and out anytime, although you can't choose a different character unless you are in the level select hub.

The good:

The battle system is actually quite solid.  You can fluidly dispatch your enemies in a variety of fun and creative ways.  Particularly if you are Spider-Man (which at least one person will always be in coop).  That's not to say that the others aren't fun, they definitely have their specialties if you experiment with them, but Spidey has much more variety through his different web "styles".

The writing is pretty decent with a little bit of humor to go along with the passable storyline.  The voice acting is pretty good and it is fun to listen to the little things Spidey and his partner say to each other while fighting (changes depending on who the partner is).  Every main stage starts with a cutscene that is entertaining.

There are nice little secrets hidden here and there that provide money and other bonuses.  Money can be used to buy upgrades that steadily improve both Spidey and his friends.

Coop play is great!  You can double team enemies brutally, you get rewarded for finishing off an enemy together, and it just really feels good to strategically dismantle swarms of mixed enemies with a friend.

The bad:

This has got to be the worst-paced game ever.  Every stage is exceptionally formulaic and doesn't offer a whole lot in terms of variety and strategy.  You walk a little bit, you get blocked off and have to face a group of enemies.  You kill them, you walk a little bit more, you face a slightly stronger group of enemies.  Rinse and repeat about 10 times per level and maybe throw in a mini boss or two somewhere and occasionally a main boss at the end.

There are basically 3 main enemies you will fight throughout the game.  Small, medium, and large.  They get reskinned a bit between changes in scenery and might change behavior slightly, but for the most part it feels like you are fighting the same three enemies throughout the game.  There are also three types of mini bosses (one of which simply spawns enemies and does nothing but sit there itself).  And then there are the bosses which can be interesting except they drag the fights out way too long.

Pointless mid-stage cut scenes.  Frequently throughout every little stage, the action stops and you are greeted with a 10-second cut scene that introduces you to the enemies that you will be fighting next.  There is no humorous situation or really anything unique or interesting about it.  They just kind of spawn in and teleport from one platform to a closer platform.  Also, when you beat a group, the game goes out of the way to show you a cut scene of the door/tile that just unlocked 15 feet away that you would pretty much pass by anyway.  The game is almost completely linear, with the exception of a few dead-end forks here and there to grab extra items.

Graphics are pretty bad.  The characters themselves are alright and they are animated well.  The backgrounds on the other hand - let's just say it would help if they hired an actual texture artist.  The backgrounds look like tech demos before the PS2 was released.  Everything looks pretty washed out and bland.

Mentally-challenged/buggy AI.  I've had my AI partner jump to his death repeatedly.  And I've scratched my head trying to figure out why I can't press on after clearing a room of enemies, only to find a lone enemy trapped behind a background obstruction.  It's almost laughably bad at times.

Mixed bag:

I love the variety in the secondary character roster.  Every character has a little bit of a nuance to separate him or her from the others.  Unfortunately, there are also many similarities.  All of the heavy guys have the same mid-air powerbomb grab.  The ground combos are frequently the same as are the air juggles.  There are exceptions, but there are a lot of intersects and that is a bit disappointing.

It's also kind of odd that you are always forced to use Spidey.  He by far has the most variety of all the characters and is pretty integral to the story, but it would have been cool if you could then play free after beating the game once.

Conclusion:

There are so many things wrong with this game.  There is so much mediocrity and lack of love.  And yet, after I've returned the rental, I have this itch to play it again from time to time.  And that is because behind all that dullness is still a pretty fun battle system that is great to play with a friend.  On the single-player scale I give this game a 6.25.  You are forced to have a partner in single player and the AI is dumb as a brick.  On the coop scale I give this game a 7.0.

No way this game was worth retail when it came out.  But now it can be had for around $20 new.  Probably worth it if you have kids or just really like Spider-Man and mindless brawlers.

Personally, I was quite pleased with it as a rental and will still consider picking it up if it hits around $10.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2009, 04:40:37 PM by Mark »

Mark

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Re: Review - Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (Wii)
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009, 04:20:12 PM »
*SPOILER*

Full roster:

Spider-Man

Silver Sable

Prowler

Black Cat

Dr. Octopus

Green Goblin

Scorpion

Iron Fist

Rhino

Lizard

Sandman

Blade

Venom

New Goblin

Spider-Man in Symbiote Suit (hard to count this as a character since moves don't actually change)
« Last Edit: May 22, 2009, 04:28:18 PM by Mark »

 




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