At the very least, Vicarious Visions and Activision deserve credit for not simply porting the console version of Spiderman 2 to the PSP. It seems that’s all companies are doing even with a limited library on the PSP already. The problem here is that Spiderman 2 was a great game on the home systems. The PSP rendition is not.
It’s not that it’s missed the mark entirely. It plays much like an upgrade of the original two Spiderman games on the PS One. That means the free-roaming aspects have disappeared entirely, each section of the game now split individually into short levels. The title loosely follows the plot of the film, changing things along the way, including adding new villains and switching up the ending a bit. Along the way, you’ll plow through using basic beat-em-up mechanics to take down lower level thugs until you reach the main perpetrator.
Spiderman himself looks great on the small screen, complete with all the necessary details. He’s animated fluidly, containing most of the combos he has possessed since those original versions. The environments he swings about in are highly detailed, deep, and impressive. In-between each stage, completely original and occasionally stunning CG cinematics play, mimicking the movie where needed. A few muddy textures can be spotted, though in the heat of a battle, you’re not going to pick up much.
The games biggest problem is that there’s not enough of anything. On the easiest setting, prepare to blast through the game in less than three hours. For harder difficulties, add an hour for each step up. One play through is enough to unlock everything, see all the moves, and produce a fully powered-up human/arachnid hybrid (which you’ll do by performing complicated combos and earning money to use in a store).
If the game was solid enough, you could manage some replay value simply because of quality. That’s simply not the case. The camera, unsurprisingly, commits more crime than anyone you fight in the game. Thanks to the PSPs lack of a second analog, the only way to adjust it is with the d-pad. Even then, you need to stop moving entirely. There’s no reason to dislocate your fingers trying to do it while running.
This makes the boss fights, as entertaining and enjoyable as they should be, a chore. The Rhino/Shocker fight late in the game is fantastic, using the environment like a good boss fight should. Unfortunately, you’re going to be hit far more often than is acceptable, and it all comes back to the lackluster camera.
The cast of the film returns to voice their characters, both in the game and during cinemas. The new voice actors, like those for characters not appearing in the movie, are fine. A few clips from the film’s soundtrack makes an occasional appearance too. The new music created for the game is grating, repetitive, and far too loud. Keep it turned up during the cinemas, mute it for actual gameplay.
Had the game been released at a bargain price, it would almost be acceptable. At $50, it’s a rip-off. Even for a die-hard fan of the character, there’s just not enough here to keep you occupied or playing. It’s not a terrible game, just one with hardly enough to offer to make it worth purchasing.