You Will Believe A Spider Can Fly.
First and foremost, Spider-Man is all about web-swinging, and does this game ever get it right, moreso than any Spider-Man game before it. Swinging through a virtual New York whenever you want, however you want, is an adrenaline rush that lacks written description. It's simply exhilarating, and exploring the city is as much fun as completing the missions. Treyarch did a fantastic job of this.
Graphics and sound? Improved from the first film-based game. Tobey Maguire returns, as does the smack-talking Bruce Campbell as your constant tour guide. Alfred Molina and Kirsten Dunst also fill into to give the game a more authentic feel. And Holly Fields' portrayal as the Black Cat is one of the better voice overs I've heard in a game in quite a while. The music, while not Danny Elfman, really adds an "epic" feel to the game. It definitely works. As for the graphics? Big, beautiful, and detailed. The city is great, and swinging through Times Square or Ground Zero at night just gives an amazing feel to the adventure. If it's in New York, then it's presented here.
Controls are also spot-on. With the upgrades purchased, Spider-Man becomes so nimble and fluid that if you want to do it, there's very little limiting the imagination. Swinging from a web and doing a few flips before launching another web is possible. Hanging bad guys from a traffic light and taking a few extra punches at them is possible. Running around as Peter Parker, taking pictures, and getting in trouble for being late all the time is possible. And Spider-Sense is actually more useful than ever this time.
As impressive as the whole Mysterio set-up is, (love the "Mars Attacks"-style music), it's one of the more frustrating and annoying parts of the game. You really want to beat Mysterio to a pulp for being so annoying, so if this continues on the whole "Spider-Man simulator" aspect, good job. However, it doesn't ease the frustration. I also don't know what the fascination is with the Shocker, though. I've always thought he was a second-rate bad guy.
Also of note is that some of the voice-acting is a little lame, and feels like either it's overacted, or people are just reading through their lines. Overall, it's top-notch, and there are some really funny one-liners, but it does break out of the game's "world" from time to time.
The only Spider-power I would have liked to have seen? Being able to pick up objects like cars or dumpsters, or web cars in place as they try to get away. Still, there's so much else to do, you'll manage to get by.
The Bottom Line
There was a time when any game based off a comic book or movie was guaranteed to be horrible. Yet when Activision released their Spider-Man game for PSOne back in 2000, it was pretty much the only game that got the feel of Spider-Man "right", allowing the player to use Spidey's powers as his normal abilities, and not some special privilege with penalties.
The game follows the movie's plot pretty closely, with plenty of other characters and things to do that were never included in the movie. And there's a lot to do in this game. Spider-Man is not always about trashing super villains. It's also about stopping muggers and purse-snatchers too. Again, Treyarch understood this.
It has a few hang-ups here and there, but they're extremely minor, and you forget about them instantly. But forgetting the movie aspect of this title (which is very, very good), this is easily the best comic book based and Spider-Man title I've ever played. Highly recommended.