Spiderman: Web of Shadows
The web swinging superhero delivers with both good and bad.
Posted 4 years ago By - Jeffrey Lansing
Spider-Man is at it again in Web of Shadows, and as the title suggests, the red, tights wearing superhero battles his ultimate nemesis, himself. The lengthy game with a solid storyline will keep you enthralled in the web-slinging action from basic street brawls to big boss battles.
A riveting tutorial introduction throws you into the game right from the beginning. Dark skies envelope the city as you battle a host of creepy crawling symbiotes. You soon find out that this foreboding scene takes place four days in the future as you’re brought back to present time, not knowing what leads to the apparent demise of New York City.
No longer limited by a movie contract, Web of Shadows’ unique but confusing storyline sees Spider-Man engage in an early battle with Venom where part of the symbiote attaches itself to Spider-Man. This development gives Spider-Man extra powers, but it also gives him an evil edge, which plays a role in the game as it progresses. The early portion of the game focuses on simple missions but they quickly grow longer and more complex as you advance. Each level of the game encompasses a good or evil character, and usually ends with an extravagant and entertaining boss battle. A major strength in Web of Shadows is the ability to choose a path of good or evil, red suit Spidey or black suit Spidey respectively. While missions and objectives make slight changes throughout the game, your choices between good and evil can mean a completely different ending to the story.
Fighting is the name of the game in Web of Shadows and mashing the attack buttons provide satisfying results. As bad guys get trickier, you’ll learn quickly that some technique is required. Spider-Man has an array of abilities at his disposal: punch combinations, jump attacks, web strikes, web shots, and a variety of special moves which require the special meter. When you consider he has a different arsenal with the black suit, you then begin to realize how button mashing can be so enjoyable. Of course using the black suit also allows you to throw cars, one of the most fun things to do in the game. What also keeps the fighting system fresh and challenging is the ability to upgrade your suits. As you kick butt around the city and help save civilians you gain experience points. The points can then be used to upgrade your suits, to help make your attack moves more powerful and complex. Each new upgrade usually requires a timed tap of a button, or series of buttons. This leads to a more challenging, but rewarding experience as you progress through the game.
Another thing which keeps Web of Shadows fun is the different kind of fights. If all the symbiote battles took place on the ground or even on rooftops, the game would likely get boring fast. But the game keeps your interest because you can carry out fights on the ground, on walls, and in the air. It’s amazing, but even without the ability to fly, Spider-Man is able to take part in full-on battles above skyscrapers without ever touching the ground. There are even a couple bosses that challenge you to take to the skies to defeat them. The best part of it is, it’s not a huge challenge to do so, because the fighting system is so easy to use. Now I can’t say the fighting and overall gameplay doesn’t come without its flaws as the camera work can be tricky. You can control the camera and is generally pretty accurate, but using your Spider-Sense is usually when you can swing into trouble. Your Spider-Sense identifies any nearby enemies by highlighting them in red. From here, Spidey can target a particular enemy but it can get confusing, especially in the heat of battle. Remembering to disengage or focus on a different adversary, it’s often difficult to re-engage your Spider-Sense to the enemy of choice when surrounded by several others.
Maybe the most important and unique aspect of any Spider-Man game is swinging around town. This game makes it an absolute joy to go from mission to mission through New York. Sometimes you may have to swing for a few minutes to get to a required location, but it’s never tedious work, it’s fun. Spider-Man’s mobility does come with a bit of a learning curve, but using the wall sprint and web zip soon become second-nature as you conquer the city. The wide-range of noticeable characters offer comic fans a real treat, and also leads to some epic boss battles. My favorite parts are the endings, which you’re often thrown into a movie sequence where Spidey and his foe take on some lame dialogue as they continue to throw a their last punches. A specific button will flash on screen and you’ll have to tap that button at the right time (just like Force Unleashed), to trigger the next sequence which will eventually lead to the end of the fight.
Graphics and Sound
Web of Shadows is a treat to the eyes and ears. Zipping through New York is esthetically pleasing and the sound of whistling through the air is a joy. Even jumping off sky scrapers and free falling before deploying your web is a rare scene. There’s excellent detail in every building and park bench. And the pleasant blue skies of New York turn to an ominous red as the storyline evolves. The red and black suit special attack moves also include some great visual effects which add to the fights. The voice work in the game is one thing which could have used some work, unless you’re okay with cheesy dialogue, and really bad one-liners. You eventually get used to Spider-Man’s non-stop fat jokes aimed at Kingpin, even though they seemed a little inappropriate coming from a superhero.
There is decent replay value in Web of Shadows, although it’s not great. The story is roughly 12 hours long and it doesn’t offer a multiplayer, or co-operative option, which granted would be difficult. It still would have added some replay value. One thing which will make you want to play it again is the willingness to take the evil path or vice-versa, depending on which path you took the first time. It’s something worth doing just to see the different ending.
Spider-Man Web of Shadows offers a mediocre storyline, but it easily overcomes that with solid gameplay which involves an evolving and interactive fighting system. Even though the battles can be repetitive, you’ll remain entertained with an abundance of moves at your fingertips. The game looks good, and Spider-Man’s bad voice work is at the very least laughable. When you take everything into consideration, Web of Shadows delivers entertainment from start to finish.
You don’t have to be a Spidey fan to enjoy this one. Good fighting, fluid web swinging and exciting boss battles make this game enjoyable. I won’t say it’s a must buy, but it’s definitely a must try.
+ Swinging through the city is a blast.
+ Exciting and challenging boss battles.
+ Suit upgrades are a great feature.
+ Choose a path option adds depth.
- Spider-Man dialogue is painful.
- Camera control can be tricky.
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Release Date : 2008/11/11
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Activision
Developer : Treyarch
Category : Action-Adventure
ESRB : T
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