NZGamer was fortunate enough to attend Activate â€™08 â€“ a three day over-view of Activision / Blizzardâ€™s gaming titles set for launch leading up to Xmas. This is what we saw...
Another year, another Spiderman game. Web of Shadows brought with it mixed emotions upon first viewing. Personally Iâ€™m a huge Spiderman fan and just swinging around the city of New York gave me hours of enjoyment in previous titles. However, almost all of the games in the past have been hampered by poor combat and dodgey camera angles. When the producer of Web of Shadows took center stage, one of the first things he said was how they had dedicated a lot of time to these issues so as you can imagine â€“ expectations were high.
However five minutes later he picked up a controller and started to show us possibly the worst ever display of in-game combat Iâ€™ve ever seen. It involved a possibly drunk Spidey running back up and down a building whilst trying to kill Venom-look-alikes. Glancing around the room, I wasnâ€™t the only one about to lose my 5-Star breakfast due to motion sickness. Things werenâ€™t looking good.
Luckily though, the following day the press got hands-on time with Web of Shadows and thankfully the game proved to be a much better experience when in control. Essentially the game is a very similar formula to the Spiderman 3 title. You are placed in a free-roaming New York city, the game is third person and you have access to both your red/blue and black Venom-like suit. However now Spidey can chose to change his suit at any point in the game â€“ even mid-combat if desired and each suit offers a different array of attacks and moves. The red/blue suit is quicker, more agile and more controllable where the black suit is slower, more destructive and likely to cause collateral damage to the poor citizens of New York. The city itself has been given a lot more detail too, with shop fronts now being destructible allowing you to throw enemies into glass windows.
And as promised, the combat controls have been improved, despite what our first viewing indicated. Your arsenal of moves (for both suits) can be upgraded through-out the game and allow for the player to select what aspects of Spidey to improve â€“ whether web skills, special attacks, or aerial moves, etc. The issue of the â€śslow-to-reactâ€ť camera has been addressed also. Previous Spiderman games sometimes resulted in the action disappearing off the screen but now the camera focuses on either Spidey â€“ or the villain you have targeted to attack. The end result makes stringing together combos and even attacking multiple foes more fluid. I got the feeling it is still early days for Web of Shadows so some of the bugs witnessed will hopefully be ironed out before release. But this game could be a welcomed addition to the Spiderman franchise for those who enjoyed Spiderman 2 and 3.
For more from Activate '08, visit our Activate '08: Full Coverage Feature.
The Good: Don your Spidey suit, it's time to fight crime!
The Bad: Web of Shadows brought with it mixed emotions upon first viewing.
The Ugly: May still be plagued from the poor combat engine.