Spider-Man: Web Of Shadows

Spidey can’t catch a break lately. The third movie was laughable in many places, and the last couple of games just went downhill fast. Of course, I’m sure all of these enterprises made bucket loads of money for those involved, so who am I to judge.

And now we have Activision’s latest attempt, Web of Shadows. Eschewing the movie world for the comic books, we’re presented with an intriguing premise and some novel gameplay mechanics. Unfortunately, there are an equal number of design flaws and other annoyances mixed in as well, making this yet another Spiderman title that isn’t what it could (or should) be.

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Things start off well. New York City is being overrun by symbiotes (from that alien entity thing that’s pals with Venom – can you tell I’m not a huge Spidey fan?), and it all looks pretty dire. Amidst this chaos, you’ll go through a tutorial that quickly gets repetitive – but more on that later. Once this segment is finished, the rest of the game plays through the few days leading up to the attack. During the course of the plot, you’ll encounter Spiderman-related heroes and villains, as well as cameos from the likes of Wolverine. Comic book fans may appreciate some of the lesser-known baddies getting their moment in the sun, but for most people, you’ll never have heard of many of them.

What Web of Shadows does well is the basic feeling of roaming the city. Spidey’s web-slinging antics are well recreated here, and you’ll initially get quite a buzz from simply swinging around the place. Combat is simple yet effective, for the most part – you can use Spidey’s many web-related abilities to pull yourself towards the baddies and kick their butts. It all looks good, but unfortunately gets fairly repetitive after a while.

This is indicative of the game as a whole. It’s always a shame when developers pad out what should be a tight, short game with too much content. In this case, the game could probably have been half the length – I might have complained about a lack of value in that case, but at least I wouldn’t have had to sit through as many identical fights.

The plot is all over the place as well. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of Spiderman tropes, but in a derivative, incoherent way. By the end, I was too numbed by the repetitiveness to care much about what happened to New York City. Having said that, there are multiple endings, and you have the chance to respond to events either heroically or evilly. It’s fun to take Spidey well away from what he’d actually say, but the implementation of all this is a bit patchy, making it feel half baked at times. And again, the plot doesn’t do you any favours here either.

Graphically, this game is a mixed bag. Some aspects look really pretty – Spidey’s animations, particularly when leaping around the place, are awesome. However, the cityscape feels really sterile at times, and there are several glitches in there – such as frame rate drops and tearing – that bring things down.

Overall, this one is worth a rent – it’s fun to swing around for a while, and you can always return it to the video store once you get bored. It’s hard to recommend it at full price though, unless you’re a hardcore Spiderman fan, or just want to have a fight with Wolverine. There are certainly some good features in Web of Shadows, but they’re wrapped up in a pile of poor implementation.

"Design flaws stifle a lot of the fun."
- Spider-Man: Web Of Shadows
Follow Own it? Rating: PG   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 30 Min


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Comments Comments (11)

Posted by cute_maori
On Tuesday 11 Nov 2008 6:38 PM
Awesome, trailer looks slick.
Posted by ChatterboxZombie
On Tuesday 11 Nov 2008 9:29 PM
All i want is another ultimate spiderman.
Is that too much to ask?
3 tries and they still cant get it right.
Posted by kaz
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 12:22 AM
sweet, but I know what you mean
Posted by KravenMore
On Friday 14 Nov 2008 9:41 AM
I've seen such conflicting reviews of this game. I guess since it's already down to the $35 mark that it could well be worth a go. Even if all they've got right is the web slinging, that would be enough to make it worth a go or two. I know it sounds sh*te but scripted events could make for much better "random encounters" in the game. If you're swinging past the empire state building and you see someone getting thrown off the observation platform for you to save, that would make a much better side mission than "oh no, my stupid child has let go of his balloon, oh who will save us from the no balooniness!"
Posted by JoeyX
On Friday 14 Nov 2008 9:58 PM
To add, this is the best Spiderman game to date hands down.
Combat has been done very well and the city, story, choices to take in the story and swinging are amazing. The Voice Acting is terrible at parts, but is easily looked past.
Posted by Oliver
On Saturday 15 Nov 2008 12:42 AM
Spiderman has never ever interested me. I only ever saw the 1st and 3rd movies because that's what friends were seeing, so I followed. And I know the last few games have been average at best, so I came into this review looking for a performance that might attract me to the Spiderman story. No dice. They're going to need to do a lot more to attract 'outsiders' like me into the franchise, and even more to keep their long time fans.
Posted by Isinfier
On Sunday 16 Nov 2008 4:20 PM
Yay, more spider man. I remember playing this spider man game on PS1, it was sooo sick! (in a good way). but it seems as though they keep churning them out without anything to set them apart =(
Posted by Mach1_9pants
On Monday 17 Nov 2008 6:03 PM
7.0 has got to be the highest score I have seen for a movie game franchise..normally they are pants! Oh this one and QoS. SM3 is probably a miss IMO even with a 7 score
Posted by littleboyl33t
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 5:54 PM
Sounds cool.
Posted by arnies
On Thursday 20 Nov 2008 10:15 PM
Another Spidermadn game? Hadn;t even heard of this before here
Posted by orbis1357
On Thursday 4 Dec 2008 9:17 PM
i think ill pass on this one