|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Amaze Entertainment / Treyarch||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 21, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
More than your average side-scroller, Web of Shadows is a button-mash fiesta that comes with a bit more depth than simply fighting off oncoming bad guys and a loose storyline attached. Everyones favorite webslinger is put to the ultimate test as New York City becomes infested with symbiotes, classic villains, and enough generic goons to fill several state prisons. As you leap and swing your way through linear cityscapes, the outcome of the game will be determined by the decisions you make with the ultimate goal of cleansing the city of the sinister symbiotes. After quickly becoming infected, Spidey is faced with an internal battle between good and evil, fighting off the selfish urges of his Black Suit to keep his reputation of a heroic do-gooder alive amongst the citizens of New York City.
As you play, you will travel left-to-right along city streets, rooftops, and underground New York, as you encounter an array of oncoming thugs, heavily-armed robots, symbiotes, bosses, and supervillains from the Spider-Man universe. One of your first tasks is to defeat Venom as he pops out from behind a giant James Jameson billboard to confront Spidey. It may take a couple of attempts, but defeating him is when the game actually begins as the sadistic symbiote jumps onto Spider-Man, allowing you to then switch between his traditional costume and the black-and-white costume at the push of the Select button. Both versions of Spidey come with their own list of moves and functions, offering a bit of variety to the traditional button-mash play style.
Keeping a good reputation amongst the city and its civilians is essential to your success in Web of Shadows. As you travel along, youll encounter numerous citizens in distress and loads of other tasks with the choice to lend a helping glove or simply move on. Encountering a citizen in need of help begins with a spoken comment from Spidey, and then leads into a text conversation between the two, which allows you to choose from three separate replies. Each is marked by its own color, and which one you choose will result in how many Skill Points you earn as either red or black Spider-Man. Positive responses earn points for red, negative responses earn points for black and neutral wont earn squat. Racking up Skill Points allows you to unlock bonus moves for each costume, though keeping the sarcastic black-suited Spideys points down is essential to maintaining a positive reputation.
The button setup is as simple as using analog to move around, X to jump and sling webs, and Square and Triangle to punch and kick. The attack buttons allow for some cool midair combos and beat-downs to defeat enemies, though it is disappointing there isnt a grapple button or any throws incorporated to add more depth to the gameplay. As a result, the game tends to be an extremely repetitious button-masher. However, as you unlock new moves in the long list of skills, both black and red Spider-Man can become equipped with a deadly mix of attacks, extra toughness, agility, health bar extensions and other attributes. Making your way up and across the levels is pretty cool, as Spidey has the ability to stick to walls and ceilings and scurry through narrow crevasses and high platforms. In fact, it is the way the webbed-one moves along any surface he can stick to that gives this game its charm, and youll have to leap around and get froggy with some hard-to-beat bosses. He can shoot webs to trap generic attackers momentarily and navigation is also made easier by the use of your Spidey Sense, which can help point you in the right direction if you get lost or help to determine where attackers may be lurking around corners.
While the button setup can be repetitious, the biggest problem is that the action tends to be slightly choppy at times. Clipping occurs depending on how much is happening onscreen at once, and it happens too frequently to go unnoticed. While its not a serious error, it can be a tad frustrating in heart-pounding moments against a tough opponent. There are also some noticeable hit-detection issues with attackers, which seem to become most noticeable at crucial moments. Swiping directly through enemies or even performing entire combos that are wasted by not making contact isnt too annoying when battling random oncoming baddies. When it happens in a fight against a more difficult boss, however, it is a lot more irritating.