Once again we are treated to another Spider-Man based game. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is sort of different because it is not tied to a Movie the creators had a real opportunity to create a unique experience. Unfortunately, it winds up being just generally average. For every positive in the game, there is an equal negative dragging the overall experience down. While better than last year’s Friend or Foe, it still does not rank up with some of the better Spidey games of days gone by.
The story centers around our favorite web-head and his ultra common foe, Venom. Truthfully, I’m a bit tired of Venom and he is overplayed. Needless to say there are hi-jinks abound as the symbiote starts spreading to people all over the city. Never saw that one coming…You get to control Spidey as both the Symbiote and standard version, but there really isn’t a choice at any point. You get to do some different things in the alien suit, but it doesn’t seem to make a real impact. A few other characters from the Spidey universe are thrown in, particularly Luke Cage, Black Cat and others, but they don’t serve a huge function. Yeah, they give missions, but they seem like lame NPCs in an RPG rather than true characters. Oh, and you get to fight Wolverine… never saw that one coming, either.
The combat in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is flashy, fun to watch, but boring to execute. Mash target button over and over, win game. That’s it. The game does execute cool looking combos for you, and the combat is varied in some areas and in some boss fights, but when you boil it down, its all about button mashing. Controlling Spidey is generally responsive and well done, just wish there was something else to do with those tight controls. Flying around the city is fun and there are some cool things to see and do. Problem is, this was the best part of the game, and had nothing really to do with the plot.
The graphical presentation is actually quite nice I thought, from the characters to the city itself. Well, until the frame rate drops and then it’s quite poor. It seems to be a curse that video game developers cannot manage frame rate vs. onscreen action appropriately. The sound is okay, nothing earth shattering here. The voice acting is mediocre at best and detracts from the experience.
Overall, I was left with the impression that Spider-Man: Web of Shadows could have been really great if some care was taken to vary the experience, but instead we are left with an average beat ‘em up. Swinging around the city is fun while it lasts, but you’ll end up feeling a bit unsatisfied at the end of the day.
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