Summary [7 out of 10]
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is the latest Spider-Man game to hit gaming consoles. Like previous Spider-Man games it is an Action/Beat-em-Up game where you play as Spider-Man in New York City. Web of Shadows focuses on how Spider-Man chooses between his classic red and blue suit and his black Symbiote suit. The choices you make as Spider-Man determine the final outcome of the game.
I’ll admit that I’m a fan of beat-em-up style games and their mindless enemy fighting. I also am a fan of Marvel comics and their related universes. So, I’m was probably a little biased when I decided to play Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. However, looking back on playing it now that I’ve completed the game I had fun playing it. Both because it was a Spider-Man game, but also because the game play mechanics are fun. Had the game been based around some other character but still played the same way I think it would still be a fun game.
- Game Mechanics. Playing as Spider-Man requires that you be able to do things other game characters don’t do like climb wall, swing from place to place with your web, and have web attacks. All of these work well in the game. You can swing anywhere on your web and climb any building. Plus, the web based attack combos are really fun; especially after they get leveled up a few times. Web of Shadows does a great job of making you feel like you’re doing the stuff Spider-Man can do.
- Supporting Characters. The game has a ton of characters from the Marvel universe in it. Some, like Tinkerer and Kingpin, are there for the story cut scenes, but there are also seven characters you can call in to help you in a fight. These are Black Cat, Electro, Luke Cage, Moon Knight, Rhino, Vulture, and Wolverine. You don’t get to play as these characters, but having them join your fights is a nice touch.
- The “Good” Story Line. The story was a great Spider-Man focused plot. It has the all the usual internal and external struggles that Spider-Man deals with in the comics.
- Optional Side Missions. When you’re given a mission it general comes with 3 or 4 side missions that you can choose to complete or not. You then are set loose on the city and you can do whatever you want until you’re ready to go and do the actual main mission. However, all of these side missions are extremely repetitive and if you don’t do them you will not get enough experience to level up Spider-Man’s combos. The side missions tend to be beat 10 bad guys, and then once you complete that one you’ll get one to beat 20 bad guys. However, each one of these your counter for number of guys beaten resets to zero. By the end of the game when the missions are to beat 500 bad guys this gets really old.
- The “Bad Story Line. At key plot points in the game you have the choice to be good or bad. However, if you choose the bad story line it doesn’t feel like Spider-Man any more. It feels like the “bad” story line was added to make another bullet point on a list of features and not to really explore how Spider-Man might make these types of decisions.
- The Camera. Don’t get me wrong, the camera is not always bad. A lot of the time it works great. However, when you go from swinging to the side of a building or from the side of a building to the roof the camera has a tendency to not re-orient itself. Even when you click the right thumb stick to recenter the camera it will still be pointed off into space or in the direction you previously were facing. In these cases I would have to jump off the wall or roof, land on the ground, recenter the camera and try it again. It was like the camera did not always recognize when your switch where “up” should be. Towards the end of the game when you can stay in mid-air for long periods of time it got especially bad. For one whole fight with a boss the camera was turned 90 degrees to the right and would not recenter for me.
Conclusion [7 out of 10]
Even with its flaws Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is a fun beat-em-up game. The combos you unlock in the second half of the game are really fun to execute and the overall feeling of being Spider-Man is really well done. The campaign is only 7 to 10 hours long depending how many side missions you do so I would recommend renting and not buying it. Still, if you can ignore the camera when it messes up you should have a great time with it.