When you are beginning your adventure in Spider Man Web of Shadows it looks like the game has a lot of promise. There is an expansive city for you to play in and it is pretty much open to you right from the beginning. Swinging through the city can be fun and once you get the hang of the controls you can get to your destination rather quickly. There are also a bunch of comic book heroes that make their appearance in the game such as Wolverine. Another thing the title has going for it is that it is not tied to a movie, so the development team has a lot more freedom in what they want to do. Unfortunately, a lot of that potential is never realized.
The game starts out well enough. You go through some brief tutorials where you learn the basic mechanics of the game. You are also quickly introduced to the game’s upgrade system. Here you can purchase things such as more advanced combos and things of that nature by using the experience points you acquire during fights. You can also look at who you have for allies and you will be given a brief history about each of them. There is a map within the game but it is generally pretty useless. There is also a small mini map on the bottom left of the screen which helps you out more as it will show you a crime being committed if you are close to the location. You can also hold down the left trigger button and it will highlight any enemies that are in your immediate area. If you are having trouble locating them simply use this function to help locate them. They might be on the roof of a building you didn’t think of or maybe they are fighting in some alley.
The combat in this game is pretty decent. You have your melee button, as well as being able to shoot little webs at your enemies and then there is the web shot itself. Using the web shot you can lock onto enemies and then by timing it right you can pounce on their head and take off a decent amount of health. This tactic is especially useful if you are fighting airborne enemies as you will do from time to time. Unfortunately it doesn’t take long before everything becomes far too repetitive. Some of the optional missions that Spider Man is given are a great way to illustrate that point. One optional mission you will encounter is to defeat 100 enemies. That’s not too bad but then after you do that, you go to the next part of that optional mission in where they want to defeat an additional 150 enemies. Now these are optional missions and can be skipped over but it is just one of the many things that tends to get repetitive in this game. The camera in the game is also a mixed blessing. You can control it for the most part but at times it can be pretty unresponsive. There are times when the action is really fast and the camera tends to get confused. Instead of pointing up towards the top of the building, all of a sudden I am looking at the ground. Or when I am standing on the roof of a building, the camera would not always allow me to look around. This can be especially frustrating if you are in the midst of a battle, especially if the enemies are in the air.
As far as the enemies are concerned the A.I. isn’t terribly intelligent. Some of them have definite issues such as not being able to find the correct path at times. You have one mission where you have to chase someone throughout the city, from rooftop to rooftop. However there are points where she just runs in circles until somehow she breaks out of that and then continues on the path she is supposed to be on. This happened with some other people too and it can shatter any type of immersive experience that the developers were trying to create. There will be times throughout the game where you will have a decision as to whether you want to be good or evil a.k.a. whether you pick the red suit or the black suit. The black suit is fully featured in the game and you can normally switch suits at any time simply by pressing down on the left joystick. Different suits have different powers so depending on the type of enemy you are up against, one suit will definitely have an advantage over the other. These decisions will also have an impact on how people view you. It doesn’t change the game or anything but it can be interesting in the beginning to see someone cheering and applauding you as you are walking down the street as Super Man or screaming and running away from you if you are more aligned with the black suit.
Overall this is a pretty average game. There are certainly worse games out there but with this holiday season having so many blockbuster titles, Web of Shadows will most likely get lost in the shuffle. It had an interesting premise but overall will be too repetitive for a lot of people. The game is basically you talking to a friend, doing the mission they sent you on, going back to talk to your friend, going on the next mission they sent you on and repeating that process throughout the game. Having the freedom to swing throughout the huge city is entertaining for a while but it can be occasionally hampered by the camera, as I mentioned above. If you are a Spider Man fan I would definitely say to rent this title to see what you think. If you enjoy it then go ahead and pick it up. For other people, you are probably much too busy playing Fallout 3 or Gears of War 2. This could be a good rental in the spring when there aren’t too many games being released.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network