"Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can!
Spins a web any size, catches thieves just like flies!
Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man!"
Yeah Symbiotes, you’d better look out cause Spider-man is here to pummel you into oblivion, along with some help from friends in the newest addition to the Spider-man Franchise: Spider-Man:Web of Shadows. Web of Shadows is unlike any of the other Spider-Man games out there to date, and quite possibly the best of them so far. Web of Shadows is a very addictive and fun game to play, the freedom while playing is just excellent, you can web swing all across the city, pretty much anywhere you want and the map is huge that you play on. I love this game I really do, it’s a lot of fun to play, it’s action packed with excellent graphics and engrossing gameplay, the controls are a bit awkward at first but eventually you get accustomed to them. Activision, Shaba and Treyarch have truly captured the essence of Spider-Man and all that being him entails, from exciting combat to the web slinging fun, it’s all there.
Yes it’s Spider-Man, but I wouldn’t call it a kids game, it’s more like the franchise has grown up a bit to include quite a bit of violence and sexuality, this isn’t a bad thing though, it’s nice to see Spider-Man kicking ass, taking names and even getting a little on the side from someone besides Mary Jane…
So read on to learn more, I’ve got many screen shots for you, along with a few movies including my Spider-Man vs Wolverine battle…
When you first launch the game you’re greeted with the options panel, unlike most games where the options are in the game, you set these before the game begins. There really isn’t much to the options though, at least graphical wise, but you’ve got options for Controls, Combat and Graphics:
Once you take care of that the game loads up for you and you’re greeted to the opening cinematics and credits and a brief menu at the title screen.
Before we get into the game I wanted to touch on the menus in the game, I’m not sure why they choose to use odd keys for menu control. Q,E,Z, and C are used with the menus and you can use the Up, Down cursors. You can use an Xbox 360 Controller with the game as well, but I found it to be a daunting task overall, the control just doesn’t work very well with the Xbox controller, at least for me anyway… In the menus you can upgrade your Red or Black suits to gain new moves, personally I prefer the black suit myself, and for each move you see what buttons to press and even a demo video of the actual move in action, a nice touch really. Then of course there’s other basic options in there and objectives listed as well.
“Spider-Man: Web of Shadows delivers the deepest combat system ever in the Spider-Man universe, whether it’s going vertical up the side of neck-breaking skyscrapers or web-slinging into action over them for high-altitude, high-octane aerial battles,” said Rob Kostich, vice president, global brand management, Activision Publishing, Inc. “The team has captured a truly captivating Spider-Man experience that combines mesmerizing combat and riveting visual effects with a compelling and unfolding storyline that places gamers in control of the action.”
With a story penned by acclaimed Marvel comic book writer, Brian Reed, the title features a New York City devastated by a deadly symbiote invasion, in which players are faced with the choice to play the heroic web-slinger in his classic, agile red suit or the dark, formidable black suit. Battling with or against a huge cast of fan-favorite Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains, gamers can switch allegiances instantly as they decide which missions will ultimately save mankind.
An all-new combat system, built from the ground up, combining web-slinging and customizable superpowers provides gamers the unrivaled opportunity to fight and explore in an open free-roaming and destructible environment. In battle, Spider-Man’s speed and agility are tested within the diverse cityscape, challenging players to master fast-moving acrobatic combat, powerful new web-slinging moves and destructive combo attacks, as combat seamlessly migrates from the streets, up the sides of buildings and onto rooftops.
Developed by Shaba Games and Treyarch, with additional development by Amaze and Aspyr, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is available now for $59.99 (Xbox 360, PS3), $49.99(Wii), $39.99 (PS2, PSP) and $29.99 (PC, NDS).
Fans can learn more about Spider-Man: Web of Shadows by visiting www.seizecontrol.com
I touched on the controls a bit above, but let me elaborate, it seems like they tried to port the Xbox controls over to the PC and sort of left them the way they were on the Xbox, understand? Probably not, but I do have the wireless Xbox Windows adapter so I can use my Xbox 360 controllers with Windows if I wish to, I think it helps to have it as it gives me a better feel and understanding for the game, but using the Xbox controller actually made it harder to play, so I ended up switching back tot he keyboard/mouse combination. Using the keyboard mouse works once you remap a few buttons, it’s very hard to play with the default settings that they give you for mouse/keyboard. It seems to me that they tried to recreate the Xbox controller with the keyboard, and pretty much failed miserably at it, keyboard have cursor keys not shoulder buttons, we who use the PC are accustomed to certain things especially for navigating things like menus, don’t try and tech us something new just because you think it’s cute… ok enough of that, let’s just say the controls take quite a bit to get accustomed to and leave it at that, oh and don’t try to use the Xbox controller, it’ll only make things worse.
Once you’ve played for a bit you’ll figure out what needs to be remapped for your own preferences than you’ll be playing along fine. One thing to note is that the game is fairly easy in that Spider-Man can take quite a bit of damage before he dies, and I also like the fact that you can restart quickly from where you dies, yes you restart the section you’re playing but not the entire level, so it does help lower frustration levels in certain sections of the game where it can get very frustrating. One example is near the beginning where you’ve got to jump along from sniper to sniper knocking them out with Spider-Mans web attack move, he shots his web at the person then follows it back to them, you have to time it just right when you hit the button or you miss. When doing this if you hit it right you’ll smack one guy, knock him out and then be in position for the next guy, you could go on endlessly bouncing from bad guy to bad guy this way if your time is right. The level with the snipers I’m referring to is a timed level, so basically if you miss you’ll run out of time and start over, essentially if you miss your web gets broke and they hit you.
Here’s a video of gameplay, at 58 seconds is where the actual fighting starts, you’ll see me getting knocked down, and performing the move I mentioned in different ways. Also all of the videos were reduced as they were captured with FRAPS and were over 4gigs in size that wasn’t going to work for uploading them at all.
One thing you’ll be doing is a lot of web swinging around the city to get from place to place and some destinations are very far away, it does get tedious after a while, but it’s still cool to do it, so it’s not that bad. Here’s a video of me meeting with the busty and shapely Black Cat, doing a whole bunch of web swinging and then finally catching up with the Vulture:
Speaking of the Vulture, one of the best fight sequences is with him, it’s pretty much all done in mid air which makes it all the more exciting. One of the things that keeps the game exciting is that you can fight on every surface, the sides of buildings and even in the air. Here’s the video of part of my fight with Vulture and his minions:
Most boss enemies you encounter can and will become your friends or allies to help you out later in the game if need be, some of them you can call at any time to help you during your fight as long as your hero power meter is full and others will be helping you complete an objective in a cutscene, like Vulture, he helps you fly over to the island to your next mission. You’ll run across many popular bad guys and good guys while you’re playing, some will actually teach you new moves as well. My favorite has to be the very well drawn Black Cat, the graphics in the game are really shown off here, especially with her shiny black leather suit… One complaint about the graphics is the real lack of high level AntiAliasing to help smooth things out, but it still looks decent overall…
Here’s my battle with Wolverine
The story behind the game is that New York has been invaded by symbiotes, and you playing the friendly neighborhood Spider-man must come and save the day. One of the more interesting things is that the game is really two in one, or at least two storyline, you can choose to play with the red suit, meaning good guy, or the black suit meaning bad guy, the ending you get is determined by the most points gotten using either suit. Example is that if you rescue people you get points towards the red suit, if you let them die or be captured you get points towards the black suit. Personally I think the black suit is the better choice as you’ve got symbiote powers as well, but the red suit isn’t bad either really, it’s all your own preference, of if you’re feeling good or bad.
Combat is great, I touched on upgrades earlier, but as you progress in the game you gain experience points to be spent on upgrading either suit, but to do this you need to collect spiders you find floating all around the city, once you collect enough spiders you’ll advance to a new level where more options will open up. The whole combat system is the center piece of the game, there are many, many types of attacks you can do and you can chain them together to form combos as well. It’s fun to just watch Spider-Man doing these attacks on the bad guys, you’ll figure out which are good for what kind of situation. This is also where the re-mapping the buttons comes in, I’m using the NZXT Avatar mouse so I can remap all of the buttons for the game which makes things bit easier instead of using the keyboard as you’ve got enough to do there.
Here’s several combat screenshots:<
Spider-Man:Web of Shadows can turn into a very long game as there are many mini-objectives that you can take on, you can easily stay on one section for many hours to complete all of the side tasks, or you can just run though only completing the objectives you need to get to the next level. It does offer a bit of replayability in that you can go back in and play the other storyline once you finish one of them, and of course you can go and complete side quests as well .
Graphical wise it looks decent but could be much better really, I ran into problems when I first installed the game, but the patch fixed everything and it’s very smooth running on my system with the Diamond Radeon 4870 video card.
There are flaws in the game though, it can get very, very tedious with having to save ‘X’ number of people or kill ‘X’ number of symbiotes before you can continue, and it seems there’s a few of these types of missions all though the game on each level, it can get boring at times, that’s when I turn I off and come back later ready to play some more though. The storyline could have been brought together much better, it seems the actual story is more background noise than the rest of it, you could have had the same exact game without the background story, which really doesn’t go many places, or you don’t get to actually feel like you’re part of the story. The whole black suit, red suit thing could have been more elaborated on as well, I mean it would have been nice to be more ‘evil’ while wearing the suit, maybe actually be able to take the side of the symbiotes and play the story from that angle, that would have been cool.
Despite the flaws Web of Shadows is one of my favorite games now, it offers lots of excitement and fun and is just very addictive to play. Once you get past the control aspects of the game you’ll come to like it very much.
Web of Shadows does have it’s flaws, and yes it isn’t perfect but it is fun top play and I think it recreates the whole Spider-Man world very well in terms of actions that can be performed by him.
The storyline needs to be more in depth, it doesn’t seem to really bring the player into it as it should, it’s a good story but just isn’t woven into the game well.
Controls can be difficult at first to get accustomed to, not sure what they were trying for here with the control system.
Spider-Man:Web of Shadows is a lot of fun once you get past the flaws and tediousness of it all, I personally like it quite a bit. I finished it on Black Suit, and I intend to go back and finish it on the Red suit as well to see how the story plays out for myself
Lots of fun, addictive gameplay
Controls can be difficult