|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Griptonite||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Amaze||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct.23, 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|
These are relatively minor gripes, however, especially considering all the other aspects of the game. Youll be able to explore at your own pace, and there are a ton of cool abilities to acquire along the way, most of them absolutely essential to your survival later in the game. Enemies drop orbs when they are defeated, and youll use them to both heal Spidey and purchase new abilities at various save points (public restrooms) sprinkled generously throughout the game. Additionally, youll encounter some pretty cool Marvel characters during the adventure, and alternate (though minor) story threads offer extra incentive to play through multiple times.
A last word of caution, however (though not necessarily a criticism): the game can be frustratingly difficult at times. Mobs of enemies will often converge on you without mercy, each one sporting a deadly arsenal of attacks and tons of health to back it up. Some bosses, too, can be real hand-breakers and take serious skill and patience to overcome. The gameplay in Web of Shadows definitely falls under the category of hardcore, as the A.I. is intelligent and will change its strategy if you attempt to spam the same moves over and over. Dont be surprised if it takes you 20 or more attempts to beat some of the games later bosses. That said, theres enough enjoyment here to inspire even a casual gamer to push themselves to the limit.
As mentioned, Web of Shadows is a very good-looking game, and the developers really worked to the strengths of the DS. All the textures are smooth, which is no small order on a system that cant perform texture filtering. The 3D graphics run steady another impressive feat, considering the many enemies that can accumulate onscreen at a given time. The backgrounds are beautifully rendered and add a great feel to the overall experience. Youll often see a full view of the city off in the distance, as well as cars and other elements littered throughout levels all wonderfully detailed. Of course, Web of Shadows is based on the Spider-man comics, and there are some attractive-looking 2D cutscenes thrown in for good measure.
The sound effects and music in the game are no less entertaining, adding both mood and a visceral quality to the gameplay. You can hear Spideys foot clops, web spray, and wall-slithering sounds as he makes his way through environments, and there are a lot of other subtle effects in the game that lend immersion to the adventure. Additionally, theres plenty of scripted voice-over work, which helps tie the story together, as well as inject some of that signature Spider-man humor from time to time. The actual story is meager, but whats here is entertaining and makes perfect sense alongside the high-octane gameplay.
Spider-man: Web of Shadows is a surprisingly refreshing addition to this series of DS games. With the many great titles coming out this holiday season including Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia it will no doubt be difficult for folks to choose which game(s) to spend their limited dollars on. Web of Shadows, however, does a very nice job of putting its best foot forward as a valid contender for your money. Its short, there is a bit of tedium with the backtracking, and its competing in a virtual sea of gaming goodness ready to release within the next month or so. But for Spidey fans and action lovers alike, you cant go wrong with this web-slinging adventure.
CCC Freelance Writer