Spider-Man: Web of Shadows Review
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Spider-Man: Web of Shadows box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS2, PSP, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Treyarch 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Activision 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 21, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is Activision's latest entry into the franchise, the last two installments, Spider-man 3: The Movie and Spider-Man: Friend or Foe have been less than stellar, but this latest entry is definitely an improvement over the last two. This a better game, but it does fall short in many areas, especially graphics and sound. The gameplay, on the other hand, makes this is a semi-entertaining addition to the franchise.

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows screenshot

Web of Shadows' is unrelated to the movies, and it features a unique storyline. The game starts out with Venom attacking New York City. Spider-Man is caught fighting Venom while trying to save Mary Jane. During the fight, a part of the symbiote binds with Spider-Man and reunites him with the Black Suit. The suit increases his strength, allowing him to throw heavy objects such as cars. Using the suit, Spider-Man defeats Venom as well as saves Mary Jane, but Venom escapes. After saving MJ, the plot falls apart. Spider-Man joins Luke Cage, a member of the Avengers. Together, players will fight gangs and robots, Spider-Man will join Felicia Hardy as well; they work together to foil the kingpin's evil plans. He then discovers that Vulture is also involved and confronts him in an epic aerial battle. Eventually, you will join other Marvel characters such as Wolverine and Moon Knight. The story continues on like this. It is somewhat incoherent. I was really hoping for a decent storyline, but I guess that is what the comics are for. One good aspect of the game is that it has multiple endings, and Spider-Man's choices will determine which ending players will see.

Gameplay is a mixed bag; swinging around the city is a blast. Flicking the Wii-mote forward will shoot a web and stick to any building facing Spider-Man, pressing the A button will make Spidey jump (you can also double jump by tapping the button twice). Holding C and flicking the Wii-mote will make Spider-Man cast a web-zip. Tapping the + button will turn on Spidey's spider-sense, flicking the Nunchuck down will lock on to enemies, and flicking the Nunchuk left or right will change Spider-Man's suit. You can also run along walls, fight off enemies on walls, and he can perform some flashy acrobatics while swinging. Also, the camera is controlled by the D-pad. Unfortunately, the lack of analog control is frustrating because the D-pad is not precise, and so it can be difficult to adjust during combat.

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows screenshot

The combat system can be fun, repetitive, and irritating all at the same time. The system is based on a linking attacks together, so when Spider-Man is airborne, players can flick their Wii-motes either left or right, and then flick it back, this action will make Spider-Man fire a web, take out the enemy, leap again, and take out the rest. This will continue until players defeat the entire group of enemies. This attack is very helpful when chaining multiple moves together, but it was painful on my wrist after prolonged playtime. There are also times when the motion controls do not function correctly. This becomes irritating, especially when fighting bosses or many enemies at once. For example, you can accidentally cast a web and start swinging away from the fight or you might accidentally break a chain of attacks because the Wii-mote did not register correctly. The combat becomes repetitive because players will find themselves pressing the same button (usually mashing the B button (punch) or swinging the Wii-mote repeatedly). In fact, the entire game becomes repetitive because all the missions are very similar, and you will find yourself defeating all the different bosses in the same way.

You receive your missions from the characters you join during the adventure like Luke Cage, Black Cat, and Wolverine. There are mandatory missions that will move players through the story and there are optional missions as well. This is a step up from the previous game, where you were forced to take on annoying tasks in order to move through the story. When players complete missions, they will be awarded experience points. The points can be used to unlock new attacks; you can unlock ground, air, wall, web, and special attacks. You can also unlock spider suits like the Ben Reilly Suit or the Cosmic Suit. Players can also swing around and collect Spider Collectibles; they increase Spider-Man's swing speed and the size of the health and special meters.

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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