All these spider-man based video games have started a trend in my mind. I feel like every game in the web swinger series takes one step forward, and then takes two steps back, by improving on just one or two aspects, and then neglecting almost every thing else. Web of Shadows follows this trend by making the combat system more exciting, and making a slightly better swinging system, but neglecting to notice the terrible lock on system, laggy gameplay, severe gameplay bugs, and poor wall climbing design.
The story of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows basically revolves around Venom's take over of Manhattan, and Spider-man's fight to stop it. At the beginning of the game you are shown a little of the invasion through a small flash forward, where you go through a short tutorial before you are brought back to the present... or maybe it's a flash back... I am not really sure, but you go back to a time before the infection where you battle normal gang members, until the start of the infection, where you are randomly bombarded by dozens of infected people on a roof top. This is the start of many plot points that just do not make any kind of sense. The story in general is pretty good; the venom virus is let loose throughout New York and S.H.I.E.L.D comes in to help, but at many times, the story becomes way too general and leaves out the information that would let the player know what is going on. an example of this is when the first of the infection attacks you; you are a rooftop, on a mission that is supposed to be about the kingpin, when a bunch of civilians run up the side of the building and start attacking you. The story doesn’t explain why the infection has just started or how they all knew exactly where you were. Another example of this is during one of your fights with venom he calls you the “mother” of the infection, and throughout the rest of the story Spider-man is always getting in arguments because he caused all this, but you don’t know why since the game never told you. Therefore, since you only know the general story, you are swinging around the city beating up bad guys with your only motive being that they are the infection, so they are obviously bad guys.
Although the story is all about just fighting hordes of zombie, venom, infected, New York civilians over and over again, the game makes up for this by giving you a good variety of fighting moves that can be upgraded during the single player campaign, through points obtained from beating up villains. You can use these points to upgrade every single one of your fighting moves from your basic punch, to your web attack while wall climbing. You are given this large choice of fighting options that give you a good sense of choice when confronted in any fighting situation, but most of the time, you are only using the web zip, where you grab onto an enemy with a web so you can get close real easy and give off a few shots without getting hit. To me, this is a good thing and a bad thing, because when you only use the web zip over and over, it starts to become repetitive, and when this happens, the player remembers that he has all this others move that he can use instead. But the bad part of this is that nothing is really as effective as the web sip attack, and at some points you are straight up forced to use the web zip over and over and over again. The only other attack that is as strong as the web zip is the swinging kick, but it isn’t as useful. This is because you can only use the swing kick when you angle yourself and somehow shoot your web rope at the right building to swing you just right so you become level with your enemy at the bottom of your swing. This isn’t really the games fault, but it is so powerful that you force yourself to jump through these hoops so you can use it. Another powerful but useless attack option that you can use in the game is calling upon a different super hero to come help you in combat. But this whole system is kind of useless, because A) Spider-man can handle pretty much any situation on his own, B) all of the characters you can choose from besides maybe Wolverine are so obscure that you wouldn’t really want to use them, because there isn’t any cool super heroes that give the players that fan boy attraction that makes them want to have someone like Iron-Man or Captain America fighting next to them at all times, and C) this system is mysteriously hard to trigger. I was probably doing something wrong, but all it says is to press up on the D-pad to have another hero come help you, but every time I pressed up on the D-pad nothing happened. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a glitch in the game, because there is so many glitches and bugs in this game that something like not being able to use a useless feature is the least of the problems. There is no huge game ruining glitches, there is just little tedious things that were the results of not looking over the game carefully. Things like chases that end because the person you are chasing got stuck between two walls, a lock on system that wants to make you look at every single thing no matter what you are doing, or clipping slightly through the ground, which makes the game think that you are falling forever, and this leaves you hovering with your feet in the ground and your hands in the sky while enemies around you beat you to death because the game won’t let you defend yourself.
It’s kind of a shame, because Spider-Man: Web of Shadows shows a lot of true potential and has things that made me think “wow that’s pretty cool” like watching the animation of Spider-Man getting flying back from a brutal hit, kicking an enemy into a building and seeing things on that building break and crumble like it was real, or fighting wolverine and having Logan stop every couple of hits to ask you trivia questions about the marvel universe. but even though I try to let these cool features make me forget about the bugs, there are so many glitches and weird functions that only kind of work, that I can’t just accept this as a good game when it uses the cool features as excuses for making the rest of the game kind of abysmal.