I wish I was Playing Ultimate Spider-Man
That’s not to say that Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is a terrible game; hell it’s not even a bad game. It’s just a mixed bag of weird shit. The game tried something that I haven’t ever seen a video game do before: It laid out all the shitty stuff up front, and then slowly gave you the good parts later on. Sure, I’ve seen shitty, piss-poor games. I’ve seen games that started good, gave hints of the tides turning, and then completely raped my dog (figuratively speaking). Spider-Man: WoS
isn’t one of those games. It tells you that it’s an ugly girl right up front, but then it reassures you that it’s really hot naked, and has a great personality.
I think I might try explaining what I mean, in lieu of dropping into another rampage of metaphors… The opening of the game is really quite terrible. There are slow motion fight scenes over a strange version of Moonlight Sonata, and then it showcases the terrible voice acting. The guy who voices Spider-Man/Peter Parker is one of the reasons that the game appears shitty at first, and then gets better down the line. His voice starts off whiny and annoying as hell. As the game progresses, however, he proves to be kind of funny and endearing, with the darker tonality of the black suit voice fitting really well. As with the voice acting, after the first few missions, the game picks up, and gets a lot more fun, and leaves behind the shittier aspects.
The game play is probably the best thing this Spider-Outing has going for it, even if Spider-Man doesn’t need to have his webbing attach to anything in order to web swing (fucked up, huh?). The developers were huge about making sure people knew that the fluid combat system would be the main draw of the game, and rightfully so. The combat is really smooth for the most part, and flows really well with the web swinging mechanics and, you know, all the things that one should expect from Spider-Man. The controls are fairly simple. All of the attacks are designated to one button, with web grabbing another, web offense another, then basic jumping, a trigger for web slinging and another for spider-sense just for good measure. So, its more streamlined, and at times too basic (and if I felt that way about this game, imagine how I feel about the new Prince of Persia…). I think the controls could have benefited from web slinging being split between the left and right triggers, each being responsible for one arm.
The boss battles are another area where this game excels. Some of them early on seem like a chore, and are pretty tedious, but as the game progresses they get better and are more so rewarding. It may be a sort of nerd-bias, but I loved finally seeing a symbiote infected Wolverine. It was probably the single greatest part of this game (second only to the end of the fight if you choose the Dark Side option when prompted…anyone remember Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk?). And the final boss fight feels really epic with the scale of things. You really feel like the city’s fate is in your hands, and with that, the finale of the fight is really fulfilling, regardless of which side you choose (I personally felt the Good choice seemed more like it could fit into comic book canon, as well as doing justice to the characters).
For a game based on everyone’s favorite wall crawler, there’s a huge dark tone to the entire game. Sure, the game is about Venom, Spider-Man having to fight for control over the symbiote suit, and with that suit, fighting betwixt moral decisions and visceral carnal instincts (see also: revenge). The game is broken down into three acts, and once you near the halfway point of the second act, there exists a very strong horror aspect to the game. You feel like you’re playing a sort of survival horror zombie game through the experiences of Spider-Man. It’s really kind of strange, and at times, downright scary. The feel is different from any other Spider-Man game (or any other superhero game) that you’ve played before, and it really helps set this game apart from the same old rehashed hero game. It’s a game about choices, and survival, just handled in very different way.
This game is probably the most fun a Spider-Man fan has had since playing Spider-Man 2, and I guess you can take that for what its worth. Everyone knows that Spider-Man 3 and Spider-Man: Friend or Foe were terrible games. Web of Shadows is pretty decent when compared to that healthy heaping pile of shit, which might not be saying much, but the game is a lot of fun, especially if you’re a Spider-Man fan. But there are also a number of things that drag this game down, and if you’re less forgiving, this game might only be worth a rental. But if you’re a huge Spider-Man fan, or Venom fan, this game is the game you’ve been waiting for since the credits rolled on Spider-Man 2.