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Apr 16, 2009

Review: Spiderman: Web of Shadows

Spider-man: Web of Shadows
Activison, Shaba Games
Available for Playstation 3, Playstation 2, PC, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and Playstation Portable.

Spider-man, Spider-man, does whatever a spider can. This week I pulled Activision’s Spider-man: Web of Shadows off the shelf to see how good a non-movie related Spider-man game could be and apparently the developers at Shaba games can’t be trusted with a plotline, because this Spider-man has some serious problems.

The plot of Web of Shadows revolves around Venom’s attempt to take over the city and its heroes & villains with multiple versions of him, plus you get the added bonus plotline of Spider-man’s struggle with the black suit … again. Unfortunately though this sounds like a possibly cool storyline for a game, the developers destroyed any shred of credibility to it when they added the cheesy dialog and repetitive missions. Spider-man sounds like a whiny little creep and you don’t even want to get me started on characters like Wolverine.

Even the concept of the black and red suit fell flat when the developers failed to add significant differences between the two. Both had different powers in combat, provided different plotlines and even sparked different reactions in the crowds around you, but there were no consequences or benefits for Parker using the black suit all the time, other than a different plotline. The black suit was supposed to make Parker stronger and more evil and you really didn’t fully see that in the game.

Missions in the game were very repetitive and generally involved beating up 5, 10 or 50 guys and then leaving, or escorting someone somewhere. Later on you get into some better, more ludicrous missions but for the most part, you spend the game just beating on people or escorting them somewhere. Even the boss fights were pretty mundane with their quick time events.

The web slinging in the game thankfully remained perfectly in tack from former Spider-man games and was actually one of the few fun aspects of the game. Swinging from building to building gives you a huge sense of freedom in these games and I do have to give kudos to the developers for getting this part right. The rest of the controls were chaotic though from the web crawling to the camera system. I would be crawling up a building and Spider-man would be going the wrong way half the time or my camera would be moving through the side of the building’s wall.

Web of Shadows doesn't even look particularly good. Spider-Man's model is about the only thing with style and polish, but the rest of the city is dreadful in comparison to other game‘s environments. Standing atop one of the higher buildings is where this becomes most obvious as you look out upon the many rectangles sprouting from the ground… It's a far cry from the thriving metropolis presented in the films, and it makes swinging through the city a little bit confusing when no building really stands out. Thank God for the target icon.

The voice acting is probably what killed this game the most, not only because the actors were terrible, but because the dialog was written like it was written by a teenager for his internet fan fiction. Spider-man is supposed to have a wit about him and he came across more like a whiny, annoying jerk.

Activision did a fabulous job on Spider-man 2 which is probably the best Spider-man videogame to date, but Web of Shadows is a disaster. I wouldn’t even recommend this game to a fan of the comic books, because they would probably die a little inside to play it. Generally I’m not harsh when it comes to my videogame reviews, but when Activision has produced a better Spider-man game than this; I can’t help but be completely disappointed to play such tripe.

(Note: Xbox 360 Version Reviewed)

Rating: 4 out of 10
Pass on it!

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