Much like their cinematic counterparts, super hero based video games have always been a hit or miss proposition. Far too often legions of dedicated fans have been presented with games that despite the great intentions of the designers, fail to capture the spirit and action of their pen and ink counterparts.
With the recent success of “Iron Man”, “The Incredible Hulk”, and “The Dark Knight”, at theaters the world over, and more celluloid adventures on the way, gamers eagerly looked at the pending super hero game releases with renewed anticipation.
With much hope and promise, Spider-Man Web of Shadows has arrived for consoles and PC’s and is simply the best Spider-Man outing to date. The story takes a much darker tone for the wall crawler as he is faced with a devastated New York following a symbiotic invasion. The game is set in Marvel’s view of Spider-mans New York, and it is an absolute delight to swing your way around town and past such landmarks as Stark Tower and Wilson Fisk’s building as well as interact with everyone from Wolverine to Mary Jane.
The game features the usual quests and side quests that are common for games of this type, but what really sets this game apart is the amazing new combat system that not only makes controlling the action easier, but allows players to have detailed battles that can change locales, such as starting on the streets and ending up on rooftops.
Another great feature is the ability to switch between the classic Spider-Man costume and don the more destructive black suit and take a walk on the dark side. The game is fairly open ended as players will be able to explore a very large and detailed map of the city that has a full day and night cycle. On more than one occasion I found myself enjoying the freedom to tour the city at the expense of the task at hand.
The designers have clearly thought to give fans what they want, and Spider-Man can now ally with classic Marvel heroes as well as villains and call them into play when their assistance is needed. I for one really enjoyed the games Boss battles such as the all aerial conflict with the Vulture.
While some of the combat can get repetitive, the ability to customize and vary your moves is always a nice bonus. XP to unlock new moves is granted through the completion of quests, so it can be advantageous for players to take on side quests when the opportunity presents itself.
Another bonus of the game is the ability to influence the storyline and ending of the game based on the actions you take during the game. I will not spoil it but suffice it to say that the darker the suit you wear, the darker the tone of the story.
Graphically the game is solid if unspectacular as is the soundtrack for the game which despite some cheesy lines is true to the characters.
Despite some flaws, this is the best Spider-Man game yet and should keep fans of the series happy until the next game or until “Spider-Man 4” arrives in theaters.
4 stars out of 5