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August 17, 2010

Game Review: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (2008)

by Zack Anderson

Okay, okay. It's got repetitive combat, weak voice acting and the game world changes irrevocably as you progress. I've heard all the complaints and it took me a while to play this game, but I'm glad I finally did.
I've been a Spider-Gamer since number 2, so I loves me a good swing through NYC. Web of Shadows has that in spades. The web-zip has never been easier, and the aerial evade move makes Spidey almost fly.

I admit that the mission structure can be a bit repetitive, (you save the day by beating up everybody) but the fighting itself is varied enough that if you're creative you can end up pulling off some amazing moves. Comparing the combat to earlier games, Web of Shadows actually comes out on top in my view.

The previous games I've played and enjoyed (Spider-Man 2, Ultimate Spider-Man) were really just button-mashers. Web of Shadows brings every one of Spidey's skills into the context of combat, and makes for an engaging and dynamic experience of high-flying battle.

The voice acting is a definite miss on this one. Spider-Man seemed like he was annoyed by the assignment of every new mission. Kingpin has the worst fake Russian accent ever, Luke Cage sounds like the lead in a blaxploitation movie, and Mary-Jane is about as annoying as a female voice can be.
The story is pretty simple, but it does allow for some epic boss fights. I won't spoil it, but the final fight left me reeling and very satisfied with the outcome.

There are multiple ways the game can end, depending on the choices you make. I only played once through and relied heavily on the black suit, so I ended up as an antihero, with the little Venomettes worshipping me like Ewoks worshipped C3PO. I suppose I could play it again and try to stick with the red suit, but I get the feeling that the story ends the same way no matter what you do as the final scene was pretty tacked-on.

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows has its flaws, but it also has a lot of great gameplay, and what I believe to be the best combat system of any Spidey game yet. It's not the best game ever, but if you want a fun romp across the rooftops of New York and a bunch of fun fights then go ahead and RENT Spider-Man: Web of Shadows.

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