Released in 2008 for multiple platforms including the PS3 and Xbox 360 Web of Shadows focuses on a symbiote infestation of New York City that everyone’s favourite web slinger must deal with. Along with several other characters from the Marvel Universe including Wolverine and Black Cat, you have to contend with numerous symbiotes turning the citizens of the city into…well…they are kind of like zombies I guess. What they are is not important, what is important is that if you don’t stop them, then the city will be lost, and other bad things will happen.
I have had a love/hate relationship with the Web-Head over the years, on the one hand I was a big fan of Spiderman The Animated Series and more recently loved The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon series. In cartoon form Spider-Man is creative, fun, and thoroughly entertaining. Admittedly The Animated Series did get a bit depressing in later episodes after Mary Jane disappeared but it was still good enough to continue to watch. On the big screen he’s a bit hit and miss, whilst Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman and Spiderman 2 were really good and entertaining, however, that franchise ran out of steam with the woeful Spiderman 3. The Andrew Garfield The Amazing Spider-Man was entertaining but sucked balls when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 assaulted the big screen. The Spiderman games follow a similar pattern, some of them can be pretty good like the game adaptation of Spiderman 2 called…well…Spiderman 2. But the original game Spiderman was a pretty poor effort. I haven’t played a huge number of Spiderman games but one that intrigued me was Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, because it seemed to feature Spiderman once again taken over by the alien symbiote. I know of Venom from both The Animated Series and The Spectacular Spider-Man and I really like the Web-Head when he has to deal with either the internal struggle between himself and the alien or Venom who knows all of Spiderman’s weaknesses.
The question remains then: Is Web of Shadows good or bad??
Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, first off let me give you the lowdown on what is happening here.
So we start off with Spiderman walking through a scene of carnage as a mass of different types of symbiotes attack those around him, and he wonders how things got to this point. We then flashback to four days earlier when Spiderman was fighting Venom and a part of the symbiote leapt off Venom and reattached itself to Spiderman. Afterwards Mary Jane is injured and taken to hospital, Spiderman unites with Luke Cage who tells him about a gang war taking place which they attempt to resolve.
Later civilians begin to be infected with symbiotes and as Spiderman battles them he is witnessed throwing one off a building…er Spidey you do know that they are innocent civilians so why exactly are you dropping them off buildings…and is labelled a villain. He encounters Wolverine who believes that he has been taken over by the symbiote once again, and to confirm if you are the real Spiderman he quizzes you on Spiderman trivia, which some of the questions I got right, but the majority I got wrong. Once you defeat him you have the opportunity to call upon him if you need help or go to him to receive various missions.
As the game progresses the city becomes more infected and some of Spiderman’s friends and enemies are even taken over so he has to battle their symbiote forms.
Game play wise you get to choose between using the black suit or the red suit, and each one has its own combat styles that can be developed and upgraded with xp. You can web swing around the city and dive in to rescue civilians in danger if you want to, or can just swing past uninterested.
A lot of the enemies are repeated and there are a number of times when you are basically grinding for xp, you take on various gangs, then robots that roam the city that have been built by Kingpin and of course after that you fight lesser forms of the symbiote. This does get a little tiresome and once you have got a tentacle attack for the black suit you probably won’t use anything else. I enjoyed lazily throwing enemies off rooftops, but again considering they are innocent people trapped within the symbiote should the good Spiderman be so casually hurling them to their deaths on the pavement below???
The Marvel Universe oozes from every part of the game, Spiderman phones Tony Stark and Reed Richards to ask for their help but is unable to get to get through to either of them and so must turn to some of his enemies for help. Like I said Wolverine appears so do a host of other characters some of which have appeared in The Animated Series (which is the only reason why I recognise them) and of course the super-sexy Black Cat is also present and correct.
The game is not without its glitches, when I was playing it, the game would regularly freeze but it auto saves so frequently that if this does happen you will have probably only lost a few minutes of playtime.
The enemies are pretty samey and you’ll battle the majority of them in both their normal and symbiote forms. Seeing symbiote versions of Wolverine, Black Cat, Vulture and Electro just highlight for me one of the biggest flaws with the concept of the alien symbiote. From what I understand, in the comics the symbiote was like a heroin addiction for Parker, he became addicted to the power of it, and for its part the symbiote absorbed his powers enhancing both itself and Parker. Now if the symbiote can absorb powers, why doesn’t it jump from host to host?? Jump on Spiderman, absorb his powers, then jump to Wolverine and take his, then on to Electro, and so on and so on…why does it not do that?? But if we put that niggling question to one side for a minute. I have to say that it is interesting to fight the symbiote forms of various bosses you have already faced, but you have defeated them once in their own form, and then you defeat them a second time when they are infected with symbiotes. They have a few new attacks but fundamentally you are just fighting the same enemies and bosses over and over.
The game has a moral choice option too, where you have two choices and must pick either the good red suit option or the evil black suit option, this leads to four potential endings. If you pick all good options you get the ultra-good ending, a few bad choices lead to a anti-hero ending, mostly bad choices with the odd good one leads to the anti-villain ending, and finally all bad choices leads to the ultra bad ending. I really like this idea and it is what I wanted to happen at the end of Infamous 2 rather than two endings that you are either a saint or basically the devil.
Now whilst the other voice actors do a reasonable job with Tricia Helfer lending her silky voice to the ultra hot Black Cat. However, I have no idea who they got to do the voice of Spiderman but it sounds like either his outfit is way too tight around his balls or he is still waiting for his testicles to descend. The voice actor’s voice is ridiculously high and is laughable when we are supposed to believe that Spidey is being corrupted by the symbiote once again.
There are a few things to like here, yes it is a bit of a grind, but on the whole it is fun. The multiple endings do encourage you to play the game over and over to see the other endings and there is creativity in the storyline.
I think that Spider-Man: Web of Shadows gets a Thumbs Up because whilst I haven’t played it for a bit I remember enjoying it, and whilst I really think they should have cast someone with a stronger voice to be Spiderman the game is still pretty entertaining if a little on the easy side.
7/10 – There is a fair amount of grinding for xp and the game will freeze up a lot. The story, the characters from the Marvel Universe appearing, and the easy to get into combat makes the game fun enough to recommend it.