Aug 9, 2008

If there’s one thing games can teach us, it’s that games with a popular license are not to be trusted. This lesson dates back all the way to the days of the Atari 2600 with the E.T. game that nearly broke the industry. Sure, there are a few decent licensed games, but they’re too few and far between. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is the latest effort in a pedigree of so-so Spidey titles that can hopefully buck the trend of being merely passable.

Web of Shadows seems a bit darker than past Spider-Man games, and for good reason; the game is about the symbiotic infection of New York City courtesy of Spider-Man’s arch enemy, Venom and his symbiote suit. Spidey himself has even been infected which means players will get to experience the powers of the black suit firsthand. You can switch between the standard red-and-blue suit and the black suit whenever you want, but there’s a little more to it than that. It’s sort of like Fable; symbiote-suit Spider-Man is perceived as being more on the evil side, so using it more would cause civilians to fear you and other Marvel heroes in the game might not want to team up with you (of course this means the villains will like you). But the purpose of switching suits isn’t just for balancing good/evil points. The suits have their own attributes – the black suit is more about raw strength and power than the normal suit which favors speed, agility, and webslinging skills.

Combat appears to be fairly simple to wrap your head around and not unlike what you may have seen in other action games. You’ll be balancing melee and ranged (read: webbing) attacks to form combos between different enemies. Shadows features a lock-on system as well, so you won’t have to worry about losing track of who you were just smacking around. Once defeated, the fallen baddies will make with the spoils in the form of EXP orbs, just like in Crackdown (speaking of, keep your eyes on the rooftops for some collectables). To keep things interesting, there will also be segments where you’ll be fighting while scaling buildings or swinging through the air, in true Spidey fashion.

As we mentioned before, other Marvel heroes and villains will be making appearances in the game. Recently shown footage of the game reveals a fight against a Venom-ized Wolverine. Streetwise tough guy Luke Cage will also be making an appearance as you’ll be fighting along side him to help fend off enemies from a neighborhood under siege. Classic Spider-Man enemy, Vulture, is on the bill as well and one would probably be safe in the assumption that you’ll be going up against Venom at some point, too...

So it’s a Spider-Man game set in a sandbox-style playground of the big apple. Yeah, we’ve seen that before but Web of Shadows definitely seems promising nonetheless.

Visually, the game seems to take on a sort of comic-like vibe which makes a lot of sense. Webslinging – a big part of what makes a Spider-Man game fun to play - is supposed to be a lot friendlier here as well. Hopefully, this will all add up to a game that is worthy to join greats like Goldeneye 007 (N64) and The Chronicles of Riddick (Xbox) as one of the few superb examples of licensed titles done right.

Webheads and superhero fans can look forward to this holiday season, when Spider-Man: Web of Shadows hits pretty much every current console imaginable.


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