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PS3 Game Review

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows


Format: PS3
RRP: £49.99
5 030917 058721
Age Restrictions: 12+
Available 24 October 2008

When a deadly symbiote invasion devastates the streets of New York City, only Spider-Man can seize control and bring the city salvation. From the game's direction and outcome through to Spider-Man's destiny, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows gives you an unprecedented level of game play choice, including, for the first time, control over the game's direction and outcome. Choose how Spider-Man fights, which powers to upgrade, who in the Marvel universe to fight with or against, and the fate of New York City itself. Choose wisely...

In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, for the PS3 you once again play Peter Parker, the misunderstood defender of righteousness. The game does not follow the films or the comics, opting this time to create a whole new tale.

During one of Spider-Man's confrontations with Venom a piece of the villain's suit detaches itself and lands on Spider-Man. This rather contrived event means that you get to switch between the ordinary red suit and Spider-Man’s nifty black suit, each of which endows our hero with slightly different abilities.  

As well as infecting Spider-Man, Venom’s droppings have turned into pods - reminiscent of alien - which is hatching numerous symbiots to threaten the city. With Armageddon just around the corner S.H.I.E.L.D. cordons off the city and Spidey has to traverse the metropolis bumping into friend and foe to save both the woman and city he loves.

Graphically the game is pretty stunning, especially the cut scenes. Although the game has been given a 12+ rating the designers do not appear to have pulled any punches in their depiction of the main characters - Venom is downright scary.

Game play is where this release is really let down - and I’m not just talking about the insistence that you master the web controls by the third fight or just get stuck there. The camera has an annoying habit of swinging around in a disorientating manner, which can impede your progress. The game's controls are relatively easy to master, I say relatively as I assume that a twelve-year-old would have better reflexes than my own (which were squandered playing Final Fantasy). Whilst Spider-Man may be able to do whatever a spider can, my apparent lack of coordination always makes Spider-Man games frustrating events.

As cool as it is for a comic book fan to see some of Spider-Man’s less well known villains from the books, what wasn’t so cool was the realisation that although the game aims for some form of narrative, you actually spend most of your time either finding, chasing or beating things before the inevitable Boss fight, only to repeat the whole process over again. It’s not all bad; if you ignore the repetition then Spider-Man has some really funky moves that will bring hours of pleasure - if all you want to do is swing around beating the bejesus out of things. The city looks great and the character designs are spot on.

Of the various heroes and villains that you will meet along the way we have the inevitable Wolverine, that guy gets everywhere. Though with the Wolverine film coming up I presume that he will appear in every Marvel product from now to the movie's release. Some of the other favourites from the comics are the Kingpin, Luke Cage, Vulture and Electro, though to be honest apart from Kingpin most of these characters are really B listers.

The overall impression is of a game that could have been so much more than repetitive villain bashing - an idea which must surly be about as far away from the philosophy of the comic as you could get.


Charles Packer

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