Let's be honest, Spider-Man 3 wasn't a very good game. The first two motion-picture Spider-Man games had once prided themselves on not being the typical generic movie-game. The third one prided itself on nothing…it was nothing short of bad. Uninspired gameplay and a horrific framerate marred anything remotely appealing about Spider-Man 3. So here we are, two years later and an original Spider-Man IP to come out of Activision. So far things look promising…
Web of Shadows features Venom as the game's primary villain. Venom has devised an all new plan to infect the city of Manhattan with the symbiote virus in an attempt to create more clones of himself. The symbiote infection spreads and SHIELD is forced to isolate Manhattan from the rest of the world by closing off the island's bridges and tunnels, preventing entry or escape. The infection spreads as far as even affecting Peter once again, so the Symbiote Black Suit plays a central role in the game. Spider-Man isn't alone to do the job, as Manhattan in Web of Shadows is home to a large number of heroes and villains that'll want to aid Spidey in his quest to stop Venom and get rid of the symbiote infection.
Various heroes such as Nick Fury, Power-Man, Wolverine, and Nightcrawler will be there to help you. Additionally, you'll even be able to get aid from the game's villains such as Black Cat, Rhino, and others. How the hero and villain mechanic works is rather simple and depends on your playing style. If you play using the traditional Red/Blue suit, you'll attract more help from the heroes of the game. If you prefer the symbiote black suit, then you'll be able to gather support from the villains.
Switching your affiliations can be done in a relatively quick manner. First off, switching between the two suits is done on the fly and does not require you to pause the game. This allows for a more immediate change of pace and change of direction. Switching suits also has an effect on how you're perceived not just by the heroes and villains, but also by the civilians – so you're interactions with the NPCs will change based on the suit you wear. The other affect the suits have on Spider-Man is physical; the traditional suit is quicker, with more web-based attacks, where as the Black Suit is slower but far more powerful in impact.
Combat should be more fluid and smoother than before, and Shaba promises Spidey's controls to be intuitive and not clunky. Additionally, a new form of combat has been put together for Web of Shadows, allowing Spidey to fight while he's attached to a building. And the building fights aren't limited to just a punch or kick here and there; you'll be able to put together a proper string of combos, just as you would if you were on land.
For your comboing skills, you'll be rewarded with experience orbs, which can be used to purchase upgrades for Spider-Man's arsenal of moves. Web of Shadows looks to be a game with a constantly evolving relationship between Spider-Man and the entire game-world around him. The alliances he'll be able to put together are promised to be more than just a shallow helping hand from time to time, but rather a developed relationship.
Perhaps one way to describe Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is Spider-Man meets Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Web of Shadows is poised to be the first truly epic Spider-Man game, and we're really hoping that Shaba Games is able to ship a fantastic final product. Visually, the game looks polished and smooth, with slick textures and a massive world. As long as the framerate manages to stay consistently 30, Web of Shadows should be an enjoyable title.
Spider-Man Web of Shadows is slated to hit every console under the sun this Fall 2008. Keep your eyes peeled for it.