Friday, January 30, 2009

Xbox 360 - Spiderman: Web of Shadows

Spiderman: Web Of Shadows by Activision

At first, I discounted this game as a movie spinoff and didn't give it a second thought. Occasionally, I get desperate to find a new game and go search the used shelves. I had tried previous Spiderman titles and have been quite disappointed in the quality of the games. I am usually not a big fan of Activision titles either.  But, I had received a 30% off coupon for three used Xbox 360 titles from Gamestop and decided to give it a try.

First Impressions

At first, the game's premise seemed pretty straight forward. The graphics aren't blow you away awesome, but they are definitely passable for the type of game that it is. However, the one thing that you notice right away is the city is massive. The city is easily the size of the cities in Assassin's Creed. The crawling, webing and so forth you do in and around the buildings reminds me a lot of Assassin's Creed. The graphics on Assassin's Creed were far better, though.

But, that's where the similarities end between Assassin's Creed and Spiderman.

In Web of Shadows, you get to play as, obviously, Spiderman. This game is also set around the context of the final Spiderman film, but it doesn't follow the film. It has its own storyline (we'll come to that shortly). So, as a result, you also have the dark suit that you can don (or in the case of the game, toggle back and forth between). When you're Spiderman, you're good. When you're in the black suit, you're bad. So, certain things you do in the game gain you 'Red Points' and certain things gain you 'Black Points' depending on which suit you are wearing or which action you choose.


There is nothing spectucular about the audio. The web sound effects work quite well to make you feel like it's really shooting a web.


I was pleasantly surprised over the controls. Spiderman handles surprisingly well. The movement is sometimes a bit too fast (or, in some cases, uncontrollable). Overall, the controls do what they're supposed to do and are responsive to the button presses. When Spiderman swings from building to building, he handles very well. The only complaint I have here is that when it runs into a building, he doesn't want to get off of the web easily and generally falls to the ground. You can make him grab onto the building by pressing the jump or slide button. This will usually make him grab the building and start climbing.


The story is that Spiderman is tasked to go around the city and right the wrongs and violence being committed. In this game, that means cleaning up the city of gangs among other tasks. Sometimes the gangs are on foot, somtimes they are in cars. So, as you're running around, you find gangs having gun fights and stop them. So, you have to use your Spidey powers to defeat these groups and gain you experience points.

Spidey Powers

You can climb buildings, spin webs (to swing, stop enemies and tie them up), spin blocking webs, sense enemies (see where they are) and run along the sides of buildings. As you level up, your combo skills go up.


The game is played basically as an extended tutorial. So, with each level you play, you get a new Spidey power. As you gain powers, you can do more. Each level basically makes you use that power to finish off the villain. Also, as you play, you can befriend both good and bad allies. These people can be called in to help you finish off fights.

As you progress, you will also need to help take injured civilians to the hospital or save them from exploding vehicles. If you fail to do this, you get awarded 'Black Points'. Saving them gives you 'Red Points'.

Leveling up

As you gain experience points, you gain purchasing power. You can then spend these points on increasing the effectiveness of your defensive and offensive powers. So, you can increase how fast you can shoot web bullets or how far you can throw them. You can increase your combo speed and skills as well. Both the red suit and black suit have their own upgrade paths and you can spend your points on either path you choose.

Save Points

You can save anywhere in this game. There are also some points at which it auto saves your progress (after you've completed an objective).


These are like quests. You meet up with Cage (a good ally) who tasks you with doing certain things for him. As you complete the objectives he gives you, you gain more Spidey powers (and helps you level up).

Choosing a path

You get to choose Shadow Spiderman or Spiderman for your path (evil or good, respectively). The main problem with choosing a path is that you don't know the outcome until you choose it.  If the game designers had given a small visual of the outcomes, I'd be a little more inclined to know what to pick.  As it is, it's rather random because you don't know. 

Timed Moves

At the end of the boss levels, you are tasked to press the correct button at the correct time (like Guitar Hero).  While I understand why the designers do this, I don't like it.  Let me just finish the fight to completion in the fighting mode.  Or, alternatively, cut to a cut scene without these interactive timed sequences.  I don't really like the trial and error style of gaming.  Let's just move on without the trial and error gaming sequences.


This game is reasonably well done, but towards the middle and end of the game, the graphics become exceedingly glitchy and the audio becomes very choppy. The save points make it easy to stop and start at convenient places, but there are only 3 saves. The controls work well to control Spiderman in most instances. The game gets a bit repetative in places due to the gang things you end up doing. However, the only reason it becomes repetative is if you choose to do the optional objectives. You can skip these and go right to the main objectives to keep the story going.


I like the game even though the graphics aren't perfect. The music works well enough. The game is reasonably fun and I have not run into any glitches or parts that are overly hard to get through. They did include health meters, so it's easy to see how much you have left, unlike Unreal engine based games.

  • Sound: 9/10
  • Graphics: 8/10 (Spidey could look better when close)
  • Bugginess: 6/10 (crashed several times, very very very glitchy)
  • Controls: 8/10 (control works well enough, but could be better)
  • Bang-To-Buck: 4/10 (might be fun to replay)
  • Play Value: $25
  • Overall: 7.0/10 (Mostly fun, but gets repetitive in places)

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