Spider-Man: Web of Shadows Review

Player(s): 1
Memory: 142 KB (game save); 2GB (Hard disk install)

Web of Shadows is a much-needed return to the free-roaming sandbox style gameplay of the Spider-man universe. Although last year's Friend or Foe was not an extremely bad game, but the chosen beat'em up style didn't match Spider-man at all. Web of Shadows greatly enhances the combat from past sandbox Spider-man titles and goes back to the open-city style gameplay that gives us more of a feeling of what it is like to play with our favorite web slinger once again.

It's pretty evident that the combat was the main focus of this installment and I'm proud to say that Web of Shadows has the best overall combat system that I have seen in a Spider-man game. Spider-man's moves have a lot of flare and are easy to perform. He can switch between his normal red and blue outfit and his black symbiote outfit at any time during the game by tapping L3 once the symbiote outfit is received early in the game. Each outfit gives him access to a variety of different attacks. The red and blue outfit allows him to perform a combination of speedy focused attacks while his black symbiote outfit gives him access to more powerful attacks that can cover a wide area.

Both outfits share a web-strike attack, which is done by tapping the triangle button. This is one of the main attacks that keeps the combat flowing smoothly no matter where Spider-man is on the screen since he will immediately shoot his webbing toward the nearest foe and lunge toward the enemy. You can follow this up with a variety of other attacks ranging from a simple jab into a punch combination or actually toss the enemy to the ground and jump on top of him in order to use his body as skateboard to grind along the ground. It's amazing how this one single web-strike move can make air battles so much more interesting than usual with the way Spider-man can jump from enemy to enemy with this attack. Even while crawling along the side of a building, Spider-man can now attack with a full arsenal of moves. Battles are sometimes fought along the side of the building or you can simply jump off the side of a building during a fight and take to the air then return to the building later.

The red suit allows Spider-man to shoot web balls to stun his enemies and gives him access to many quick combination attacks. The black suit allows him to use its symbiotic extending arms to bring his enemies toward him or slap his arms around him all at once for some instant crowd control. The gameplay will sometimes slow down during certain moves that Spider-man can perform to emphasize certain hits of Spider-man's attacks and give you a pleasant view of each hit as it is delivered. This slow motion is used very well throughout Spider-man's arsenal and it really helps to make the moves look that much flashier.

Spider-man's moves can be upgraded throughout the main portion of the game by collecting experience orbs from fallen enemies or from completing missions. His combination attacks can be extended and new moves can be unlocked by using experience points to unlock them. From the start, only a few are available but as the main story progresses many other moves become available for each costume.

Super attacks can be performed once the super meter is charged from defeating enemies. Spider-man can also call on allies to assist him in combat once the super meter is charged all the way. The ally will enter the area and help Spider-man by defeating enemies with that ally's own exclusive move set. The ally can be controlled slightly by tapping a direction to order the ally to attack the currently targeted enemy. Spider-man gains more allies as the story progresses and the allies that help him depend on how many red or black points he has gained. Red points are gained from performing heroic tasks such as saving a civilian and black points are gained from allowing civilians to die among other selfish acts. Citizens will start to act more hostile (i.e. policemen shoot at him) or more accepting (i.e. policemen help him during fights) toward Spider-man based on his current red or black point total.