“With great power comes great responsibility”. Seems Activision had forgotten one of, if not the, main tenants in the Spider-Man universe, because ever since finishing work on Spider-Man 2: The Video Game they’ve failed to put up a Spider-Man game to the high standard they themselves set. With Web of Shadows it appears they may be back on the right track, however the game makes one terrible first impression.
It’s unfortunate that the first thing you’ll undoubtedly notice is the slowdown in the game’s opening credits, by that I mean before you even get to the start menu. But a far greater sin occurs as soon as begin play. No doubt that as soon as Spider-Man speaks his first word you’ll have to decide on whether to continue playing or pulling the disc out and using it for skeet practice. The voice actor is beyond incredibly horrendous, we’re talking criminal, no worse yet an effective torture maneuver. He puts Tidus to shame in the high, whiny bitch boy club. My apologies to the actor if this is his normal speaking voice, but still… wow, who thought it would be a good idea to put this guy in front of the mic? The rest of the cast is decent but not overly impressive. But what really saves the dialouge and makes this one of the better Spider-Man adventures is the writing. Spider-Man’s quips are fantastic and as the story progresses you can’t help be impressed by how the story unfolds.
There isn’t much variety between the missions (save civilians, beat up baddies, make an important discovery) but most can be finished relatively quickly and are worth it for the XP to spend on upgrades. Better yet most of these missions are optional and can be skipped entirely to fast track the narrative. The game’s plot revolves around Venom and the alien symbiote running amuck through the streets of New York. The symbiote is spreading like a virus and Venom is the kindergartner with the chickenpox. Sucked into this epidemic are fellow Marvel characters Luke Cage, Wolverine, and Moon Knight with appearances by SHIELD, Black Widow, and several other well known Spidey villains. Needless to say it’s a fanboy’s wet dream… well unless you’ve played Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which if you are a fanboy you probably have but still.
Beyond the story and in spite of the horrendous lead voice acting what absolutely drew me in was the true sense of Spider-Man’s athleticism, speed, and gracefulness as you pull off all kinds of sick looking moves whether you’re in battle or just swingin’ it across town. The fluidity and beauty that Spider-Man moves at is akin to a ballerina in a climactic frenzy at the end of a performance. The rush you get from being Spider-Man takes the tediousness out of some of the missions. Battles that take place fully in the air or on rooftops add the backdrop of one of the most eye poppingly gorgeous cities in the world that is rendered in full detail from dirty borough to glitzy shopping center. The visuals, while not the best, do add plenty of impact to the game.
This is a game that you have to get your hands on, but do be forewarned, Spidey’s voice is worse than listening to nails on a chalkboard to drown out the “noise” coming out of your parent’s bedroom. The voice is that bad, but the game is so much better.
- You ARE Spider-Man and its way damn cool
- Black or Red Suit – it’s your choice
- Play the All-American superhero or be lured to the dark side
- The voice acting is ranges from very bad to adequate – nothing too spectacular in this Spider-Man
- The choice between Good vs Evil is way too simplified
- Camera can get lost with all the quick movements
- Game has frame rate slowdown issues and an inordinate amount of glitches – mainly toward the end of the game
- Mission variety is fairly redundant and lame, but for the most part optional