Featured Columns

September 2, 2010

The Comics Console: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions releases Tuesday, and with each day that passes, my excitement is turning into nervousness. On paper Shattered Dimensions looks fantastic. Even the new launch trailer looks amazing and I’m sure has Spider-Man fans drooling. Usually comic book based games with no ties to any film or television series turn out to be the best…usually. My fear for Shattered Dimensions comes from what should have been the first great film free Spider-Man game of the new gaming generation, but instead was, in my eyes, a complete disappointment: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows.

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch/ Shaba Games
Released: Oct. 21, 2008
Platforms: PlayStation 2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC
ESRB: Teen

Ten years ago Spider-Man hit the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Dreamcast, and to this day it’s considered one of the best Spidy games ever. It followed a simple formula of web slinging (for the first time in 3D), beating up and evading enemies, and chase and escape missions. In 2004 the game adaption of the film Spider-Man 2 built on that formula by giving us a New York city sandbox environment. These were simple but fun games that worked great for their time. In 2008 we were promised our first original Spider-Man game in a long time with new gameplay elements, original story, and no Tobey Maguire. What we got was more of the same old crap.

You have to REALLY love Spider-Man to really enjoy this game, because everything from story to gameplay is frustrating and boring. The basic plot is that a bunch of symbiots (ya know, like what Venom is) are attacking the city and the planet, and Spider-Man has to overcome the threat or allow the symbiote to control him. That’s really about all there is to know, because the story doesn’t go much deeper, and even leaves some places in the narrative unexplained. The good or evil gimmick has been thrown in which allows you to “choose your path” as a friendly neighborhood Spidy or a raging bad attitude black suit Spidy. I wish I could say that there is some great replay value with your different moral options, but the only enjoyable part of this decision function is seeing and laughing at the terrible B movie bad cutscenes that go with it.

This was probably my second biggest complaint about this game. The cutscenes. The over all graphics in the game are pretty good for both cutscenes and gamesplay, even if they are a bit buggy, but having to listen to Spider-Man’s cheesy horrible dialog is just painful. Adding to the dread is that the voice actor playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man has THE most annoying and whiny voice I’ve heard in a video game in years. I would get so mad because all I wanted to do was reach into the screen and slap Spidy for acting like such a little bitch. This isn’t the way I want my Spider-Man presented to me.

All of this would be very simply forgiven if the game had at least been fun, but as mentioned earlier, all we got was the same mission we’ve played a 100 times over in every other Spider-Man game over the last ten years.

The most fun feature about playing as Spider-Man is webslinging through the city, which Web of Shadows thankfully gets right, even if it takes some getting use to at first. The combat system is actually impressive at first and really fun for the first few missions, but that’s when everything goes down hill.

My biggest complaint about this game is how mind numbingly repetitive it is. To the point of not being fun anymore. Completely boring kind of repetitive. In the game, you meet up with Luke Cage who teaches you a new move to use in combat. You practice the move on him, then he sends you out on the street to use your new weapon against the gangs of New York. Then you head back to Cage and he teaches you another move, then you go beat up some thugs with it, then you go back to Cage, new move, beat up thugs. This is half the game. Even worse is that most of the combat moves you learn you won’t use or need, because combat is basically button mashing, and any combo will get the job done. Some just look prettier than others.

Once you’ve learned all your moves, you head out into the city to repeat the same missions over and over. Chase Black Cat, protect some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, beat up some thugs. Things do mix up a bit for the boss battles, which is nice just because it’s something different than all the other boring crap you’ve had to do in between putting up with Peter Parker being a bitch.

I like that there were so many cameos from characters like Luke Cage, Wolverine, and Moon Knight, but this didn’t keep me from feeling like my childhood was violated a little with how the game treated its main character. If you haven’t really played too many other Spider-Man games, then you may actually like this one, since all it is, is an updated version of all the other Spidy games over the last decade. And because of that, I’m really bitter toward this game for not delivering anything truly new since I’ve played every Spider-Man game.

My biggest fear in life right now, aside from complete abandonment by my friends and family, is that Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions will be just another repeat of the same chasing and beat-em-up missions we’ve play already. Sure that kind of thing can work in a Spider-Man game, so I’m not gonna complain if I gotta get from point A to point B before time runs out, but that can not be the entire game, otherwise all my faith in Spider-Man games will be lost.

Checkout The Comics Console next week when I give you the full break down of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.

Andrew Hurst



  1. Justin

    I got the PS2 version, long after it had come out, I think it was really cheap or something. I have never been more frustrated with a game. It was like they reverted to the DS. I don’t remember much webswinging (at least not with the freedom one enjoyed with the movie games). It felt like a slightly updated sidescroller. When that was all games could do, I put up with it. But now that I am spoiled by a sand box style, side scrolling just doesn’t cut it.

    And yes the Spider-Man voice actor *groan* I am very much looking forward to Spider-Man: SD. Comic book writer, four talented main voice actors. It looks great. But I will still remain a tinge cautious.

  2. With as much frustration as all of my friends were getting with the PS3 and 360 version I passed on this one. The new game is hopefully a huge step up

  3. […] from a small complaint to a large one, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows was already a disappointing game gameplay wise, but what really made me down right mad was having […]

  4. […] Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (2008) […]

  5. […] and Spidey can have skyscrapers to websling between.As for most rules, there are exceptions, and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is the best example of a potentially great Spider-Man game gone wrong. Before 2009′s Batman: […]

  6. It was repetitive… yes.
    But I didn’t hate the VO like you did, and I thought the story was pretty awesome.

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