What’s Red and Blue than Black all over?
Yes, folks, it’s time for you to swing back into action once again with everyone’s favorite web-head, Spider-Man. This time there’s no movie plot or comic book story arc. We’re talking about a completely original concept here with a strong dose of inspiration from the Marvel universe.
[image1]Spider-Man: Web of Shadows looks to deliver all the aspects that have been great about the franchise so far, without any of the same hang-ups we’ve seen before. You can still roam around New York sandbox-style or choose to do missions, and you still get to do it all as the wall-crawler. But that is where the similarities end and the improvements begin.
In the latest iteration, the symbiote that Peter Parker brought back to earth (or came from a meteorite, or who knows what canon they’ll use at this point?) as his black costume, and went on to create Venom, has started to infect New York. Once again, it’s up to Spidey to save the city.
But there’s a catch, some of that symbiote is still inside of him gnawing away at his soul. While that sucks major balls for Parker, it’s awesome for you, since it means that you’re able to switch between "classic" spidey and "black" spidey at will, with nothing more than a push of a button. Both forms have a unique fighting style and whichever you prefer determines which path you will follow. Will you be the friendly neighborhood spider-man everyone knows and loves, or will you be the gothy one that is feared by all and makes full grown adults crap in their pants just with his sheer presence? It’s up to you.
[image2]Wall-crawling has always been an important aspect of Peter Parker’s powers. I mean, the guys like a friggin’ arachnid. Since probably about four out of five of every spiders I’ve ever seen has been on the wall or ceiling it just makes sense that he would navigate city buildings with skill. While the system used in past games has been good, it was not great. Problem solved: now it looks and handles great. You can get vertical and run around in the black suit, or take the more traditional approach of climbing in red and blue skivvies.
The combat system had been tweaked to allow for more intense fighting and flashier moves. If you’ve played any of the last few Spider-Man games, then you can attest to the weakness of the combat system. Don’t get me wrong, I played the hell out of both Spider-Man 2 and Ultimate Spider-Man, but you would quickly get to a point where you had pretty much seen it all, and none of it had ever been awe-inspiring.
I’m pleased to say after my hands-on time. that seems to be a thing of the past. Whether I was unleashing a series of quick punches in the classic suit or grasping baddies with gooey black tentacles (no hentai jokes here – it’s too easy), I felt like I was pulling off a masterful combo a la Street Fighter.
[image3]The combo system isn’t the only thing new in the game. While past wall-crawling games have had brief cameos by popular Marvel characters, Web of Shadows will blow them out of the water. One of the levels I got to try out had none other than the Power Man himself, Luke Cage, fighting side-by-side with Spider-Man to take out a posse of gang members. Another level had you pit your skills against a symbiote-infected Wolverine. Whether you choose to try and help him fight it, or just beat the living crap out of him is up to you.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, considering I didn’t even mention any of the Amazing Spider-Man’s classic villains. It’s a safe bet that at least one or two of them will pop up somewhere along the line. Maybe even our favorite sharp-toothed long-tongued superhero look-alike will make an appearance…