Sunday, July 16, 2017

Review #428: Spider-man - Web of Shadows(Playstation 3)

 Spidey's finest.
 After Treyarch's disappointing stint with Spider-man 3, they teamed up with Shaba to bring us their final Spider-man game, and also, their best.

 Remember how Ultimate Spider-man was about Venom and the symbiotes? And how Spider-man 3 was about Venom and symbiotes? And how Friend or Foe was about Symbiotes? Yes, we have another Symbiote/Venom storyline. It's also the best, after tangling with Venom, Spider-man gets to host the Black Suit again, and sadly, he is not the only one. New York falls under the threat of a spreading Symbiote invasion and Spider-man will have to team-up with other street-level heroes like Wolverine, Luke Cage and Moon Knight in order to suppress it. There're a couple of 'moral choices', which will impact the ending that you get, but for all intents and purposes, they are mostly there to give you different cutscenes, but the end result will be the more or less the same. As far as the story goes, I really liked it, although there were a few out of character moments like Spider-man throwing infected citizens down a sky-scraper, a very un-Spider-man thing to do.
 Web of Shadows is the apex of the free-roaming Spider-man game. They polished the mechanics to a shine: R2 is used to shoot webs towards buildings or surfaces, and depending if you tapped it or held it, the type of web you'll shot, either a swinging web or a zip-line. You can increase your speed by holding the jump button. There're over 2000 Spider-icons peppered throughout the city, and collecting these will enhance Spider-man's stats. It feels very rewarding as a whole, since swinging around New York feels like a dream, and you're encouraged to, since these Spider-icons are very plentiful and offer tangible rewards. I often lost myself in swinging around, it's that good.

 The other piece of these games is the combat, and it's the best it's ever been. The city will receive damage from Spider-man's attacks or even enemies', not only that, hitting enemies feels good and crunchy. Spider-man can switch between the Red and Black costumes at will by tapping L3, and both have their own unique movesets which you can alternate at a button's press. It helps how different each version feels, with Spidey offering weak, but fast and tracking attacks, and Black suit Spider-man being a slower, but stronger fighter that covers a ton of ground with his attacks. It's a thing of beauty. Defeating enemies, finishing missions or doing side-activities will earn you experience points which you can then spend in order to unlock new moves for both suits.
 Luckily, story progress is not gated behind side-activies, however, a few have been integrated into the plot. There're a couple of times in which you are tasked with doing 2-3 side activities, or defeating X amount of enemies. It was fairly inoffensive, and at least it was worked into the main plot. It helps that you're given experience points for these, which will then help you upgrade Spider-man. There's a new mechanic in which you can call-in for help from other heroes, while I didn't use it too much, they are fairly competent allies for those pesky 'protect the citizens' missions. QTEs are back, and they are as bad as ever, but at least there weren't as many as there were in Spider-man 3, and messing up only tortures you with having to endure the entire cutscene again, as opposed to healing the boss. So... yeah, they are still annoying but not AS annoying as Spider-man 3's.

 What can I say? Spider-man Web of Shadows is easily one of the best super hero games ever made. While the story can be questionable, everything regarding the gameplays stays true to the character, and everything feels very tight. It's a solid game that even people who know next to nothing about the character can enjoy.
 8.5 out of 10

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