Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

The Skinny:

The Webhead returns for his 85th installment in Activision’s easy-money franchise when an outbreak of alien symbiosis engineered by Venom threatens to engulf New York City. Playing back-up is an array of Marvel characters including Black Cat, Wolverine, and Luke Cage.

The Good:

Our review is so late because it took this long just to get to the story. For some, that’s plodding. For us, it’s immersion. After a protracted but rewarding period of training and low-level crime busting, the pace gets increasingly frenetic, yielding explosive boss battles and hero team-ups that shame the often mindless, infuriatingly repetitive motions of the previous movie tie-in. Improvements have been made to the swinging and combat systems, allowing for more varied, linkable attacks which double in number when you switch between black and red costumes. There are plenty of gimmes for dorks and die-hards of the series, but lots of action for people who just want to punch shit.

The Bad:

See above. If you’re not into deliberate plot development, you’ll spend several hours waiting for the game to start. It helps to come into the game a fan of the character and/or the game franchise. Spider-Man 3 (the game and movie) didn’t help matters.

Get Ready to Dig into Your Old Comics Box:

Freed from obligatory nods to the movie series, WoS is loaded with jokes and references to the comic book continuity, including in-battle trivia that can affect your dealings with other characters in the game.

Buy, Rent, or Disembowel?

Activision has always done justice to Spidey’s abilities, so if you’re a fan of the character and the mechanics with which he’s been portrayed over the years, buy the shit out of it.