Spider-Man: Web of Shadows


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If its not a sandbox webslinging New York then I'm not buying it. What I want more than anything is for Marvel to release a sandbox New York Heroes game where playing as Daredevil, Moon Knight, Captain America, Punisher or a varity of other guys is completly feasable. I see no problem with throwing in the complete both teams of Avengers as playable characters in that kind of environment and then picking and choosing your playable character.

I don't want to play any Spider-man game where I can't websling randomly for the pure joy of it. Very few games have what I call the "joy of movement", where the control system is so perfect and the environment so well realised that you can just enjoy it without even thinking about it. In Ultimate Spidey I played that game for ages just hunting those little medals and prizes whilst listening to podcasts of with tv shows playing in the background, it was perfect. Assassins Creed and GTA have a similar deal, as I'm told does Superman returns (although the actual game storyline and repetitive nature it all mean I havn't bought that one). Spider-man in a linear game hasn't been acceptable since the first 3-d version (which was awesome for the time) and I refuse to buy anything less.

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The Spider-Man movie games will never be mistaken for console greatness, but there are worse ways to waste a couple of hours. I'm enough of a Spidey nerd to wait and see if this looks like it'll be worth picking up used.

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If part of Peter Parker's appeal is the down-on-his-luck nerd status, Marvel's certainly been doing a good job of putting the poor kid through the wringer in the last couple of years. In the comics, Spider-Man recently plodded through an arduous storyline involving the devil, rife with the kind of goofy comic-book logic modern readers hate. In the theaters, his last movie did well financially but bombed critically -- and it was tied to a mediocre game, to boot. Six months after Spider-Man 3, he got pushed into Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, which erased any gravity in the franchise and packaged what was left into a dumbed-down children's brawler. The wallcrawler's got to catch a break eventually, right?

New Spidey developer Shaba Games believes that their fall-launching Spider-Man: Web of Shadows will be that break. The team's solution to the game series' stagnation largely consists of implementing tricks they've learned in the company's previous 11 years of development. But when Shaba's track record is mostly made up of extreme-sports games, how does that experience translate into a webslinging superhero action title?

The project's favored buzzword is "fluidity." The basic beat-em-up roots of previous Spider-Man titles have been upgraded so that each movement can be strung together with the next, allowing for what appears to be a very graceful but visceral combat system. And though Spidey looks awfully cinematic leaping from enemy to enemy, the developers assure us that the game won't play itself. The player must expertly time each step in a combo string, right down to actually pressing a button to kick a group of enemies as you swing through them. New moves (supposedly over 100 of them) will be purchased and upgraded through another addition to the series: experience points.

The decision to include "XP" comes from a rather unexpected influence for a superhero title: World of WarCraft. The game's plot, involving a Venom symbiote invasion of New York City, features S.H.I.E.L.D. quarantining the city into zones. Like in WOW and other MMOs, the full world is open from the beginning, but players will be strongly encouraged to stick to a set progression path through the city, laid clear by XP-earning quests. Various heroes, villains, and civilians, who are trapped in the chaotic city, act as quest-givers.

As the first Spider-Man game this generation to be based wholly off the comics rather than the movies, the team has a bit more creative license to use other Marvel superheroes and locations unique to the comic-book version of New York City. (Luke Cage, a confirmed quest-giver for the Harlem area, appeared in a recent demonstration of the game we saw, and concept art for "maximum-maximum security" prison the Raft was hanging on the walls at Shaba HQ.) Cage, old-school Spidey villains Vulture and Kingpin, and S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury are the only characters Shaba will currently confirm are in the game, but with comic writer Brian Reed helping create the story, we're positive plenty more familiar faces will show up.

One seemingly out-of-continuity feature left many fans scratching their heads when the game was announced. Players will be able to take Spidey down a good-or-evil branching path, but as it turns out, Shaba has implemented this choice into the gameplay in a rather intuitive way that works cleverly within Spider-Man lore. Since the game's storyline is based around a symbiote invasion, Spidey's black suit has made a return. Unlike other games featuring this clothing change, though, the switch isn't merely a fashion choice. The red suit and black suit have totally unique move sets and can be swapped on the fly -- even in midair -- adding a layer of complexity to the game's combat.

While the red suit's a bit more focused on agility and speed, the black suit is more powerful, and the length of time you spend wearing either determines whether Spidey's personality swings toward light or dark. No emo haircut, laughable dance-walking, or girl-hitting here; instead, Spider-Man's evil alignment makes for meaner dialogue with other character and also helps decide which of the multiple endings players arrive at.

If we had one major concern buzzing away at our Spidey sense, it would be one of the major complaints about Spider-Man 3 (as well as the recent Incredible Hulk game). Having a giant open-world game set in New York City is great, and Shaba has definitely gone out of their way to make the location visually impressive. But does any of that matter if there's nothing to do in the city beyond finding more guys to beat down? Shaba claims the city will be interesting enough without extra stuff or interior missions. They've poured a lot of time into making the city feel alive, and the metropolis will go through several big changes as the story progresses. Still, we'll need to wait and see if those transformations are enough to hold our attention.

The Spider-Man videogame formula is definitely getting some interesting shake-ups with Web of Shadows. Though some changes are sure to work better than others, Shaba seems to be headed in the right direction, at least as far as renewing our interest goes. We can't wait to get some hands-on time with the game, hopefully soon, and we'll report back as soon as we do. And, Shaba? No candy-coated kid friendliness or dopey deals with the devil, please.

http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3168149

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Why? There have been quite a few good Spider-man games, the original 3-D version, The first two movie adaptations and Ultimate were all decent-great. It only crap like Spider-man 3 & Spider-man Friend or Foe that really cripples these games. This actually looks like a refinement of Ultimate because instead of becoming Venom (vomit) you just change costumes and retain much or the same ability, motivation and direction.

What I really want is a Free roaming New York game with the Marvel Alliance roster and specialised movement and abilities for every character. If you want to swing around as DD its acrobatics across the lower rooftops and sensory benefits, if you want to soar as the Human torch thats fine too. I know its about 10 years away but that my dream Marvel game, roaming adventure GTA style with general threats, character specific adventures and movement styles unique to each character. Captain America might not have the roof-top leaping of his allies but his shield is the as deadly a weapon in combat as anything. Iron Man is insanely powerful but has to marshal his use of that power to ensure he doesn't run out before he recharges.

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  • 2 weeks later...
What I really want is a Free roaming New York game with the Marvel Alliance roster and specialised movement and abilities for every character. If you want to swing around as DD its acrobatics across the lower rooftops and sensory benefits, if you want to soar as the Human torch thats fine too. I know its about 10 years away but that my dream Marvel game, roaming adventure GTA style with general threats, character specific adventures and movement styles unique to each character. Captain America might not have the roof-top leaping of his allies but his shield is the as deadly a weapon in combat as anything. Iron Man is insanely powerful but has to marshal his use of that power to ensure he doesn't run out before he recharges.

My god, that sounds like it would be a nightmare to make.

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What I really want is a Free roaming New York game with the Marvel Alliance roster and specialised movement and abilities for every character. If you want to swing around as DD its acrobatics across the lower rooftops and sensory benefits, if you want to soar as the Human torch thats fine too. I know its about 10 years away but that my dream Marvel game, roaming adventure GTA style with general threats, character specific adventures and movement styles unique to each character. Captain America might not have the roof-top leaping of his allies but his shield is the as deadly a weapon in combat as anything. Iron Man is insanely powerful but has to marshal his use of that power to ensure he doesn't run out before he recharges.

My god, that sounds like it would be a nightmare to make.

Well then you'd better get started then, hadn't you?

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  • 2 months later...

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The new "Spider-Man: Web of Shadows" video game will make a gamer feel so much like they've really stepped into the suit of Marvel Comics' famous web-slinger, they could debate the finer points of wall-crawling with Tobey Maguire.

Superhero Hype! got an early look at Activision's latest foray into Spidey's world and it's a major thriller, allowing the player an astounding level of control and seemingly endless options as they venture free-roaming into an expansive, stunningly rendered three-dimensional New York City – and not just any NYC, but one set squarely in the Marvel Universe – with an invasion by Venom-style symbiotes overtaking the population – and smack in the midst of a Kingpin-ordered crime wave.

Yeah, there's THAT much going on, and Spidey has to combat it all at a breathtaking, breakneck pace, taking unprecedented advantage of all of his powers and both of his costumes in every level of the city – on the street, on rooftops, scaling walls and swinging from building to building and pirouetting from bad guy to bad guy. And the hero has a little bit of help here and there – do the words "SNIKT!" and "Sweet Christmas" mean anything to you?

Professional gamers guided us through an Xbox demo of the new game and we were stunned at the level of action and detail that's been rendered in "Web of Shadows." Not only does Spidey move through the game with all the speed, strength and agility as the real deal certainly would, it also cleverly uses his Spider-sense to ID and target threats and enemies, and gives him startling and dynamic levels of wall-crawling and web-slinging skills in an enormous playing field that makes the player feel like they're smack in the middle of the New York cityscape where the action can literally go anywhere. It's as if the player has been dropped in the middle of the most enormous action scene any of Sam Raimi's movies could come up with. And throughout the relentless battles, Spider-Man retains that classic Peter Parker sense of humor, spouting a running series of quips and one-liners conceived by comic book writer Brian Reed.

And then there are the suits. As Spidey, the player can choose between either of his famed superhero suits – the classic red-and-blue look and the more menacing black symbiote suit – at ANY moment during the game in a split-second, with each offering a different set of options to suit a specific battle: the classic uniform is big on speed, agility and acrobatics suitable for clashes high above the cityscape, while the black suit is useful when pure strength and power come into play and cars are needed to be tossed at forebidding opponents (and make sure when yanking a baddie out of a robot suit that he's fully down for the count, or he might climb right back inside). And in keeping with the character's "patented Parker luck," there's a price to pay for donning the darker threads, which makes our hero more volatile and reckless, strikes fear in the hearts of the civilians he's saving and, as the game wears on, may take an even greater toll on Spider-Man's soul.

As the citizenry is increasingly overtaken by the invading symbiotes, Spidey also has to face down against the Kingpin's high-tech minions – armed in everything from giant robotic suits to high-flying Goblin-esque gliders – who are in the midst of a major crime spree just as the Venom invasion goes down. There are also encounters with some familiar characters from Spider-Man's rogue's gallery, including smacking down the The Vuture soaring in between skyscrapers and chasing down the sultry, slinky (and bodaciously endowed) Black Cat, given voice with a sexy purr by "Battlestar Galactica's" Tricia Helfer during their string of amusing banter. The demo players treated us to an especially entertaining sequence between Spidey and his alluring enemy, showing just how tough and slippery an opponent she is during game play highlighted by character-driven story sequences that brought the two characters to convincing life.

That's one of the most fun and engaging elements of "Web of Shadows": this is Spidey swinging squarely through the Marvel Universe, past buildings labeled with the logos of Iron Man's Stark Industries, the notorious Roxxon Corporation and Wilson "The Kingpin" Fisk's various holdings (we didn't spot the landmark Baxter Building, but we wouldn't be surprised if that's in there, too). And when Spidey's in a jam, other Marvel heroes are also on hand to help repel the Venom invasion as well. During our demo, Luke Cage stepped in to help the wall-crawler throw down with a heavily armed gang of the Kingpin's thugs, and we caught more than a few glimpses of the X-Men's most famous anti-hero popping his claws in another intense battle sequence which left us wondering: are the superheroes of the Marvel U as susceptible to symbiote control as the general populace, and how each character will react to Spidey depending on whether he's in red-and-blue hero mode or savage black-suited vigilante style.

Not to put too fine a point on it - we were blown away by the sheer game-playing diversity on display in "Web of Shadows." The controllability and dynamic abilities of the Spider-Man avatar was stunning, complete with an array of customization that makes game experience utterly unique, and the vast, sweeping landscape of NYC is incredibly impressive, as Spidey's battles can go from block to block, building to building and ground floor to rooftop as fast as the player can maneuver. The animation and camera moves were as advanced as could be, and every step of the way the game remains dedicated to conveying the character of Spider-Man and the Marvel U.

We also got a demonstration of the portable DS version of "Web of Shadows," a 2-D playing system that's no less clever and compelling in its action and storytelling, complete with mini-games and exclusive cameos from characters NOT seem in the more tricked out version: The X-Men's Nightcrawler "BAMFs" into the action, and there's another familiar figure from Spidey's rogue's gallery that pumpkin-bombs his way into the invasion – but is he friend or foe?

Any Spidey fan with a taste for gaming will find themselves fully immersed in any iteration of the game and become a True Believer. Faithful to the fun-loving and angst-ridden spirit of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and as overflowing with endless action as any of Sam Raimi's big screen adaptations, "Web of Shadows" earns the adjective "Amazing." 'Nuff said.

"Spider-Man: Web of Shadows" will be released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PC, Nintendo DS and Wii on Oct. 21.

http://www.superherohype.com/news/spider-mannews.php?id=7684

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