PC review – Spiderman: Web of Shadows
Well, Â one of the games I was really hoping would be good, because the videos made it look really fun and all. I mean, it looks like a Spiderman game should look like, it seems to feel like Spiderman… But actually playing it… *shrugs*
Now I’m playing the PC version of the game, so I can’t comment on the console versions. But this is really a big disappointment. (just a note here, I didn’t think of taking screenshots while playing, and I’m not going back in the game to take some).
Read on for specifics.
One of the things I can’t fault TOO much on this game. The graphics, though not the highest quality out there, are pretty nice. The city looks good, Spidey looks good, the other character models are pretty well done(symbiote Wolverine looks badass), normal citizens look meh but that happens in most games. Special effects could be a bit better, but they still look fine. Graphic glitches are plentiful. For exampe, one time during a cutscene, Cage just walked through a door. Or another time, during a cutscene again, Spidey was standing in the air. Not just a few centimeters high now, something like over 15 feet high. This sorta glitch happens frequently in cutscenes and quite often in gameplay too.
One thing I should mention is the animation. It’s really well done. Every move makes Spiderman really lifelike and pretty much exactly how you’d imagine him moving in the movies and such. That’s really one of the high points here. Whether it’s swinging through the city or fighting enemies, Spidey’s animation is near perfect.
Most annoying Peter Parker voice I’ve heard in a long time. And inconsistent too. Sometimes he sounds all heroic like, and 2 lines after he sounds like a whiny emo kid who’s about to cut himself and sometimes he just sounds incredibly neutral, but each time his “emotions” change his voice sounds really different. Really some of the worst voice acting I’ve heard (not including the 4kids dub of One Piece). The other voices aren’t too bad, nothing spectacular, some of the music is stock, and the sound effects are nothing special either, just what you’d expect I guess.
Let’s break this down in a couple sections: Combat, leveling and navigating
Basically the core of the game, the battle system in this game is sadly really simplistic. You can easily go through normal fight by button mashing (or in this case mouse button clicking non-stop).
The controls are… kinda complicated, yet really simple. Left mouse button attacks, pressing it repeatedly adds hits to your combo(attacks change depending on if you’re on the ground, in the air or on the walls). Pressing Q blocks, pressing Z shoots webs(which stuns weak opponents and does nothing to bigger ones unless you shoot a lot at them), pressing C makes spidey shoot a web, charge against the opponent and if you press certain other buttons at the right timing you can do various attacks. Pressing Caps Lock(yeah…) changes your suit(from red to black and vice versa) on-the-fly which enables for more combat variety. As you gain experience you can learn more moves and deepen the battle system. But what use is there to learning more attacks and combos and such when your basic 5 hit combo will kill everything in the game with no problem(well, except for some parts require using the C button, you’ll fail if you don’t use it)? Well I guess it’s more fun to use a variety of moves to beat opponents, but in the end it’s not needed.
The enemies are kinda lame too. You get a couple of different enemy types for each chapter (or whatever), but most of them, with a few exceptions, are just copy pasted and have a different ability or two, but are basically the same thing. Exceptions are boss battles, which are all pretty different and actually kinda fun to fight, though I found some of them a bit too easy.
Overall the battle system isn’t bad, but the lack of difficulty makes lots of the elements here useless.
As you fight enemies and save civilians and complete objectives you’ll win experience points. Experience points are used to buy skills and upgrades. You get ground moves, air moves, wall moves, web shots, web slings and a few other random things to upgrade. Some just give more hits to your combos, other add new moves completely, and some just upgrade the power of what you already have. One nice thing here is that both the black suit and the red suit have their own upgrade tree, so whatever suit you use more you have different things to upgrade.
You also have spider symbols to find all over the place in the city. Getting a certain number of those levels you up, raising your health, specials and swing speed. Those are hidden everywhere in the city, if you want them all you’ll have to check every nook and cranny, there’s lots on the rooftops, and they’re not always super easy to find(though most of the time they’ll just catch your eye and you’ll get them there.
Overall the leveling is simple but effective, not much bad to say about this.
What’s Spiderman without swinging from building to building and all around the city to find your objectives and bad guys to fight?
Well in this game it feel really nice…. sometimes. The right button on the mouse makes you jump up using webs if you’re on the ground, and subsequent uses of the button will make you shoot webs on nearby buildings to swing around the city. Pressing the Space button while swinging makes you swing higher and when you let go you go higher. Now the swinging in general works well, but that’s as long as you don’t touch walls. When that happens it’s just bad, it’s like Spidey doesn’t know what to do and everything just screws up. It’s hard to really explain, but really it doesn’t work too well. Might as well mention that, although it might not seem like it(I’ve seen reviewers saying Spidey’s web attached to the clouds >_>), Spidey’s web has to attach to a nearby building that’s higher than he is, otherwise the Right Mouse button just won’t respond and you’ll be left falling until you’re at a proper height. As of now though I don’t remember dying from fallint from a building, but if it’s too high it might hurt falling down.
Speaking of walls, that’s also a real bitch. Pressing Q makes you hold onto wall so you can move accross them. That’s fine and all, but would it be too much to ask for the game to actually respond when I press Q? Most of the time it does nothing, making me hold on the wall when I’m really close to the ground. Moving around isn’t too bad… when it wants to. Most of the time the camera angle is horrible and it’s hard to navigate where you want to. Turning doesn’t work really well either. While on the wall you can also press the E button to get in Sprint mode, which allows for better speed on the wall, but crappier turning capabilities.
Not much else to say here. Most of the time the swinging is kinda fun and, when you’re not getting problems because of walls and such, you really do feel like Spiderman.
Why this game sucks (AKA how to make a horrible PC port)Â
Ah, now I didn’t call this Web of Fails for no reason. Most of the problem I’ve experienced come from the really bad porting to the PC. This is one of the most badly optimized games I’ve ever seen. I don’t have the most high-end computer in the world, but it still holds its own really well and can run Crysis on High without any lag(didn’t try Very High yet, but it should be able to play a mixture of high-very high). But here there’s lots of slowdown at really random parts, but the big problem is explosions. May it be during cutscenes or gameplay, if a car explodes or something, even if you have a good computer, the game will lag heavily. Also, there’s fire hydrants all around town, and if you happen to break one, though it won’t be as bad as the explosions, you’ll still be getting lag when the water gushes out.
More problems brought by the PC port are the really awkward controls. It’s kinda tough to do exactly what you want here, the game is unresponsive at times, and really the button placement is just… meh.
Now this is one of the big problems to me. The menu navigation is horrendous. Was it really that hard to have some mouse support on there? Everything is done with the keyboard. Q and E goes through different subsections in the sections you’re currently in, and Z and C go to other sections of the menu. Wow, how intuitive >_> Also, there’s no visual settings, so if the game is lagging for you, well tough luck, you can’t make the model/texture quality lower or anything. That sucks.
Now there’s a few problems that don’t come from the game being a horrible PC port. Mainly the locking on. I mean, you’ve seen it in Devil May Cry and other action games, when you lock on you’ll be locked on to the closest enemy and you can still move your camera around and such. But here… The game will randomly lock on to far away targets and such, even if you don’t press the Tab button, and when you’re locked on you’re forced to face said target, and if you try moving the camera the screen just jerks around. That really becomes a problem at times, making it hard to see where you’re going when the game just locks on to random crap when you’re fighting. This is really the worst thing about the game. Really, the lock-on system should logically be really simple, but no, they decided to screw it up heavily. If it locks to something you don’t want, you have to stop the lock then move the camera back how you want it, and if you’re fighting a series of enemies, after killing one the game will put back the lock on to the randomly placed thing it was locking on to before.
Now this game had a lot of potential. The combat is good and if it was harder it would have been nice. The swinging around is fun when it’s not bugging up. The leveling system is good, and choosing the good or evil side for the story is real nice.
But the port to PC is horrible, Peter’s voice sucks, there’s graphical glitches everywhere, there’s not lots of difficulty, it’s repetitive and actually TOO long(if they just abridged some of the useless story segments or tutorial parts it would have been a bit more bearable.
Verdict: If you REALLY want this game, get a console version, it should play a lot better and I’d say wait to find it in the bargain bin.
Well, that’s it for now, more things coming up here soon.
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