Massive combos are a big part of what Shadows adds to the world of Spider-Man games. The big focus is on stringing attacks together into huge triple digit hits. You can mix it up between aerial and ground strikes, as well as attacks the wall-crawler can use while climbing the faces of skyscrapers; all three attack types move smoothly from one type to the next. And the improved mid-air attacks are a very welcome addition when taking on the game’s many sky-based enemies; when you pull off an air strike, for example, Spidey will fly in the direction of his opponent, easily moving from one to the next. Not too realistic, but very much appreciated.
Sadly, the controls didn't seem to be made with the Wii in mind. Many times, it felt awkward to move Spidey around, let alone web-swing, which is pulled off with a flick of the remote every time. Combat doesn't suffer too much, since it begins with one-button attacks, but as attack choices deepen - holding down the C and Z buttons while swinging the Nunchuk to change between outfits, for example - it gets a little complicated. It's not unlearnable, but even when you get used to it, you'll still wish for something simpler. And the camera is poorly controlled by the d-pad, which only makes all those problems worse.
As for looks, Web of Shadows is actually on the higher end of Wii's third-party titles; visually, at least, this isn’t a cheap cash-in. The people and settings are all pretty clean, and the character animation, especially during a big combo, looks pretty good. However, the cinemas are pretty grainy, like they were made for a more demanding video player and then scaled down a lot to work with the Wii's more limited power.
When you get down to it, what we have here is a good game that is still fun in spite of the limitations of the system. Web of Shadows is a reasonably good time, but unless the Wii is your main gaming console, you’ll want to play it on a higher-end machine with less gimmicky controls. Failing that, this game is still your best bet for a web-slinging fix on the Wii, though given the competition, that isn't saying much.
Oct 30, 2008