Activision treated us to an early look at Spider-Man: Web Of Shadows at Comic-Con this week, giving us a taste of the game's suit-switching mechanic and highlighting boss battles with classic villains Venom and Vulture. In Web of Shadows, Venom has infected the people of New York with a symbiote plague, creating hundreds of mini-Venoms that our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man must dispatch.
Peter Parker has been infected by the alien symbiote, too, but has total control over its abilities, allowing him to switch from the more nimble red and blue suit to a more destructive black and white suit on the fly. Both suits have their advantages and disadvantages, as the black suit lets Spidey whip foes with symbiotic tentacles and carries a heftier punch, but can result in more collateral damage to the city.
That trade-off comes into play in how the citizens of New York, as well as your superpowered allies and enemies perceive you later in the game. With a cast of "Marvel Team Up" regulars, folks like Wolverine and Luke Cage, you'll need to make sure the good guys are on your good side.
Shaba Games, developer of Web of Shadows, looks to have gone to great lengths to capture that Spider-Man feel. All the stock Spidey moves are in there — wall-climbing, web-swinging, spider-sensing — with cinematic camera angles complimenting each. The camera will pan out and strafe when Spider-Man is leaping through the air, attaching himself to foes with a carefully placed web shot, making it look easy to string together combos.
In the Vulture fight we watched, Spider-Man had to get more altitude than he would normally be capable of. With a flock of Vulture minions sporting Green Goblin style gliders floating about, the producer in charge of controlling our hero leaped from minion to minion, until the Vulture was in range. He then knocked the crap out of him with a flurry of punches, kicks and webbing.
We also got to see a epic battle between Spidey and Venom, with a dozen Venomites scrambling around a back alley hive. After dealing with the symbiote infected mob, Spider-Man's next task was to eliminate Venom and his symbiote hive. Looks like Shaba is adding some nice variety to the boss battles in Web of Shadows and we look forward to taking some of this on ourselves.
What we saw of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows looked very early, as the game was still in alpha build stages. There's clearly plenty of work to be done on the title, as frame rate and camera performance needed some serious tweaking — our biggest concerns for the title's ultimate success. Visually, though, the game looks quite nice, and the glossy look of the symbiotes fits in well with the character's art style.
Activision was showing off the Xbox 360 version of the game, but it plans to ship on just about everything under the sun later this fall.