Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is a video game title encompassing three versions: a full-3D action game for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360; a 2.5Dsidescrolling beat em up action game for the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 2(called Amazing Allies Edition), and a 2.5D side-scrolling brawler/platformer for theNintendo DS.
At various points in the game, the player is able to choose between good and evil paths. There are multiple endings depending on how the game is played out. In addition, the player can choose which villains to fight against. The player is able to switch between Spider-Man's traditional red and blue costume and the symbiote suit at any time during gameplay. The developers "worked on really separating the black and red suits to give the player a different feel". For example, red & blue suited Spider-Man is fast and agile, while symbiote Spider-Man is stronger and more destructive. The mini-map on the screen is also different from the style used in previous Spider-Man games. The traditional 2-D overhead view has been removed, replaced by a new 3D map with an "X", "Y" and "Z" axis which shows the player's position in three-dimensional space (north and south, as well as vertical position). Also, as a Wii exclusive, there are 6 alternate costumes (Spider-Carnage for the black suit, and Spider-Armor, Ben Reilly, Spider-Man 2099, Cosmic Spider-Man and the Iron Spider Armor for the red suit).
The game begins with Spider-Man searching for Mary Jane in a symbiote-infested New York. During a flashback to four days earlier, Spider-Man retells his account of how his encounter with Venom ended with a piece of the symbiote binding to himself. After the fight with Venom, Spider-Man meets Luke Cage during a gang drive by shooting. Cage explains that the Rolling Sevens and Park Avenue gangs are at war, and that their task is to bring the two to a truce. After pursuing the two gang leaders across the city, Spider-Man manages to get them to agree to a peaceful meeting in Central Park.
Outside the rendezvous point, Spider-Man discovers several high-tech assassins on top of the nearby buildings. He traces the assassins back to Kingpin. After a few encounters with Black Cat, Moon Kinght, Vulture, and Kingpin’s gang, Spider-Man and the Kingpin's henchmen are attacked by symbiote-controlled citizens of New York. The police soon arrive and Spider-Man is witnessed throwing a symbiote controlled person off of a building and is then considered to be a murderer.
As the game progresses New York becomes more overrun with symbiote hives. Wolverine, thinking Spider-Man to be possessed by a symbiote, tracks down and confronts the web slinger. After a brief battle, the two settle their differences and begin tracking down infected citizens. Eventually Spider-Man finds Venom throwing people into symbiote pods, leaving them infected. After the pods are destroyed, S.H.I.E.L.D. quarantines New York and sets up symbiote controlled citizen quarantine camps. Electro attacks one of the camps looking for his sister, who is symbiote controlled, and becomes infected himself attempting to help her.
Spider-Man decides the only way to save New York is to break Tinkerer out of Ryker's Island Prison. Upon reaching the prison, Spider-Man frees Rhino, who uses his immense strength to help free Tinkerer. Tinkerer then designs a device to be installed on the Trask Building that removes the symbiotes from their hosts without causing harm to the host. After defeating symbiote controlled versions of Electro, Wolverine, Black Cat, and Vulture, depending on the player's actions earlier in the game, Spider-Man either activates the device and destroys all the symbiotes including his own or destroys the device. Either way, Spidey responds to an attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier by Venom and the remaining symbiotes.
Enlisting Moon Knight or Vulture to carry him to the Helicarrier, Spider-Man sets bombs to destroy the ship, but is attacked by a giant five headed version of Venom. Spider-Man is able to destroy four of the heads, and calls on Brock to try and assist with destroying the symbiotes. Realizing the destruction that has been caused by the Venom symbiote, Brock sacrifices himself, the alternate ending involves Spider-Man killing Venom. The symbiote monster weakens, and the Helicarrier explodes.
Based on the player's actions throughout the game, Web of Shadows concludes with one of four possible endings. If the player has made a majority of red-suited choices, Spider-Man narrates about his victory on the top of a building before swinging away with Mary Jane. If the player has made slightly more red-suited choices than black, he calls Mary Jane to try and apologize about his actions during the invasion. If the player has made slightly more black-suited choices than red, Spider-Man leads the symbiote conquest of Manhattan and is hunted by Wolverine, who has bonded with another symbiote. If the player has made a majority of black-suited choices, the former ending is amended to show a symbiote-controlled Black Cat by his side during the invasion.
Web of Shadows has received mixed reviews with critics praising the idea of an original story, but citing poor polish and execution. IGN also pointed out that the lock-on camera has a tendency to detach itself, making mid-air battles difficult. 1UP.com praised the game as having "plenty of cool "Spider-Man" moments throughout thanks to the basic locomotion and combat", which "settles into a rhythm of repetition", summing up with "Shadows might be the best Spider-Man game yet, but that's just a testament to the series' now-mediocre standards." Gamespot mentioned occasional technical issues with the graphics, sound, and camera, while praising the story, combat system, variety and "memorable" boss fights. Gamespy commented "Web of Shadows manages to provide a good deal of fun even if it doesn't bring much new to the table.", praising the animation and combat, and mentioning camera problems and visual glitches along with a repetition of objectives. Game Informer criticized the voice acting, camera and animation, claiming "As explosive as the new combat is, it’s all this game has to offer."