(Since the Mercury has a limited amount of space for game reviews, Nex started doing some mini-reviews here on Blogtown, and I'm totally going to steal his format for this post. It's probably best to think of these two reviews as being more like hands-on impressions--I haven't finished either of these games quite yet, but I wanted to get some thoughts about 'em posted. If my opinion on either of these games has changed by the time I finish them, though, I'll be sure to update this post within the next few days.)
Quantum of Solace, $60, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and PC.
Exactly the sort of game that gives movie tie-ins such a bad name, Quantum of Solace is bland, unimaginative, and uninvolving, and it also feels like it was made in about two weeks. From its PS2-worthy graphics to the way major plot points are lazily/hastily explained in voiceovers, the game feels half-finished, and if you can think of an FPS cliche, it's here, from exploding barrels to dim-witted enemies who lounge around right next to the aforementioned exploding barrels. There's an alright melee system that can come in handy, but even when the game tries to do something new--it backtracks to Casino Royale for a few levels, for example, including one level that tries and fails to emulate that film's kickass parkour foot chase--it just ends up reminding you how uninspired it really is.
Verdict: You know how the Daniel Craig 007 movies make the Pierce Brosnan ones look like crap? Well, this game is the equivalent of Die Another Day.
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, $60, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and PC.
Ugly-ass box art aside, Web of Shadows isn't half bad. Or, well, it isn't half bad for a Spider-Man game, at least, since the past few Spidey games have been pretty mediocre. Freed from a movie license, Web of Shadows takes place firmly in Spidey's comics world, with a gazillion references to obscure Marvel events and characters. (Moon Knight? Seriously?) Even though it's in 3D, Web of Shadows plays more like an old-school 2D brawler, with fluid, combo-friendly combat on the ground, in the air, and on the side of buildings. Throw in the chance to use XP to upgrade your abilities, the option to have other characters help you out in fights, and the fact that my girlfriend voices the Black Cat, and you've got a competent, fun enough game--even if the story's weak, there are a ton of repetitive quests, and I want to punch the whiny guy who voices Spidey right in the throat.
Verdict: If you're a fan of the Spidey comics, it's hard to not have fun with Web of Shadows, especially since Spider-Man 3 probably lowered your expectations to the point where pretty much anything without a dance scene will seem amazing by comparison.