Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Web-heads of the world unite, this is the game we’ve been waiting for! Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is pure fan service, and boy do I feel serviced right now! Developed by Beenox and published by Activision, Shattered Dimensions is one of the best uses of the Spider-Man licence in a video game I’ve seen in a long time. The game captures the essence of the wall-crawler on all fronts.

The game takes place in 4 separate marvel universes; Amazing, Ultimate, Noir & 2099. If you’re not already familiar with the differences between these four series’, then this game may not welcome you with open arms. As previously mentioned, this game is completely for the fans, and it makes no excuses to explaining back story. That is not to say you’ll be up spider creek without a web-shooter, but you’ll certainly be out of the loop a little. The game is filled with great little references, including a voice over by Stan Lee, unlockable costumes and a reference to little-known Peter Porker, the original “Spider-Pig.” The story begins with Amazing universe Spider-Man breaking a mystical stone which grants enhanced powers to whom ever possess it. He punches it so hard that it spreads into 3 other dimensions, upon which time Madame Webb steps in. She informs the Spider-men in each dimension that they have to retrieve the stone for the sake of all worlds.

An obvious attempt to correctly personify the Spider-Man from the comics has been made, and successfully executed. “Incessant is the best kind of prattling!” exclaims Spider-Man at one point, and I couldn’t agree more. The game is funny, as Pete quips and jokes throughout as in the comics. Voice acting is superb, with 4 actors who’ve previously voiced the character in different cartoons. Unfortunately, the snappy puns and jokes are repeated not only within levels, but between dimensions. It is a bit disappointing when you hear 2099 make the same jokes as his Ultimate counterpart, but there is enough fresh material to keep you laughing during another bad guy fight-off.

Combat is based on a familiar 3rd person brawler archetype. X for light attacks, Y for harder attacks, B for grabs and A for jumps. There is enough here to make it feel unique, with web throws, web shots and spider-sense based dodging. As you progress you can unlock new combos and character upgrades, making combat feel more fluid and quick paced. There isn’t a huge variation between Amazing, Ultimate and 2099 levels, but Noir definitely feels very different, and totally solid. Where the former are straight up platforming and brawling, Noir is a stealth game with spider powers. Standard enemy combat is well broken up with engaging and challenging boss battles with some of the best villains in the business. Unfortunately, a lot of the strong points of the Noir sections feel exceptionally similar to Batman: Arkham Asylum. Hiding in the shadows on roof beams, stealth take downs, even a detective mode for spotting enemies. In the Hammerhead level, Hammerhead even taunts you over intercom in such a way that you almost forget that you’re not playing as the caped-crusader. Noir does have some unique features over his DC counterpart however. When in the shadows and well hidden, the screen saturates and removes all colour. It makes telling if you’re in cover much easier, and also just looks really cool.

A game based on a graphical medium has to have great visuals or it’s a waste of a license. Fortunately, Shattered Dimensions doesn’t have this problem. Each universe is really well tailored to its paper and ink counterpart. Amazing pops off the screen and feels true to spidey’s most famous incarnation. Ultimate is subtly different, so subtle it may not be noticed. 2099 perfectly captures the future portrayed in the 90’s spin off series. Even the Noir sections are well crafted to fit the gritty feel from the comics, but a lot of that is lost in the dark nature of the stages. As previously mentioned, the voice acting is good, with many big names participating and reprising roles. The sound design is also top notch, but the music can sound primitive and uninspiring at times.

Without a doubt the game is to be recommended. It wont inspire a new love for ol’ Spidey, but it certainly sits well with this fan. Swinging around in big open spaces feels great, combat is fluid if slightly repetitive, and the game looks great. If you’re willing to over look repetitive fights, the sometimes inconsistent camera and some strange music choices then you should have tonnes of fun. An above average game which fans will love, but can be enjoyed by fans of beating up lots of bad guys.







7 responses to “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions”

  1. Andy T avatar
    Andy T

    I’m glad to see it’s an improvement in the previously so-so Spidey games. Sadly for me it as a little too much competition for my hard earned pennies at the moment, maybe one for the Christmas list though.

  2. Redking avatar

    Good review, this looks like one of the better Spiderman games, the differences in gameplay look like fun too.

  3. Hoarr avatar

    Can’t wait to have time to play this one.

  4. Mike avatar

    ‘You’ll be up spider creek without a web-shooter…’
    Loving it. A brilliant review for a brilliant game. ‘Nuff said, Excelsior!, etc.

  5. Simon avatar

    I wish my name was Miguel O’Hara. This game is on my list.

  6. Leon avatar

    My only concern with this game was whether it would feel broken up too much, with the various comic style sections. I like a game where I feel as though I’m constantly improving upon my character, whereas I thought it looked more as though it would feel like character switching between four different versions Spider-man all of the time. Is this the case, or does it flow well?

  7. Terry avatar

    True, however at the time of the orndial post I was reading a lot of the New Avengers (my favorite team) I fell in love with Cage. I do however now like Pym way more after seeing him in action more.

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