Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Review

By Adam Ma on October 11, 2011

Most super hero games typically fail for the same few reasons. Developers

try too hard to stay true to the character design or keep some of the

iconic moves that each character may be known for. This attempt at purism

generally leads to a pretty solid first few minutes of gameplay, which

rapidly leads into some boring repetition. The good guy's moves can't

become too crazy, lest they stray from the comic lore, and villain's all

have to use the same classic attacks over and over again. It's a pretty

standard platformer/action game pitfall, and to say that Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions doesn't fall prey to it would be a lie. What makes

this game different is that while most titles are more than comfortable

sliding head first down this slope, Shattered Dimensions' route is to

cushion the fall as much as possible.

The game jumps into the action quickly enough, with the master of illusions,

Mysterio, going after an ancient tablet that naturally has more power than

he initially realized. Spider-Man busts in, accidentally breaks the

tablet into dozens of smaller pieces, and just like that the game has

started. With each tablet thrown into a different parallel dimension,

it's up to the Amazing Spider-Man and his three alternate universe

variations to save the day. The plot line isn't the most impressive thing

around, but it serves its purpose pretty well. Each level in the game is

broken down by which universe each variation of Spider-Man is from. This

is the key to Shattered Dimensions' semi-success. Each variation of

Spider-Man, if left alone for too long, can become relatively stale.

These alternate versions have their own gameplay quirks to bring to the

table, and these key differences keep the action fresh and constantly

alive where most hero-games would falter.

The most striking difference world between them all is Noir, as it's more stealth based. Sneaking amidst the shadows, keeping out of sight until the last minute gives a pretty enjoyable rush, and the fact that the bosses are handled in the same fashion is both surprising and fun. Other Spider-Man variants bring

their own different take to the game, from 2099's air combat and unique

bullet-time to Ultimate's ground combat, each character takes a different

"swing" at the same classic character. Each Spider-Man also comes

with their own unique upgrades, which are unlocked as players complete

objectives in each level. Finding hidden items, beating enemies in a time

limit, and defeating bosses will help in unlocking new moves and costumes

which can be purchased with currency (earned in the same fashion).

Unfortunately there are still a few flaws in the design despite these

differences. Each character does bring different combat elements to the

table, and each level does have its own unique feel, but the experience

still retains a few repetitive elements that can wear down some

players. A level will start off with the boss showing up, some witty

banter is traded between the hero and villain, then a chase ensues with some

civilians being rescued along the way. It all leads up to a final boss

fight, which ends with a Spider-Man from one universe or another getting

another piece of the tablet. It's predictability in both plot and design

is the only real thing that holds Shattered Dimensions back.

Graphically the game may not break any boundaries, but it certainly

captures the classic comic book feel down to the last detail. More

importantly than that, it captures the spirit of four very different art

styles seamlessly. Backgrounds, special attacks and villain design are

all a treat for any comic fans, and while the soundtrack may not tear at

the heartstrings, the script work in game is absolutely phenomenal. Aside

from a few repetitive boss quotes, the wit that characterizes Spider-Man is

there in full, backed up by some extremely talented voice actors.

Final Thoughts

So does Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions have some repetitive gameplay

elements? Yes. Is the plotline pretty predictable? Sure is. Does

that make the game any less fun? Absolutely not. Aside from its few

flaws anyone from comic book fans to just general gaming enthusiasts

should find the game to be quite a blast. Between the fantastic

script work and the relatively engaging combat, players should have no

problem riding out the game for its full length without suffering from any

typical action-game anxiety. It'll certainly set a nice benchmark for any

other games featuring the friendly neighborhood web crawler, proving (for

once) that it's possible to make a great Spider-Man title without

including an open world aspect.

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