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Review: Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions

Ultimate, Noir, Amazing, and 2099.

Once again, Spider-Man is tasked with saving the day, and he sure has his work cut out for him this time. In Spider-man Shattered Dimensions the fabric of reality has been broken during a fight between The Amazing Spider-Man and one of his oldest enemies, Mysterio. During the battle the Mystical tablet of Order and Chaos is shattered due to an ill placed kick by Spidey sending shards of the tablet off into different versions of Spider-Mans reality. The Spider-Men of those realities need to bring all the shards back together before someone finds one of the shards and the limitless power they hold within.

Just a word of warning, I’ll be touching on things that will give away some plot points and some of the enemies in the game.

The approach of splitting the game into four different flavors is a pretty clever way to put different aspects into the gameplay that would not have combined well if it were just taking place in one setting. Each Spidey has strengths and weaknesses requiring variation on how you approach a task or enemy. What works in one universe leads to a quick death in another. As there are four Spider-men, they are voiced by four different actors and each Spidey has a different personalty and sense of humor, some of the jokes are witty and some are duds just like in the comics.

In AMAZING the world is presented in a Cell, a animated world that gives it a 2D comic book feel in a 3D world. If you’ve played other Spider-Man games this one is closest to what you have seen before. This Spidey is built for web based medium range combat and one on one fighting. Kraven is the first baddy that you fight in the game and the level does a good job of getting you to learn how to use Spidey with out having that “Training Level” feel. The boss battle with Kraven sets up the game’s level standard. Some level, Boss Pt1, Chase, More level, Boss Pt2, Chase, Rinse and repeat. In most boss battles, there’s sections where Spidey launches into a 1st person view mini-game of punch and dodge. Sandman is one of the other Bosses, his level is one of the best and surely the largest.

In NOIR, the dark industrial world of 1933 New York is portrayed in Sepia and B&W tones with an interesting grainy/film reel effect. You take the roll of “The Spider Man”. This Spidey is the most unique in the fact that he lives and fights in the shadows. Most of his combat is based on one hit ambush attacks that leads to the bad guy quickly finding himself a little wrapped up. Stealth is everything, as his fighting skills are the weakest and health bar the smallest. Sometimes it’s best to flee and set up a new attack after things calm down. The most notable villain is Goblin, who, instead of being a weirdo on a flying skateboard, is a ex-circus freak, who, now with the power of the tablets shard, could go 12 rounds with the Hulk.

In 2099, the New York of the future is brightly lit neon and stainless steel. North America has become one large corporate run police state with few heroes and even less freedom. You take the role of “Spider-Man 2099”, who spends his time making trouble for the Megacorps. His fighting style is almost all close quarters, linking combos against large groups of bad guys. All levels have a skydiving section that has a mix of combat and obstacle dodging, much like the chain tunnel in GoW3 . 2099 Spidey has a special power that slows down time, making for more fluid combat and base jumping. Two of the notable Villains are Scorpion, who, instead of being a guy in a lame suit, is now Giant bug monster who just wants to be normal guy. Dr. Octopus is just as crazy as ever, but this time, he is a she and has a God complex and a sense of entitlement that would make the Jersey Shore cast blush.

In ULTIMATE, the world has a similar feel to the Amazing world, but with the Cell aspect toned down a bit. You take the roll of every comic book fans dream, Spider-Man in the Symbiote suit, but without all the Evil baggage it normally comes with. You get to make use of all the power and violence the suit can dish out, and when you fill your Rage Meter, you get to stop holding back and really cut loose. Two of the notable Villains are Deadpool, who now has highly popular T.V. show with prizes that are to die for. He keeps trying to one-up Spidey in jokes and combat but the jokes are on him. Carnage is one of the last you face, and he’s out for blood and gets it by massacring a S.H.I.E.L.D army. He’s just vicious, like a pittbull that’s had it’s chew toy taken away and then been kicked.

The Good
For my first play through I explored as much as I could finishing challenges and hunting pickups each level took about 50 minutes to complete and finished I the game in just under 13 hours so you a pretty good amount of play time for your money.

For a game that splits one story into four different tales, Shattered Dimensions does a pretty good job of it. Even though the levels are linear in their layout, they are well crafted, large, and have lots of variety.

The voice acting is passable and doesn’t sound phoned in, but can repeat itself in some situations. The soundtrack has a few great points, but is mostly forgettable.

There were some very funny easter eggs in the credits. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever watched the credits a second time…. or even the first? Also, make sure you pause the game during the Deadpool level and wait a minute….Very funny.

The Bad:
The animation at times is rough and unfinished, such as major characters that talk, but have their face in a frozen, unmoving grimace. Sections of sub-titles (I love ’em) are missing. Some Spidey upgrades carry over to all 4 but some you need to buy 4 times even though they do pretty much the same thing. Spider Sense “Vision” is a mixed bag. In Noir and Amazing it’s great, Ultimate a distraction and 2099 painful and almost useless.

For a game that marketing has really pushed the point of extra costumes, making use of them a bit too much work, You need to exit to the main menu, reload your game save, go to the costume section make the change, then reload the level. That’s worse than SW:Force Unleashed.

The Ugly:
Somehow, Stan Lee was able to worm his way into doing a poorly planned narration during the beginning of each Act. Every aspect of it is just horrible. It brings the story’s flow to a grinding halt. It’s extremely loud and sounds like they used a $5 podcast mic. And as much as I love him as a writer he’s a bad actor.

At times, there was some minor screen tearing; mostly when using Spider Sense. This game is 720P, with less than cutting-edge graphics, and simple textures. The game’s code should not be taxing the processors.

Final Thoughts:
Some people have complained that SM:SD is not an open “Sand box” world like some past games, but I don’t think it took away from the game. Is the game an epic like Arkham Asylum? No, but if we limited ourselves only to epics we would not play many games.

I don’t give stars or number ratings, I just play games and sometimes I tell people what I think. So here’s what I think. If you a Superhero or Spider-Man fan buy it now for $50, if you want just want to play a cool game look for used in a few months for $35. Or if you use Gamefly, throw it on you list and give it a test drive.

Offical Shattered Dimensions Site

This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions provided by Activision.