Spider-Man games have come and gone over the years with only a few leaving more than favorable impressions on those who have played them. Even Activision CEO Bobby Kotick can be quoted saying, “Our Spider-Man games have sucked for the last five years.” Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is suppose to be the game that delivers our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man from the grasp of mediocrity, but did Activision succeed or add another flop to the collection? Continue reading to find out.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions puts gamers in the role of four different Spider-Men (Amazing, Noir, 2099, Ultimate) who have been summoned by Madam Web to reassemble the Tablet of Order and Chaos after the Amazing Spider-Man shatters the tablet in a fight with Mysterio. Pieces of the tablet have spread across the four dimensions into the hands of twelve different villains giving them more power than they had before.
The game starts off with Amazing Spider-Man as the initial hero, but you have the opportunity to play as the other Spider-Men in any order you wish during each of the game’s acts. Shattered Dimensions is broken up into three acts and has boss introductions before each stage begins. This helps to build up anticipation and is a good attempt at going away from the norm of recent free roam Spider-Man games without stage selections.
Another good thing about Shattered Dimensions is its user friendly gameplay. There are 180 in-game challenges to complete and hundreds of emblems to collect that let you buy new health and fighting perks for the Spider-Men. The perks are separated by tiers and completing challenges unlock them. Some upgrades are characters specific, but most are shared by all the Spideys and alternate costumes can be purchased with the points players accumulate as well.
As far as fighting mechanics go, they consist of mixing up weak and strong attacks to perform various combos, grabbing enemies and/or slinging to them by pressing the O/B button, and dodging minor attacks by holding the LT/L2 and heavy attacks by holding LT/L2 and pressing the X/A button in a particular direction. Because of Spider-Man’s powers, you will be warned when a dangerous attack is coming by the tingling icon that appears above his head. Prepare to do a lot of dodging and attacking when playing Shattered Dimensions.
Also, Spider-Man’s Spidey-Sense can be activated by pressing down on the d-pad. This slightly changes the color of the screen and allows you to see the locations of enemies, relevant environmental items, and collectible emblems. First person fighting sequences are also included in the game during most boss fights. These sequences remind me of Fight Night Round 3 first person action in the sense that every direction uses both analog sticks ,except down, to punch and beat up the villain while dodging his progressive attacks.
What’s interesting about Shattered: Dimensions is the differences for each Spider-Man as they will have more or less things to do combat/stage-wise. Ultimate Spider-Man has the ability go into rage mode and beat down everything in his way until the meter goes down and his stages are more combat focused. Spider-Man 2099 has the ability to slow down time and his stages have free failing areas. Noir Spider-Man stages have to be played very stealthy by avoiding light and taking down enemies in the shadows with the tap of a button. As for Amazing Spider-Man he is kind of bland. He has web based attacks, but nothing is special about his particular stages. I enjoyed Noir Spider-Man’s stages the most, but also found those levels somewhat frustrating as well. It’s like all the enemies have the defensive skills of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and can take you down with little effort once you are spotted. Luckily, there are some combat area’s where you can exact revenge on enemies with good old hand to hand combat.
Now that I hit on some of the good things about Shattered Dimensions gameplay, let’s talk about some of the bad. Every stage except maybe two out of fourteen consists of a routine that will have you shaking your head before you are half way through the game. Its goes like this; chase the boss, save some people, protect those people while they open a door, repeat until the boss fight. I guess Beenox did not get the memo that constant escort missions are one of the most hated gameplay mechanics of all time.
Another bad gameplay mechanic of Shattered Dimensions is the web zipping, which is different from web swinging. Most stages require constant web zipping to the nearest landing or platform when not fighting. With the game’s linear stage designs, I found myself rarely needing to web swing throughout the entire game unless it was a sequence designed in the game. It feels like there is a lack of diversity on Beenox’s behalf to create a game that is fresh and not repetitious to the point of boredom. If you are looking for a intriguing game that provides changing experiences, difficulty, and classic gaming moments, Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions is lacking in all those areas.
As for the graphics in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, they are pretty good. The art team behind this game deserve some props.The Ultimate Dimension pops with vibrant colors, while the Noir Dimension is dark and gritty. Spider-Man 2099’s dimension is a believable 2099 world, and the Amazing Dimension is like a comic book on a TV screen. To me this is the best looking Spider-Man game ever created. Whoever makes the next Spider-Man game will have a hard time trying to top the graphics of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. The same can’t be said for the game’s sound though.
While it’s great to hear the wonderful Spider-Man voice acting during specific sequences done by Spider-Man cartoon veterans and Stan Lee narrate the game’s story, it is that much worse to hear each Spider-Man’s lines during actual gameplay. Not only is most of the non boss interaction dialog uninteresting, but the amount of repetition of said dialog is borderline infuriating. It’s normal to hear line multiple times in succession during battles every couple of minutes for entire stages. Around the fifth time I heard, “Is that all you got” (wait five seconds), “Is that all you got” (wait 15 seconds), “Is that all you got”, followed by Madam Web saying “Good work Spider-Man” a couple of times in a row, I was ready to throw my headphones across the room. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimension has provided me with the most irritating audio experience I have ever been through with a video game. I really hope no one goes through what I did when playing through the game if you happen to try or buy Shattered Dimensions.
Overall, the concept of Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions is good and has some key highlights. With that being said, Shattered Dimensions lacks creativity in too many areas. For a game that is 8 to 10 hours long, the in-game dialog and rescue people / destroy 10 items mission structure should not be used over and over and over again. Bobby Kotick said that Spider-Man games have been bad in the past and Shattered Dimensions makes it hard to say that Spider-Man games have ended that slump just yet. Maybe next year Activision. Maybe next year.