Developer: Beenox / Publisher: Activision / ESRB: Teen (Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence) / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $59.99
Hello true believers and welcome to the Video Game Review. My name is Turtle and I will be slinging webs of knowledge about Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Grab your webbing and fly through the multi-dimensions with me, for we are going on a journey!
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The Tablet of Order and Chaos has been shattered during a conflict between Spider-Man and Mysterio. This causes severe issues across multiple Marvel Universe realities. Madame Web reaches out to four versions of Spider-Man in four separate dimensions to aid her in putting balance back into the universe.
The Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099 and Ultimate Spider-Man are the four Madame Web has called upon on. The Amazing Spider-Man is the most recognizable Spider-Man character and this is where you’ll find the iconic quick-witted Peter Parker banter as he takes down the bad guys. Everything you know and love about Spider-Man lives in this dimension.
Spider-Man Noir is a relatively new universe in the Marvel Mythos. Set in the mid 1930’s depression, Normon Osborn aka The Goblin has become a wealthy underworld boss. Osborn uses a diverse set of henchmen whom are all weaved into his crime syndicate in one way or another. For his part, Spider-Man enlists the help of Felicia Hardy and Ben Urich to face down this new challenge.
Spider-Man 2099 is the creation of legendary and award winning writer Peter David. Miguel O’Hara is a brilliant geneticist living in New York who is trying to re-create the original Spider-Man abilities on humans. His experiments go tragically wrong and his DNA has been rewritten with a spider’s genetic code.
Ultimate Spider-Man is a modernized version of the classic Spider-Man story line. Peter Parker is a science whiz living in Queens, New York when he is bitten by a radioactive spider that gives him super powers. Not much of a change in the origins, just a modern take on a classic character.
In the three different acts you play each of the Spider-Man characters in their designated dimension. Each dimension comes with its own in-dimension abilities (like the Ultimate universe Rage Meter) while all Spider-Man character can use the charge attack. Each dimension also has its own appropriately themed antagonist. However, they all have the same goal: acquire the Tablet of Chaos and Order to become ultra powerful.
Each level is unique to its featured villain and story line so it feels like its own standalone mini episode. Along with this, certain gameplay styles are changed in each dimension. While in the Ultimate dimension, it is encouraged to let your inner rage flourish and demolish any and all who get in your way. Spider-Man Noir has a different approach where stealth is the name of the game. One complaint across all four dimensions is invisible walls; I found myself getting stuck on invisible barriers all the time. It was quite an issue for me.
Also, the core gameplay variety is limited to fighting guys, fighting a boss, fighting guys, fighting a boss. It’s fun, but certainly repetitive, and would have benefited from a few fresh ideas to this one-dimensional mechanic.
It’s frustrating that in a game so reliant and focused on maneuvering ledge to ledge that the responsiveness of the right-trigger and double jump isn’t what it needs to be. Add the unresolved problems with the wall-crawling, and despite a straightforward control scheme, it doesn’t allow the smooth-flowing movement around the environments that you’d expect of the web-slinger.
Each dimension has its own awesome look and vibe. The Amazing Spider-Man portion has the comic-book cel-shaded style that separates it from the other dimensions. Spider-Man Noir is dark and brooding. Deep shadows and a sepia tone definitely puts you in the 1930’s underworld. Spider-Man 2099 has super high contrast colors and an over-active city landscape that never ceases blowing out your eyeballs. Ultimate has a typical cartoony look and feel. Each dimension faithfully retains the look and design of the comic books, which is a plus for all the fanboys.
Peter Parker has had many voices over the years and by far one of the best in recent memory is Neil Patrick Harris. He returns to play The Amazing Spider-Man. Veteran voice actors such as John Kassir, John Di Maggio, and Jim Cummings also shine in their roles. Not to mention that Stan “The Man” Lee narrates the game! In addition, the score for Spider-Man: Shattered DImensions is superb. Each dimension has its own audio score that reflects its unique themes. Even the sound effects were well done.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the previous incarnations of this beloved comic book character..Each dimension could have been a standalone game, so I feel that you get a lot of bang for your buck. Seeing the various villains in all the dimensions excited the comic nerd in me. Not everything is honey and roses: a few unresponsive controls and a formulaic game style may make for some boring gameplay. I didn’t feel it was that boring, but I can see how someone would be bothered by the formula. The invisible walls and wall crawling issues were also quite bothersome, and it’s something I hope future developers can conquer. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a fun game that that took four various styles of the legendary character and brought them to life in a celebrated, artistic manner. I genuinely had a lot of fun while playing Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.