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Power and Responsibility- Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Review

It’s been over six years since gamers were given the opportunity to web sling around an open-world Manhattan in Spider-Man 2. Whereas whizzing  through city streets once felt liberating  and visceral, a string of three downwardly-slipping sequels seems to have reduced the exhilaration into humdrum convention. (Let’s not even mention 2007’s kid-oriented Friend or Foe, which proved to be an enemy to all but the most adamant arachnid aficionados.) Skillfully, developer Beenox has disavowed the formula, offering a largely competent title that flings the franchise back on track.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions brings together four iterations of the wall-crawler. As the game commences, the courageous wall-crawler catches Mysterio attempting to steal an enigmatic artifact known as the Tablet of Order and Chaos. A skirmish ensues, fragmenting the relic, and sending pieces  hurtling toward different dimensions. Auspiciously, each of these alternative realms has its own version of Spiderman. Beyond the traditional red and blue clad Amazing Spider-Man, there’s Noir Spidey, a stealth-based hero in a murky, 30’s-era world. Spider-Man 2099 exchanges his celebrated web-slinging abilities for the acrobatic abilities and time manipulation, while Ultimate Spider-Man’s symbiote-infused body allows him to liberate his inner rage upon a ceaseless cascade of enemies. Although the plot may seem contrived, it does lend Shattered Dimensions a refreshing amount of variety. Just as the tedium of a particular environment and play style is about to set in, gamers are whisked to another universe, keeping the title reliably fresh.

Between the four distinct visual styles , play mechanics and even lead voice actors, Shattered Dimensions could have easily seemed like a quartet of unfinished ideas, awkwardly spliced together. However, a handful of collective ideas keep the game feeling unified. Each level is brimming with Spider Essence, which is earned from defeating foes and completing special challenges- such as unseating snipers places along soaring watchtowers. Players can then spend the commodity on virtual action figures, new costumes, stat boosts, and a host on new abilities for their multi-dimensional hero roster. One of the more brilliantly primal accomplishments of Shattered Dimensions is the sporadic shift to a first-person perspective during boss battles, where players use the two thumbsticks to whittle away at an antagonist’s heath bar. Arguably, the game’s defining moment finds players in the midst of  a giant silica cyclone, web-slinging from each precarious perch, as players desperately search for the mineral to reduce Sandman into innocuous mud.  Generally, the title’s combat feels fast and responsive, allowing Spider-Man to charge attacks and use the ample supply of environmental objects against his foes.

The downside of merging four different varieties of gameplay is the possibility of multiplying the number of blemishes in the title. While Shattered Dimension‘s flaws aren’t quadrupled, they are unmistakable. Creeping around walls and ceilings as Noir Spidey will have players recalling the spastic, slip-shod camera found in Spider-Man’s Playstation One-era exploits. The number of quips allotted to each hero is painfully petite, leading to the same corny wise-crack repeated a dozen times in a protracted skirmish.

Visually, Shattered Dimension maintains a steady framerate, even if the title’s combat and web-flying animations aren’t as sinuous as previous entries. From the neon luster that is ubiquitous in 2099’s dominion, to Amazing Spider-Man’s cell-shaded graphical style, each of the title’s palettes is both vivid and distinctive.  Kudos to Activision for securing notables from Spidey’s animated exploits; Neil Patrick Harris, Jim Cummings, John DiMaggio, Christopher Daniel Barnes, and even Stan ‘The Man’ Lee all do a brilliant job with their voice-over work.

With Peter Parker’s good name tarnished by a string of steadily declining sequels, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimension is just the public relations boost needed for the “friendly neighborhood hero.” Despite a handful of quirks, the title’s variety and craftsmanship restores fun back to the franchise. Between the game’s comprehensive cast of Spideys and notorious villains, host of collectables, and thirteen extended stages, this is one full-bodied piece of fan-service, which should appeal to even casual action game fans.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

41 comments

  1. You put “friendly neighborhood hero” in the review. Good grief.

  2. I just assumed that:

    a) the game sucked

    or

    b) is sold poorly

    because the price was dropping so quick.

  3. I may buy this despite my hatred from all things Activision. Good review.

  4. good review. I was waiting to see if you’d tackle this one deagle.

  5. My concern was Activision released this without a demo. When they do that, games occasionally suck.

    Good things this one is more Singularity than MUA2.

  6. sounds like this came together nicely. Reviewers seem really divided on this one.

  7. I bought it its a good game. I don’t know saying the same thing over and over is a crime these days. Old games did that ALL THE TIME.

  8. C’mon it’s Deagle. Expect bad puns and big words 😉

  9. hate to be a killjob, but Peter Parker isn’t Spider-Man 2099.

  10. great review. Where the hell do you have time to play all these games?!?!

  11. I kind of like the open worlds for comic book games!

  12. Your Drunk Ex-Boyfriend

    This was made by the makers of Bee Movie- The game.

  13. no captions? This is the work of the Green Goblin.

  14. is this one as short as people are saying?

  15. Neither was Noir for that matter, but at no point does he claim that they are all Peter Parkers(or did I miss something?)

  16. “With Peter Parker’s good name tarnished by a string of steadily declining sequels”

    But I guess Peter Parker/Spidey are almost one and the name.

  17. Cool review, I’ll probably get this once it goes down a bit more in price.

  18. or C) it came out close to Halo: Reach with most Americans unable to fork over $120 for two game.

    Thats the correct answer BTW.

  19. All good except for the nacho-cheesy title. One reviewer said you could finish it in 5 hours. How long did it take you?

  20. I liked the review. I’m going to have to give this a rental.

  21. Some people are saying this is the best Spidey game around. Thats right there is some powerful talk!

  22. four is almost always better than one. Must resist buying this.

  23. No way each level is at least 45 minutes and maybe an hour. Since theres 12 of them, I’ll let you do the math.

  24. This has just moved to the top of my want list. Playing as all 4 Spider-men (mans?) sounds really cool.

  25. After thinking about the title I like it. The game conveys a sense of power and it’s the developers responsibility to make a good Spiderman game. Or am I overclocking it?

  26. I played a bit of this and was really surprised. It’s really fun,has great combat,big boss fights,and a lot of stuff to collect. I think there’s 180 challenges.

    The one thing I didn’t really like was the Noir stages. They’re too much like a weak version of Akham Asylum. Still if you don’t like any of the characters there’s only three, not it’s never a dealbreaker.

  27. I need to get this!

  28. A Little late, but I’ll take the review.

  29. I’m sure I’ll get this eventually. I liked Web of Shadows, but I’m probably alone in that one.

  30. Thanks dude. This secures it.

  31. But if I wanted that, I’d play a retro game.

  32. I’m waiting for the Batman sequel. That was one of the best games ever.

  33. Spider-man was always my favorite super hero.

  34. Who spread the rumors about this being short? I bought it last night and the first level took me about 45 minutes. I was chasing Kraven and it was pretty epic.

  35. This turned out much better than I thought it would.

  36. is there DLC for this? I thought I heard something about extra costumes?

  37. I heard the graphics look like Borderlands. I guess only one section of the game.

  38. How’s the ai? I heard only the bosses are hard.

  39. Good review, Deagle!

  40. I never though i’d be intersted in a Wii sports game.

  41. I never knew there was more than one Spiderman. Are the villains different in the different dimensions?