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Review — Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions | Level Up News

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Review — Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions


Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox
Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, Nintendo DS
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: Teen
ESRB Content Descriptors: Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence

The Scoop: Activision’s newest Spiderman game travels through four different realms of the Spiderman universe in the character’s biggest video game adventure yet.

The Setup: Everyone’s favorite web-slinging superhero finds himself in a bit of a pickle after a clash with Mysterio shatters an artifact known as “The Tablet of Order and Chaos”.  The twelve pieces of the artifact find themselves being transported into four different realms of the Spiderman universe.  Now, these four heroes must work together to defeat the supervillians who take control of these pieces to reassemble the tablet and restore order to their universes.

What’s Hot: Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions’ campaign is divided up into three acts with four levels each that can be played on three different difficulty levels.  When you complete the three acts of the game,  a separate level acting as the final meeting between the four Spidermen and Mysterio unlocks.  Twelve different villains from the Spiderman universe are featured, such as Hobgoblin, Sandman, Juggernaut and Doctor Octopus.

Depending on what difficulty level you choose at the start of each level, there are certain combo ratings, emblem counts and level times that must be met to earn either a gold, silver and bronze medal for your efforts.  After you complete a level, the game will calculate all of these factors and give you an overall medal for the level.  You can go back and replay a level as many times as you want at whatever difficulty you want in order to try and get the best rating.

As you progress through each level of the game, events such as taking down enemies, rescuing civilians and meeting certain number of objectives let you pile together points to buy upgrades and additional moves for your arsenal.   These could be things such as powerful new moves, increase in health, or an increase in your character’s special abilities.  These abilities stick with you during your entire game, they are with you as long as you play on the save file that you earned them with.

Character-wise, each Spiderman has their own personality.  The only thing that is the same between all four of the characters is the ability to use their “Spidey Sense”, which can help you locate enemies, objectives, powerups, hidden emblems, etc. during your progression through the level.  However, only Spiderman 2099 and Ultimate Spiderman have unique special meters that they can use.  Ultimate Spiderman has a “Rage Mode” that allows you to unleash your fury on all of your enemies with massive combos and moves.  Spiderman 2099 has a “Focus Mode” which allows you to slow everything down for a brief moment in time to either run past an obstacle or even dodge a projectile attack.

Not only can you traditionally beat down your foes with your fists, you can also use objects on a level to hurl at your enemies using your web, to a zip kick from platform to platform to knock an enemy off of it or even disarm an enemy.  However, Spiderman Noir doesn’t particularly use a lot of these methods very often.  Most of Spiderman Noir’s levels consist of stealth missions, which require you to use the darkness of a level to your advantage to take down enemies from above and behind.

Boss battles pretty varied, I must say.  Some of them have you directly go after a boss and try to clobber it into submission, others require you to use the environment to your advantage, others require you to string together a chain of events to deal damage.  You don’t just battle the boss at the end of each stage, though.  Each boss makes at least one or two other appearances in a level besides the final showdown to try and disrupt your progress.

Graphically, the game has different art styles to match each universe of the game.  Each level and character is crafted very nicely into the game.  The Noir levels are especially done well, recreating a dark and gritty 1930’s universe that looks and feels like something you’d see in a film.  The Amazing and Ultimate Spiderman levels are done in a comic-style cel-shaded way.  Finally, the Spiderman 2099 levels are done in a modern next-gen console way to give players that futuristic feel while playing those levels.

In the audio department, everything is pretty much on par.  There’s nothing spectacular to report on in terms of sound effects and music.  However, some big names make appearances in the voiceover department.   The four Spidermen are voiced by former animated series voice actors:  Neil Patrick Harris, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Dan Gilvezan and Josh Keaton.  Several other former voices from the past animated series’ also make appearances in the game, capped off with Stan Lee as the narrator to the game.

What’s Not: Twelve levels might not seem like a lot, but these levels take a rather significant chunk of time to complete.  That’s one of my negatives coming away from the game.  Some levels just seemed like they were dragging along.  There were times where I thought I had the boss beat, only to start another section of a level.  I have to admit that it got irritating after a while.  Heck, a few levels took me near an hour to complete.  That got evened out in the end by a few levels I was able to complete in about 30 minutes, though.

On that topic, some of the level design decisions left me irritated, as well.  Things like having to rescue civilians seemed thrown in at some points to just set up some sort of accomplishment to move on.  Now, I’m not complaining about those levels in the Noir levels.  They make sense in the Noir levels.  But there’s only so many times that I want to do a civilian rescue mission.

One of the most frustrating levels was Deadpool’s level.  Between having to beat up baddies and find hidden cameras, including ones that were flying in the air, I had to stop and take an aspirin halfway through the level.  Not even the comedic dialogue between Spidey and Deadpool could have saved that level.  What a headache.

Also, Spiderman 2099’s freefall sections of the game are completely pointless.  Great, you can fly.  So can pigeons.  But you don’t see me going out and buying a pigeon simulator, do you?  All they do is act as filler in-between the main portions of a stage.  Better time could have been used to do other things with the character.  What those things are, I have no idea.  But really, anything would have been better than the freefall sections.

One of the other things that happened during my playtime, though just a handful of times, was that I seemed to be stuck when I cleared out a section of a level.  This was remedied by pausing the game, to which the game then proceeded with the next portion of the level.  However, things like that shouldn’t have got through the final stages of the game going gold.  Just a heads up to those who might get caught up with that while playing.

The Verdict: When it’s all said and done: Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions is a good game when compared to the rest of the Spiderman games and a decent action/adventure game when compared to the rest of the genre.  While the average action/adventure gamer will probably get turned off by some things, including the few level design issues and level length, others will get a kick out of playing with their favorite web-slinging superhero.  In the end, this is probably a game to which the die-hard Spiderman fans will get quite the kick out of.  If you’re one of them, add a half to full star to my score.  There seems to be lot in the package that will probably cater to the Spiderman aficionados.  If you’re not, perhaps a weekend rental or a price drop is in order for you.

Review -- Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions, 4.8 out of 5 based on 4 ratings

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  1. Abe Arceo says:

    Thanks for the review – this is a game that’s been on and off of my radar. I like the whole idea of playing as different Spider-Mans. I’ll probably wait for a price drop on this one though.

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  2. pickupstix says:

    I bought this game on day 1 and still havent opened it up yet…yeah…its high on my play list.

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  3. I’m with Abe. Waiting for a price drop.

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