Latest Game Reviews
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Review - Xbox 360
Spider-Man games have been hit and miss over the years. On one end of the spectrum lies the well-received Spider-Man 2 a generation ago, while on the other sits games like Web of Shadows. The latest adventure sees four different Spider-Men (?) in four different universes having to work together to stop Mysterio from collapsing every reality and remaking the world in his image. The question is, does it all hold together?
Unlike some of the previous games, which let you roam free in an open environment, Shattered Dimensions sets you on a course through thirteen linear levels. The game takes place in the Amazing, Noir, 2099, and Ultimate universes, which each feature a different hero, different villains and a different art style. More importantly, they also have slightly different gameplay. Amazing is the original, default style, with cel-shaded graphics and an emphasis on brawling. Noir has a very different, dark 1930s style and is all about stealth.
2099 moves the action to the future, where geneticist Miguel O’Hara’s Spider-Man is good at close combat and reacts quickly thanks to ‘accelerated vision’. Finally, in the Ultimate world Peter uses the symbiote suit to his advantage and goes on brutal rages. Each level introduces a new villain who has come into possession of a fragment of the Tablet of Order and Chaos and as a result has been granted extraordinary powers. Upon reclaiming all the pieces you must fight Mysterio in the final, thirteenth level.
Shattered Dimensions is a mostly enjoyable, but mindless, brawler. The inclusion of multiple characters is a bit of a gimmick, as in the end you’re still just button mashing your way through lots of enemies, but vastly different scenery adds a refreshing change after the thirty minutes to an hour it takes clear each level. Those hour long playthroughs, incidentally, are where I spent a bit of time collecting tokens that enable you to purchase new moves and character upgrades. I imagine anyone just wanting to race through a level could feasibly do most in about half an hour, which means you’re looking at roughly seven or eight hours of playtime if you’re lucky.
The combat system is initially repetitive but after taking out enemies and grabbing tokens littered around the environment you’ll earn enough to start broadening the repertoire of all the characters. There’s no denying that a brawler like this has its appeal, but on the same note it’s not hugely inspirational either. There’s a certain satisfaction you get from doing huge combos, but ultimately you’re still just mashing the face buttons for hours on end. The first-person fights that require you to punch villains with the control sticks is again another gimmick and one that feels strange in an otherwise third person game. The ‘Web of Destiny’ offers challenges to fulfil within each stage as a way to encourage some diversity in the player’s actions, and rewards you as such, which is appreciated and improves an otherwise routine experience.
There are problems, though. The biggest are the noir sections. ...(continued next page)
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