Many gamers might look at a new superhero game and think to themselves that it will not be worth playing. While this is a bold statement it was not too far from the truth until the recent release of Batman Arkham Asylum which challenged Uncharted 2 for many Game of the Year awards last year. Development house Beenox had its work cut out for them when taking on Marvel’s famous superhero Spiderman in Shattered Dimensions. Expectations are always high for a new Spiderman game and Beenox did a good job executing on the beloved Marvel Universe.
Shattered Dimensions is not your typical open world Spiderman game. The style of the latest entry into the long series of the web slinging funny man adventures is certainly a change in design. Away goes open world New York City and hello says a linear and more focused campaign stretched over four different dimensions and unique environments along with four different Spidermen. Players will take on famous villains such as Goblin, Juggernaut, Vulcher and Mysterio in 12 chapters climaxing in a boss fight in order to recover the shattered pieces of an ancient artifact which lends powers to anyone in its position. This plot sounds a bit bland and it can be at times. The story feels a little bit disjointed and I felt like playing four different campaigns altogether.
Over the course of the game players take control of Amazing Spiderman, Spiderman Noir, Spiderman 2099 and Ultimate Spiderman. The Amazing Spiderman is the traditional Spiderman as we know him from movies and cartoons but he does not remain in city environments which was refreshing. Spiderman Noir is very much a stealth based hero from the past and has players need hiding in the shadows and sneak up on their prey, which is armed with machine guns. The Noir levels were very enjoyable but reminded too much of last year’s Batman to be original. The 2099 Spiderman was probably my favorite character as he was totally over the top with his corny jokes but managed to make me chuckle several times. The humor in general was handled pretty well. The 2099 levels take place in the future and players take on laser rifle wielding enemies and heat seaking rockets while swinging through levels reminiscent of the 5th element. Lastly, Ultimate Spiderman who was also fun to play, takes players across several different environments and utilizes his ‘living’ suit rather well with an overcharge mode which allows for some creative fighting combos. It also helped me to get out of a sticky situation or two. In essence, Spiderman is a brawler across all four dimensions but each variation puts enough of a spin on the gameplay for it to keep the player engaged, this – along with the feeling of something new being around the corner every few minutes, made the actual gameplay of Shattered Dimensions a very solid experience.
While the actual gameplay mechanics varied, the basic mission structure remained very much the same throughout the campaign. Fight a bunch of minions, a couple of mini bosses and defeat the boss at the end of the mission, that is the basic structure of each level. While I would have wished for something a bit more creative it was not too distracting from my overall experience with Shattered Dimensions. There were a few elements during gameplay sequences however, that just did not quite work right such as prompts to perform a ‘takedown’ or breaking open a door which left me a bit annoyed at times.
I should mention that players get to do some pretty neat first person battling with the bosses on each level which was a very nice change of pace. Unfortunately this mechanic was repeated on every level, making it less interesting as the game went on. While I am pointing out some of the elements which could use some refinement such as the story and the somewhat repetitious mission design, the game is actually really fun to play. The swinging mechanic is spot on, web slinging works intuitively and the brawling elements never really felt boring or carried on for too long.
Spiderman Shattered Dimensions feels like a rather polished game that was not too far off from becoming a great title. The basic gameplay in the latest Spiderman is really enjoyable and had me excited to start the next mission but the lack of a more fleshed out story and a few polish issues combined with the repetitious mission structure have this game just falling short from becoming the next Arkham Asylum.
Score 7.5 / 10
Spiderman Shattered Dimensions was developed by Beenox and published by Activision for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii on September 7th. A copy of the Xbox 360 version was provided to us by Activision for reviewing purposes.