Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions is good, clean, multidimensional fun for webheads new and old.
StormTPhoenix wrote this review on .
So begins Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions, a game that is for both casual and long-time, hardcore Spiderman fans alike. The game takes place across four dimensions, each one featuring a different rendition of Spiderman. There's the red-and-blue webslinger we all know and love, Amazing Spiderman, the symbiote suit-clad Ultimate Spiderman, the futuristic Spiderman 2099, and the dark and stealthy Spiderman Noir. Each webslinger provides a different style of gameplay; whereas Noir gives the player a stealth-based experience (that, surprisingly, doesn't suck), Ultimate provides the Rage Mode of the symbiote suit and large groups of enemies to tear through in order to rack up enormous combos. The four Spidermen sling across 12 linear levels, three for each dimension (or universe, if you're inclined to call it that), in order to defeat the bosses that have taken hold of the fragments of the Tablet of Order and Chaos.
Those tablet fragments give the bosses superpowered versions of their old abilities or gives them entirely new ones. Hammerhead, the first boss of the Noir universe, trades his dual Thompson submachineguns for a four-barreled, hand-held Gatling gun and a hand-mounted RPG while under the Tablet fragment's influence. You'll fight foes that you've become very familiar with and foes that you've never seen before, as well as different renditions of familiar faces. Each boss has a formulaic pattern to beating them, which detracts only slightly from the fun of the battles as well as the sometimes frustrating difficulty of them; thankfully, that can be remedied due to the three different difficulty settings. Most of the time, however, the boss battles are fun encounters that force you to stay on your toes and think on your feet.
Granted, it also helps that the game plays well in the first place, and it is here that Shattered Dimensions shines. The game is immediately accessible and eases you into doing some of the more complex moves that can end up being truly devastating. You start out with a pretty basic moveset, and the controls are easy to grasp: X for quick attacks, Y for strong attacks, B for throws, and A to jump and start an attack from the air. However, different button combinations will yield completely different and oftentimes destructive combos once you purchase them using the Spider Essence you've accumulated. And so long as you take the time to grab a good helping of collectibles, which are generally all within reach, you can get most of the best combos and attacks for Spidey in all his forms and still have enough left over to actually upgrade the characters themselves. Increased health, longer Rage Mode duration, and faster health regeneration are among the upgrades you can purchase for your Spidermen.
Exploring is made easy by the varied environments you visit. Since this game has you exploring four different dimensions, they each have a different look. The entire game is cel-shaded to an extent and looks like it was ripped from a comic book, but certain universes have a certain aesthetic. Noir is generally monochromatic and looks like a movie circa the 1940s, whereas 2099 is alive with lights, colors, and technology. Despite their general linearity, you're encouraged to explore every nook and cranny just to look at the different worlds to the fullest. Obviously, in order to do that, you're going to need to start slinging webs. Zipping from one web zip point to the next in the game is made simple by looking in the direction you want to go and pressing the Right Trigger. Holding it down and moving in the direction you want to go allows you to web swing. Crawling along walls and ceilings is as easy as running/jumping up to them.
The atmosphere of some of the levels you explore is only made better by the great original score and wonderful voice acting. The four different Spidermen are all of differing personalities, and the voice actors reflect this. Neil Patrick Harris (yes, that Neil Patrick Harris) voices Amazing Spiderman extremely well, with memorable quotes being spouted left and right. The voice actors for Noir, 2099, and Ultimate may be lesser-known, but they also do wonderful jobs at differentiating their Spiderman from the others while making sure to stay true to the general personality and mannerisms of the heroic webslinger in all of his incarnations. Granted, hearing the same battle quotes over and over again can become annoying. As mentioned before, the original score is great and helps to bring forth a great atmosphere in all of the dimensions through unique flairs; Noir is darker and moodier than the other universes, whereas the 2099 original score is laced with keyboards and synthesizers.
A few issues do persist, though. Web zipping is unreliable, as you're likely to zip to the wrong thing that you intended to web zip to; one part in the game's second act takes this to nearly torturous levels. Web swinging also takes a little getting used to, and you will likely see yourself frantically recovering from a critical, life-ending fall more times than you would like. The Spider Sense is also not completely reliable. In the Noir universe, it is practically indispensable, as it helps you see in the nearly pitch-black darkness of the world. In the other three universes, though, it does not always tell you where you need to go right away in the more open areas. While the game shouldn't have to hold the player's hand, a hint or two would have been nice. Moreover, though, the game suffers from some parts that require, at times, unnecessary levels of trial-and-error: first-person combat sections. During boss fights, Spiderman will sometimes engage in close-range grappled fisticuffs with his adversary. When this happens, the camera zooms in so that you see what Spiderman sees. You have to avoid a few attacks by pulling back on the left and right analog sticks before you can start swinging. It's here, though, that the game becomes truly unreliable. A few times, it did not register the pull-back for me, and this caused me to become knocked out by the hands of one boss and nearly incapacitated by another. A little more reliability from the game's controls could have gone a long way.
Overall, though, I can't complain too much. Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions is a great, enjoyable romp for fans of the webhead new and old, and if you're looking for a good action title with some good replay value, Shattered Dimensions is a good selection. Any Spiderman fan owes it to themselves to get this game, though, for it is both enjoyable and a wonderful service to the fans.