Despite popular opinion, I like the new approach Activision took when developing Shattered Dimensions. The abandonment of the free roaming format that many these days have come to expect from a Spider-Man was actually a smart move. It displays that we really don't necessarily know what to expect from Activision when it comes to Spider-Man games and they clearly have what it takes to mix thing up on occassion...to produce fresh new content. That's exactly what I felt like I got when playing this game. In the past, us web-heads have been allowed to on many of occassions to play as Spidey's long time rival, Venom...we've been given the opportunity to play as many of Spider-Man's most notorious foes...and we've even had the chance to play as Spidey/Venom in the Ultimate universe...but never have we've been able to play as four different Spider-Men from four different dimensions in one game, until now.
Each Spider-Man brings a different element of gameplay to the table. The Amazing Spider-Man provides the classic web slinging brawling that many of us has come to love, while Spider-Man 2099 combines this with fast paced aerial combat and the ability to slow down time (think Max Payne). Ultimate Spider-Man gives us yet another opportunity to wreak havoc with the symbiote suit (this time with no reprocussions) including a rage mode and finally Spider-Man Noir provides the stealth element. Each new level, you control a different Spider-Man within their own realm to face their version of Spider-Man's most popular villians. For example, you face the Hobgoblin in this game but its 2099's version. Spider-Man Noir had the most interesting play style in Shattered Dimensions imo. He's certainly not the first to introduce stealth gameplay into a Spider-Man game...but he is the first to do it to this extent. To get through his levels without dying in a matter of second, you must hide in the shadows and perform stealth take downs as opposed to directly fighting a foe. This style of gameplay is also integrated into Noir's boss battles. Seriously, after playing through his levels, the game felt more like Metal Gear Spidey (Metal Gear is friendlier since it does provide the enemies line of sight). This can be fun but also very annoying in the latter levels especially when trying complete the list of challeges for it.
Speaking of which...there is a feature on the game called 'The Web of Intrigue" which is a list of challenges to complete for each level. These challeges reward you with points you can use to teach your Spider-Men new attacks or upgrade their overall stats. These challenges can range from something as easy as collecting "x" amount of spidey emblems to something as difficult as performing 10 consecutive stealth takedowns without being caught (trust me its a heck of a lot harder than it sounds). This aspect of game can make it seem like more of a chore than fun if pursued. I feel like that I would have had more fun playing this (not saying that I didn't have fun but even more) if I had just play straight through it with no regard for any of the Web of intrigue challenges. Also, there wasn't much web slinging in this game and at times it felt more like a Spider-Man themed beat'em up than a Spider-Man game. Regardless of these drawbacks, the enviornments (especially 2099) were beautifully rendered and the game appeared to which between comic-cell shaped graphics (Amazing and Ultimate) to sharp HD quality visuals (Noir and 2099). I personally liked this because it conveyed the difference in nature/mood of each dimension.
The story was pretty straight forward but its unraveling was chronicalize (as you can imagine). The gane starts off with the Amazing Spider-Man pursuing Mysterio who is in the midst of robbing a museam of a mystical artifact. During their fight the artifact breaks and pieces of it are scattered throughout different dimensions. As Mysterio escapes with a fragment of his own, Madame Web informs the Spider-Men of each of the 4 dimensions the artifact pieces are located in that they must return each piece asap or the very fabric of time & space itself could unravel. So the game follows each Spider-Man on his quest to find the artifact fragment which convienently always ends up in the hands of a supervillian. Of course, instead of showing any empathy for their reality's fate, the villians end up using the tablet to enhance their abilities or further their own agendas. The Amazing and Ultimate Spider-Men's portions of the game seem merely like encounters with villians who randomly happened upon the artifact where 2099 and Noir's are actually telling another story in itself. In the 2099 and Noir dimensions, it seemed like there was more of an organized method being used by the villians to retrieve the artifact. Anyways, the voice acting was terrific and it had awesome cast of characters. The choice of villians faced in the Amazing and Ultimate dimemsions greatly contributed to the overall feeling of unpredictablity that I liked.
- Awesome graphics. Appear to change according to dimension
- Neat story concept
- Creative Storytelling
- Great cast of characters
- Each Spider-Man having their own unique skill and gameplay style
- Great voice acting
- The Stan Lee commentary is always welcomed
- Plenty of alternate suits to unlock
- Not enough web slinging for a Spider-Man game
- As with most Spider-Man games...the camera can be your greatest foe
- The overcumbersome Web of Intrigue challenges can take away from the game's fun and replayability if not ignored
In all, I would definately recommend Shattered Dimensions especially to Spider-Man fans but I also do so with a grain of salt. It may be best to ignore the Web of Intrigue (at least on the first playthrough) to get the most out of what the game has to offer. It is however a great opportunity to trophy hunt, if that is your forte.