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Old 09-27-2010, 06:45 AM   #1
pwnophobia
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[360/PS3/Wii/PC] - Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions Review

Title: Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions Review
Platform: Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC / Wii
Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360
Developer: Beenox
Publisher: Activision
MSRP: $59.99
Release Date: NA: September 7th 2010, EU: September 10th 2010, AU: September 29th, 2010
Writer: Adam 'pwnophobia' Cogswell

Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions Review

"Spider-Man, Spider-Man, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!"

Did you know a Spider-Man game does not need to be open world to do be done "right"? Whoa, hold on! I know you just got out of your chair and picked up the closest action figure to throw at me, but hear me out. While Spidey does like to swing from invisible pillars across the city, it doesn't necessarily mean that he has to be confined there. How many times has Peter Parker been to space? How about on an oil rig? Maybe in the sewers? Yea, you're headed back to your comic book collection right now to tell me, because I can't answer my own questions. Regardless of all that, Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions breaks the "it has to be open world to be good" stigma and tries something new, and with surprisingly good results.


Since you're reading this review on a video game news website, I'm going to assume you know who Spider-Man is. However, do you know who the Amazing, Noir, 2099 and Ultimate Spider-Man are? If you guessed different Spider-Man personas and playable characters in the game, you win! Beenox decided to take all four of these comics and toss them into one game centered around a simple plot: retrieve pieces of the all powerful "Tablet of Order and Chaos." The best part of the plot is that I can't spoil ANYTHING for you, because the story is very loose and just thrown in to give the developers a reason to use four different, albeit similar, play styles.

Shattered Dimensions starts out with Mysterio robbing a museum, and guess who just happens to be there? Spider-Man! A quick tussle between the two ends with Spider-man shattering the tablet into 14 different pieces. The tablet uses its amazing powers to launch itself into four dimensions and Madam Web appears to tell you that you need to team up to retrieve the pieces. After a quick tutorial you're off to a boss selection screen where you choose which character you want to play as and away you go. Now lets get to the meat and potatoes, or the real reason you want to play.


As previously mentioned, the four dimensions include the world of Amazing, Noir, 2099 and Ultimate Spider-man. Amazing, Ultimate and 2099 all play in a similar beat 'em up fashion while Noir takes a page straight out of Arkham Asylum's playbook and has you sneaking around New York City in the 1950s. Ultimate Spider-man gets a special rage mode where he'll do considerably more damage for a period of time. 2099 can slow down time so he can move ultra quick and dodge bullets, bad guys, and rockets. While Amazing is just a regular beat 'em up, nothing really special. Noir is the exception to the beat 'em up rule as he has to stay in the shadows and dispense of enemies by tying them up with a web; he's not one you'll want to take into hand to hand combat. Beenox took a great deal of consideration when it came to the combat system because as you travel through the dimensions you'll pick up Spider Essence, which serves as your in-game cash. You'll open up your Character or Combat upgrades and give your Spider-men different move sets or additional attributes.

Web slinging is an essential part of the game and you'll find early that "zipping" from point to point is the easiest way to travel. Zipping consists of Spider-man pointing at an indicator to pull himself to that perch. You'll use it in a bunch of different scenarios to either evade damage or to get to a vantage point to properly drop on enemies. You can also web sling, which comes in handy during chase scenes, or pull yourself straight up with two webs to dodge incoming attacks. While you are in the midst of the combo system you can blind enemies with your web, latch on to them and catapult either yourself or a thug at another baddie, and even use a web to quickly enter battle. It's a very fun system that can be a bit quirky when you're slinging from platform to platform, but I found I could be forgiving of some of the mistakes because I felt like Spider-man. However the battle scenes end up being the same near the end where you'll spam one or two combos or run at a boss, hit him three or four times, and run out.


Each boss level is pretty much the same: there's a sequence where you'll watch a cut scene to introduce the villian and then you'll chase him or her throughout the level until you finally beat them and take the tablet. All of the levels play out in an over the top comic book style fashion and fit perfectly to the Spider-man genre. Peter Parker and his successors are full of many quips and jokes to keep you laughing while you work with a neat combo system to despense of henchmen and thugs. To help with some replayability, Beenox added the Web of Destiny which gives you mini-challenges like "Beat up X thugs" or "Zip to eight points in x seconds", with each challenge completion adding to a total that unlocks more items to buy. It's a great feature that makes you want to stay and look around the stages a bit longer, although it isn't necessary to beat the game.

S.D. runs a decent length, about 7 hours total, assuming you're not going back for other challenges. After completing the first four levels, you've played just about all the game has to offer. S.D. will throw some platforming or chase scenes at you in an attempt to vary the action, but by the last two or three levels you may realize that you've done this all before. Had S.D. included a bit more of a cohesive story rather than a loosely plotted one to fit in the four Spider-men, it could have been a peg or two down from Arkham. To really enjoy S.D. it helps to be a fan of Spider-man or Marvel; but with the amount of fan service that is in the game, it is very much worth a rent for even the casual comic book fan. Besides, you already listen to Kragg try and throw out quick, hilarious one liners on Shotgun, so why not let a professional do it for 7 hours instead?


Score: 3.5 out of 5


The Good
  • The cell shading is a great way for a Spider-man game to be done.
  • There is no shortage of one liners and puns.
  • Combat and web slinging are great fun (for a while).
The Bad
  • A very loose story that is only used to connect the four dimensions.
  • Even though you get a lot of combos you will only rely on two or three.
The Ugly
  • A few nasty 'falling through the world' glitches, while rare, are still ugly.
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Old 09-27-2010, 06:45 AM   #2
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:21 AM   #3
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Nice review! I have to say that I agree: the cell shaded graphics work really well for Spidey. However, the moment you mentioned that the game is only 7 hours (without challenges), I lost complete interest in the game. Perhaps it's just me, but I wouldn't pay full price for a game that doesn't approach 20 hours. :-/
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:39 AM   #4
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I'm confused. Not one of those screenshots is cel shaded...
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:53 AM   #5
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The Ultimate levels (black Spidey, in the pics) are very obviously cell-shaded.

I'm a biased Spidey fan, but for me this game is worth every penny. Best Spider-Man game since the first one, way back on the PS1! Voice acting is top notch (especially the 'pants' banter during the Electro level).

I don't mean to call pwnophobia a liar, but I have a hard time believing he beat the entire game in 7 hours. There's 13 stages, and there wasn't a single one that took me less than an hour. Most ended up taking closer to an hour and a half. I easily sank 15 hours into it.

Some of the boss battles were inspired and pretty original, all totally in the spirit of the comics. Extra costumes and challenges do give the game a bit of replayability, too.

If you love both video games and Spider-Man comics, there's absolutely no reason not to buy this. Rentals won't guarantee they make a sequel!
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:10 AM   #6
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Neil Patrick Harris as Spider-Man is WIN.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duranki View Post
I don't mean to call pwnophobia a liar, but I have a hard time believing he beat the entire game in 7 hours. There's 13 stages, and there wasn't a single one that took me less than an hour. Most ended up taking closer to an hour and a half. I easily sank 15 hours into it.
You can call me a liar, I'm okay with that.

I wish I still had the game so I could pull up my total play time but each level took me 30 - 35 minutes to complete (on normal).
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:17 AM   #8
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I saw the game at best buy last week-end and I was impressed with how good and colorfull it looked.

As far as the combos you mention, I never seem to use more than a few combos in all those super hero games. Usually in those types of games I wish they would reduce the overall number of them and make them easier to use. I usually end up button mashing. It's still fun though.

nice review, I'll definitely pick it up when I have a chance. Should I just skip the previous one? I've played all the spider-man games except that web of shadows one which I didn't get to yet.
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:30 AM   #9
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How is the Wii version?
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyPepe View Post
Should I just skip the previous one? I've played all the spider-man games except that web of shadows one which I didn't get to yet.
Web of Shadows is a great game. I had, and still have occassionally, quite a bit of fun with it. It's a little rough around the edges, but the combat (especially aerial fights) is a blast. Plus, Spidey's animations when swinging around are exactly how you'd think he'd look.

As for Shattered Dimensions, I'm very interested but wary on the price. The more reviews I read lead me to believe I'll enjoy it (huge Spider-Man fan, and I don't mind a few small issues), especially this one. Guess I'll just wait for a *small* price drop.
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Old 09-27-2010, 06:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duranki View Post
Voice acting is top notch (especially the 'pants' banter during the Electro level)...Some of the boss battles were inspired and pretty original, all totally in the spirit of the comics.

I agree. I found the game quite enjoyable. Worth $60? Not so much but it's a solid $30-$40 game or a 5 day rental.

Nice review, pwnophobia!
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