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SummarySpider-Man, Spider-Man, if he can't do it, no-one ... will ...
The GoodThe last few years of Spidey's gaming life was filled with open world, expansive swinging, and pretty much the same mix of 'find this' or 'save that' over and over. It was kinda cool to start with, but had worn out its welcome by end. So I greeted this one with a welcome hug, finally a developer willing to try something new in the Spideyverse ... I copyright that name, by the way.
From the opening, it certainly feels rather fresh and exciting. Spidey's quest is rather well cgi explained in typical Marvel fashion, something about a dangerous tablet broken into various pieces and scattered across a number of dimensions ... wait, so THAT'S what the title means!
Spidey plays just the way I'd expect him to. Web swinging, quick movements of evasion, kinda like the movie sequence as Tobey Maguire dodges the bully's fists. Beenox have done a great job in breathing life into the web swinger, and have made it rather easy enough to get into from the outset.
Visually, it's a mixed bag. The Noir levels are stunning, all pitch black and eery, while the 2099 levels are full of neon lights and massive skyscrapers. The Amazing universe flips between a jungle environment and a few city based levels, among others, and they're reasonable in detail. Finally, the Ultimate universe is probably the blandest of all the designs, although the level featuring the current buzz word Deadpool is rather entertaining.
Of the entire production, the best work came with the voice performances, four different actors portraying four different Spider-Men and all doing a great job of not only hitting the right note joke wise (Neil Patrick Harris is a God!) and getting the serious moments right, especially Noir ... even if it's a little clichéd at times.
The BadOkay, so I may have mentioned that the game is easy enough to get into. Unfortunately, it does get harder as it goes along, but I don't mean in terms of getting used to the controls, rather the opposite. Some of the levels can be infuriatingly hard to traverse, especially locking on a distant spot to zip line to, which more often than not locked onto something else entirely, or didn't at all.
Oh, and there's another thing. Repetition. After the first few levels, every other level feels like you just finished the last level, yet it's a new level ... get it? Because I don't. I guess that's the one true advantage to the open world formula. Sure, it does have a similar problem, but at least you have a choice as to what you want to do. You could webswing here and there for hours on end if you really wanted to. It's not all that bad, I guess, but it would have been nice to have a few more levels with a differing formula, instead of the rather similar structure for each. Or just have a bunch of Deadpool in each one, breaking the fourth wall in a video game needs to happen more often. Make it happen, people!
The Bottom LineIt turns out that Shattered Dimensions isn't all as good as I hoped it would be, but its competent enough to rekindle my love of Spidey games. The gameplay is a little rough around the edges, but in this case I can forgive it thanks largely to how entertaining it was, on most occasions, to play as a Spider-Man with as close to the real comic book character dialogue as you can get, even the bad jokes he apologises for.
A little more work would have done the trick, but I have to give the developers credit for giving it a good go. Plenty of different Spider-Men, references to other Marvel characters and a decent story arc, it's a good package to work with. Hopefully Beenox get a second chance at the character, they seem to understand him better than most.
Or better yet, just make a more fleshed out Noir Spidey game. That'd do just fine. Just fine indeed.