Four Spideys for the price of one!
Face front, true believers! Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is back in an all new adventure... or should I say adven-tures. In Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions your ol' web-head will cross through four different dimensions (Amazing, Noir, 2099, and Ultimate), cracking wise and beating up the bad guys. Each dimension has its own unique Spidey, gameplay, and villains.
[image1]The Amazing Spider-Man dimension is your standard Spider-Man affair: red and blue tights, banter, NPH... this is the Spidey most of us grew up reading. Nearly all the gameplay elements in this universe are in all the others.
Then there's the Noir dimension, Marvel's latest parallel universe. In Noir it's all about stealth. You stick to the shadows and try to take guys out without alerting their friends. When you're in the shadows, the color bleeds out and no one can see you... mostly. There were a couple times when I was sure I was hidden, standing in shadows with no line-of-sight, and some mook still managed to spot me.
You still have all the standard Spidey tricks, but the baddies of the 1930s have Tommy Guns so running in head-first is a good way to get yourself killed. The stealth is a nice change of pace, but the game often requires you to wall-crawl to avoid being seen and the wall-crawling is super problematic. If it isn't the camera looking everywhere you don't want to look, it's the left stick taking you everywhere you don't want to go. Nearly every time I tried to climb a wall to avoid detection, the camera and controls would fight me so much that I'd end up getting spotted and have to run and hide in the shadows like a Spectacular Spider-Embarrassment. All in all, though, the Noir dimension is still the most interesting dimension of the four as it's the only one that implements gameplay that isn't often seen in a super-hero game.
Up next it's off to the year 2099 for the aptly named 2099 dimension. Remember Spider-Man 2099? Well, you probably don't remember reading it because it was pretty bad. Cool concept, lame comic. Anywho, in 2099 you don the persona of Miguel O'Hara, the only non-Peter Parker Spider-Man in the game. The combat and web-swinging are similar to that of the amazing universe; only in 2099, you have Accelerated Vision, the spider-equivalent to bullet time. The other big thing that sets this dimension apart are the freefall sequences where you're falling (duh) to either catch someone or get away from enemies, all while dodging obstacles. These are fun little mini-games that break up the monotony of simply beating dudes up.
[image2]Last, there's the Ultimate dimension, where Spider-Man is back in
black the black suit which has a penchant for giving people the crazies. The gameplay here is for the most part unchanged from the Amazing universe, except for a heavier focus on combat. The Black suit stretches off of you into tendrils which allows you to attack at a greater distance and gives it a sort of God of War feel. You also have a Rage meter that fills over time and when activated gives you bonuses to speed and strength, and continues to fill as you fight. The Ultimate universe is a very cathartic experience after pulling your hair out from being spotted a billion times when you were totally hidden in the Noir dimension.
As with most games, there are boss fights in Shattered Dimensions, and no two are alike which was kind of mind-blowing. Granted, each were inexcusably frustrating, but a lot of effort went into keeping things fresh which you really don't see a lot of in games today. There are also challenges in each level that are more than “complete this level twice” and not as ridiculous as “complete this level twice while holding your breath and walking on the high wire”.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is easily the best Spidey game since the Spider-Man 2 game from '04. The levels and bosses are varied so gameplay never feels stale, there are tons of things to unlock, it's accessible enough for the uninitiated but still full of enough references (bombastic bag-man, Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham, just to name a few) that the diehards won't feel left out. Truly a great Spider-Man game.