In the world of video games, Spiderman 2 for the GameCube, PS2, and Xbox has been a hard act to follow for the web-slinger’s games. Each Spiderman game since it has been a disappointment in one way or another and crushed by the high standing of their predecessor. Spiderman: Shattered Dimension for the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3 has a serious battle ahead of it to prove itself worthy. With great games, must come great sequels.
Spiderman: Friend or Foe switched genres from a heroic sandbox title to being a co-op beat ‘um up on Wii and PS2. While some enjoyed the multiplayer experience, most missed the open-world gameplay. Spiderman 3 came and managed to impress Wii owners with its intuitive motion controls, it was otherwise a disappointment. Gamers on found Spiderman 3 to be Spiderman 2 with a nicer looking city and less to do.
The next (and most recent) attempt to further the series was Spiderman: Web of Shadows. While initially an exciting announcement, mixed reception followed upon its release. Gamers on Wii, 360, and PS3 all found Spiderman: WoS’s gameplay to be convoluted and hackneyed. The combat was at first fresh and imaginative- only to become incredibly repetitive once you realized the same combos were pretty much all you’d be seeing. Needless to say, Spiderman games have been on the downside in recent years.
Right from the get-go, you’ll find Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions is trying to separate itself from past failures- somewhat. Rather than go after the open-world crown on Spiderman 2’s head, the game attempts to jump genres to a cinematic action game. Unfortunately this is where we sort of have a case of déjà vu. Didn’t Spiderman: Friend or Foe try this? Somewhat true, but not quite. Spiderman: FoE exchanged the cinematic gameplay for co-op with classic0 Spidey allies and enemies-turned-allies. While Spiderman: SD is a considerably better designed game, will all gamers decide the trade-off was worth it? Your call.
Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions, true to its name, revolves around different dimensional versions of the web-slinger. As Mysterio vies for a powerful artifact known as the ‘Tablet of Order and Chaos’, it becomes up to four alternate versions of Spiderman to track down the fragments of it in their respective worlds. Each Spiderman offers different abilities and gameplay changes that keep the experience fresh and up the replay value fairly well. The incarnations you’ll find are the Amazing Spiderman, Ultimate Spiderman, 2099 Spiderman, and Spiderman Noir.
This actually brings us to one of the serious drawbacks of the game. Any gameplay session involving Amazing, Ultimate, or 2099 Spiderman is sure to be a hit with Spiderman fans. It’s really Noir that hampers the experience. Why? In the 1930s, Spiderman Noir levels, you’re stuck playing as a considerably weaker, more stealthy Spiderman. Sound bad already? Yep, Activision thought Spiderman fans wanted stealth in this one. You’ll be sneaking in the shadows like you’re Solid Snake, praying like Hell that no alarms go off. Not to insult one of my favorite heroes, but the Noir version basically sucks all the fun out of the game when his turns come up. If nothing else, his costume and his dimension’s versions of the villains are impressive. He’s just not much of a hero.
Graphically, the game definitely impresses. The clashes of character design between different eras is a fantastic hook and the variety will surely please fans. The frame-rate holds up well pretty consistently and the game isn’t as a visually glitchy as the sandbox titles. The camera can be obnoxious at times, but anybody with basic video game experience should have no problem dealing with that. Then again, it’d be pretty sad if the game had trouble rendering the decidedly linear levels.
Here you have the final issue with Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions. The game can be very fun and comes across as being very well done. The levels are entertaining the different perspectives into the four universes makes the experience worth it- but that can’t hide the game’s main flaw. Spiderman fans will simply not find the game open enough. As mentioned, the levels offer relatively little exploration and pretty much are just a combat-driven walk to the boss. Wouldn’t you have loved seeing four different sandbox versions of the Spiderman universe? Even if it meant four, smaller ‘New York’s, it still would have made the experience much more enjoyable and aided the game’s replay value. It’s an otherwise great Spiderman game, but any web-slinger title without the trademark web-slinging is always going to come across as lacking.