Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Xbox 360 Review

March 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Publisher – Activision – Developer – Beenox – Genre – Action – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 16+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3, Wii, DS

After years of swinging around in open worlds in gaming, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a largely straightforward and old fashioned fighting game and, as such, could be seen as a regression for a game featuring Marvel’s web crawling icon, but it feels very focussed and doesn’t feature unnessacary filler like some of the earlier Spidey offerings.

A major hook for the most ardent of Spider-Man devotees will be that in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions there are four variations of Spidey available. So along with the familiar Amazing Spider-Man, there’s also the symbioite suit, the noir reimagining of the character, with a depression era backdrop, and finally Spider-Man 2099, which is just as the name suggests, a far-flung take on the character, created back in the early 90’s to mark the 30th anniversary of the character.

The Spider-Man that we all know and love, in action.

There’s a good reason why there are four different incarnations of Spider-Man. It’s all to do with a mystical artefact that ends up in pieces as a result of a fight between Spidey and Mysterio, resulting in a disturbance in each of the respective Spider-Mans’ universe. Madame Web enlists each web crawler to find the fragments of the artefact that the villains in their world possess. The story doesn’t have a lot of depth to it, but the script has a likeable and often cheesy sense of humour and the lines are delivered well by the voice actors.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has some excellent set-pieces, usually involving you chasing down super villains whilst they try to thwart your efforts with sandstorms, electricity and such.

As it features four playable characters, you’d think one thing that the game wouldn’t be short of is variety, but all but one of the Spider-Men largely play out in the same way, focussing on the combat side and, whilst each have visually unique moves from one another, they all share a set of moves that effectively have the same effect in a combat situation

Things are mixed up somewhat with a rage mode exclusive to Ultimate Spider-Man, which grants a temporary boost to your attacks, whilst Spider-Man 2099 can enter a state where time slows to a crawl.

Noir Spider-Man is where the true contrast lies, though. These sections are slower paced and built around stealth. Mechanically it works pretty much like Arkham Asylum – it’s stealth at its most basic level, where when you’re spotted it’s easy to escape from your pursuers. Like Rocksteady Studios’ excellent game, you can take down your opponents. It’s hardly going to rival a dedicated stealth game, but is nonetheless functional enough as well as a welcome break from the combat heavy nature of the rest of the game.

If the situation calls for it, Noir Spider-Man is still handy at the up, close and personal business.

All four Spidey’s can be upgraded with essence earned in a variety of ways, the most of which being won by completing challenges. These range from getting through a certain section of the game within an allotted time, to using a particular manoveoure a particular amount of times. They encourage you to mix things up, which in a game with such a limited structure is always a good thing.

In a quality sense, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is not Spidey’s answer to Arkham Asylum, it’s not even on the same level as Rocksteady studios’ classic. Beenox have nonetheless delivered an enjoyable game and, even without a big city to play in, it’s easily the best Spider-Man game to come along in a few years. If Shattered Dimensions is anything to go by, that Beenox was recently announced to be the developer of future Spider-Man games can only be a good thing for the future of the franchise.