Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions Review
It's been a long time since I've played any Spidey games personally, ever since the sand box style gameplay came around I pretty much gave up on the series, even though I used to purchase just about all the ones that came out. I gave up on it all though after Ultimate Spider-Man.
There was a gleaming light of hope however when this gem was announced. Gone is the repetitive free roam style, and Spidey returns to real, level by level gaming (or in this case, split up in Acts). You play as four different Spider-Men after the Amazing Spider-Man shatters the Tablet of Order & Chaos, a mystical relic that apparently grants great powers to evil minded villains (even when only in pieces), in a scuffle with Mysterio. This begins Spidey's journey to recover the tablet shards and restore order before these villains dish out complete havoc. The storyline is basic, and doesn't change from start to finish, which I personally don't mind, I'd prefer an overly-simple story over an overly-complex one (which most comic books and games in general do now-a-days), so I suppose it's a breath of fresh air to not get any dumb plot twists and other stupid things of that nature.
The graphics are pleasing to the eyes, looking they were torn straight out of the comic book pages and onto our televisions. Every dimension (Amazing, 2099, Noir, Ultimate) has a unique look and feel to it. Amazing looks just like the comic books, 2099 is very bright with lots of lights and flashing, Noir is very dark and mysterious (the sky looks awesome, just thought I'd mention that), and Ultimate looks pretty much just like the Ultimate comic (probably the more lackluster of the three since the Amazing universe does that too).
Gameplay is where this game shines. Each universe has a different gameplay style, from the Noir stealth, to the crazy free-falling 2099. Amazing and Ultimate are a bit more on the normal side though, but that doesn't make them any less enjoyable to play through. Each stage has a lot of variety, and plenty of nooks and cranny's to explore for Spider-Emblems, and Hidden Spiders (which give you more Spider Essence to purchase upgrades). There's plenty to do in this game, due to the Web of Destiny, which is a series of challenges or goals that you must do to unlock the entire web. As you unlock more challenges, you gain access to more of Spidey's special moves and new costumes. Some of them are inevitably unlocked (such as defeating a boss, etc), but a lot of them are not, and you won't want to ignore them. I also must mention that zipping around the stages couldn't be easier with the easy to learn control scheme, and beating the crap out of enemies is a real pleasure too. There's also the first person view brawl scenes with the bosses, which I thought was a weird thing to add at first, but it grew on me very fast. The camera has its problems I suppose, though to be honest I've only had issues with it when I'm wall crawling, which I rarely do anyway.
The sound is great, notably due to the amazing voice actors of the Spider-Men and their foes. A lot of classic Spidey VA's are here, with funny lines and witty phrases being spout at every corner. It was a trip down memory lane for me, hearing Noir Spidey in particular, since I loved the 90's animated series, though I'm sure others will be partial to other VA's. The music isn't memorable, but that doesn't mean it's bad either. It gets the job done, to say the least. I particularly enjoy the music of 2099 and the Noir universes. I'm guessing by this point it's obvious that my two favorite dimensions are those two, since I continually mention them with praise.
This game is a must buy for Spidey fans, and fans of the action genre, or just plain anyone that's into a good game. There's a lot of potatoes with the meat with the Web of Destiny, 3 difficulty levels, rankings, and alternate costumes, so there's a lot of reason to go back and continue playing (probably more than the reasons I mentioned here). This is a great direction for Spidey, and I hope Activision keeps Beenox on board for their next Spider-Man release. Crossing my fingers for an exclusive 2099 game.
This bad boy gets an 8.5/10!