Friday, 10 September 2010

Game Review – Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions

Formats: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii & DS

As far as superhero to video game transitions go, for the most part our favourite web-crawler has enjoyed a fair amount of success as either a stand-alone experience such as Web of Shadows, or providing a supporting role in other fantastic titles like the Marvel vs. Capcom series. The ability to capture Spiderman’s abilities proved to be a difficult task in his long and illustrious video game career, but every once in a while a team of developers grasps the concept of web-swinging, frantic hand-to-hand combat and just the right amount of charm and humour to create a great Spiderman experience. In this case, that experience is multiplied by 4 as you are given the opportunity to play as different versions of Spiderman as you untangle the tale developing in front of you. With excellent game-play, lots of charm, great graphics and audio, Shattered Dimensions is a top-notch game that can barely be faulted.

The inclusion of 4 different Spider-Men is as a result of a magical artifact that breaks during the introductory segment of the game. It is these shards of the artifact that you must salvage across the different dimensions as Amazing Spiderman our beloved and standard hero, Ultimate that uses the powers of the Symbiote suit, 2099 a futuristic hero and Noir, which is set during the great depression of the 1930’s. Each Spiderman comes with his own personality, suit, and set of unique abilities, particular bosses and varied environments. You will come across some of Spiderman’s most hated enemies including Sandman, Goblin, Scorpion, Carnage and plenty more to keep your 4 Spider-Men occupied. It is a sheer joy to watch how each universe adapts that particular protagonist’s comic book story to the video game world as each set of bosses are tailored to that universe. For example, the Goblin that most people know from the series bares no resemblance to that of the Goblin you will meet in the Noir universe. This keeps things fresh for fans of Spiderman who have not diverged into alternate dimensions of the web-slinger’s long catalogue of comic books.

Shattered Dimension does a fantastic job re-creating a fluid and fast paced Spiderman experience, this ranging from the ability to swing with ease, participate in entertaining and exciting combat that can be long distance or close counters and enjoying the scenery by crawling all over it. While each Spiderman boasts his own subtle set of skills and abilities, the core game-play stays the same for all Spider-Men apart from Noir who’s universe mechanic is tactical espionage action. This seems like an odd one out as the other three universes strongly concentrate on fighting, but it seems to work well as a reprisal from all the action. The actual design of Noir’s universe is also worth mentioning as it is so strikingly beautiful with it’s classic grainy texture and subtly black, white and dull art work really helps get across the depression era in America. 2099 however, bares absolutely no resemblance to that as the future hold tall and colourful skyscrapers in New York. Overall, all 4 worlds have their own gems to admire and it is a joy to play through them all.

Unfortunately as with all adventure games, the camera must always be scrutinized, in this case Shattered Dimensions does a pretty good job keeping the silly thing behind Spiderman at almost all times, but there are segments where you could find yourself a tad infuriated over boundary inconsistencies and the inability of the camera to just pan upward and outward as you climb to the top of a building. Regardless, these issues are miniscule and should be omitted for what is for the most part, a very well technically presented game.

This wouldn’t really be a thrilling action experience if the actual fighting mechanics weren’t awesome, and fortunately, they very much are. The game thrives on combos and the use of Spiderman’s web to tangle foes and move quickly in-between them. With enemies changing and alternating in each dimension, you will find yourself under threat from new and entertaining villains, keeping combat fresh and exciting. On top of that you will be using experience points to unlock new moves and abilities for your group of web-slingers to add to your arsenal of moves to further the depth of game-play. Boss set pieces will also have you using your powers and abilities in new and interesting ways, keeping combat and game-play fresh and fulfilling.

To conclude, it is hard to not love Spiderman, that’s just how my generation was brought up. The game does everything you’d expect and want from Spiderman, making this as authentic and enjoyable as possible for those looking for a web-slinging experience. The great audio and voice casting help bring out a funny narrative that allows you to grow attached to each of the 4 Spider-Men as they progress and unravel the secret powers of the ancient artifact that is plaguing the whole universe. Accompanied by fluid game-play and beautiful artwork and presentation, this is an ideal adventure game for everyone, not just Spiderman lovers.

Technical presentation – 8.0
Graphics – 9.0
Game-play – 8.0
Replay value – 6.0

Final score – 8.0 / 10

Igor, CeX UK Contributor
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