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Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Review (PS3)

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

By Sean Forsgren

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions PS3 Box Art

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (PS3)

© Activision

The Bottom Line

"Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions" is an ambitious game that looks good, combines four games into one and is sure to delight Spidey fans. As Spider-Man games go, this one might be the best. As a game in general, this game does many things well enough but doesn’t manage to anything great.
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Pros

  • Four games with four great art styles in one box
  • Full of great characters, a deftly woven storyline and even a few funny one-liners
  • Just as you start to get tired of one game, it changes to another to keep you interested
  • Neil Patrick Harris voices the Amazing Spider-Man, who doesn’t like Neil Patrick Harris?

Cons

  • The canned, repetitive dialogue starts to wear at your sanity
  • Does four Spider-Mans in one game! Doesn’t do any of them, exceptionally well
  • So many cut-scenes that you end up watching as much of this game as you play
  • Some of the game mechanics seem to have little impact on the progression of the game

Description

  • Publisher: Activision
  • ESRB: Teen
  • Genre: Third-person Action
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS

Guide Review - Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Review (PS3)

What’s better than Spider-Man? How about four Spider-Mans, each set in his own reality with a variety of locations, gameplay styles and art directions? I have to be honest with you, this game is A LOT of Spider-Man.

In fact, this game does so much, that it feels spread thin, I’ll venture to say it’s too much game stuffed onto one disc. With so many different gameplay types, it ends up lacking a sense of cohesive play. I’ll liken it to a kid mixing every type of soda into one cup. When you end up mixing that many flavors, you end up with something that tastes like everything and nothing at the same time. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions falls just beyond a good mixture of game styles, but it is entertaining and beautiful as well. The art style changes with each Spider-Man, as well as the way Spidey operates in the different dimensions.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a balanced mixture of straight-forward combat and web-slinging goodness. His world is cell-shaded and the most reminiscent of Spidey’s comic book origins. Spider-Man Noir is the Sam Fischer of the bunch, relying on stealth and surprise attacks rather than brute force. The visuals for Noir Spidey are dark and gritty, paying homage to the films that inspire the “noir” in his name.

Speaking of brute force, Spider-Man 2099 is the hard-hitting, no-nonsense member of the foursome who lives in the shiny, glowing cities of the future. His life consists of base jumping and kicking butt on villains like the new and improved Hobgoblin. To round out the bunch, we have Ultimate Spider-Man, the black-suited bad boy who flings tendrils around to create some awesome attacks. The symbiotic-suited Spider-Man’s world is rich in color and smacks of light and dark extremes, much like the inner struggles of this version of our hero.

Each level is themed for the boss you encounter, which throws the different Spider-Man in a variety of new environments which is actually a nice change from the usual cityscape of New York.

The web-swinging mechanic suffers the same pitfalls as most Spider-Man games, it can get difficult to get where you want, and it’s easy to get turned around. Being able to sling between glowing, yellow waypoints is helpful, but can actually contribute to the problem of navigating the world.

Some of the mechanics in this game don’t seem to add much to the game. A good example is in the first boss fight with Kraven the Hunter. You’ll be thrown into a first-person boxing mode that doesn’t seem to get you closer to downing the boss. You use your analog sticks to throw different punches, which are rewarded with hilarious animations on impact, but at the end of the bout, the boss’s life meter doesn’t seem to have moved. Think of it as a little time-out from jumping around to punch in some face..

In the end, "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions" is more than fan service, it's a serviceable action game, but four tries simply doesn't make perfect.

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