[You may remember that last week, we were asked to take our Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions review down after mistakenly getting permission from our local distributors to release it. Well, it's finally back and available, so grab a cup of coffee and give it a read!]
Your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man returns for another video game adventure, only this time things are slightly different.
The developers at Beenox have set out to mix things up a little with this new take on Spider-Man, allowing you to play as not one, but four versions of Spider-Man from alternate realities that come with their own unique styles and skills.
Does four times the Spider-Man mean four times the fun? Find out in our full review.
While I am a big fan of Spider-Man, the games never really grabbed me at all and a quick look at the previous’ titles scores will show you that I am not alone.
Beenox has set out to try and break the Spider-Man curse by taking a fresh approach to the friendly neighbourhood super hero with a new story and a new twist.
The game begins with Spider-Man tracking Mysterio down to a Museum where the villain plans to steal and sell an old tablet on the black market for some serious extra pocket-money. After the two have a bit of a tussle, the tablet shatters and the pieces get spread out of multiple realities.
With the aid of Madame Web, the four Spider-Men are told that they have to ensure that the pieces don’t fall into the wrong hands and so, they set out to find and collect them.
As I said previously, you control four different alternate reality Spider-Man characters, each with their own unique abilities. Not only are each of them different, but the atmosphere, voices and graphic styles are unique to them as well.
Meet the family
Amazing Spider-Man is your vanilla flavor Spider-Man that we all know and love, his skills focus on agility and the entire levels are presented in a really great looking comic book style with bright colors and thick outlines.
Ultimate Spider-Man is from a similar time to Amazing Spider-Man although Madame Web convinces him to use the black “venom” suit that gives him crazy amounts of power. This Spider-Man comes with a special ability called Rage, which allows him to do massive amounts of big damage to multiple foes for a short period of time.
You also play as Spider-Man 2099, which is of course, Spider-Man in the future. His focus is on immense speed and comes with an ability to slow time down, making him even more dangerous. The visuals for these segments are less comic styled and feature a massive futuristic city.
Noir Spider-Man is a new addition, and takes us back to a Spider-Man from the old days kitted out with some black leather. The graphics are very gritty, monotone and realistic. The same can be said for the play style. The Noir Spider-Man is, for lack of any better words, a complete rip of Batman: Arkham Asylum’s stealth room sections (although admittedly not nearly as polished). Noir Spider-Man needs to stay in the dark, and quietly pick off his opponents. Any run ins with armed guards is bad news and easily leads to a possible quick death.
Break a leg
Shattered Dimensions is split into three acts, with each containing a mission for each of the different versions of Spider-Man. Once each act is completed, the next act is unlocked, along with new missions for each.
Each mission is also filled with different challenges, that are tracked using a screen called the web of destiny. More challenges can be unlocked and pursued by completing primary challenges and range from collecting spider emblems to performing certain special moves a number of times or finishing certain segments under a certain time. Players can also then replay levels to try and complete all of the challenges, the reason being that they award the player with spider essence.
Spider essence is the games’ currency for unlocking upgrades. The upgrades are split into character upgrades and combo upgrades. Combo upgrades almost all work for all of the characters unless specified, and improve Spidey’s ability to kick ass while the character upgrades are used to boost health bars or recharge times on special abilities. Aside from game-specific mechanics, essence can also be used to unlock alternate costumes for each of the characters, ranging from different costume concepts, to some comical outfits from Spider-Man’s history (such as the time he wore a Fantastic Four outfit with a brown paper bag over his head).
Combat in Shattered Dimensions will feel pretty familiar to Spider-Man fans and comes across as a mix between games like God of War and Ninja Gaiden, with an added bucketload of button mashing.
The combat itself is half and half. While it allows you to enjoy the full range of Spider-Man’s abilities, it can sometimes become a little too fast for its own good, often resulting in chaos on screen with the player not even knowing where Spider-Man is, but still mashing on buttons. You also have a defensive stance, which is used to dodge most light attacks automatically, but a press of a dodge button is required for bigger attacks, signaled by Spider-Man’s trademark spider-sense.