Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions box art
System: Wii, PS3, X360, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Beenox Studios 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Activision 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 7, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Hey comic fans, remember the days before the original Spider-Man (and some would argue, X-Men) films hit the big screen and changed the way Hollywood viewed comic book films? Before then, comic movies weren’t just forgettable, they were downright stupid.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions screenshot

Yet now, despite more than a few comic-related flops under its belt, it seems like the film industry finally “gets” how to make comic book films. With last year’s Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady showed us that, yes, it’s just as possible to make a phenomenal comic book game, and Beenox’s new take on Spider-Man, Shattered Dimensions, certainly had a lot of potential to hopefully continue the trend of quality comic-related games. Sadly, as much as I love Spider-Man, the webhead’s newest outing on the Wii could hardly be classed on the same level as Batman’s Arkham, despite its best efforts.

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It all sounds good, if a bit ambitious, on paper: Mysterio steals a tablet with inter-dimensional powers, and Spidey accidentally breaks it, effectively creating a rift in the Marvel dimensional continuum. With the help of Madame Web, four different Spider-Men have to track down pieces of the tablet using different gameplay mechanics that reflect that nature of their own respective powers. Amazing and Ultimate Spidey are more or less the same, with the former being classic Peter Parker and Ultimate, wearing Venom’s symbiotic black suit, given a rage ability to match his costume’s aggression. Spider-Man Noir has to use stealth to take out his enemies, and, in one of the coolest aspects of the game, Spidey 2099 gets in on the action as well, using a slow-mo power that evens the odds against fast enemies or tracking weapons.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions screenshot

One might think creating a game based around four different Marvel universes (each with their own distinct visual style, no less) would be a challenge, and you’d likely be right. ; The immediate fear that came to mind when I started playing Shattered Dimensions was that perhaps Beenox had spread themselves too thin and the gameplay would feel largely the same between worlds because of it. This is actually less of a problem than you might think, though that isn’t to say it isn’t still an issue. Beenox was clearly aware of what was at stake here, and gameplay has been broken up to add some variety to the invariable beating of lots of baddies as a result.

Where Shattered Dimensions falters is there isn’t enough of this practice. In some levels, you’ll be chasing a villain and can theoretically run past most other enemies, at least until you inevitably hit the age-old design of being trapped by a barrier until you clear all adversaries in your path. Spidey 2099 has some awesome freefalling sequences to break up some of the action, and from time to time, you get to make use of your webs in elegantly-designed setpieces that have Spider-Man webslinging away from a massive series of tidal waves or zipping between pieces of floating debris in a massive sandstorm, as examples. Even the stealth approach to boss battles in the Noir segments of the game are interesting and break up the flow of simply pummeling everything in sight. Moments like these are where Shattered Dimensions thrills, but they rarely last for more than a few minutes. After that, it’s back to business as usual, slogging through every last thug, sending you on a wild goose chase to destroy a certain objects before proceeding, rescuing civilians, and often, protecting them afterwards. If there’s one design flaw of Shattered Dimensions, it’s that it excels at wasting its potential.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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