2010 Reviews

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

  • Review Date: 2014-04
  • Release Date: 2010-09
  • Developer: Beenox
  • Rating: 6.0

Beenox is a studio I've never heard. They've done a few titles (Guitar Hero) before Activision took over, hence being given the Spider-Man franchise. This game did have potential. They could have done something good; the cel-shaded graphics are decent, the button-mashing third-person combat and web-swinging is fun, but it comes off just feeling like a video game for under 20 year olds.

Most of the issue comes from the way the story is presented. You're randomly fighting Mysterio in a museum and accidentally power-punch a magical tablet which splits itself into a dozen pieces across different dimensions, coincidentally landing in the hands of twelve of Spider-Man's greatest foes. What?! So each of the thirteen levels, all 30-50mins each, consist of chasing after the boss and random smaller enemies get in your way. It almost feels like an arena-combat game at times, but with at a few boss battles through each level until you finally defeat them at the end.

This is not my idea of good story progression. The story is completely phoned in and just a poor excuse to allow you to play as four different Spidey's and get as many different foes in as possible. Even Deadpool shows up!

Each character does look good, but often so corny and clich├ęd with their lines and voice-acting you'd expect for a TV series targetting towards 10 year olds. Ironically, some of Spidey's lines are quite good, often funny. Spidey is true to form, without being over-the-top.

Variety is something Beenox succeeded at. Playing as Spider-Man Noir is all about creeping around in the shadows and web-zipping enemies from behind. But three levels of this was enough - this style gets repetitive. Throughout the game you also have situations where you have to rescue civilians - also very repetitive and tiring by games end. The rest of the Spidey's (Amazing, Ultimate, 2099) aren't all that different - Ultimate has a rage power-up, 2099 has bullet-time. I didn't really use either that much.

Most of the game is melee combat consisting of combos and lots of jumping around. Nothing different, and the combos aren't really necessary. Web zipping around is great, swinging can usually be done anywhere. Somehow the web finds an invisible target above you which can never quite be seen. It takes 10 minutes to get used to it, but once you are the swinging is very fluid and feels as it should.

The boss battles are also all quite impressive. Most of them consist of certain tasks to take them down, so it's not the age-old whack until they die. Early on the bosses were quite easy, but there were a couple later that I had great trouble with - The Goblin and Dr Octopus. The final boss (Mysterio) was much easier than those two.

Visually, the game is decent. Which comes as somewhat of a surprise from a fresh studio doing a comic-game. While comic-movies may be massive in popularity, the games are usually average, at least from Marvel. But you'll notice nice looking cel-shaded environments straight away. It gives the game a slight hand-drawn look, like a comic. But this isn't the sort of game where you'll walk into a room and admire the attention to detail and architecture. There's no fine detail here, it's all large areas that you move through pretty quickly. Each level has a different theme/location, with perhaps only the 2099 levels looking the worst. The black-and-white Noir levels look great, while some other sections of the game such as Sandman turning into a giant tornado are quite impressive.

Overall, this game could have been so much more if Beenox took the time to create a proper story, instead of throwing you into random boss encounters. It's a game for people that only care about gameplay - about hitting combos, about completing meaningless challenges.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions