‘Shattered Dimensions’ almost gets Spider-Man right

jheeter@macon.comOctober 1, 2010 

Activision releases a Spider-Man video game nearly every year.

The character is one of Marvel Comics’ most popular, which is apparent considering the amount of money the “Spider-Man” movie trilogy has grossed. So by releasing a game regularly, Activision figures it can tap into a large fanbase.

The best way, however, to drive up sales for a popular franchise is to make a good game.

Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. discovered that with the release of “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” a release that added layered storytelling to the normal elements of a combat-based comic book game.

Activision has never been able to accomplish the same with “Spider-Man” games, instead appearing to cash in on the license without putting the time into creating a quality game.

“Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” available now for all systems, is a step in the right direction following the dreadful release of “Spider-Man: Web of Shadows” in 2008. But “Shattered Dimensions” still has a long way to go to be mentioned in the same breath as “Arkham Asylum.”

In “Shattered Dimensions,” Spider-Man is tasked with recovering pieces from an artifact that broke during a fight with villain Mysterio.

The player travels to four different dimensions of the Spider-Man universe to recover the pieces.

The game’s biggest attribute is its versatility.

You control four different versions of Spider-Man, each one requiring a different skill set to navigate through the levels.

The Amazing Spider-Man is the first version the gamer controls. This version is pretty standard Spider-Man, not differing much from the character in previous games.

You will also play as Ultimate Spider-Man, who is the black-costumed version bonded with an alien symbiote, and the futuristic Spider-Man 2099. The fourth version, which is the most intriguing version, is Spider-Man Noir.

While the first three versions give Spider-Man different powers, they all still move through the levels like a standard brawler. But Spider-Man Noir forces you to take a stealth approach to playing the game.

The game feels like four short games packed into a larger game, with all four chapters feeling distinctly different.

The variety makes the game noteworthy, but it falls really short in terms of gameplay.

The game’s combat system needs improvement. It’s hard to target specific enemies, and the camera often causes you to get lost in a battle. The camera also gives you trouble while web-slinging and while trying to climb walls, a feat that shouldn’t be difficult for Spider-Man.

Despite the missteps in gameplay, “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions” is the right move for the Spider-Man franchise.

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