Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions is the most recent addition to Marvel’s legacy of comic book-based video games. In Shattered Dimensions users get a chance to play through the many different incarnations of Spider-Man and his powers. The opening scene has Spider-Man trailing in hot pursuit of Mystereo as he prepares to rob a museum. During the fight, an ancient tablet is broken and somehow spread across multiple dimensions. Madam Web, the mysterious inter-dimensional being, contacts the Spider-men of the various dimensions amplifying their powers for the coming battles as they search for and return the ancient tablet to Madam Web.
The controls for Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions are simple to get used to. The X button is your low power but quick attacks, while the Y button works as your heavy attacks doing the most damage but being the slowest. The A button jumps and also adds to dodging when the defensive stance is active allowing you to roll out of the way of attacks that would normally hit you. Finally, the B button works to initiate your web-based attacks allowing, in some cases, for you to take down enemies from the shadows or shoot web projectiles to blind the enemy. The triggers are assigned to two different tasks. The right trigger is web swinging, while the left trigger is assigned to dodging that only works for normal attacks. The up button on the D pad is assigned to trigger your spider senses.
Combat can be very fluid and quick when facing a large number of opponents allowing for players to create a large combat multiplyer, when the game allows it. Boss battles are a mixture of mechanics, with some forcing you to sneak while others rely on dodging and brute force. The mixture of mechanics does prevent the boss battles from getting too stale as the game continues. However, at other times the combat feels as though it is lacking something to make it truly enjoyable and not just a button masher.
The game graphics were surprisingly good. Marvel made the wise choice to go with cell shading and it really paid off. Voice acting was decent in the few cut scenes in the game. Combat when facing a large group of people can be fun and fast-paced, chaining up some pretty impressive combos. The environment can become your weapon if you allow it to take advantage of hazards as they appear to quickly defeat opponents. This adds a fun and surprising little twist to the straightforward game play.
The wall climbing mechanic feels clumsy and makes it hard to control players that have to constantly manually manipulate the camera so they aren’t staring up at the ceiling in front of them. This makes moving about more annoying and unnatural feeling as far as the controls are set up. Stan Lee needs to talk much less. The first hour or so of game play he randomly chimes in blabbing on and on about how things are just beginning for Spider-Man and so forth. His narrative might have been acceptable if it didn’t break from the game flow so significantly. Boss battles are annoying, and while the switching of mechanics might have been a good idea, they could explain what they wanted much better. Madam Web’s chiming of “Try sneaking up on him” is only so useful before it becomes annoying since there seems to be no simple way to sneak up on certain enemies. Voice acting is good, but when the characters repeat the same three lines perhaps it is time to give them more in combat dialog.
Comic book games always a promise a fun, interesting ride and more often than not they fall short, leaving players and fans of the series alike confused and disappointed. This is just another case of that.