Thursday, September 30, 2010

Musings: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Spider-Man has had a far better history than most superheroes in the realm of gaming. Just a brief mental stroll down memory lane brings up thoughts of the original Playstation Spider-Man (you don't just play it... you live it!) and it's sequel-  excellent games both. Go a little further back and you'll want to remember the fun but shallow SNES titles and the amazing (wink) Genesis/Sega CD game.

Sure the X-Men have had some good ones too and Batman had the sublime Arkham Asylum just last year, but Spidey stands out from all of them. Even with the recently meh Web of Shadows, his VG resume bests most other heroes. And now we get Shattered Dimensions.

I really liked this game.

For those not familiar, SD takes place across four different time lines within the Marvel Universe- and that means we get four different web-heads to play as. And they are: Noir, 2099 (Yay!), Ultimate, and Amazing (standard Marvel U). The first thing you'll all probably recognize is that there are no 'made up' Spidey's. All four (and their accompanying universes) are straight from the canon. Excellent.

Each universe has it's own look and gimmick- and all four are fun to play through. Noir is a '30 era stealth adventure, 2099 is a hi-tech bullet-time-fest with free-falls, Ultimate has a young Spidey with symbiote fueled rage, and Amazing has an almost cel-shaded (and very impressive looking) adventure featuring the Peter Parker we all know and love (and voiced by Neil Patrick Harris!). None of them are boring and none of them fall over their gimmick in the least.

The storyline ties all four of the universes and Spider-Men together with a mystical tablet that lame-o villain Mysterio steals and (Amazing) Spidey breaks. The shards of the stone tumble through the multi-verse effecting each of the four worlds and the bad guys in them.

As far as play mechanics, they're very solid. Fighting is smooth and the defensive lock (which helps avoid a ton of incoming attacks) feels great and seems very, very, authentic to the character. Web swinging is mostly good stuff as well with maybe two weak points. After a double-jump, you can initiate a third that features a 'web assist'. It's honestly a little hit or miss. That same complaint goes for the second control issue I had- the web zip seemed to only work when it felt like it. This can be a little aggravating at certain points of the game. It's not a deal breaker by any means and never gets controller tossingly bad but it is there nevertheless and I feel like it deserves a mention.

So overall I had a blast with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. It's nothing ground breaking or as big of a revelation as Arkham Asylum was- but it's very well done, a lot of fun to play through, and a very cool little piece of fan service to the Spidey follower.

One little afternote- I love 2099. I read the comic when it was around in the '90s. I hear that there's a little talk around Activision about a Noir or 2099 stand alone game. Noir is a fun universe, has some really cool stuff going on. Please make Spider-Man 2099. Thank you.