DS

North America

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

by Neal Ronaghan - September 21, 2010, 4:23 pm PDT
Total comments: 5

6.5

Spider-Man's second Metroid-inspired adventure stands to learn more from its progenitors.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions for DS is a completely different experience that complements the home console versions. Instead of being a level-based action game, it is a Metroidvania-styled game focused on exploration, a concept introduced to portable Spider-Man games in 2008's Web of Shadows. Unfortunately, the exploration is uninspired and there is too much of a focus on combat. It is still a fun, short romp, but it's hampered from being a great game.

The plot of Shattered Dimensions isn't enthralling, but it sets up the framework for the game nicely. The Tablet of Order and Chaos has been stolen by Mysterio and broken into pieces. It's up to three different Spider-Men (the prototypical Amazing, the shadow-focused Noir, and the futuristic 2099) to team up, collect the tablets, and save the day. Throughout the game, you have to find portals to switch between each character, each with their own unique map to explore.

The maps are fun to explore, courtesy of how great it is to swing as Spidey. These areas are open, but the game is very linear as you go from point A to point B. Along the way, you can go off the beaten path and collect numerous power-ups that give you new abilities or upgrade your health or damage. The power-ups are usually sealed off by a lock of some sort, and you need to find the 'key,' which usually comes in the form of stronger webbing or a new ability. This wouldn't be so bad, if the way to each power-up wasn't so bland.

The combat system starts off being very ordinary and only picks up near the very end of the game when you get cooler combos and abilities. It's based around using a combination of melee attacks, disarming, and dodging to defeat endless onslaughts of generic enemies that range from robots to gangsters. It's rewarding in short bursts, but since it makes up the majority of the gameplay, it falls apart over time. I don't care if Spider-Man might spend most of his time swinging between enemies to avoid being beaten to death in the world of the comics; it isn't fun to do this in a side-scrolling video game.

The game's greatest offense is the brief segments that you have to complete to go between dimensions. Using the stylus, you have to spin a tablet while tapping and/or holding on attacking enemies. The touch screen detection for these segments is inconsistent, and they just aren't fun. It's all right in the beginning when they're easy to defeat, but it's very frustrating once they get more difficult.

Overall, the game is very short. It's feasible to finish the game with close to 100 percent on your first playthrough in five hours or less. You unlock various difficult challenges, alternate costumes, and other modes, but there isn't much reason to drudge yourself through everything after you beat the game the first time.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has its faults, but it's still an all right game for fans of Spider-Man and the genre. If you like the wall-crawler and want to run through a mediocre Metroidvania game, then buy this one without hesitation.

Summary

Pros
  • Combat is good by the end of the game
  • Swinging webs is fun
Cons
  • Combat is too much of a focus
  • Uninspired exploration

Talkback

This is rather disappointing, since I loved the same developer's work on Web of Shadows (DS). Have you played that one, Neal? This is probably too esoteric for the review, but I'd like to hear some specific comparisons between the two games if possible.

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

This is rather disappointing, since I loved the same developer's work on Web of Shadows (DS). Have you played that one, Neal? This is probably too esoteric for the review, but I'd like to hear some specific comparisons between the two games if possible.

I didn't play it, but I kind of want to track it down to see if this game is different or if I just don't like these two games. From what I read about it, I think it's quite similar to WoS. So, you'd probably be inclined to play this.

broodwarsSeptember 22, 2010

Well that's a pity, considering I rather enjoyed the PS3 version of this game.

Quote from: broodwars

Well that's a pity, considering I rather enjoyed the PS3 version of this game.

I'm loving the 360 version. It's not perfect, and I can poke a lot of holes in it, but it reminds me of the first Spider-Man game on PS1, which I adored. Zach's reviewing the Wii version, so we'll see what he thinks of it.

Maybe it'll come in the mail someday.

I played Web of Shadows and didn't really like it. The exploration and movement was great, but there were WAY too many kill rooms (kill like 100 freaking guys!) and the bosses were both overpowered and overhealthed. Seriously, you'd pound them with a combo and like one pixel would be taken off their lifebar. It got really annoying. When Spidey inevitably died, you'd have to play a mini-game very similar to what you're describing for dimension-shifting, Neal, except you didn't have to spin a tablet at the same time.

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Developer Griptonite Games

Worldwide Releases

na: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
Release Sep 07, 2010
PublisherActivision
RatingTeen
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