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Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
XBox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Publisher: Activision
Rated: "T" for Teen

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6
view user comments (0)
User Rating: 6

When Batman: Arkham Asylum launched last year, it completely changed how we look at the Dark Knight in the world of videogames. Gone were the campy overacting and novelty effects of previous games in exchange for quality mechanics, great writing and a storyline that paid dear respect to the world of the caped crusader.

On the other side of the comic book world, Spider-man fans still wait for an Arkham Asylum all their own. Sure, games like Spiderman 2 and Ultimate Spiderman showed us what it was like to swing through New York, but they all seemed flat in the end. Though Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions isn’t quite the webbed revolution it could have been, it does come pretty damn close.

By far, Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions is at its best when it pays homage to the mythos of the character’s world. The game puts players in the tights of not one, but four different versions of Spiderman; Spiderman 2099, Noir Spiderman, Ultimate Spiderman and of course Spiderman proper. In truth, though these are the box, the game goes much deeper. If you’re willing to play through the game and really pay attention you’ll find costumes from the Scarlett Spider to the infamous bag headed Spiderman from Fantastic Four fame. It’s obvious that those creating the world of Shattered Dimensions know their Spiderman, as the game comes off as a love letter to the character and his world.

"...a series of well crafted linear levels."


With Shattered Dimensions, Activision chucked the majority of its previous Spiderman engine and started fresh. Gone are the open world cities and free roaming missions in favor of a series of well crafted linear levels. To some, that may not be a selling point, but much of the environments crafted here drip with creativity and are still incredibly fun to explore because they are so different. Take for instance the Spiderman 2099 levels; you’ll be zipping through a futuristic city dodging flying cars yet in the Noir levels, you’ll be sneaking around in an artsy cool world that rivals that of Frank Miller’s Sin City. It’s these touches that keep Shattered Dimensions so interesting. It’s not just the visuals of these worlds that are so notable; it’s how they affect inhabitants. The story of the game is pretty bland, the villainous Mysterio is seeking pieces of a tablet that are of course scattered throughout multiple dimensions, but playing through the worlds can be quite interesting.

If the environments are interesting in Shattered Dimensions, the game’s core mechanics are the exact opposite. Let’s be honest, at its heart, we’re dealing with a pretty straight forward beat-em-up here. Oh, it’s a good beat-em-up, but it doesn’t do much to be any more than that. There are around 15 challenges spread throughout each level, and completing them gives you the opportunity to access new moves and weapons. The great thing about these challenges is that they rarely seem to ask you to do something you’re not normally going to do - just maybe doing them another way, like taking out a number of thugs without guns.

Unquestionably, the coolest moments of Shattered Dimensions deal with the game’s boss battles. A good showing of Spidey’s rouges gallery, including Sandman, Carnage and yes, Doc Ock from the 2099 comics make appearances in some pretty cool sequences and battles. These challenging sequences are easily another example of how Activision and developer Beenox nailed the Spiderman universe. Each villain feels and acts like they should, which makes these sequences that much more believable.

"...terrible camera system that has plagued pretty much every Spiderman gave ever released..."


Remember earlier when I said that Activision “chucked the majority” of the formula found in its previous Spiderman games? Guess what part they kept? If you guessed the terrible camera system that has plagued pretty much every Spiderman gave ever released - you win! Seriously, why is it this hard to focus a camera on my enemies and not me? Yes, I know Spiderman being able to crawl on the walls can make for some pretty cool visuals, but what good does it do when I can’t see the guys I want to drop on? To make matters worse, many of the levels feature a ton of indoor content, meaning you’re going to be staring at the wrong side of walls too frequently.

Then there’s the things that make you question just what the developers were thinking. Each version of Spiderman has his own unique ability that makes playing as them unique, but each also has the ability to switch to a first person fighting mode in certain situations. It’s clunky, it’s cheesy and feels just plain weird. Why they would include this mode, which adds nothing to the game at all is beyond me.

Missteps aside, Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions is not only a quality game, it could very well be the best Spiderman title to date. Built around an obvious love for the character and mythos, Activision and Beenox have created a fun and extensive brawler that fans of Marvel’s web head are sure to love. Forget what you know about Spiderman video games, Shattered Dimensions changes everything. 



CHEATS USED: Unlock Costumes, Achievements/Trophies Lists

Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions works so well because it's such an obvious love letter to the world of Spiderman, and the cheats work well because they do the same. There are cheats to unlock other costumes from comics past (can you say Iron Spider) and other clever nods.

There are also several nods, that can't be considered cheats that are sprinkled throughout the game that diehard fans are sure to enjoy.



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