12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Another holiday season upon us, and another Spider-Man game to swing in and grab our wallets. This is not always a bad thing, I appreciate that there is enough confidence in the Spider-Man name to carry a game without a movie tie-in. Is it a great Spider-Man game? No, but it has enough going for it to qualify as a solid title.
One of the coolest things about SD is its use of 4 different art styles to depict different Spider-Man universes (comic timelines). The Spider-Man 2099 levels are colorful and have a neon quality to them. The Amazing and Ultimate Spider-Man levels are the only somewhat similar styles. The Amazing levels are cell shaded, brightly colored, and appear as I always thought a Spider-Man game should look. The Ultimate levels on the other hand have a more "realistic" palette, with a black suited Spidey to control. The Spider-Man Noir levels are dark with an emphasis on browns and greys. These levels make use of really nice lighting and shadow techniques. Good thing to since Noir Spider-Man spends large amounts of time lurking in the shadows.
Good effects but nothing to write home about. The voice work on the other hand is excellent. The banter between Spider-Man and his foes is fun and witty, just as it should be. Spider-Man is very talkative all through the game, especially in combat. Luckily the writing compliments the high class work of the actors, and it never gets old.
Along with the art style, the gameplay of the levels varies depending on the universe you are in. The Ultimate and the 2099 levels are the most similar, straight beat 'em up with subtle combo differences. Speaking of combos, you collect spider emblems and complete challenges in the game that give use points used to upgrade your moves in all of the universes. A cool feature that could use a more intuitive and less cumbersome menu. The Amazing levels are all about combat as well, yet with a higher emphasis on web-swinging. The swinging is not as fun or open as it was in previous Spider-Man titles, but it gets the job done. The Noir levels on the other hand basically turn Spider-Man into Batman. He now lurks in the shadows trying to avoid a fight, instead Spider-Man likes to stay hidden and take enemies out quietly. These levels are the closest we will get to a Spider-Man Splintet Cell crossover. The one really nagging problem with SD is the way the levels progress. In every level a boss character is introduced, then you chase him and fight lesser foes. You are then presented with a boss fight. Just when you think you've made progress by beating a boss, he gets up and runs away. You then chase again and fight stronger foes until...the same boss is fought again. In some levels this pattern repeats multiple times. This is the one design choice that really brings down an otherwise great game.
Is It For The Kids?
If you have a young one who is a superhero fan, a teen with a room full of comics, or (in my case) a daughter who LOVES superheroes, especially Superman & Spider-Man, then yep they will want this one. The game has a T rating, for mild language and suggestive themes, and violence. T is a title harsh for SD, the language is no worse than a hell or damn here or there, and the violence is in a comic book fashion. Spider-Man is not a killer, but one early level has you running from a sniper's scope. I let my kids watch me play this one, as the controls are a little complex for the little ones. Any 9 or 10 year old should have no problem though. This game is another example of the need for a rating between T and E10. Violence is an E rating killer, but in SD the context is that of obstacles to be overcome and not people to be taken out.
Spider-Man SD is a fun and relatively short game, yet I was not wanting for more at the end of my 7-8 hr trip. To some that may seem negative and short, it's not. I like when a game leaves me satisfied at the end. I feel the game conveyed an experience and I enjoyed the ride. So give it a try, and if you or your kids are fans of Spider-Man, then pick it up. Just be prepared to do most of the playing if you have little ones.