Comic-Con 2010: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions PreviewBy Stephen Johnson - Posted Jul 22, 2010
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a hell of an ambitious game. It stars four different iterations of Marvel's arachnid super-hero, each in his own dimension -- classic Spider-Man, Spider Man Noir, 2099 Spider-Man and just-announced Ultimate Spider-Man. Each Spidey plays differently, to the point that the different game sections feel almost like totally seperate games. Unlike lots of games that try to do too much, Judging from what was shown at Comic-Con 2010, Shattered Dimensions doen't fall into the trap of confusing variety with awesomeness and failing to deliver on the promises of it premises. Both the sections I played were winners, but for totally different reasons.
Activision was showing off two of the different Spideys: Spider-Man Noir and just announced Ultimate Spider-Man. I started with Noir, and as you might expect by the name, it is dark. The screen is dominated by black, and Peter Parker's alter-ego may be the darkest thing about the level-- There's something menacing about the way he crawls up walls, unseen, in the middle of the night, and takes out unsuspecting adversaries. So stealth gameplay that works very, very well.
Spidey Noir's mission in this demo level is to rescue hostages being held in train cars. You do this by first hitting the "spidey sense" button which gives you a look at guards and friendlies behind walls, and then skulking through the inky blackness to murder unsuspecting enemies with silent, web based take-downs. it's not a very sporting way to fight, but it's necessarry: Noir Spider-Man is not very good at face-to-face combat -- he might be able to take down a solitary guard in a fair fight, but it will cost him dearly, and he will die if you fight two at the same time. So you pick them off silently, one-by-one, like an actual spider catching bugs in his web.
If Spider Man Noir is kind of wimpy when he's not hiding in the shadows, Ultimate Spider-Man is the opposite. He takes on enemies full-on, dispatching swarms of bad guys with powerful attacks in a God of War, beat-em-up style. Ultimate has a rage-meter that allows him to unleash special attacks, as well as the ability to string together devastating combos. The controls are smooth, and while it's a bit button-mashy, that's the intention, and like in God of War, it works very, very well.
The Ultimate section I played ends with a boss battle: The web slinger must defeat the horrible, evil Carnage. it's a multi-part fight, begining with a little fisticuffs. Shattered Dimensions' third person action is broken up for a first-person fight where each control stick powers one of Spidey's fist.
It's not just the action that's different in each dimension; the visuals are distinct as well. Noir takes place in a very dark world -- the level I saw was some kind of evil industrial park with innocents being held in trailers. Ultimate Spider Man, on the other hand, inhabits a brightly lit, cel-shaded world full of bright, vibrant colors that fairly pop off the screen.
Shattered Dimensions comes out on the Nintendo DS, Playstation 3, Wii and 360 on September 7.