If a character from pop culture has had more video game adaptations that the Amazing Spider-Man, I challenge you to name it. More games have been made about Peter Parker’s wall-crawling alter ego than just about any other character, with the exception of "random military dude." But how many of them would you call "great?"
We have at least a week to wait before we’ll know if Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions achieves that lofty designation, but some more hands-on time with all three of the game’s next-generation platform SKU’s, as well as the intriguing Nintendo DS version has us thinking that this Spider-Man game does have some advantages over previous titles under the Spidey moniker.
For one, most of the ambitiousness of the gameplay is not rooted in mimicking a large, open world type of gameplay, or trying to make the Spider-Man experience overly expansive. Instead, the four inter-connected settings of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions - Amazing Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Noir and Spider-Man 2099 - offer all the variety and expansiveness you could want, with each focusing specifically on a type of gameplay within the overall gameplay. The one thing they all have in common though is a dedication to accessible fun.
Here’s a short breakdown on each mode:
Amazing Spider-Man: With a Spidey voiced by Neil Patrick Harris - who also did the voice for Spider-Man: The New Animated Series - the Amazing Spider-Man universe is focused on more traditional web-slinging and bad-guy fighting aspects to Spidey’s abilities. Resplendent in bright vivid colors, Amazing Spider-Man gives you lots of melee fighting abilities that utilize your webs as much as your fists; heavy attacks will grab boulders and other heavy objects with which to smash your enemies better.
Ultimate Spider-Man: featuring the much cooler looking Venom-inspired suit, Ultimate Spidester features a rage mode in addition to the melee attacks demonstrated by Amazing Spider-Man. The Ultimate universe has a more comic-book inspired cel-shaded look to set it apart from the other "games wihin the game."
Spider-Man: Noir: The success of last year’s Batman: Arkham Asylum clearly played a role in the decision to include the more detective-like stealth-based action of the Spider-Man: Noir universe. Instead of a lot of crazy wall-walking and other special powers, Spider-Man: Noir focuses on lurking in the shadows and taking out enemies silently. It’s also stylistically impressive, with its retro sepia-toned look.
Spider-Man 2099: Futuristic Spider-Man isn’t even Peter Parker under the mask, but that doesn’t mean the action is any less exciting. As we all know from movies like Bladerunner and the Fifth Element, cities in the future are seriously huge, especially vertically, meaning some pretty cool falling/flying set pieces through vast urban settings in this part of the game.
While the next-generation versions of the game all use the same engine, and are mostly content identical (yes, even the Wii version), the Nintendo DS version actually takes an intriguing departure. While you still get to experience the same various Spider-Man settings (except the Ultimate universe), Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions for the DS is a side-scroller, more in the style of Metroid or Castlevania games. The action mostly takes place on the top screen, with your map relegated to the touchscreen, there are some minigames you’ll actually play with the stylus at times. And while the plot is its own unique departure, the DS version will feature the same voice actors as the console versions will.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions will be available for all platforms on September 7th.