The almost amazing Spider-Man

New Spider-Man game falls short of perfection

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The Spectrum

Grade: B-

Web-heads rejoice, your neighborhood Spider-Man has returned to unite the Marvel alternate universes in such a way no fan could have ever predicted.

But one Spider-Man alone cannot attempt such a task. A plethora of Spider-Men is needed to achieve such an epic alignment in the Marvel world.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions gives players the opportunity to test out some of their nerdiest fantasies by playing as some of the rather obscure Peter Parkers of past, present and future.

Though the game is a leap ahead of its arachnid predecessors, it still leaves much to be desired. Sadly, this Spidey game won't be winning any awards, but its bite will be powerful enough to have you giving up a few hours of your precious weekend to its simplistic, and, at times, rather addictive gameplay.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions follows a pretty standard beat-em-up formula. Throw a few minions into the fray, a side-challenge, more minions, and maybe a boss fight to end the level. Rinse and repeat.

This monotony is broken up slightly by Spider-Man's three alter egos, each of which offer a different style of dealing with their foes. Ultimate Spider-Man uses area attacks, while Spider-Man Noir has more of a stealth aspect to his attacks.

Character upgrades are available by collecting the Spider Emblems scattered across every level and completing challenges in ‘The Web of Fate." While some upgrades like an increase to the health bar are no-brainers, others – like Spider-Man 2099's enhanced vision upgrade – are less favorable.

The Web of Fate, which is more or less an in-game achievement tracker, adds a ton of depth and challenge to a game that is rather lacking in both.

Cut-scenes in Shattered Dimensions truly do great service to the Spider-Man name. Even Stan Lee himself lends his voice for the ultimate Marvel experience. However, what's even more impressive than the cut-scenes are the sprawling, stunning levels that the player will get to experience.

From Kraven's hunter-infested jungle to Deadpool's oilrig game show, each area has its own personality that leaves the player stunned each time they load a level.

Because every level is so massive, it allows the Spideys to truly use their powers to their fullest extent. Whether it's Ultimate Spider-Man zipping from roof to roof or Spider-Man 2099 weaving through rush-hour hover car traffic, the level design complements Spider-Man's natural, or in this case, unnatural ability.

The game's levels are broken down in a relatively easy to understand manner. There are 16 levels including the tutorial, each of which has three difficulty settings. Each level will typically take anywhere between a half an hour and 45 minutes, so this game should definitely be on a player's GameFly queue rather than dropping the $60 over at GameStop.

Like the Spider-Man games before it, Shattered Dimensions shares some of the same problems the series faced on Game Cube years ago. For example, Spider-Man's greatest enemy is still the camera. The indoor levels combined with the fast pace needed to take down some of the minions can throw the camera into a tizzy.

Additional content is packed into this game. Alternate suits to character bios, and even some of the game's concept art is available to those skilled enough to unlock its Marvelly goodness.

Shattered Dimensions is a great step forward for the series, yet for every two web swings forward, there is always one critical fall backwards. The game is a great appetizer for Spider-Man games to come and certainly represents what can be done with the series.