Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions review

Buried under a mountain of glitches, there is a good game begging to get out
Buried under a mountain of glitches, there is a good game begging to get out
Buried under a mountain of glitches, there is a good game begging to get out


  • Lots of content specifically made for Spidey fans
  • The combat is good and geets better
  • The diifferent farieties of Spidey play is refreshing


  • Glitches, glitches, glitches
  • Not all Spideys are created equal
  • Forgettable

As a longtime fan of Spider-Man, I never really understood why it seems to be nearly impossible to get a great Spider-Man game. There have been a few that have come close: The Neversoft game for the PlayStation One wasn’t bad, the gameplay in the entries based on the movies stood out despite a terrible series of repetitive objectives, and a recent slew of original Spider-Man games have been acceptable, but not great. Unfortunately, it looks like Spider-Man fans will have to continue their vigil and wait for that one truly great Spider-Man game to rule them all, as Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a fun, but an average game that never really impresses, and is hurt by glitches.

The Story, So to Speak

The hook to Shattered Dimensions is that you play as four separate Spider-Men (Spider-Mans? Spider-People?) in four unique settings. The game begins with Mysterio attempting to steal a vaguely mystical artifact. Spider-Man shows up, they fight, and the mysterious tablet is broken into pieces that are split amongst four dimensions. Madame Web appears to the four Spider-Men and explains that there could be catastrophic consequences if the tablet is not reconstituted.

She also explains that evil men will be drawn to it, which of course, means that some of Spidey’s biggest foes are all going find a piece of the fragment and force you to fight them for it – typical superhero stuff. The story works for what it is. It is a bit disappointing for someone that grew up reading Spider-Man comics, but it is not a major emphasis of the game. It exists to justify the use of four Spider-Mans’… (whatever), each of which have their own look and feel.

The first Spider-Man is the traditional Amazing Spider-Man that we all know from the comics. The second is the Spider-Man of “Spider-Man Noir”, which comes from a recent limited series that re-imagined Spider-Man as a slightly less powerful version of himself set during the gang-ridden Depression-era times of New York in the 1930s. The third Spider-Man is the only one of the bunch that is not Peter Parker, but rather Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of an alternate reality future set in 2099, who fights crime, as well as the corrupt company Alchemax in a futuristic version of New York City. The fourth Spider-Man is from the Ultimate Marvel line of comics, a younger version of Spider-Man who, for this game,  is bonded to a symbiote suit, thanks to Madame Web.

Each Spider-Man operates within their own universe, and fights versions of villains unique to them, although generally recognizable to fans. For example, Spider-Man Noir fights the Vulture, a long time enemy of Spider-Man, but this Vulture is a former circus freak and cannibal that only shares a few traits with his counterparts in the other dimensions. No two boss enemies are the same, regardless of existing counterparts, so there is plenty of boss variety, and you do get to see a broad selection  of Spidey’s rogues.

The game itself features 12 levels- 3 with each Spidey, plus final boss fight.  Each level takes between 30 minutes to an hour, more if you try to complete challenges, but 8-10 hours might be about the norm to complete the game if you just want to rip through.

spider man shattered dimensions review smsd 07

The Settings

One of the best, and most noteworthy features of Shattered Dimensions is that each dimension features its own original look. It generally ties into the gameplay, but the art design is unique to each Spider-Man. The first setting you encounter is the Amazing Spider-Man’s dimension, which uses cell shading to give a look that feels very much like a moving comic book. The colors are also very bright, and stand in contrast to some of the other levels which use a different type of coloring the way different comics use different inks.

The next setting, that of Spider-Man Noir, is the most different. The look is much darker than the Amazing Spider-Man’s, and not just because the gameplay emphasizes stealth over head-to-head confrontation. It attempts to paint a picture of a slightly scary, very dark world, and of the four, it has the most differentiated look and feel. The coloring also plays a part in the level itself. When Spidey is in the shadows, the colors are more black and white to signify that Spidey is hidden and can move freely. When he is exposed, the lighting takes on a brighter, more yellow tint to signifies that Spidey is visible to enemies, and must seek cover or quickly take out the enemy who spotted him. It is an interesting use of shadow and light, very similar to last year’s game, Batman: Arkham Asylum.

The next world, that of Spider-Man 2099 is the most graphically intense, as the city of 2099 that Spider-Man inhabits is teeming with life, color and technology in every corner. It is perhaps the most “video game-like”, and looks like a top-notch video game as opposed to the other levels which emphasize the comic-book look, and I frequently stopped just too look around the well detailed and realized world.

The final reality, that of the Ultimate Spider-Man, has a look that is very similar to the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. That won’t mean anything to those that haven’t read that particular title, but it is a comic book look, but darker than the Amazing universe, and without the cell shading. As contradictory as it sounds, it is a more realistic comic book look.

Each level feels like its own world, and that is an impressive feat.  The level designs are linear, which is a marked departure from the open world Spidey games of the past, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It means that free swinging around areas is gone, but it has been replaced by a more focused game.  There are a few too many repeats- ie, save the civilian/scientist/person-who-can-open-the-door-for you, but these are rarely a major point.

Upgrades and challenges

One thing Shattered Dimensions has plenty of, is challenges, and this is actually one of the best points of the game. On each level you can access the “Web of Destiny”, a map that shows you the challenges for each level. It always begins with only one challenge visible, and while all the challenges are always there, sometimes you won’t realize it until you complete one of the other challenges to see what it is. This is likely a decision to try to convince players to go back through missions- or chapters as they are known- and try to complete everything.

The challenges are varied, and some are as simple as defeating a certain enemy- generally something you need to do anyway to progress- or collect a certain number of emblems floating around the level which is not difficult, but requires you to make the effort to seek them out. Some are level specific and may require you to complete an event a certain way, while others emphasize a certain combat move. They are mostly different for each chapter.

There is also a benefit for completing challenges in the form of credits. At any time during the game or at the menu, you can access the upgrade system. Once you have some credits to spend, you can purchase new combos, things like more health, and even a selection of additional costumes unique to each Spider-Man that you can play the level in. The costumes don’t offer any real benefits, but it is fun to have Spidey swing around in a Fantastic Four outfit with a paper bag over his head (old school fans of Spidey will appreciate that).

You don’t necessarily need to complete the challenges to progress through the game, but they do add an extra layer to the game.


New Sony patent suggests a wireless PSVR headset could be on the way

Images and documents in the Japan Patent Office appear to suggest that Sony is planning a wireless version of the PlayStation VR headset. It isn't clear which system it will be used for.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

The best Wii games, from Super Mario Galaxy to Zelda: Skyward Sword

Nintendo shook up the gaming world with the Wii and its unique control scheme. Here are our picks for the best Wii games -- just don't blame us for having too many Mario titles on the list.

These are the classic NES games that helped redefine gaming

The NES left an indelible mark on pop culture and revolutionized the gaming industry. Check out our picks for the best NES games, whether you prefer an immersive RPG, side-scrolling brawler, or something else entirely.

Get over here! All the details on next week’s Mortal Kombat 11 closed beta

Mortal Kombat 11 will hold its closed beta period from March 28 through March 31, giving those who pre-ordered the game the chance to check it out prior to its official launch in April.

HP’s Omen Mindframe headset keeps your ears chill, but might leave you lukewarm

The Omen Mindframe headset uses HP's FrostCap technology to keep ears cool during long gaming sections. While it delivers on keeping ears cool, it forgets some of the essentials of a quality gaming headset.

Amazon drops a deal on SteelSeries Arctis 3 gaming headset for Nintendo Switch

Amazon is currently running a deal on the SteelSeries Arctis 3 gaming headset, which is compatible with Nintendo Switch as well as Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, mobile, and virtual reality.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

Here's what we know about the Dark Souls developer's next game

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game from Dark Souls and Bloodborne developer From Software. Here is everything we know about the new game, including its setting and combat changes.

Upcoming zombiefest Days Gone boasts 30-plus hours of story-driven content

Days Gone, the first PlayStation 4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.

Need to perform a factory reset on your Xbox One console? Here's how to do it

Whether you're upgrading to a One X and giving your old console to a friend, or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes your Xbox One needs a clean slate. Here's our quick guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One.

New character Octane makes an entrance with the first Apex Legends Battle Pass

Apex Legends' first season kicks off March 19 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The Battle Pass comes in two versions, with the base version costing around 10 bucks. Seasonal rewards include a bevy of new loot such as legendary skins.

Is Google launching a game-streaming service? Watch our GDC livestream to see

Google is presenting its 2019 GDC keynote on March 19. Here is how you can tune in to watch the event, as well as what could be shown during the presentation. Google's Project Stream service could be on the agenda.