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12 January 2011

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions [DS]

Plot Synopsis: 6/10
As the game begins, Spider-Man is just catching up to Mysterio as he attempts to steal a powerful tablet. In the process of stopping him, Spider-Man accidentally breaks the tablet into pieces, sending the fragments into different timelines and realities, where his counterparts must help him retrieve them.
I'm going to have to give the plot a 6 out of 10. First of all, as a long-time Spider-Man fan, I have never been particularly impressed with Mysterio, as a villain. Secondly, having read the titles, and knowing what I do about the characters, it's hard to imagine some of the villains we see in the game working together. I can't help but feel like the story was written by someone who didn't know a whole lot about the world of Spider-Man.

Game Play: 7/10
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a third-person point of view platformer. As such, there is a lot of running and jumping. However, as you are playing the part of Spider-Man (or three different Spider-Men, as the case may be), there are also a lot of web swinging and flinging, throwing your enemies, and a host of other character-specific powers to be used. Unfortunately, the developers threw in so many different abilities, that it becomes rather difficult to keep track of how to do everything. I occasionally found myself learning a new ability, only to stop and say "I won't bother practicing that one, because I can't imagine I'll ever bother using it, unless I absolutely have to." Luckily, I was ABLE to say that, because you can go into a tutorial for every ability you've learned at any time, as a refresher.
I'll give the game play a 7 out of 10. The basics that you need to use just to get around are simple enough to figure out, but the extra abilities can be a little overwhelming at times.

Graphics: 6/10
The graphics in this game were a little disappointing. The need to be able to see a relatively large amount of the surrounding environment at once, to accommodate the use of Spider-Man's abilities, becomes a bit of a problem on such relatively small screens.
Also, as Spider-Man is, first and foremost, a comic book character, in places where other games would use fully-animated cinematic cut-scenes, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions simply shows unmoving illustrations overlaid with speech bubbles. While I certainly understand the logic behind such a decision, I feel that, in combination with other issues, it tends to look a little half-assed.
Unfortunately, I have to give the graphics a 6 out of 10. They're good enough to get by, but unfortunately, things can get a little tough to read at times. Considering how far along in the DS's lifespan the game was released, I can't help but feel that the graphics should have been handled a little better.

Audio: 7/10
The voice acting is okay. It's about what you'd expect from a game based on a comic book. Some of it is a little over-the-top, but so are the characters, so whatever. I don't believe that any of the voice actors felt particularly challenged by what they were asked to do, for this game.
For the most part, the sound effects are fine, but the particular effects heard as you pass the tablet from one reality to the next are, in my opinion, incredibly annoying.
The music seems to have been written by someone who really wants to be Danny Elfman (The Simpson, virtually everything directed by Tim Burton) when they grow up. I'm not criticizing the music. It was just very heavily influenced by Elfman's work. That's not a bad thing.
I'll give the audio a 7 out of 10. It does the job, I suppose, but there's room for improvement.

Overall Score: 6.5/10
Not a bad game, for the most part. I always enjoy a decent platformer. And, as I mentioned, I am a fan of Spider-Man. I just don't feel as though enough effort went into making this game. It's passable, but that's about as far as it goes.

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