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Previously in my quest to clear my backlog, I played, beat, and reviewed the first Sly game. My review wasn't very favorable, and it garnered a lot of hate and negative opinions towards me. This week, I return with a slightly better, but less beloved and nostalgic game to hate on. That game is...
If you've read my first backlog blog, you'll know that I had high hopes for Shattered Dimensions, but was let down by it immensely. Now that I've beaten the game, I've discovered that I may have been too hard on it. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely not going to take a spot in my "Favorite games of all time" list, but it's not as abysmal as I first thought.
For starters, the writing, while certainly not amazing (pun not intended), is exactly what you would expect from a Spider-Man game. It's filled with one-liners and snappy comebacks by both the villains and the wall-crawler. The writing truly shines during the Deadpool level, which is just a non-stop barrage of insults and fourth-wall breaks.
Of course, the writing wouldn't have any impact whatsoever if the voice acting wasn't good, but that's no issue here. The four Spider-Men, which I have to assume is an ultimate form of fan-service, are played by voice actors from past Spider-Man television shows. Neil Patrick Harris, who voiced Spidey in the MTV Spider-man series, is Amazing Spider-Man, Josh Keaton (Spectacular Spider-man) is Ultimate Spider-man, Dan Gilvezan (from Spider-man and His Amazing Friends) is Spider-Man 2099, and Christopher Barnes (90's Spider-man cartoon) is Spider-Man Noir. (And if you're not a fan of the web-head, I'm sure that sentence just made your head explode.)
The game is also filled with industry regulars, such as John DiMaggio (Noir Hammerhead), Nolan North (Deadpool), Jennifer Hale (Silver Sable), and Tara Strong (Dr. Octopus 2099), and they're all top-notch.
(Deadpool is my favorite. Nolan North does a fantastic job with the character.)
That being said, the writing can get extremely grating at times. Some jokes fall flat on their face, and many lines are constantly being repeated throughout the game, which can turn a slightly funny line into the most annoying catchphrase ever. There are certain times in the game when I knew exactly what a character was going to say, which only added to the tremendous repetitiveness of the whole game (more on that later).
I think the most overly used line in the game is in the Deadpool level, depending on what you do. When you pause the game a certain amount of times, Deadpool will say something along the lines of, "You pause to much. Know what? I'm not even going to say anything else. Anytime you pause, I'll just say this line until you unpause."
That's funny, right? Not if you have to pause a lot, and end up hearing the line 20 times.
Aside from the writing, I have to praise the gameplay. ...At least, in the Ultimate levels. There, the combat feels fluid, satisfying, and is just an overall blast to use. You can trigger something called "Rage mode", and you feel like you could take on the entire world when you're using that.
My favorite Ultimate level is easily the Carnage one, not only because I love the character of Carnage, but because it never felt very repetitive... until 3/4s of the way through it.
(What do Carnage and repetition have in common? They're both EVIL.)
Repetition is the biggest, deadliest flaw of Shattered Dimensions, and what makes it such a disappointing experience. Throughout the entire game, it feels like you repeat the same things over, and over, and over, and over! Most of the levels revolve around a pattern of "See the boss, fight bad guys, chase the boss, fight more bad guys, fight the boss, boss gets away, repeat 2 more times". Only a few levels decide to change that repetition up, and even then the levels have their own form of repetition.
The biggest repeat-fest of all the dimensions has to be the Noir levels. Even if I had never played the level before, I knew what to expect around every corner. There's not a single moment in the Noir levels where I said "Woah, I wasn't expecting that."
The Noir levels also seem to try to top Batman: Arkham Asylum, and they fail miserably. The stealth controls aren't very responsive, and the enemies line of sight is inconsistent, and I felt like I was being noticed unfairly a lot of times.
If you're a big Spider-Man fan and are looking for a nostalgic romp with throwbacks to the Spider-Man comics and cartoons, I have to hesitantly recommend Shattered Dimensions. While it's certainly not a perfect game by any means, and not even a great game for that matter, you can tell Beenox tried their hardest to write a love-letter to the many universes of Spider-Man.
Final score: 6.5 out of 10
The next game I will beat in my backlog trek is... I have no idea, honestly. To my knowledge, I'm not close to beating any other game in my backlog. I guess I'll try to finish up Fallout: New Vegas. I feel I can wrap that one up by next week.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to re-watch season 1 of The Spectacular Spider-Man on Netflix. ...Again.