Just a quick update to let you all know that I started playing Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions for the Wii yesterday.

I was kind of stoked on this game because I’d noticed that the Wii version was getting pretty positive reviews, which is a rarity.  Usually when a third-party game is made for multiple consoles, the PS3/X-Box version is the “real” version, and the Wii game is just a shitty piece of shitty shit slapped together by some fly-by-night developer, so it was surprising to read that the Wii version received the same amount of attention as the other versions.

The premise of this game is that there is some mystical tablet that has been shattered by Mysterio, its pieces somehow dispersed into various alternate dimensions.  This plot is, of course, retarded and meaningless, and just serves as a catalyst to the game’s hook: getting to play as different versions of Spidey.  The Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099, and Ultimate Spider-Man are all represented here, as well as their respective worlds.

The cool thing about this is that these are more than just different skins for the same character.  Each Spider-Man plays differently, and their levels each have their own distinct feel.  It’s a great concept, and so far it seems to be executed pretty well.

After an introduction that is narrated by the always-adorable Stan Lee, we get to the game’s first level, which has the Amazing Spider-Man hunting down Kraven.  I didn’t like this level very much, and it immediately gave me an “uh-0h” feeling about the game.  First of all, it’s kind of weird and off-putting that the very first level of a Spider-Man game would take place in a Tomb Raider-esque jungle temple location.  Secondly, about 90% of my playtime here consisted of me falling into bottomless pits and then having to websling my way back to safety.  This was also my first introduction to the motion-control elements of the game, which are pretty awkward and feel totally tacked-on.  This all culminated in a boss battle with Kraven that was both boring and stupid.  I know I am really not painting a pretty picture here, but I am not the one who decided to put the weird jungle level at the very beginning of a superhero game.  I don’t know what they were thinking with this nonsense.

Luckily, the game almost immediately redeemed itself with the noir level, in which Spider-Man goes up against Hammerhead.  Thankfully I found myself back in an urban environment, but these segments of the game are heavily stealth-based.  Normally I’m not too fond of stealth stuff; I never got into the Metal Gear Solid series, and the stealth segments of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker made me want to kill myself and everyone in Japan… but I loved the way it was done in Batman: Arkham Asylum and I love it in this game.  I guess I just enjoy swooping down from above better than sneaking up from behind.

The Noir levels seem directly inspired by the aforementioned Arkham Asylum.  You are placed in an environment that is patrolled by several thugs, and you must sneak around in the shadows until you are close enough to take them down one at a time.  I found it really fun and exciting, and it always felt like an accomplishment whenever I webslung the shit out of one of these fuckers.  It took a little while to figure out a strategy for the boss battle with Hammerhead, but once I did, it was really clever and satisfying.

Next I stepped into the 2099 universe.  I never read the Spider-Man 2099 comic book in my youth, but apparently it takes place in some sort of Jetsonsy future skycity.  This makes for some truly exhilarating flight/webslinging sequences, zipping between flying cars and skyscrapers while trading blows with a future version of Hobgoblin.  At points I dove down abysses after ‘Gob and then latched onto him and beat his ass while free-falling.  This reminded me a lot of the battles against Riply in Metroid Prime 3, and that’s pretty high praise.  Other segments of the level found me on platforms hurling Hobgoblin’s pumpkin bombs back into his stupid face, while simultaneously fending off waves of futurecops.  This shit looked beautiful, felt awesome, and was just retardedly fun.

After fucking up Hobgoblin, I called it a night.  So far I am really enjoying this game.  It looks awesome, offers a surprising amount of variety for a superhero game, and has a lot of clever ideas.  Hopefully this can sustain over the course of the entire game, but I’m pretty impressed so far.  My only serious complaint is the over-reliance on tacked-on motion-based actions, particularly a series of really misguided first-person boxing sequences.  I wish I was kidding.

Stay tuned, true believers, for my further adventures with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.  But before that, we will take a look at what happens when you combine Patton Oswalt with the Justice League of America!  See you then.

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