Having just spent 8 uninterrupted hours, give or take, playing Activision’s “Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions,” I think it’s fair to say I can provide an accurate initial reaction. (Ok maybe slightly incoherent due to lack of sleep, but still.) And while the game has been out for about a month and change, winning me zero awards for timeliness…..’pretty sure I have a different angle to dive into. Mostly because the entire time I was playing? I kept thinking, “This is surprising, it’s Batman: Arkham Asylum – LITE”………..but is it intentional??? Ooo, I wonder.
Similarities in superhero games are to be expected. And even more, when you have guys like Spider-man or Batman, while very different characters; they operate pretty much the same way. (in an oversimplified sense of course) As in, they swing around their beloved city and punch out bad guys from thugs to colorful crazies. Per that? Basic gameplay will likely be comparable to some extent, and that’s fine……. But! Any junior-level comic geek knows that Spider-man’s ‘spider sense’ warns him of danger. That’s it. It’s not radar sense that provides him a virtual map of rooms. (That would be Daredevil)……..yet! in Shattered Dimensions it does just that. ………and Oddly? ‘almost exactly like the “Detective Mode” Batman utilizes in “Arkham Asylum.” In fact, for all intents and purposes it’s the same mode except for color changes. That alone would make me scratch my chin……….it’s simply getting a power of Spider-man’s wrong though, so perhaps not that big a deal, right?..but wait, there’s more!
In the “Noir” levels……. when bad guys spot Spidey, an alarm goes off…they shoot at you…and you must run / swing to shadowy hiding spots ASAP for them to back off…………….which is VERBATIM what happens in Arkham!!! ‘right down to Batman / Spider-man only having specific spots he can grapple / swing to…..both designated by a yellow circle. ……Now, I understand that stealth games were popularized long before Arkham came along, but sweet lord is that an identical, significant game-playing experience. But what do we conclude from that….?
Well, two things.
One, there is still a lot to like about Shattered Dimensions. ‘even if they straight ripped off the gameplay / code (and nope, I’m not thinking they did)…. I would still say the game’s worth picking up……..for a discount. ‘too many camera / control flaws put it in that area. (It should not be THAT frustrating to crawl across a wall and move the camera around at the same time) Plus, when you star a superhero who can fire off weblines at any time….why are the targeted spots dictated to him and not vice versa? ‘maddening to be incapable of web swinging to any location I see.
Second? Truth be told….based on both gameplay and visual identicalness; and the release dates being a full 13 months apart (plenty of time to see and adapt) … I would guess that the Shattered Dimensions developers were a bit inspired by the Arkham experience. Stealing would be too far. As covered, the characters will have natural similar behaviors. I do wish it wasn’t quite so overt. But eh, there is more to Spidey’s latest game than that. ‘clever level designs and engaging voicework count for a lot in its favor. Plus, as I said, upgrading is easy for both new moves AND fan-friendly alternative costumes.
Third? I so want to research if these two games shared developer resources. Or managers. Or if there is anything connecting the two beyond my oh so sharp observations. Hmm, I need to figure out to do this job for a living…… but! if you know more? Let’s talk.
Enjoy a great $30 game! ‘just overlook a few striking similarities to a superior one from last year.