Welcome back true believers to “D.G.M.’s Gaming Life Before Gaming Respawn Part 10”. If you checked out my last two articles then you know that I had begun discussing the many Spider-Man video games that I’ve played on the PlayStation platforms. This week’s article will go over the last three Spidey games I played. Coincidentally, the last three games I played, as well as The Amazing Spider-Man 2, were all developed by Beenox, who currently hold the rights to developing Spider-Man games for Activision. Can their efforts match those of Treyarch, who developed the previous titles starting with the first Spider-Man movie game? Let’s find out together.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (PS3)
I almost didn’t get this game when I first heard about it. Why, you ask? Because this game focused not only on the classic Amazing Spider-Man, but also on three other alternate dimension versions of Spidey, namely Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099, and Ultimate Spider-Man. As I mentioned in Part 8 of my feature, I don’t follow all the countless future/alternate dimension versions of Spider-Man or any other Marvel comics hero, I like to stick to the true, original versions. Therefore, Shattered Dimensions initially did not appeal to me very much given its focus on multiple “Spider-Men”. However, after seeing a trailer showing some fast-paced Spidey action, as well as the inclusion of Juggernaut, one of my favorite Marvel villains, I decided to give this game a go after all. It was a decision that turned out to be satisfactory in the end.
In the intro, Amazing Spidey has an encounter with Mysterio which results in a powerful artifact called the Tablet of Order and Chaos getting shattered, with the pieces ending up scattered across different Marvel dimensions. In time, this will cause the dimensions to collapse in on themselves (ohhh, “Shattered Dimensions”, I get it now). Of course, all the tablet pieces have fallen into the hands of a whole bunch of villains in all four dimensions such as Kraven the Hunter, Goblin Noir, Ultimate Carnage, Scorpion 2099, and much more. When it comes to the sheer number of villains and characters, Shattered Dimensions features the largest cast of characters in any Spidey game I’ve played.
The game is split into 13 or so levels, and each one features a different villain, as well as a different collection of henchmen serving each villain. Pretty much all the henchmen come in the small, medium, and large variety, nevertheless this game certainly can’t be criticized for having limited enemy variety. However, given that Shattered Dimensions is not a free-roaming game and has you going from point A to point B through multiple linear levels, as well as fighting each main villain multiple times in each level, repetition is certainly an issue. Furthermore, aside from Spider-Man Noir’s levels which largely focus on stealth and have limited combat, the other three Spideys play very similarly and feature almost the same type of combat. Overall, this was a solid Spider-Man game; it wasn’t exceptional, but still plenty of fun and certainly worthwhile for Spidey fans. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions gets a score of 83%.
Spider-Man: Edge of Time (PS3)
This game could only be recommended to Spider-Man fanatics such as myself. Anyone else would find this to be an average game, at best. It plays very much like Shattered Dimensions, but in many ways it takes out a lot of stuff that made that game fun. Edge of Time is basically a shorter and just as linear version of Shattered Dimensions, with a slightly improved combat system and an admittedly superior narrative. This game focuses on Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 working together to stop a madman from screwing around with the timeline and effectively rewriting history to suit his desire for power. The cast of characters was comparatively paltry to what was on offer in Shattered Dimensions. The Spideys dealt with a mind-controlled Anti-Venom, a pumped up Black Cat clone, and one other villain exclusive to the game that actually proved to be a surprise. Oh, and Dr. Octopus appeared as well for about a full minute.
The whole game takes place in one large building that looks almost exactly the same both in the present day world of Amazing Spidey and the future world of Spidey 2099, which just adds to the game’s general vibe of repetition. Enemy variety was also somewhat lacking with the Spideys fighting off waves of guards, robots, lizard creatures, and zombie-like failed experiments. Fortunately, there were some improvements to the Spideys’ combat moves, namely their dodge moves. Whereas all four Spideys in Shattered Dimensions all dodged by rolling/flipping away from enemies, in Edge of Time the two Spideys could automatically avoid enemy attacks with the click of a button as long as their dodge meters had juice in them. Amazing Spidey could move extremely fast, leaving a trail of afterimages in his wake, while Spidey 2099 could send out a decoy to draw enemy attacks away from him.
What made Edge of Time a slightly above average game for me was its story, which was actually pretty good. I was actually fearing for Amazing Spidey’s life on more than one occasion (as well as Mary Jane’s in one specific case), and there were a couple of plot twists thrown in that genuinely surprised me. So, while this game was rather short and repetitive, its superior story, somewhat improved combat, and rather challenging (if limited) boss fights made it just fun enough for me to make it a worthwhile game. Spider-Man: Edge of Time gets a score of 73%.
The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3)
Now we come to yet another movie tie-in Spider-Man game, with this one being based off the not so necessary, yet still pretty good reboot The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Andrew Garfield. The game actually takes place a few months after the movie and has Spider-Man dealing with other cross-species creatures similar to the Lizard who managed to escape from Oscorp (thanks partly to Peter Parker himself). Villains like Vermin and Iguana who, as far as I know, never appeared in any previous Spidey games, were among the cross-species creatures who escaped, as were Rhino and Scorpion. I personally didn’t really like how these two villains were portrayed as mindless beasts so they could fall in line with the game’s cross-species plot. Even so, the game’s story was interesting enough.
But what about the gameplay? Beenox finally went the less linear approach and made The Amazing Spider-Man a free-roam sandbox game like most of Treyarch’s previous Spidey titles, with side-missions and everything, and they did a pretty good job at it. Spidey’s web swinging and wall crawling function as well as ever before, and the new Web Rush function makes it even more seamless. Web Rush slows everything down to a crawl and lets you view Spidey’s surroundings in a first-person perspective, and from there Spidey can shoot a webline to wherever the reticle is and zip himself over to the target area, whether it’s through a narrow tunnel or from rooftop to rooftop. The Web Rush can also be used during combat, specifically to zip Spidey over to a part of the environment like barrels and dumpsters so he can pick them up and toss them at enemies, or simply perform a Web Rush kick to targeted enemies.
Unfortunately, the rest of the combat is rather…”meh”. In this game, Spidey basically fights like a poor man’s Batman, with the combat system attempting to ape the free-flow combat that was basically perfected with the Batman Arkham games. Spidey can bounce from enemy to enemy with strikes, web attacks, and the like, but it’s all pulled off rather sluggishly. Enemy variety was also rather paltry compared to previous Spidey games, consisting mostly of gangsters, henchmen, and partly mutated people. The boss fights against the cross-species creatures were fun enough, but nothing exceptional. Thankfully, the other boss fights against Spider-Slayer robots, both large and small, were more enjoyable in a fast-paced kind of way. Gathering collectibles and different Spidey suits that offer small perks adds some longevity to the game, but overall it’s not a very long game and possesses no qualities that set it apart from any of the previous Spidey titles. The Amazing Spider-Man gets a score of 75%.
This brings an end to the saga of Spider-Man games I’ve played before joining Gaming Respawn. Since Beenox has taken up the mantle of developer of Spider-Man games, we’ve gotten average to good games, but they have yet to provide us with an exceptional or even great Spider-Man game to match the likes of Spider-Man 2 or Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. And something tells me that playing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (assuming I ever get a chance to play it) won’t change my mind about Beenox lacking the capability to provide us with an exceptional Spidey game. Personally, I miss having Treyarch behind the wheel of the Spidey franchise, and I’m still holding out hope that Activision will let them get back to making Spidey games now that they’ve just finished Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Join me next week for “D.G.M.’s Gaming Life Before Gaming Respawn” as I change things up a bit and go over a few games that have no direct connection to each other, yet were still fun and memorable titles I enjoyed back in the day. In the meantime, check out some more of our reading material below:
Curious Jorge brings us a review of another indie game called SteamWorld Heist. See what he thinks about this little ditty by taking a look-see right over here.
New recruit Ian Cooper gets his feet wet with a review of Rainbow Six: Siege, which you can check out by clicking here.
Michael continues his love affair with his Super Nintendo by playing a rather interesting game called X-Kaliber 2097. His last attempt at a “retro” good time with Super Stars Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was completely botched, so find out if this game fares better with Mr. Fitzgerald by checking out his latest “Retro Respawn” here.