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Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions – hands-on with the Ultimate universe

The past few Spider-Man games have stuck with the open-world Manhattan popularized by 2004’s Spider-Man 2. In Shattered Dimensions, Spidey returns to the level-by-level approach, whacking baddies in linear areas that culminate in a boss battle. Some may consider this a jump backwards, as web-slinging through the New York skyline certainly did make you feel as agile and free and Spidey himself, but after four trips there in just four years, maybe an old-school shot in the arm is just what Dr Connors ordered.

It doesn’t hurt that the levels in question are pulled from Marvel’s many alternate timelines, meaning we’ll get to see and play universes that’ve been fairly ignored up to this point. We already knew the classic Marvel Universe was here, along with the futuristic Spider-Man 2099 and the recent Spider-Man Noir, but the fourth was intentionally left a mystery – until now, that is.

In case you can’t quite tell, that’s the Ultimate Universe. It kicked off in 2000, representing a fresh 21st Century take on Marvel’s classic characters. In the game though, you’ll be fighting with the black symbiote suit, a strange fit as Spidey only wore it for a handful of issues back in 2003. Be that as it may, the suit does affect how you play, so let’s get into the details.


ULTIMATE UNIVERSE

Seen here smashing Ultimate Deadpool, black suit Spidey attacks with his tendrils and overwhelming power instead of tricky web-slinging. In fact, the areas we played barely involved swinging at all, focusing instead on racking up combos to build up the suit’s rage meter (yes, rage meter) which, you guessed it, triggers more powerful moves.

Each of the four dimensions comes with its own look, so Ultimate is aping the 2005 Ultimate Spider-Man game and going for a cartoonish, cel-shaded appearance. Between the distinct look and the specific symbiote powers, Ultimate should end up a fairly different experience from the regular universe, which many rightly claimed would be too similar in terms of gameplay. It’s true, that compared to Noir and 2099, Ultimate is remarkably close to the Marvel Universe, but the differentiation we saw seemed like a strong start.

Though the screens today show Deadpool, the area we played revealed Carnage as the main villain of the Ultimate segments. He’s managed to take over the Ultimates’ Triskellion base and filled it with symbiote knock-offs; meanwhile the Triskellion robo-squad is targeting all symbiote infestations, which happens to include you. So, naturally, it’s you against everyone.

All four dimensions contain various challenges to complete and emblems to collect, both of which help unlock new moves for all four Spider-Men via the Web of Destiny chart. In other words, combo and health upgrades you unlock in one dimension will carry over to their equivalent slots in the others. However, certain character-specific moves, like 2099’s accelerated vision, do not transfer.


SPIDER-MAN 2099

Speaking of 2099, we got a quick demo that showed future-Spidey Miguel O’Hara using his pointy foils to scream down the side of a skyscraper, chasing a metallic Hobgoblin as neon-laced cars zip by like a congested Coruscant. Unlike Ultimate’s vibrant look, 2099 opts for a “realistic” depiction of the world, with heavy details on the suit and surrounding environment. And, even though you’re still on a set path, you can see glimpses of just how far and high-up this city stretches.

O’Hara’s gameplay revolves more around CQC than webs, and as a less-than-welcome hero in the 2099 universe, you’ll have to get up in a lot of people’s faces instead of hanging back or using the usual Spidey acrobatics to flip around the area.

Next page: Hands-on with Noir and new screens of the regular universe

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16 comments

  • Firesurfer - August 9, 2010 6:02 a.m.

    ya it looks like its gonna be cool, but the old spiderman games for the ps1 were the best
  • ventanger - July 23, 2010 11:52 p.m.

    I LOVE Ultimate Spidey, but I'm shocked it wasn't zombies... color me embarrassed. Buutt..... what issues are being pulled from this series? I stopped reading a little after issue 100 when Mark Bagley stopped doing the artwork, and in that run Spidey's black suit never had the emblem...
  • Felixthecat - July 23, 2010 9:15 p.m.

    Seeing as Spiderman 2 is one of my most played games, I'm fairly excited over Shattered Dimensions even if they're nothing alike gameplay wise.
  • Thuperman - July 22, 2010 10:19 p.m.

    I actually havnt played any of the spiderman games but im interested in this one
  • AlpineGuy - July 22, 2010 10:12 p.m.

    Well, can't say I'm too surprised. That said, I really look forward to seeing how this games turns out. I really like the Ultimate Spider-Man game, and it's also the only Marvel comic I read these days, so I'm hoping for the best.
  • Cyberninja - July 22, 2010 10:10 p.m.

    why did it have to be the same day as kh:bbs i was really looking forward to this
  • - July 22, 2010 9:58 p.m.

    So we've got classic spidey, spidey: splinter cell, spidey: boarderlands, and spidey: halo.
  • gatornation1254 - July 22, 2010 9:31 p.m.

    I can honestly say when I first saw that the fourth Spiderman was Ultimate I was dissappointed. Mainly because I didn't think he was that much different then regular spiderman. But I guess they know what their doing.
  • Redeater - July 22, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    I'm kind of excited about the noir aspect of it. This is the first I have heard of the whole marvel noir series but then again I don't have a Hank the tank to update me about these things.
  • TheWebSwinger - July 22, 2010 7:24 p.m.

    HOORAY FOR ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN! The only remaining comic book series I subscribe to. Also, can't wait for Spidey 2099 in a video game...except screw this "realism", just make it a Spider-Man Bladerunner typa thang and I'm golden.
  • xx360shotsxx - July 22, 2010 6:37 p.m.

    i agree with SillyPigeon on this one. im also worried dat certain dimensions might seem shallow or rushed, lets just hope for tha best
  • SillyPigeon - July 22, 2010 5:55 p.m.

    Anyone else concerned this is going to end up feeling like 4 small games mashed together? Seems inevitable that one or two of the universes will be more interesting or fun to play than the others. Leaving you wishing they had made a full game just using the best universe. Maybe I’m just pessimistic
  • sgloomy - July 22, 2010 5:54 p.m.

    Im still getting this game but it would have been much sweeter if the last dimension was marvel zombies
  • DustyRooster - July 22, 2010 5:34 p.m.

    I hope that the has the Arkham Asylum effect on the Marvel universe. If it does, I hope it leads to other characters getting super detailed, and well realized games. I would give anything for a Adam Warlock game, where he had to manipulate cosmic entities and earths heros, or team up with Thanos to defeat a greater evil. Hmmm... Well I can dream. A really creative Spiderman game seems to be a step in the right direction.
  • RebornKusabi - July 22, 2010 5:22 p.m.

    This actually looks pretty cool, although I'm more of a Venom fan, I liked Spider-Man: World at War... I mean Web of Shadows even if I was just playing a Spider-Man with a morality system.
  • xx360shotsxx - July 22, 2010 5:13 p.m.

    This spidey game looks great but i gotta admit im gonna miss swinging through tha city WOS style. man i loved dat game

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