Monday, July 31, 2017

Month Overview: July 2017

 Tally:
Spider-man 2(PS2) 7.0
Shadow Hearts - From the New World 8.0
Ultimate Spider-man(GBA) 8.0
Ultimate Spider-man(DS) 5.5
Ultimate Spider-man(PS2) 8.0
Spider-man - Battle for New York(GBA) 5.5
Tekken 4 8.0
Spider-man - Battle for New York(DS) 2.0
Spider-man 3(GBA) 8.0
Spider-man 3(DS) 3.0
Spider-man 3(PS2) 6.0
Spider-man 3(PS3) 5.0
Spider-man Friend or Foe(DS) 4.5
Spider-man Friend or Foe(PS2) 6.0
Spider-man Web of Shadows Amazing Allies Edition(PS2) 6.0
Spider-man Web of Shadows(PS3) 8.5
Spider-man Web of Shadows(DS) 7.0
Spider-man Shattered Dimensions(PS3) 7.0
Spider-man Shattered Dimensions(DS) 7.5
Spider-man Edge of Time(DS) 2.0
Spider-man Edge of Time(PS3) 6.0
The Amazing Spider-man(DS) 4.5
The Amazing Spider-man 2(3DS) 5.5
The Amazing Spider-man(PS3) 6.0
Spider-man 2(PSP) 6.5
Spider-man 3(PC) 3.5
The Amazing Spider-man 2(PS3) 5.0
Spider-man Web of Shadows(Wii) 7.0
Ed, Edd n Eddy - The Mis-Edventures 5.0

 That's a LOT of Spider-man games! Sadly, the Spider-man videogame franchise has a lot of terrible, terrible games. But I got through the bad, the mediocre, the good and the great. I can't understand how I played SO many games in one month, but it's probably due to the fact that these were pretty short games, most of them anyways.

 Game of July:
 The best Spider-man game of the bunch. It's so good it's not even funny. It's a shame that it had so many QTEs which really put a dent into how much I enjoyed the game. With Web of Shadows, Treyarch finally perfected both swinging and combat mechanics and thanks to that, it just doesn't get old. This is the golden standard for Spider-man games, forget about Spider-man 2.

 Runner-up:
 Outdated? Completely. But I've still got a soft spot for the black ship of the series, the Tekken that dared to be different. I still enjoy the character and level designs from this game, although the now-shortened movesets do hurt my muscle memory from future games a bit.


Review #441: Ed, Edd n Eddy - The Mis-Edventures

 Fell short of Edspectations.
 Ed, Edd n Eddy was one of Cartoon Network's final great cartoons before falling into its dark age. It had an original wavy hand-drawn look that made it stand out from the rest. Lo and behold, Midway went ahead and published a game based on the franchise.

 True to the series itself, what the Eds want are jawbreakers, and thus they set out on six different chapters(Called scams in the game) to get them. Each Scam features two animated scenes, one before you start it and another one after finishing it. These are true to the series' artstyle, but are crudely animated in what looks to be Flash, which is a bit disappointing. I'm pretty sure every voice actor from the series is in the game, but I can't confirm since I've only watched the Latin American dub. That said, every primary and secondary character from the show made it into the game, which is rather neat, and the graphics do a good job of bringing these characters into the 3-D realm. There're six short levels, as well as 2 unlockable bonus stages, but you'll be done with the game in a few hours.
 The game plays like an adventure-puzzle hybrid, you control one Ed at a time, but the other will follow close behind, and can swap Eds at will. Each Ed has unique abilities and a formation: Ed can lift and throw stuff and his formation makes all Eds frantically run forwards in order to break obstacles, Edd can shoot from afar with his slingshot and activate switches, his formation makes the other Eds give him a boost in order to jump higher. As for Eddy, he can shoot stink bombs(Pretty much useless) and has the Tower of Ed formation, in which all Eds climb atop each other, allowing you to grab stuff above you or cross through thin bridges.

 Puzzles are pretty easy to figure out, assuming the game doesn't tell you exactly what to do. Movement is pretty loose, but it works for the game. Each level has plenty of stuff to find: Easter Eggs(That allows for three mods(Big heads, Small heads or Astronaut costumes) and three unlockable short shorts.), Jawbreakers(Collect them all to earn cheats!) and costume pieces(Which doesn't actually grant you costumes but rather the two extra levels). Still, the game feels rather bland, there's the occasional stand-out segment, like a race against one of the kids, but the rest of the time you'll be repeating the same exact puzzles, albeit slightly reskinned. The thin-bridge being the worse, since the Tower of Ed collision detection is terrible.
 While I applauded the graphical presentation, the music is hideous to the ears, it gets really old, really fast. And a rather minor gripe, there's an overworld, the Cul-de-sac, but you can't tell which entrance leads to which level, so hopefully you can remember where you've been.

 Ed, Edd n Eddy - The Mis-Edventure is strictly for fans only. It's not horrible, but it's rather bland and somewhat uninspired. I can tell that there were good ideas implemented into the game, but they didn't make the most of them, instead resorting to the same puzzles over and over again. A few more polishing could've been appreciated, things like Edd's trampoline jump not always working quite right. Still, for what it is, it's passable.
 5.0 out of 10

Now Playing: Ed, Edd n Eddy - The Mis-Edventures

 And now, for something completely different...
 I didn't know about this game 'till recently when I somehow came across a 3-second gameplay clip, and I thought it looked kinda neat, so I bought it on impulse. I'm not the biggest Ed, Edd n Eddy fan, but something about the game's artstyle caught my eye, and here I am, two levels into the game.

 It's a mediocre puzzle-adventure game. It doesn't do anything particularly well, but it's not terrible either... well, except the music, that kinda stinks. I enjoy collecting actual Easter eggs though!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Review #440: Spider-man - Web of Shadows(Wii)

 Wii of Shadows. 'Cause this version falls beneath the PS3 version's shadow!
 First of all, this game is almost exactly the same as the PS3 version I wrote about a few weeks ago, so here I'll focus mostly on what is different, what is better and what is worse about the Wii version. Web of Shadows was the best Spider-man game in the entire Spider-manathon, and as great as it was, it had a few flaws that kept it from excellence. The Wii version, naturally, adds tacked-on motion controls(No Classic Controller alternative!) and, obviously, has downgraded graphics. It also adds costumes.

 First things first, the controls are a step down from the PS3 version. I understand that the Wii remote+Nunchuck combo can be a bit awkward, and you end up missing a few buttons, so having to resort to motion controls is understandable, and to be frank, it works pretty well: You flick the nunchuck side-ways to switch between red and black Spider-man, or you flick it upwards to target enemies. As for the Wii remote, you flick it sideways to perform the web-strike or upwards to swing. Web zipping is done by holding C and shaking the Wii Remote upwards. Most of the time the controls work well, but there's a ton of button combos to remember, so it'll take a bit of time for you to really get comfortable with Spider-man's entire moveset. The nunchuck is a bit too sensitive, so expect to be accidentally switching costumes all the time, either when trying to toggle targeting or simply because you had to scratch your head. This also extends to swinging, sometimes Spider-man will throw kicks in the air because the game thinks you want the web-strike. Basically, I think they did the best they could, but it's still a huge downgrade from the PS3 version, you simply can't trust the game to read all your inputs correctly, but it's quite tolerable because the game is so much fun, the combat is still really good, and the swinging, when you get it going right, is still a dream.
 The ally system is gone entirely, while moral choices are still there to be made, and the Black/Red points system still exists, you won't be calling in assistance from other characters. Instead, there're 6 unlockable costumes, 5 for Spider-man(Iron Spider, Spider-Armor, Ben Reily Spider-man, Spider-man 2099 and Captain Universe Spider-man) while Black Spider-man gets Spider-Carnage. You can't mix and match, so you can only equip one costume and one costume only, so it's either Red Spider-man/Spider-Carnage or (Other costume)/Black suit. It's a bit disappointing, having extra outfits for Spider-man shouldn't be too hard since most of them are simply different textures, and not being able to have Spider-Carnage and another suit on Red Spider-man seems like a missed opportunity. Look, I wasn't the biggest fan of the Ally system, and I'll always enjoy bonus content, but the tradeoff is.. meh, I don't think we lost something of value, but what we gained doesn't have much value either.

 The thing I hated the most about Web of Shadows were its QTEs, and boy, is the problem exacerbated when they require motion input! They were bad before, they are slightly worse now. And the framerate will suffer, a lot. It's not unplayable by any means, and luckily it's not much of an issue when battling, but rather when you reach high speeds while swinging. I also had the game freeze on me a couple of times, and I did some research and it seems I was not the only one. There were also a few silly glitches, like Spider-man crawling a wall on his back, which were quite common but don't really ruin the game.
 If for whatever reason you don't have access to the X360 or PS3 version of the game, the Wii version is just fine as a substitute, but do know that it's a gimped game. Most of the game's problems stem from the fact that its running on weaker hardware, and this port's main gimmick, the alternate outfits, are little more than an afterthought. Still, I don't need to play the other Wii ports of Spider-man games to know that this is the best Spider-man game available on the system, just as it is on the other consoles.
 7.0 out of 10

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Now Playing: Spider-man - Web of Shadows(Wii)

 To conclude the Spider-manathon, we've got...
 It's been over 30 games already, and we're not done, not until Web of Shadows on the Wii. I was gonna play it right after going through the PS3 version, but I figured that it would burn me out to play almost the same exact game twice in a row, so, seeing how I liked it SO much, I decided to close the Spider-manathon with it. And it's true, I did leave out most downgraded ports because I figured they weren't worth the time, but, but this one has something the PS3 version doesn't have: Costumes, and I love me some costumes.

 I just played about 2 hours, collecting Spider-symbols(Up to 450 already!) and... for a downgraded port, it's pretty good. The motion controls  are decent, but I'm finding that every now and then it won't correctly register my swing inputs, or even my web-zip inputs. Also, controls are rather awkward, there're a lot of functions and different button combinations

 The good news is that the game is still Web of Shadows, and that's always a good thing.

Review #439: The Amazing Spider-man 2(PS3)

 The Mediocre Spider-man returns.
 The Amazing Spider-man was a pretty average game, it had flaws, but it also had a bunch o' good stuff going for it. Surely, Beenox would improve upon it, in order to deliver an even better product, right? Right?
...Not.

 Well, at least this is the last time I get to say this when it comes to Spider-man, so here it goes: The Amazing Spider-man 2 follows the plot from the movie of the same name. Kinda. A lot of changes were made, more than any other previous Spider-man movie tie-in games, to the point that Gwen Stacy was removed altogether. In her place we get new takes on popular villains: Cletus Cassidy, Kraven and Fisk join the movie versions of Green Goblin and Electro. As for the resulting quality of the script... it's pretty bad. Some things happen out of thin air, like Max Dillon turning into Electro, and the story as a whole is pretty underwhelming, with plenty of loose threads never to be resolved.
 This core gameplay remains the same, which is to say, a Batman Arkham City clone. The game features a sand-box style Manhattan for Spidey to explore before tackling his next objective. Petty crime missions will pop up at every single second, these come in various forms: Rescuing hostages, rescuing people from burning buildings, stopping criminals or stopping gun fights. But they have been made extra annoying this time around. There's a new Hero/Menace gauge, and if you ignore crime for too long the Hero gauge will fall into 'Menace', which means that police will eventually start hunting you down because you're doing nothing. How does that make any sense? This makes collecting stuff in the overworld a pain in the rear, since the gauge will be decreasing at an almost constant rate, unless you engage in side-activities. And not only are they repetitive, every time you decide to tackle on of these, you will have to go through time-wasting cut-scenes before and after you clear it. Why they did it this way is beyond me, since previous Spider-man games integrated these missions seamlessly into the game. And just for kicks, after certain missions the game will automatically put you in Menace level, because why not screw with the player and have him work some more through repetitive missions and have him sit through inane cut-scenes?

 It's not all bad though. Swinging has been tweaked, and while it's still not as good as Treyarch's offerings, they brought a new interesting idea to the table: L2 shoots web with the left arm, and R2 with the right one, which makes swinging fun in a new way. It's still a bit slow for my taste, but I like the ingenuity. On the other hand, stealth has been gimped a bit, you can no longer simply stealth-takedown an enemy from the roof, you have to press L3 in order to perch down through a web-line and get close enough. Double stealth-takedowns are gone as well. But while Stealth is not as useful as before, Spider-man has gotten more durable and can heal at any time by holding down on the D-Pad. It takes a while, but if you can get an opening you're good to go.
 Combat offers more possibilities now as well. Just like before, it takes after Batman Arkham series, so you just mash square to land blows, and triangle to dodge when signs light up over Spider-man's head. New abilities include the Seismic shot, after Spider-man steals Shocker's technology, which is used to tumble heavy foes and allow them to be hit, or to knock down common enemies for a quick take-down. Sometimes two enemies will attack at once, requiring a double tap on the dodge button two, there're new nimble enemies that must be brought down by pulling them towards you, and enemies on gliders that require a similar strategy. All these new enemies and tools make for much more exciting combat, there're new combat challenges if you enjoy it, and clearing all 12 unlocks Superior Spider-man's suit!

 Suits are more prominent in these game, and plentiful. Each suit can be leveled up independently from the others, and each one has different perks. For instance, Spider-man 2099 is better suited for combat thanks to the bonuses on combat damage and resistance, while Scarlet Spider is better suited for side activities, thanks to resistance to blades and fire, as well as increased Hero point rewards.
 Look, The Amazing Spider-man's loading times could get pretty long, but if you're playing the sequel on the Playstation 3, oh boy, get ready to wait. A lot. Loading times can get pretty terrible. So add up to the total waiting time, the game sure loves making the player wait, eh!

 I wish I could say that The Amazing Spider-man 2 is better than the previous game, but I can't. While the combat and the swinging are way better than before, the rest of the design choices are so... poor. The Hero/Menace system is a way to annoy the player and waste his time, as well as having the player endure the 'presentation' and 'result' cut-scenes before and after each side activity, breaking the overall flow of the game. As much as I love having a Superior Spider-man costume, as well as finally having tear and wear reflect on Scarlet Spider's costume.... I'd go with the previous game if I needed an Amazing Spider-man fix.
 5.0 out of 10


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review #438: Spider-man 2(PC)

 Where's your PC master race now?
 I don't know what possessed Activision at the time, but they decided that yet another version of Spider-man 2 was needed, but this time around, one for the kiddies. Yes, Spider-man 2 on the PC is a game for the little ones and as such, is probably one you'll want to avoid.

 You know the drill already, movie tie-in games equals a game that follows the plot from the movie of the same game, and, once again, you should know the drill by now, since it's a Spider-man movie tie-in game, new villains made it into the plot, villains like Rhyno, Puma(So this is where the 3D model used in the GBA version originated from!) and Mysterio. This version's probably the one that took the most liberties with the plot, while other games kept the Doc Ock storyline separate from the other new subplots, this Doc Ock is conspiring with the other villains nearly from the get go. It's also got new scenes, like Puma stealing Mary Jane's car(What?) or Spidey actually failing to stop the train(The movie's best scene ruined!). The presentation is pretty horrible, by the end of the game the developers stopped caring and character models stopped walking during cutscenes, instead being thrusted to and fro one place to the next. And defeated enemies? They disappear in a digitized blue hologram-like fade out. What the f... 
 Spider-man 2 on the PSP was a throwback to previous, linear Spider-man games, while Spider-man 2 on home consoles gave us an open world. On PC, it's a sad mix of both. Some missions let you explore a tiny version of New York, and beating the game lets you explore at will. But you don't have nearly as much freedom as you do on the home console version. There're invisible walls galore, a ton of buildings you can't climb to the very top and you can only swing from a few, designated markers on certain buildings. It's pretty constricting, so the freedom to explore is pretty much an illusion. And why would you want to explore? Hidden goodies that grant you more points that do absolutely nothing! After I cleared a mission I was granted an upgraded life bar, but I don't even know why that happened.


 I will grant it that they came up with a very ingenious(For a kids' game) control scheme. Left click shoots web, attacks, swings or web-zips towards a surface depending on where you aim. It's not perfect, mind you, you need to be precise if you want to shoot web towards turrets instead of zipping in front of them, but it works most of the time. WASD moves you around and right click jumps, while the space bar is used to dodge moves. It's a very simple, easy to grasp set-up that works really well most of the time, and kids will be able to handle it very easily. That said, the game is a bit boring. Combat is dull and repetitive, while the swinging is anything but satisfying, a sin on any Spider-man game.
 There's an 'adrenaline meter' that fills as you hit enemies, and once filled you'll automatically start shining blue and be able to defeat enemies(any of the massive three different types!) in one blow, but it only lasts a little while. Bosses have to be defeated in various different ways... that are detailed before each fight, alongside images illustrating exactly what to do. Lame! They also managed to fit QTEs in here. QTEs are never fun, away with them!

 Spider-man 2 on the PC is very, very boring. It can be a bit clunky, but nothing is broken and the game works as intended, plus, on modern PCs it should run pretty smoothly. The thing is, as boring and plain as it is... I'm pretty sure that, as a game for children, it's probably pretty good. But yeah, anyone older than 5 is better off with the PSP or PS2 versions, because there's nothing for them here.
 3.5 out of 10

Now Playing: Spider-man 2(PC)

 You didn't think we were quite done with Spider-man 2, now did you?
 Yep, there was yet another version of Spider-man 2 released, and I'm not talking about the NGage's beefed up GBA port. While Home Consoles got a then-fantastic, innovative and, quite frankly, a landmark title in the world of movie-tie-in videogames, with Spider-man 2, the PC got a kid-friendly, toned down, crappy and entirely different Spider-man 2.

 There're a few highlights, for instance, taking into account that this is supposed to be a kid's game, a no thrills, no frills kind-of-deal, they manage to craft a very simple and effective control scheme. Swinging, punching, jumping, shoot web and web-zipping is all done with WASD and a mouse. Impressive. This also means that your options are pretty limited, which is true, but for a kids' game? It's commendable! Then there's the fact that this game is old, so it should have no problems running like butter on any modern PC.

 As for the bad... the game is too simple, heck, Rhyno came with a guide as to how to defeat him. You can only swing from specific markers on buildings too, which is all kinds of lame. And that's the game in a nutshell: All kinds of lame.

Review #437: Spider-man 2(PSP)

 The PSP gets some love.
 I think that we can safely say that Spider-man 1 on the PS2 was a mess, regardless, Vicarious Visions went with that vision for the PSP version of Spider-man 2. What this means, essentially, is that Spider-man 2 on the PSP trades the free-roaming gameplay from the PS2 version for a more linear, stage-based design, not unlike previous Spider-man games, and, unlike what the previous game of its ilk would lead you to believe, is actually pretty decent.

 I'm tired of having written the same damn thing over 30 times already, but here it goes: Spider-man 2 on the PSP follows the plot from the movie of the same name, in which Doctor Octopus becomes somewhat of a tragic figure, but Spider-man must stop him from doing more evil. This game probably has the most accurate translation of said plot, it has the most similar train scene anyways! There're also a few new baddies added to make for a more fun game, like Shocker, Rhyno and the Vulture. The game has about 20 different stages, and it should last you about 3 hours total.
 Square is punch, circle is kick, triangle shoots web, R swings from web and L is your targeting reticule, y'know, if you've played the PS1 games or even Spider-man on the PS2, you'll be right at home. It might take a while before you get a hang of how to swing, y'see, this time around you tap R once and Spider-man will swing until he hits a wall. Holding R will make him go faster, holding up or down on the analog stick will raise or lower Spidey's altitude, and don't worry, Spidey's web sticks to thin air. The controls work well, but it's the camera that'll wrestle with you. There's no way to snap the camera back behind the webhead's back, and while you can turn it around with the directional pad, even if you use the claw grip, the game won't let you turn the camera as Spider-man moves, which is rather annoying.

 Stages are varied, and quite short which serves a handheld well. While the brunt of the game has you defeating all manners of thugs, there's the occasional mission that sees Spidey saving hostages or policemen. Clearing stages, defeating enemies and finding the elusive Golden Spiders will grant you points that can be spent to enhance Spider-man: Turn his 3 hit punch or kick strings into 4 hit strings, more health, more webbing or more strength. It works well, although they could've added a few more upgrades, since you'll be maxed out 3/4ths into the game.
 Spider-man 2 on the PSP is a game not to be underestimated! While the camera issues can sometimes get in the way of your enjoyment, it's a competent game that makes good use of the license.
 6.5 out of 10

Now Playing: The Amazing Spider-man 2(Playstation 3)

 Loading witty sentence.
 Alright, so I heard that the game had horrid loading times, but boy, I wasn't expecting them to be THIS bad. Well, the rest of the game is pretty much exactly the same as Amazing Spider-man 1, not that I played all that much.

 They did something different, and interesting, with the swinging mechanics... now R2 governs the right hand and L2 the left hand, which is something I've thought about, and it's an interesting, but unnecessary, change. I was about to complain that it was still slow, but I just unlocked the boost mechanics, so crisis averted.

 The combat has been refined too, now you get to avoid multiple enemies on one dodge, disarming mechanics and the Spider-Sense signs are a bright red, which makes it easier to spot. It's not a HUGE improvement, but the added variety and polish is welcome.

 Yeah, Amazing Spider-man 2 is shaping up to be another good, but unimpressive, Spider-man game. It's a bit disappointing to end Spider-man's run on the PS3 with such a tame game, but I guess it's what it deserves. And boy, was it interesting to go all the way from the very first 3-D Spider-man game on the PS1 to the very last, at the moment, 3-D Spider-man game on the PS3. It was filled with very low lows, a ton of decent games and few highs every now and then. Few franchises can say that they had horrible, mediocre, good and the occasional great game! Although whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is better left for another day.

Review #436: The Amazing Spider-man(Playstation 3)

 The not so Amazing Spider-man
 With 2 Spider-man games under their belt, Beenox finally felt confident to develop what fans wanted: Another open world Spider-man game, and thus The Amazing Spider-man was released.

 While it's a movie tie-in, instead of retelling the movie's plot, this game acts as a pseudo-sequel of sorts. After Dr. Connors' fiasco, Alistair Smith takes over his research to 'fix' what Connors did... but it soon goes awry, with the entire Oscorp building turning into an infected zone, filled with contagious cross-species mutants. Spider-man breaks out Connors out of the mental instituted in order to help him create a cure and save Manhattan. It's an alright story for a movie tie-in game, and probably a better idea than tackling the movie's plot. This game also features very new takes on popular villains like Alistaire Smith, Rhyno and the Scorpion.
 There's two different elements to the game: Outdoors and indoors. Most of the game takes place in-doors, which is were missions take place. Basically, during these parts the game plays like a Batman: Arkham clone, with one-button, free flowing combat, and once signs appear over Spidey's head you must press a different button to dodge. It's fun and fast, but it lacks some of Batman's grace. But hand-to-hand combat isn't always the best road to take, y'see, even when fully upgraded Spider-man can't take much punishment, so it's in your best interest to crawl on walls and ceilings, finding vantage points to stealthily do away with enemies. It's very easy to exploit the stealth system, once found just web-rush from corner to corner until they forget about you, then take out a few more enemies, rinse and repeat.

 Web-Rush is the game's main gimmick, by holding R1 time will slow down to a crawl, shifting to a first person camera. From here you can pick a surface to web-zip to, an enemy to web-strike or an object to interact with. It works fine, and seeing how the automatic lock on for tapping R1 kinda sucks, this'll be the safest way to interact with an object in the midst of a battle. They finally had the bright idea to change how web-swinging works outdoors and indoors, in these indoor segments R2 will make Spider-man swing automatically from web to web, and holding L2 will make him increase his altitude as he swings.
 But when not undertaking missions you'll be exploring the sandbox city of Manhattan. While you can go towards your next mission at any time, there's a substantial, but needlessly repetitive, amount of side-missions to undertake. Secret Labs to take down, muggings to stop, car chases and a few others. While these are not random, unlike previous games, there's a large amount of each, so you'll be quite busy... if you do engage in them. I did a few, but quickly grew bored. You can also find hidden comic book pages that unlock entire high quality Spider-man comics. Pretty neat! There're also a fair amount of costumes to unlock, including my favorite Marvel character's costume: Kaine's Scarlet Spider.

 But as filled to the brim with excess fat as the overworld is, there's one big, fatal flaw: They messed up the swinging. Previous Spider-man games had a fantastic timing based system that felt rewarding and gratifying to swing around. In here you just hold R2 until Spider-man lets go of the web and then tap R2 again. No way to do it any faster. And you'll want to be faster, since the swinging is VERY slow. It takes away a lot from the overall game. Web-zip was removed, and while you can use quick taps of Web Rush for an extra boost, it doesn't feel any faster... or any useful for traversing the city. Among all open-world Spider-man games, this one's easily got the worst swinging mechanics of them all.
 The Underwhelming Spider-man would've been a better title. While there's nothing particularly bad about it, except maybe how uninspired the side-activities are, the game doesn't do anything that other games do better. The indoor missions? Batman's got them covered. The open world segments? Pick any other open world Spider-man game. So, yeah, it's not a bad game, but there's a lot of other options to exhaust before you'd feel compelled to give it a go.
 6.0 out of 10

Monday, July 24, 2017

Now Playing: Spider-man 2(PSP)

 At least it's better than Spider-man 1 on the PS2, right?
 Alright, so the PS1 formula of Spider-man games wasn't abandoned quite after Spider-man 1, you see, there was yet another version of Spider-man 2, the one on PSP, the one that didn't arrive on time so I had to skip for the Spider-manathon but since I'm out of handheld Spider-man games, it's right on time.

 Well, it's quite alright. Seems like a slightly, and only slightly more polished take on the Spider-man 1(PS2) game. I spent way more time than I'd like to admit trying to catch up to the helicopter on the first stage, and the second stage was a very mundane beat'em up thingie that was just, well, mediocre. So... we'll see, maybe, as a whole, the game ends up being good.

Review #435: The Amazing Spider-man 2(Nintendo 3DS)

 Swings into action... if time doesn't run out.
 I haven't covered Spider-man on the 3DS for this Spider-manathon because those games were pretty similar to the home console counterparts, but The Amazing Spider-man 2 is its own beast. This is a 2-D sidescroller action game, the same as most previous Nintendo Handheld Spider-man games, and it's a pretty decent game if you're willing to entertain the fact that the game does little to flex the 3DS' muscle.

 Do I really have to say the same thing for the umpteenth time? This game follows a truncated version of the already truncated version of the plot from the movie of the same name. While Spider-man will deal with Electro and Green Goblin, like in the movie, Gwen Stacy and the rest of the plot is gone, exchanged for new subplots with Uncle Ben's killer, Kraven and Carnage... at least no Venom, right?! It's a poor telling of a rather bland plot.
 Spider-man can do everything you should expect him to do by this point in time: Punch, shoot web, climb and crawl on walls and ceilings as well as swing on web, everything is accounted for. Most of the game is a simple 'go from one end of the stage to the other', hassle free. Along the way you'll run across a few different types of enemies, each must be taken down in different ways. Some will counterattack your every move, so you must bind them with web first and then perform two web-takedowns(Special attack), others won't go down with punches so you must knock'em down with web-takedowns, and most enemies must be webbed once they hit the ground unless you want them to get back up. The combat is pretty simple and bland, but it's alright.

 You'll earn experience points, either peppered throughout every stage or by defeating enemies, and by leveling up you'll be allowed to learn new special moves or enhancements to Spidey's strength or stamina. This made exploring levels feel rather rewarding, plus every level has three costume pieces, collect all three and earn a new costume, which means that there're as many costumes as there're levels, which is a lot. It makes for a fun game to simply just search for stuff, because it's worth it.
 There's a few rather annoying design choices that keep the game from being as decent as it could've, for instance, before every single stage you have to partake in a poorly explained and poorly designed timed swinging section in which you must avoid obstacles and grab clock-items in order to receive more time, run out of time and it's back to the start. Midway through these you'll be forced to play a generic and recycled 'Save the 6 hostages', 'find the 13 bombs', 'defeat the 13 enemies'. They all play out the same way, with things in pretty much the same exact location as before and only exist to waste your time. And secondly, while the touchscreen mini-games aren't pervasive, some boss battles incorporate the touchscreen into the affair, which is rather annoying. Kraven's boss battle is particularly bad, since you must avoid bullets on the top-screen as you watch the lower screen to learn where you have to touch for a few seconds on the touchscreen. Bad boss design.

 The Amazing Spider-man 2 on the 3DS is a very mediocre game. It has a simple premise that works decently enough on its own, making everything so rewarding was a very smart move, but the horrible swinging pre-stages really take a toll on the overall experience.
 5.5 out of 10

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Now Playing: The Amazing Spider-man 2(3DS)

 Welcome to the 3DS' only original Spider-man game.
 While this is not the first Spider-man game on the 3DS, it was the only one that made it to the Spider-manathon for the simple fact that it's the only original game it got. Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time are identical ports of the home console games and Amazing Spider-man 1 was the same game as the PS3 but without free roaming.

 But Amazing Spider-man 2 is an entirely different beast, a game that not many talked about and what little was said about it wasn't very good. But I just played a few levels and it's pretty alright. It's a 2-D sidescroller, not unlike Amazing Spider-man on the DS, but much more polished. I love that you can unlock costumes and if there's one costume per stage, man, it's gonna be a doozy. The combat is serviceable, and so is the level design.

 What isn't very good however are the swinging stages. I hope to god that there's not one per stage, because these are bad, very, very bad. The game did a poor job of explaining how it worked, and even then, it's hard to get a grasp of it. Don't like them.

Review #434: The Amazing Spider-man(Nintendo DS)

 Spider-man's final meh on the DS.
 Spider-man's last game on the DS was anything but amazing, so why Activision decided to go with the same developer, Other Ocean, is beyond me. But a second chance they got, and this time around it's not the same bugfest that Edge of Time was... but is that enough to save it from being mediocre? It's not.

 You know the drill, the game follows a truncated version of the plot from the console game, but this time around, these games work as a pseudo sequel to the movie, rather than an adaptation. Regardless, it's yet another Lizard story, someone, Alystair Smythe, wants to continue Dr. Connors' work and it goes awry, so Spider-man busts out Dr. Connors AKA the Lizard in order to help him find a cure. The presentation in the game is rather poor, I appreciate the hand-drawn stills, but they are pretty amateurish, some of the character cut-outs, for conversations, are downright ugly.
 The game is a level-based 2-D action-platform game, guess Other Ocean gave up on Metroidvanias... and on coding a map, since all you're given is a basic overview of the amount of areas and connections, but lacking any kind of detail, on the top-screen. Interestingly, all 18 missions are randomly generated, if you die, or go back to an older mission, chances are the layout will be entire different(Although the amount of areas and connections will be the same), which explains why the map may sometimes be inaccurate, like showing a connection to the next area on the top, while in the game itself the door lies at the bottom. This new mechanic also means that you'll be seeing repeated obstacles pretty often, there's one in particular that the game loves to reuse, that involves Spider-man climbing up, with walls on the left and right, and you must web-zip left-and-right to avoid alternating obstacles, which usually end with a platform on the right wall. Interesting idea on paper, but poor execution in practice. At the end of the day, stages are unmemorable, and you'll most likely remember stuff you had to do more than once due to repetition and not fun.

  Spider-man can punch, jump and throw web against only the medium-sized enemies. Jumping, swinging and crawling on walls are to be expected, so he can do those too. There's a new 'special' meter that allows you to use special moves, but these make Spider-man glide through the floor if you hold left and right(Which you kinda need to do when initiating them), so it's a bit hard to land them, but fret not, normal attacks work well enough. Sometimes the game will have you fighting foes in order to find keycards to open the next door, which is alright, but the combat system is relatively weak, you just repeat your A button attacks, sometimes ending with Up+A to knock-up medium sized enemies and hit them some more on the air. There're very few enemy types, and there's not a lot whole you can do to them, since only medium sized enemies are affected by knock-ups or webbing, which is kinda lame.
 While stages are simple to get through, make sure you explore a little, since each stage has at least one permanent power up, either more health, damage or new special moves. Some stages will also have you play under a time limit, but it's still pretty easy to go through, even if there're many 'find the keycard' segments throughout.

 The Amazing Spider-man is what Edge of Time could've been had it not been plagued by a glitches: A mediocre, lame game that doesn't do anything particularly bad, but there's nothing noteworthy about it, and has so little nuance to itself that ends up being boring. Honestly, you could do so much worse on the console, but there's also been better... and that's where Spider-mans final game on the DS lies, in the middle. It's far from being the worst... but it's also far from being the best.
 4.5 out of 10

Now Playing: The Amazing Spider-man(Playstation 3)

 Well, they tried!
 I'm sure that at the time Beenox was bombardd with criticism for removing free-roaming, so they complied and we got... The Amazing Spider-man. It seems to harken back to how Spider-man 2(PS2) played, but with a Batman Arkham flair. Which is only fair considering how Batman Arkham series stole the Spider-vision.

 As far as combat goes, it's fun. I mean, it IS aping the Arkham series, so it's gotta be, but I kinda miss how crunchy hits used to feel in Web of Shadows. As for the swinging... it's too slow. I tried getting up the third chapter to see if it would improve, since that happened with Web of Shadows, I was hating how slow it was, until I upgraded it and it turned into a dream. Web-zipping is gone, which kinda sucks, and the new Web-Rush mechanics is useful in-doors but it's no web-zip outdoors.

 Basically, it's what I feared would've happened if Beenox decided to start with a free roaming Spider-man game instead of a beat'em up. It's good, it really is, but it pales in comparison to Web of Shadows and Ultimate. At least it doesn't force you to do side activities in order to progress with the story, which is a huge step up from most open-world Spider-man games.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review #433: Spider-man - Edge of Time(Playstation 3)

 And then there were two, but on a home console.
 Spider-man - Shattered Dimensions was a pretty good action/beat'em up that while not expanding on what made Spider-man games good, set out to be a different game that what we were used to. And it worked. So it only made sense to expand upon it, right? So why did we get less?

 Val Kilmer, or his character, goes back into the past to change it and make things even cozier for him in his present, the year 2099. He changes everything, now Peter Parker works for him in Alchemax Industries as well! But all is not lost, Miguel O'Hara, Spider-man 2099 is on to him, and he manages to set a link with Peter Parker. Now both Spider-men team up to save the past and the future. It's easily the best story in a Spider-man game yet, Spider-man being voiced by Spectacular Spider-man's voice actor and Spider-man 2099 by Spider-man: The Animated Series' voice actor, and they do a spectacular job of bringing both characters to life. And even while it's their interaction that drives the game, the plot itself is pretty darn interesting!
 The game takes place throughout 16 short-ish chapters, alternating between Peter and Miguel. Both Spider-men have the same basic actions: Square is a weak attack, Triangle a strong attack, Circle shoots web, R1 grabs the enemy(Spider-man throws a web against it, while Spider-man 2099 sends a clone to kick the enemy towards the real Miguel), both can crawl on walls and ceilings and both can swing from their webs. Don't get too excited, the entire game takes place inside Alchemax, a present and a future iteration of said building, so there's no free roam. And while the premise is about changing the past to affect the future, it plays out in a very linear fashion, for instance, Miguel might be struggling against robots, so as Spider-man you'll have, then and there, to destroy the blueprints. It's an interesting plot device, but it's just a plot device and not a game mechanic.

 Plenty has changed since the last game. Dodging works quite differently, and even between both characters. Both Spider-men have a Stamina gauge that's used for dodging, by pressing L2 Spider-man enters a dodging state that lasts for as long as you have stamina and he'll automatically dodge anything that comes his way. Meanwhile, Spider-man 2099 creates a clone that diverts enemy attention towards it, and, you guessed it, the clone lasts for as long as you've stamina left. Personally, I preferred how dodging worked in the previous game. It's not bad by any means, but it feels a bit... lame and kinda restrictive, if you ask me.
 There're new attacks, but a lot of attacks from the previous game are missing. Strong attacks can only be strung up to two times, so we miss out on the four triangle string and the four-attack strings that started with triangle. There're new Special moves that consume stamina, which were an OK idea, I guess? Look, it's bad enough that we lost two Spider-men and their unique movesets, so why take away even more moves? It's a weird decision. What we did gain was a ton of different unlockable costumes for each character, so props for that! But as much Spider-variety as we got, the Alchemax building, both present and future iterations, are kinda dull, and there's not much variety inside either. Contrast that with the huge amount of different stages and settings from the previous game!

 The Web of Challenges, the things behind which unlockable costumes are hidden, works a bit different than before. Each stage has between 4 and 6 challenges, but they are more involved than simply 'defeat X amount of enemies', most of them consisting in races or racking up a certain amount of combo hits. The problem is that challenges are now relegated to specific areas, so if you lose... you have to restart the challenge. I thought it was a bit lamer, but at least now you can retry challenges at any time, so there's that.
 Edge of Time is a disappointing follow-up to what was a very promising take on Spider-man. It's by no means bad, but it falls short of the bar set by its predecessor. I love how good the story and the writing is, but at the end of the day this is a videogame and that comes second to gameplay, which is something that Shattered Dimensions did better. You had more variety with the four different Spider-men, you had more attacks and moves and even more variety when it came to stages. And that's its worst sin: Coming after Shattered Dimensions.
 6.0 out of 10

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Now Playing: The Amazing Spider-man(Nintendo DS)

 Not Other Ocean again, not them, please!
 For Spider-man's last outing on the Nintendo DS we have Other Ocean at the helm... oh boy. I'm six missions in, and shockingly, while it looks just like Edge of Time, it's only skin deep as I've yet to find a single glitch. Spider-man can crawl through platforms quite well, walls seem solid and he doesn't slide while shooting web. It seems they gave up on coding maps, so now we a simplified 'Look how many areas and exits there're' thingie as a map.

 They did away with the Metroidvania approach and now we have a straight-up action game with a non-linear mission structure, that allows you to take a few missions in whatever order you wish or replay them. It plays rather serviceably, you know, kinda like what Edge of Time could've been if only it wasn't broken.

 It's not the developer I wanted for Spider-man's final DS game, but so far it has proven to be a passable game, which considering how bad the previous game was... it's a good thing. It's kinda sad how the DS never managed to get a great Spider-man game, eh! I mean, Griptonite's two games were pretty good but nothing to write home about, and this last game seems to be Spider-man's final 'Meh' on the console.

Review #432: Spider-man - Edge of Time(Nintendo DS)

 And then there were two...
 After Griptonite had managed to make the best Spider-man games on the DS Activision took the only course of action that made sense: Get rid of them and get a new team to make the DS version of Edge of Time. It proved to be a fatal mistake, while Other Ocean tried making another Metroidvania what they actually made was the glitchiest, buggiest game I've ever played.

 The story is very poorly told, but featuring a sometimes great, sometimes poor hand-drawn panels and it has to do with Spider-man 2099 contacting Amazing Spider-man in order to stop Sloane, a a guy from 2099 who aims to control the world by going back into the past and starting the Alchemax company way back then. You'll oftentimes have no idea of what's going on, but that's alright, there're even plot-holes aplenty, like the fact that opening a door back in Amazing Spider-man's timeline will leave it open over a thousand years later in 2099, or how doing stuff in the future affects the past. I don't even.
 Sadly, the story is the least of the game's problems. Let's just say that every single time I turned on the game I came across a new glitch or bug. These are just a few of the glitches I came around:

 - Spidey would sometimes go through walls.
 - A few times this through me out of bounds so I had to restart the game.

 - Climbing platforms can be quite an ordeal, since sometimes Spider-man will fall when switching angles. It seems like climbing slowly helps, but it's not a sure-fire solution.

 - If you hold left or right when shooting web, which you'll very likely do at least once when aiming your shots, will have Spider-man sliding around the floor. A few special attacks behave the same way.

 - If you move too fast the camera will lose track of Spider-man, so you'll have to wait a few seconds for it to catch up to him.

- The Map for certain areas is glitched so that it can't track Spider-man's position, basically, according to the mini-map Spider-man will be going out of bounds or being inside platforms. This is a very common occurrence.

- There's this blue barrier that you must cross as Spider-man 2099, but I never found how to deactivate it... not that I needed to, since I just went right through it. Maybe I sequence-broke it, I dunno.

 - The mini-map will sometimes freeze when showing you your next objective, the only way to fix it was by resetting the game.

 - During a boss I pressed select, which made me switch to Spider-man 2099, so I pressed select again to go back to the boss and... the game froze.

 And most of these bugs weren't a one-time thing either!
 As for the game itself, it's a very simple affair. Both Spider-men control the same and you can switch at any time by pressing Select. Each character gets his own version of the map to explore, although you gain the ability to swap time-lines near the end of the game, and you'll need to, since each Spider-man has three different obstacle clearing 'abilities' . Before you get excited, this aren't usable or stylish or fun to use, Spider-man gets three different colored webs, each breaks a different type of object, while Spider-man 2099 gets the ability to break purple blocks or go through two different types of barriers. Lame. And, for whatever reason, you can only have one ability equipped at a time, instead of them being on at all times... and why aren't they? The different colored webs don't change how web behaves, and Spider-man 2099's abilities don't change a thing for him either, so... why? Why make it so inconvenient? And you can't switch abilities while crawling on walls or ceiling for whatever reason. They are poorly explained too, when you get the Yellow web you're told that 'Spider-man can now break heavy objects'... why not just tell me that I can break yellow barriers? It's not like obstacles have unique looks to them or whatever. As a matter of fact, I got stumped over 30 minutes near the end of the game because I didn't know that I was supposed to use my new web, which was used to break metal doors, to destroy a crate. A crate that looked exactly like another create I could smash with Spidey's knuckles before. Fun.

 Metroidvanias are all about exploration and... it kinda gets it wrong too. The game will always remind you of your next objective on the top-screen, but every time you enter a new room, the mini-map screen will pan towards your objective for a few seconds before returning to where you're supposed to be. This can be extremely disorienting. But what's truly beautiful is that you can't enlarge the full map, so getting your bearing can be kinda tough. It doesn't help that everything looks so unremarkable and unmemorable, areas just aren't fun to explore. Combat is lame as well, you can unlock a few extra attacks by finding them, but there's little reason to experiment, the game is a button masher through and through, and not a very fun one. After the fantastic combo systems in the previous two games it's hard to come to this shallow affair.
 If there's one thing I can praise is that both Spider-men get three costumes each, something not typically seen in sprite-based games. Besides their default looks, you can find an extra suit by gathering all five parts for each(For a total of 10 pick-ups) and a third costume by finishing the game. Also, the sprite work, while simple, is relatively pretty. I won't lie, at times I actually had fun with the game, but that's because I really like the genre.

 It's so hard to review Edge of Time, because as much of a mess as it is... It's not the worst Spider-man game out there. Because for as many glitches and bugs the game has... none vexed me or annoyed me. It's a terrible game on a technical level, but as far as substance goes it fares slightly better. Mind you, it's still a terrible game, and if I didn't take into account the bugs and glitches it would still only amount to a flimsy 3.0 out of 10. Regardless, Edge of Time on the DS is better left forgotten.
 2.0 out of 10

Monday, July 17, 2017

Now Playing: Spider-man - Edge of Time(DS & PS3)

 Holy Glitchfests, Batman!
 Edge of Time is the final Spider-man game before we dive back into movie-tie in territory, so let's see what Beenox cooked up this time, shall we? Except that let's talk about the mess that is Edge of Time on the DS. First, the good things: The sprites are kinda neat, they look cheap, but in motion they look pretty. And it seems like it will be the first 2-D Spider-man to feature costumes, that's bound to be cool.

 And then you play for 11 minutes and come across three different kinds of bugs. And you play 10 more minutes and come across even more. Where to start? If you move too fast the camera loses sight of Spider-man until it catches up, the map of certain sections is all screwed up, with Spider-man, apparently, going out of bounds. Sometimes Spider-man will glitch when climbing platforms, dropping down. I went through walls once. Spider-man slides when shooting web, so let go of that directional input!... Yes, this game is broken. Oh, and the combat sucks when compared to the previous two games. And while the mechanics make sense, the logic doesn't: Opening a door a thousand years in the past will open it in the 2099 universe. How does that work? And as much as I liked the sprites, the 3-D objects suck, like when using the web to break down barriers, the barrier kinda disappears? It looks very odd. It's not a good game, not at all, but I'd lie if I said it was devoid of any fun.
 Goodbye Noir and Ultimate, at least we got your voice actors! Josh Keaton returns as Amazing Spider-man and Christopher Barnes as 2099, and they fit these characters oh so well. The combat seems pretty similar to before, which is a good thing, and hopefully it has more room for creativity. And I'm loving the fact that there's a gazillion costumes in here.

 My favorite part in Shattered Dimensions was at the end, when all four Spider-men interacted with each other, well, now we've both Spideys interacting from the get-go, that's pretty cool. What little I've played so far is, well, pretty cool, in contrast to the awful DS follow-up. Apparently this game scored lower than Shattered DImensions, so we'll see what it holds for me.

Review #431: Spider-man - Shattered Dimensions(Nintendo DS)

 And then there were three.
 When it came time for Shattered Dimensions to come to the Nintendo DS, Griptonite was assigned to the task, although Ultimate Spider-man didn't make it in. Who needs him anyways? We've already had plenty of Symbiote themed Spider-man games! Once again, this game takes the form of a Metroidvania, adventure-exploration games in which you explore large areas, with paths and upgrades hidden behind obstacles that require specific upgrades to proceed.

 The DS version of Shattered Memories follows a truncated version of the plot from the console game, Mysterio wants to collect all the shards of a Tablet of Ultimate Power, shards peppered throughout time and space, so three Spider-men band together to retrieve the shards from their dimensions from the grasps of the evil doers. While the presentation is rather lackluster, it features voice acting from the same voice actors of the same game(Albeit Josh Keaton takes Neil Patrick Harris' role as Amazing Spider-man... not that I mind, I think NPH makes for a good Spider-man, but Josh Keaton is the best).
 The game follows a two steps forwards-one step backwards design, since for as many improvements that the game received, it also brought a few new detriments. The combat feels as fluid as before, it's a pretty robust combo system for a handheld, but the game no longer runs on Experience Points, which made combat feel superfluous. Enemies can take a lot of damage, as to encourage players to try to rack up high combos, but there're no rewards for indulging in it, by the end of the game I was just skipping as many enemies as I could because I simply could not be bothered to deal with them.

 The exploration aspect has been enhanced, however, there're 65 power ups hidden behind different obstacles which will raise your life bar, your strength or even grant you new moves, either for exploration or for fighting. The map does a much better job of showing you exactly where you are, and it even tells you if there're power ups waiting to be found in a particular area. As much as I loved the new level design, it came with a huge new flaw: Switching dimensions. It's a Spider-man DS game, so of course they needed to tack-on touch-screen minigames. And it's awful. Every single time that you wish to switch dimensions, and if you are a Metroidvania aficionado like me, you probably want to do so after each new upgrade, well, you will have to go through a tedious mini-game that has you rotating a tablet while touching enemies. If enemies touch it, or if you spun too weakly, the tablet will stop and will lose power.... it's a HUGE waste of time that has no place in this game, and it really soured the experience for me.
 Each of the three Spider-men can only traverse their respective dimensions, and while they start out with different abilities, by the end of the game all of them will be able to perform every move. While you'd think that having three maps and three characters would make for a long game, you'd be wrong, it's even shorter than Web of Shadows, however, playing through the game unlocks all sorts of extras, like challenge maps or modes like Time Trial and Boss Rush, so it makes up for it.

 Shattered Dimensions case is a bit sad. All the new enhancements make for a much better game than its predecessor, but making combat so unrewarding and the unnecessary and tedious mini-game for switching dimensions really put a damper on the whole thing. It's still a fun game, but it's disappointing to see just how much poor decisions hurt what could've been a fantastic little game.
 7.5 out of 10

Review #430: Spider-man - Shattered Dimensions(Playstation 3)

 And now there're four of them.
 Beenox is our new developer for the next batch of Spider-man games, and their first effort, Shattered Dimensions, is very different from what we have seen before in the realm of 3-D. This is not a free-roaming, sandbox-style game, but rather a linear beat'em up game in which you get to play as four different Spider-men: Spider-man 2099, Amazing Spider-man, Spider-man Noir and Ultimate Spider-man.

  There's this Tablet-thingie of great power that shatters after Mysterio and Amazing Spider-man get in a fight. The pieces of this Tablet travel across four different universes and Madame Web recruits the help of the Spider-man of each to collect the pieces. The world hangs in peril, as each of the 13 stages features a boss that has come to possess a fragment of the tablet, granting them awesome powers. While the story is alright as an excuse to bash badguys, they really went all in on the presentation. Each Spider-man and his universe have an entirely different aesthetic, each Spider-man is voiced by someone who voiced the character in the past and they even designed new versions of villains, like Hobgoblin 2099 or Noir Hamerhead, just for this game. The game is pretty lengthy too, with each stage lasting between 30 to 50 minutes and it also features the return of alternate costumes! Each Spider-man gets 3 alternate outfits, unlockable in-game and not by paying for DLC, for a total of 12 different costumes. Pretty neat!
 Core gameplay mechanics are the same for every character, a weak and strong attacks that can be linked together, web to make Spider-man dash-in and attack an enemy, jumping, dodging, swinging and crawling on walls. Your goal on every stage is to make it to the end, by defeating hundreds of enemies, but each stage also has a lot of 'challenges' to fulfill. Some you'll clear automatically as you go through the stage, while you'll need to go out of your way to clear others. And you should try to complete as many as you can, since you can't buy certain upgrades until you've amassed a certain amount of cleared challenges. I really liked this system, as it encouraged me to clear challenges and rewarded me for my trouble. Said upgrades range from new moves, a few which are character exclusive(For instance, every characters' charge attack is unique, Noir Spider-man can't disarm enemies, etc) to health bar extensions or costumes.

 That's as far as core elements go, because the different Spider-men not only have different aesthetics, but also different mechanics. Spider-man Noir is based around stealth, and even gets take-downs to compliment his stages. Spider-man 2099 featured, surprisingly, the most puzzles, but also has the ability to slow down his surroundings in order to avoid incoming attacks or attack enemies before they know what hit them. Ultimate Spider-man's levels were a bit more action-based, and he has Rage, which temporarily strengthens him, giving him stronger, wider attacks and more defense. Amazing Spider-man was, unlike his title, the most mundane, with nothing noteworthy to talk about!
 The combat is very nice, crunchy and satisfying. They even shoe-horned in some first person fist-fights with a few bosses that feel very out-of-place... but oh so fun to engage it, since the audiovisual feedback makes it feel so good to repeatedly punch the boss using both analog sticks to perform different types of punches and hooks with each arm. However, it doesn't matter how many new moves you unlock, the combat system is rather shallow, with not a lot of window for the player to create combos, which means that the game gets old a little bit before it ends.

 There were a few control issues and design choices too. Arbitrarily, Spider-man won't be allowed to swing on his web, which is hilarious because, when allowed to, he will stick his webs on thin air. This also extends to clinging on walls, since the Web-heads can't stick to every wall, even if they look the same. Trying to climb out of a perch, hook or cable can sometimes prove troublesome as well since Spider-man has a hard time jumping down stuff, because he sorta gets magnetized onto the ground he is standing on. Luckily, this will mostly be an issue only in Spider-man Noir's levels, when trying to silently take down some baddies.
 Seeing how Beenox was new to the franchise, had they tried to match what Treyarch did would've probably ended in a disaster, since Web of Shadows was the product of years polishing the formula, so going for this new approach was, probably, the best idea. And it worked, Shattered Dimensions is a very interesting game that does many things right even if it got a few wrong.
 7.0 out of 10