Monday, July 17, 2017

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

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