Does Some of What A Spider Can: PC Spidey

I am a 31 year old man. I have played and written about some of the most stunning, thoughtful and esoteric games ever created. My ears shouldn’t twitch even slightly at news of a new superhero game. God help me, they do. God help me.

And so it came to pass that my inner child-nerd gave a gleeful start upon hearing that Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is due on PC before the end of the year.

Its console-toy version arrived last week to moderately positive reception, despite a general “what?” at the discovery that a game about a guy who can move anywhere was an on-rails man-bash. However, the “four different Spider-men from alternate universes” thing oddly appeals.

Not just because it’s hyper-fanfic territory, but also because, in a world of grey seriousness for so many mainstream releases, it harkens back to the early 90s console era of batshit plotting and half-crazed visuals with only the slightest relation to whatever character they were licensing. A preparedness to be silly: works for me.

I don’t expect to use even 0.3% of my brain whilst playing this, but I do expect to enjoy webbing dudes in the face and exclaiming “ooh! It’s Spider-Man 2099, from the torturous 2099-universe spin-off comics of the 1990s that a good 4/5ths of people playing this game will have absolutely zero awareness of!”

The PC version’s out before the end of the year apparently, which suggests it’s scarcely high priority for Activision, but I do find it fascinating that they maintain in PC releases for even their lowish-profile stuff. Suggests it’s still turning a buck somewhere, eh?

Here’s some what it looks like footage. No idea if the earbleed-nonsense soundtrack’s supposed to be there. Pleasingly colourful, though.


  1. Nick says:

    “Spider-Man 2099”!!!!!

    That was where he had those spikes in his fingertips wasn’t it? That was the era I read Spiderman the Uk compilation monthly exploits of Spiderman I think it was. It had old stories and current ones too. I have fond memories of the utterly brutal Carnage arc.

    • Clovis says:

      I got into Spiderman in time for 2099 as well. I really enjoyed Carnage, but then it seemed like every other issue had to do with some kind of doppleganger. I eventually gave up and tend to shiver whenever I hear the word “doppleganger” now.

  2. Shrewsbury says:

    Activision = no buy.

  3. AndrewC says:

    They say we only use one fifth of our brains when we are awake. That’s because the other four fifths are filled with comics continuity.

    • SquareWheel says:

      “They say we only use one fifth of our brains when we are awake.”

      Very untrue.

    • AndrewC says:

      Because the other four fifths are filled with comics continuity.

    • Ian says:

      It is 100% true that THEY SAY IT, however.

    • Bret says:

      Technically, that’s incorrect.

      We use 1/10th of our brains. The rest is filled with curds and whey.

      Maybe if you knew the science I’d listen to a single word you had to say.

    • AndrewC says:

      You moron they got rid of the curds and whey during the ‘Spider Crisis’ crossover of 97

  4. Vadermath says:

    Does whatever Spider-Pig does!

  5. BigJonno says:

    That opening paragraph is exactly why I love RPS. I like arty-farty indie stuff, crowd-pleasing action games and everything in between (that isn’t shite.) I appreciate a site that doesn’t condemn me for liking one or the other.

  6. Dominic White says:

    Ain’t nothing wrong with liking a bit of daft super-hero action… That said, if you have a beefy PC (very poorly optimized port) and don’t mind some glitchyness, then Spider-Man: Web Of Shadows is a better bet than Shattered Dimensions. It’s basically Prototype, but with less polish and better combat, and YOU ARE SPIDER-MAN.

    It also has a cursory good/evil thing that does nothing in gameplay terms but decide which heroes/villains you can call as assist-summons, as the ending is a binary Yes/No choice. And really, there’s almost no penalty for being an enormous spider-jackass all the time.

    • Urthman says:

      Web of Shadows is a bad PC port, but is a severely under-rated Spider-Man game. The combat and the web-swinging is the best we’ve had on PC (the web swinging in Spider-Man 2 is purportedly the very best, but I haven’t played that one).

      It’s Spider-Man vs the (Symbiote) Zombie Apocalypse! Doing the thing where Spider-Man swings feet-first into a crowd of zombies and sends them flying like ten pins takes a very, very long time to get old.

      The city looks great. Spidey’s animations look great. His moves are fun (Venom-grabbing a dude and slamming him into another dude, webbing up an enemy and then surfing his body head first into a building). The enemies are fun. Fighting on the side of a building is fun. Fighting in mid-air is fun. The boss battles aren’t great, but none are horribly frustrating. Some of the set-piece mission battles are pretty good.

      Some people complained that it doesn’t have the races that the previous games had. Here’s a tip: Scattered throughout the city are zillions of little Spider Tokens. Whenever you go anywhere, try to grab as many tokens as you can without breaking stride. It’s just as much fun and takes just as much skill as the races except there’s no timer calling you a failure and making you start over a hundred times and the only reward is how awesome you feel when you judge your swing just right and snag a token that’s hanging in mid-air between buildings as you zoom by at full speed.

      Yeah the story’s lame, the voice acting is bad, the optional random missions are repetitive, and it has many of the problems of a bad PC port — minimal customization, bad interface, system hog. But if you have a beefy system (it runs pretty good on my 8800GT, AMD 5200, 2Gb RAM) and like the basic open-world Spider-Man genre, then I definitely recommend it. I played it twice, trying both the Red and Black story branches.

    • Vandelay says:

      “The combat and the web-swinging is the best we’ve had on PC (the web swinging in Spider-Man 2 is purportedly the very best, but I haven’t played that one).”

      I may be getting muddled, but I think Spiderman 2 on PC was a very, very different game to the one on consoles. I never actually played it, but remember hearing that it had no connection to style of gameplay the console version got.

      “It’s basically Prototype, but with less polish and better combat, and YOU ARE SPIDER-MAN.”

      That sounds interesting. I loved Prototype and thought it was the best superhero game I had played (not gotten around to Arkham yet.) Anything that is like it is bound to be good, particularly if it improves on the slightly mediocre combat.

    • Urthman says:

      Yes, the PC version of Spider-Man 2 is a completely different (and completely worthless) kids game.

      So I was saying that the console Spider-Man 2 may be the best web slinging implementation (I haven’t tried it), but Web of Shadows is the best we’ve had on PC.

  7. SquareWheel says:

    This looks pretty awesome, actually.

  8. Lobotomist says:

    Spider-men without wall walking ?


  9. Brumisator says:

    …Is this Aerosmith? o_O
    What the F is going on in this universe!?

  10. Zyrxil says:

    Tag: Beenox

    So…completely shit performance, configuration settings, etc.? Anything with the Beenox label on it is guaranteed to be a crap port.

  11. RadioactiveMan says:

    Hmmm… looks cool, although a lot of spidey’s moves look to be ripped straight out of God of War. I guess its natural to expect re-use of assets, but its disappointing nonetheless.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      Uuuh, plenty of Spidey’s moves in the video are ripped straight out of the comic books (though they aren’t animated very well). And no, they aren’t reusing God of War assets because they don’t have access to them as they’re whole different companies and development studios.

  12. Al3xand3r says:

    Don’t get too excited, it’s a shoddy, half finished game. Go replay Arkham Asylum while you wait for the sequel instead. Maybe this one would have been good if Activision had given the developers another half or full year but as it is, only Spider-Man’s charm and the way they handled character personalities (though the actual story sucks really) work out well. The actual game doesn’t, from the early 90s 3D level design with all sorts of invisible walls and nonsensical obstacles that Spidey could easily get around if the game actually had his powers work anywhere instead of inexpllicably disabling them wherever it sees fit, to the actual core controls and gameplay that include some of the worst fighting mechanics, an erratic camera that means wall crawling is impossible, some of the worst bosses in gaming (not hard, just with dumb mechanics involved in their defeat) and all sorts of other issues. It’s a broken trainwerk and I have no idea how it’s getting the positive reviews it is, but I suppose the embargo has a lot to do with that.

    • Thants says:

      You could play the recent Wolverine game if you’ve already played Batman. It’s no Arkham Asylum but it was quite fun.

  13. Freud says:

    Looks like they try to make Arkham Asylum with more combat. I don’t think the video makes me want to play it. Just seems slightly too ADD.

  14. The_B says:

    I have no idea what the PC port is going to be like, but from my experiences on the 360 version so far – the game is actually pretty good, and I’m having a lot of fun, despite the linearity. It’s certainly the best Spidey game since Spiderman 2 on the Gamecube – although not quite as good as that, and those on PC were still rubbish, so again I’ll say this is purely on 360 impressions.

    I love the fact they’ve got someone who has actually voiced Spidey in a cartoon to voice each Spidey too, it’s a great touch, espeically with Neil Patrick Harris as Amazing Spiderman (Red/Blue ‘Vanilla’ Spidey) – and the game has probably my favourite portrayal of Deadpool in a while – (coming from someone who isn’t a massive follower of comics mind.)

  15. FullFrontalShotgun says:

    Lookout!! Here comes the Aerosmith!

  16. Antlia says:

    I don’t buy it if it doesn’t have doctor Octopus.

  17. Tenbobber says:

    Spiderman what are you doing in the jungle, you’re a spider, you don’t belong in the jungle. Back to the streets with you.

  18. Wulf says:

    Heard about this, mildly excited for two very important reasons:

    1.) It’s fanservice, and wasn’t browngreyed for whomever games are commonly browngreyed for (a la Transformers: War for Cybertron, which should never have been browngreyed).
    2.) They’ve actually got a decent writer working on this from the footage I’ve seen, and it has a few moments which are actually amusing.

    So, it’ll just be some colourful, light-hearted fun.

    Sign me up for some of that.

  19. Urthman says:

    Shattered Dimensions not being released on PC was my worst Spider-Man disappointment(1),(2) since the Spider-Man 2 debacle. I’m so happy they decided to do a PC version. I admit to enjoying even bad Spider-Man games, and I love the visual style and the choice of characters. Is that Aaaa…aaaA! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity they’re ripping off for the Spider-Man 2099 base-jumping sequences? I hope so!

    I doubt it will be a worse port than Spider-Man Web of Shadows (which was a much better port than Spider-Man 3). They’re still porting from the same Xbox360/PS3 SKU’s, and surely Beenox has learned something about how to do it in the past few years.

    (1) Yes, more disappointing than Spider-Man 3, which I won’t go so far as to recommend, but I’ll say that the PC version–on a beefy machine–is not nearly as bad as Gabe and Tycho’s review of the PS3 version might lead you to believe. I’ll admit to having some fun with it.
    (2) And more disappointing than not getting a PC version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, which purportedly sucks.

  20. Travis says:

    I had high hopes for this, mostly because my brain didn’t catch up to the idea that four different Spider-Men equals no more ‘open-world’. I wish Web of Shadows was on Steam, maybe I can track it down at the bestbuy.

  21. Ziv says:

    Why should I be excited?

  22. Noumenon says:

    I hope it’s as fun as Ultimate Spider-Man for the PS2.

  23. Bursar says:

    I got it on PS3, and ended up being disappointed. It’s not a bad game, but I never FEEL like i’m spiderman.

    A superhero game needs to make it feel like you’re the hero. Arkham Asylum was brilliant for that. I felt like I was Batman.

    In Shattered Dimensions the wallcrawling is so fiddly and arbitrary that you end up not bothering with it. Some walls you can stick to, others you can’t with no logical reason why…. and for crawling from a wall to a ceiling and back the camera is AWFUL! The console version of Spiderman 2 nailed this pretty well. I don’t understand how games since then haven’t at least matched it.

    I ended up just zip lining about in much the same way that Batman zip lined in AA..

    I also wasn’t impressed with the fighting mini sandmen golems are electro demons.