Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (PS3) Review + Tips
PS3 Spider-Man Review tips
There are a lot of different air and ground combos which you execute by mixing square which is light attack and triangle which is strong attack. Though if going for platinum combo rank you are pretty much restricted to using triangle based combos (which do a lot of damage) most of the time, mixing in a few other combos only when necessary. Then there are super moves you can execute by pressing two buttons together (usually crowd control) or holding hold square to charge up the attack. Most of the combos have a use, but a lot of the time it is simpler and easier to just do the triangle x 3 or square x 5 combo or hold triangle to send them airborne and do an air combo where you don't have to worry about being back stabbed.
On top of that you also have the option of using defensive stance which you activate by holding R2, this causes you to lock onto the closest enemy and automatically dodge weak attacks (attacks that don't trigger spidey sense) and with the press of x, instead of jumping you will roll to the side and avoid strong attacks.
Then there's the grab button which is circle and that's where the game starts to fall apart a bit. If next to a common enemy type when you press grab you reach out with your fist and grab a hold of them. Then you can punch them or swing them around you to hit other enemies or slam them into the ground so that they bounce into the air and you can do an air combo. If you are not next to them, then you will shoot your web and pull yourself toward them where depending what button you press mid-flight you will either jump over them and land behind, kick them, or lift them up into the air and slam them into the ground. You also have the option to grab objects off the ground with web and toss them at enemies.
The problem is with web targeting, a red circle appears around the object or enemy that will be webbed if you press circle, but if there is a specific enemy you need to target or you want to grab an object near a group of enemies it is incredibly difficult / impossible to accurately maneuver the reticule to your desired target. Many, many times I needed to toss an object for a boss or some other reason and I zip kicked an enemy instead.
As a change of pace, occasionally during boss battles (which are a mixture of melee combat and puzzle solving) the view will change to first person and you will fight in a Punch Out-like manner. Up on the stick (left stick does left fist and right stick does right fist) is a jab, to the side on the stick is a hook, and down is an upper cut. Then periodically the game will telegraph the boss is about to attack and you must press both sticks down to dodge. In the course of play I could see no benefit to varying strikes types as after a preset time the enemy would attack and you would have to stop punching and dodge. Basically it is a slightly more engaging form of QTE, but the Punch Out mechanic is still pretty shallow.
Maneuvering through the world is mostly painless. When a yellow arrow appears that means what you are aiming at is web-able. Press R2 and you will shoot a web and you will immediately grapple to that railing, cable, ledge, etc. Like the web grab, it can sometimes be difficult to target the object you want to zip to and several times I ended up zipping where I didn't want to (into the light and in view of the guards in the Noir-verse). When in the air if you hold R2 instead of pressing it (and there is stuff above you) you will shoot a web straight up into the air and swing. If you jump at a wall and hold forward with the stick you will stick to the wall and you can crawl along it. The camera angle isn't always ideal in this mode so it can often be difficult to navigate as the direction the sticks moves you will keep changing as the camera changes. You also have the ability to double jump and like Sly Cooper it will try to automatically move you so that you "stick" to platforms and cables if you are landing close to them.
FOUR SPIDEYS, ONE PURPOSE
What sets this game apart from a lot of other previous Spider-man games is it features four spider-men. The threadbare plot has a mystical tablet of incredible power which is shattered and the pieces spread across time and parallel realities. Thus four different incarnations of spider-man from the comics have to collect the tablet pieces. Each spidey has 3 levels and then all four participate in the final boss.
Noir Spider-man in set in a mostly black and white world (think Sin City) and the gameplay is very splinter cell-ish. You sneak around in the shadows on walls, beams, etc. trying to get behind gun toting guards to catch them unawares and knock them out instantly with a web strike. If they spot you, the alarm is sounded and you have to retreat to the shadows until they lose interest and go back to patrolling. Periodically there is also fisticuffs, but as the physically weakest of the four Spideys the fight can be more difficult, particularly because you do not have the reach of the others.
Ultimate Spider-man is powered up with the symbiote so normal attack are punches, but strong attacks cause tentacles to stick out from the suit for far great range. Hitting enemies also builds up a rage meter and when it is full you can activate rage mode in which your tentacles are larger and do more damage. As long as you continue to hit enemies while in rage mode it will replenish and you can keep it active for long spans of time. Activating rage mode also knocks back any enemies (even bosses) so it is useful if you get grabbed or you are getting pounded by enemies from several directions. Ultimate often gets a lot of enemies thrown at him at once.
2099 Spider-man is from nearly 100 years in the future. In addition to his spider powers, his suit gives him new abilities. Whenever you press light of strong punch, he will teleport to the nearest enemy and punch them. In place of rage mode, you can temporarily slow down time so that you have time to lead heat-seeking missiles into hitting other enemies or to give you more time to punch enemies uninterrupted. His charge mode is awesome, he will teleport like crazy and hit X number of enemies (as you upgrade it the damage and number of enemies hit increases) with a strong punch which knocks them to the ground. He also has his own gameplay segment, freefall, in which he will use his wingsuit to move up down and side to side in area in which you fall straight down. Usually it involves chasing flying bosses so you can catch up to to them and punch them in the face or avoiding obstacles. You can slow down time in these sections to make dodging obstacles easier.
The problem of featuring 3 other spider-men with unique abilities is when you get to the last one, amazing Spider-man, the classic spider-man that is associated with the brand, he comes off kind of bland. His segments are all just straight combat or platforming with no other mechanics to spice them up. He's basically a weaker version of Ultimate Spider-man.
Graphics are good, all four Spideys have their own color palette and style. Noir is monochromatic, Amazing and Ultimate are kind of cell-shaded, and 2099 is futuristic with a more realistic depiction. The music is serviceable and catchy. Each Spidey has their own voice actor all of which have played Spider-man in previous animated series ('81-83, '94-98, 2003, and 2008-2009) and are therefore excellent. Boss characters also have their own voice actors and they are good as well a few are reprising their roles from various animated Spider-man series. Stan Lee serves as the narrator, thankfully he isn't in much of it as he isn't that great. What is kind of off putting is the cutscenes are fully animated, but their mouths don't move when speaking, very strange. The framerate is stable throughout and other than the unruly web strike targeting, I didn't encounter any bugs.
Like the Arkham series' detective mode, Shattered Dimensions has a Spider-Sense mode that when activated with a press of dpad down, it over-saturates the color with blue and now a red outline is put around enemies and you can see them through walls. Collectables (Spider emblems which you will need to collect around 80% of those in the level in order to get a platinum emblem rank) are also visible from a certain distance through walls and a light yellow halo is put around them. I was in this mode a lot of the time except in the Noir Universe, with Spidey-sense mode activated it makes it difficult to differentiate between lighted areas (which the guards can see you in) and shadow which they can't see you even if you are only a few feet away.
Each of the 14 levels also has 15 challenges which are a mixture of events that happen naturally in the course of playing level, killing X number of enemies in certain ways, collecting a minimum # of collectables, etc.
Kills, the collection of emblems, the completion of challenges, and attaining high ranks in 3 categories (combo rating, emblem collection, and completion time) will give you spider essence which you can use from the pause menu or the main menu to buy character upgrades (new cosmetic costumes, more health, slower depletion of rage mode, etc.) and new combos. A missed opportunity is all it saves is your highest medal rating in each category; it doesn't save your highest combo rating, greatest amount of emblems collected, or lowest completion time. Platinum medals in the 3 categories can only be obtained in hard mode and thus hard rank has the highest payout of spider essence in order to buy upgrades.
It is mostly fun, The poor web targeting puts a pretty big damper on the combat because every other aspect of the combat works really well. It can be managed much easier in the first 1/2 of the game because they don't throw that many enemies at you, but when the enemy count goes up and they start mixing several enemy types into the crowd in can become quite frustrating, especially on hard mode. One stage late in the game has the holy trinity of annoyance: lots of enemies, a type of enemy with a shield you have to web grapple in order to kill, AND a scientist that you have to protect from enemies attacking him. If you focus too much on trying to kill the shielded enemies then the common soldier enemy types will kill the scientist quickly.
The difference between the difficulties is mainly just how much damage you take and how much HP they have. Some of the common enemies have a bit too much HP I think in hard mode, but other than that how long it takes them to kill you and how long it takes to kill them is pretty fair. For saying this had a platinum difficulty rating of 5, I don't think that is accurate as there are some legitimately difficult portions to beat in hard mode.
Took me a total of 23 hours to platinum it, and it required 2-4 playthroughs of each level.
Fluff story with good voice acting and solid combat and platforming mechanics and a variety of gameplay styles, spoiled somewhat by substandard web targeting
Surviving Noir levels:
Noir Spidey is the frailest of the Spider-man and has the least reach which makes his fight fight sequences quite difficult. One special ability that Noir Spidey has is if he is not damaged for several seconds his health will begin to regen. If the alarm sounds and you are shot you can run and hide in the shadows and your HP will regen. This regen ability can also be used to help you survive the difficult Noir fist fights on hard difficulty. Since none of the Noir enemies you engage in fisticuffs with have guns, in many of the battles you can jump up and stick to the wall, wall crawl up, and sit and wait for your HP to regen to full then drop back down and continue to battle. In the very first fight in the bar in the Hammerhead level you can jump behind the bar, break through a false wall, and hide back there until your HP regens. If the fight is in a wide open area and there isn't anywhere to climb, you can also just run around in circles until your HP regens. The time limits for platinum medals are fairly generous in the Noir levels so that if you are quick to dispatch enemies in the sneaking sequences you should still have plenty of time to crawl up on the wall and fully regen HP 2-3 times during each fight if you can't finish it on only one HP bar.
You can start off playing on a lower difficulty if you want, but since all 3 medal ranks have to be done on hard after a couple of levels on normal I just went straight to playing the game for the first time on hard blind. Do note you don't have to get all 3 medals on the same playthrough, you just have to obtain each platinum medal at least once over your various playthroughs, For the first playthrough I focused on surviving and collecting as many emblems as possible to shoot for the platinum emblem rank on the first playthrough and also try to get the combo rating platinum medal as well. Then I would come back later and do an easy playthrough to get any of the 10 hidden spiders I missed and to finish any of the remaining challenges (these don't have to be finished on hard rank). Each time a challenge is completed it will save so as soon as all 15 challenges are done and it saves you can quit the level, you don't have to finish it to get credit. Then I would save the speed run for last after you have become well acquainted with the level.
Combo, Emblem, and Time minimum requirements
It is not related to how high you get your combo counter up to, it is SUPPOSED to reward you for varying combos but it is slightly broken. The amount of enemies you kill also doesn't matter, all that matters is the % split of the types of combos you use on the enemies you do kill. The key to getting a platinum is to use the combo triangle, triangle, triangle as much as possible. If you use it as much as possible (mixing in other combos as needed depending on the situation) you will get platinum rank easy. Buy the triple triangle combo as soon as you can.
Thankfully you don't have to get 100% of them, you only have to collect around 80% of them in the level in order to get platinum. When in Spidey sense mode a subtle yellow aura is put around the emblems and they are visible for a few feet through walls. So to more easily find them, get to the edge of a room and try to look through a column, or through the floor to more easily find them. Make sure to look up at the ceiling as it is often high up on cables or on rafters.
Usually how much time they give you to obtain the platinum medal is pretty generous. I got almost all of them on my first try, only the Sandman level and the final boss is extremely tight on time (you only have to do 14 of the 15 levels for the trophy), I barely beat the Sandman level by a minute and the 4th stage of the final boss fight is so tedious I am glad I didn't have to beat the time limit on it. The others I could pretty easily beat by 5 to 10 minutes.
Skip any fight that isn't necessary to progress, in some areas where you would normally have to defeat all the enemies in the area before grabbing and pulling a wall down with circle in order to progress, if you get to that point before the enemies move close to you, you can avoid the fight entirely to save time and pull the wall or object down early. If you die and restart at the last checkpoint the timer does not roll back, any time spent failing counts against you. If you quit to the main menu and select continue after a death, then it rewinds the timer back to when you first reached the check point.
Purchasing the move to disarm enemies with guns is very helpful to save time as it takes the gun from their hand then smacks them with it which instantly kills them. Knocking weaker enemies airborne by holding triangle and then punting them off ledges in which the area below is instant death is also a great time saver. If the enemy is laying on the ground, you don't have to wait for them to get up to attack them, punch them and they will be instantly standing and ready to receive your combo. In the Noir levels you don't have to kill all the guards, you can even set off the alarm and just rush through (for instance just before sections where you will engage in fist fights).
Completing challenges (and collecting emblems and getting medals) gives you spider essence which you can spend in the store for character upgrades and new combos. Another reason to do challenge is in addition to the spider essence cost, higher level skills in the upgrade stores have a minimum challenge requirement. You have to have completed X number of challenge (usually in increments of 10 or 20) in order to purchase them. I saved the bonus suits for last because most of them don't look as nice as the default costumes in the game.
One of the challenge requirements for every level (except the final boss) is to locate 10 hidden spiders. Unlike emblems these DO disappear from the level as soon as they are grabbed and it is saved immediately. They have the same yellow aura as emblems and are visible through walls while in Spidey-Sense mode (down on Dpad). Here is a Youtube playlist with all the hidden spider locations.
Unlock all upgrades/combos trophies:
Once you have finished all 180 challenges, and platinumed 14 of the 15 levels. If you don't have enough cash to buy all the upgrades, you can get enough essence to completely buy all the items in one store, wait for the trophy to pop, then exit the game via the PS button so that it doesn't save your transactions, and buy all the items in the other store.
100/200 hit combo trophy:
Any level where there are a lot of enemies in a small space with no projectiles will work. At the start of the carnage level or just before the elevator in the Scorpion level. Simply single or double jump into the air and slam into the ground with triangle (which causes a shockwave) over and over until you reach 200 hits.
Missed Me! (Defeat any boss without taking damage Trophy):
This can be done pretty easily in the first Hammerhead fight or in the Noir portion of the final boss, it popped for me on the speed run on the first fight with Scorpion. To avoid damage in that fight you just have to hold defensive stance to auto-dodge the first two of his tail swings, then press X to roll out of the way of the 3rd blow. Then keep moving when he jumps up on the wall and fires 3 volleys of explosive eggs at you.
Collect 125/250/500 Emblems Trophies:
Emblems do not disappear from levels once collected, they respawn every time you play. You just have to have collected that many cumulative in the course of playing. Theoretically you could play the same level over and over and over and this trophy will pop, but you don't need to as it will be unlocked naturally over the course of play. Do note the rarer gold emblems will refill your health quite a bit so always be on the lookout for them if you are low on HP.
Spider's Shadow (complete any Noir level without sounding the alarm) trophy:
Easiest to do in the first Noir level, the Hammerhead level. If you raise the alarm, you cannot just select restart from the pause menu. You have to quit to the main menu and select continue in order for it not to count against you. You cannot get this trophy for reaching the end of the Noir portion of the final boss unseen, it has to be on one of the 3 noir levels.