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Is this the new Arkham Asylum?

Opinion: Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions' timing couldn't be better, says Tom Pakinkis...

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Ah... drat and double drat. I thought I'd got away with it, too. But like a farewell puff o'poison from Penguin's umbrella, there's more to this tale.

Where Arkham Asylum's Bats could take down thugs in a number of creative yet painful ways, Spider-Man's stealth attack is achieved via a solitary button.

Granted, the animations are varied, context-sensitive and often brutal, but it's still kids' stuff compared to Rocksteady's masterpiece. Bats could attack scum with fist, foot, line and a multitude of weapons in a unique combination to suit the situation. Most importantly, you felt in full control of them.

Being able to string-up Joker's men whilst blowing two more off a walkway with plastic explosives was what made me feel like The God Damn Batman.

Shattered Dimensions barely taking advantage of Parker's superhuman strength and agility. At its worst, it's unimaginative - a word we're not sure exists in Rocksteady's design lexicon.


Progression in Shattered Dimension really is just a case of finding an aerial route to the first goon, pressing [B] to trigger an attack, moving on to the next, and the next, and the next... The lack of variety spoils the magic somewhat.

Unfortunately, this downfall extends throughout the rest of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.

Sure, the graphics hit the spot - there are more in-game nods to the comics than from a agreeable Churchill dog. And there are some really interesting and satisfying game mechanics thrown in.

(I particularly loved chasing a futuristic Hobgoblin in a free-fall with Spider-Man 2099. I can't remember seeing the classic 'superhero dive' since Batman Vengeance. It makes a very welcome return.)

But the feeling of drudgery really hurts Shattered Dimensions. Batman: Arkham Asylum wasn't a game you played through bit by bit; it was a story you moved through without even realising. But where Batman glides, Spider-Man grinds - and that's the difference.

Beenox's take on Spider-Man will just about keep you sated until Rocksteady's next main course. But any recommendation comes only because Shattered Dimensions reminds you of Arkham Asylum - and only then, it does so patchily.

With the exception of dialogue (which is fantastically campy and littered with kitsch comic book quips), Shattered Dimensions struggles to compete with Arkham Asylum on every level - and certainly can't surpass it.

Plus, Batman's way more badass than Spider-Man anyway. Just saying.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is released on Friday (September 10) on 360, PS3, Wii and DS in the UK

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