I got a chance to get some hands-on time with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions at Microsoft's X'10 event. This meant playing through four different worlds of Spider-Man, including some I'd never heard of, all with varying playstyles and visual flair.
The story concerns a Tablet of Order and Chaos which gets broken and distributed to a number of alternate dimensions, each one based around a Spider-Man comic series. There's the Ultimate universe, in which you control a symbiote-wearing Spider-Man; the Amazing universe that brings back classic memories of a Spider-Man of yesteryear; the Noir universe that has you in an old 1930s version of the world you know; and lastly the futuristic world of 2099's Spider-Man. I had heard of only a few of these worlds before, and was quite interested in seeing how they looked in action.
What's interesting to note is that each of the Spider-Men (Spider-Mans?) play differently from each other, a point that the person showing me the game was quick to point out. In fact, the developer went specifically for four different types of Spider-Man universes that would be diverse in both graphical style and gameplay, while offering an interesting variety of villains to fight against. For example, Noir will involve heavy use of stealth, since actually taking on enemies head-to-head will likely see you getting killed, while the Ultimate world, with the symbiote-bonded Spider-Man, is very heavy on combat, seeing you taking on a dozen foes at a time. 2099's world is filled with open areas to swing around in, and Amazing is more exploratory combat mixed with classic Spiderman moves like creating a giant hammer out of webbing.
The levels appear to be fairly linear, but they also afford options to explore to find what the developers call 'spider essence'. With this, you can purchase upgrades to improve the abilities of Spider-Man, though some upgrades only apply to certain worlds.
Another way of getting spider essence is to complete in-game challenges, being rewarded for doing such things as a particular number of stealth takedowns, punching a boss a certain number of times during a battle, those kinds of things. I was able to bring up a web of what looked like challenges available to me before the developer quickly shooed me away, so it seems like completing certain challenges will unlock others to do, though how much will be available to start is yet to be seen.
When I first heard about the game, I was a little sceptical as to how Beenox, the Canadian developer, could integrate four different styles of play together without it feeling disjoint. From what I've seen so far, however, it seems like this game may stand a chance to become the next great Spider-Man game. Until September, we won't be able to tell for sure, but it looks like the odds are good.