PS3 Reviews: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Review

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Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Review

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Graphics:

 

8.0

Gameplay:

 

8.5

Sound:

 

8.4

Control:

 

7.8

Replay Value:

 

8.7

Overall Rating:       8.3

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Activision

Developer:

Beenox

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action

Release Date:

September 7, 2010

Last year, the mediocre world of superhero video games received a potent shot in the arm in the form of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Rocksteady Studios not only proved a fantastic, elite superhero-based game could exist, but they also produced the current measuring stick against which all other superhero titles will be judged. Of course, this makes it tougher on everyone else, but that’s sorta the point. The guys at Beenox had their work cut out for them; we’ve had solid Spidey games in the past but you know, we really needed something great. Rocksteady admittedly spoiled the crap out of us. The good news is that Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is pretty darn close to great. It lacks the high-gloss sheen and polish – in terms of both visuals and mechanics – that was evident in Batman, but it gets most things right. It’s really fun, it gives you a ton of bang for your buck, and the various “dimensions” keep you coming back for more.

The graphical presentation has its highs and lows but its mostly consistent throughout. The slickness of the levels in the Spider-Man 2099 world and the dark, intimidating Spider-Man Noir levels offer nice contrasts, and the overall detail is actually quite impressive. There’s some shimmering and other small issues going on but in general, this is about how a Spider-Man adventure should look: despite the lack of a supreme professional veneer, it’s very “comic-book-y” in appearance. The cut-scenes are surprisingly good and although I wasn’t the biggest fan of some Amazing Spider-Man levels, the environments remain diverse, engaging, and mostly appealing. I suppose the special effects could’ve used some work as a lot of the combat feels just a bit bland, but you gotta love that web hammer. Most fans will be satisfied with these visuals, and that’s what matters.

The game boasts decent voice acting, a soundtrack that fits almost perfectly with every dimension (but isn’t quite as prominent as I would’ve liked), and combat effects that are sharp and properly enhance the fighting aspect. Beenox really didn’t bring out the music enough, as I found myself hoping the tracks would kick in at certain points, but that’s a relatively minor complaint. Everything from the web-related sounds to the fulfilling cracks and crunches heard during combat works well, and some of the villains really shine in the voiceover department. I still think the Amazing Spider-Man had a few too many one-liners and his offhand, bantering comedy sort of got annoying, but I guess that’s more subjective than anything else. The sound would cut out here and there but it only happened for brief seconds in hours worth of play time.

Unlike past Spider-Man efforts, this one didn’t have you swinging around a wide open city, taking on missions and exploring ala sandbox style. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions features a lot of linear, traditional levels, and there are four distinct Spider-Man incarnations. You don’t switch between those four during gameplay; you play as Amazing, Ultimate, Noir, or 2099 Spider-Man for the entirety of any given level, and given that each level can take about an hour to complete, you’ll quickly become familiar with each form. You’ll meet well-known villains like Hammerhead, the Green Goblin, Kraven, Mysterio, and Doctor Octopus, and your job is to reclaim the busted pieces of the Tablet of Order and Chaos. Considering that you busted it when Mysterio tried to steal the item, it falls to you to find the shards, which have been blasted off to various time periods and alternate realities. In the future, as Spider-Man 2099, there are flying vehicles and a lot of sci-fi slickness; in the past, as Spider-Man Noir, it’s like the Al Capone gangster era, where Hammerhead reigns.

The different Spider-Man incarnations all have different skills and even a few different basic mechanics. In terms of control and general gameplay, let’s deal with the negative- firstly, I think you move a touch too quickly and due to the linear environments, such a rapid pace can cause problems. See, the camera can go absolutely bonkers and I kept thinking that if they had knocked the speed down a few notches, it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as big of a problem. Secondly, the collision detection can be wonky; the Amazing and Ultimate Spider-Man would be standing on a pillar, but half their body is floating in mid-air. That’s just a for-instance. It was also a little difficult to get big swings under control; I’m not sure they should’ve used the R2 button for both “zip jumping” (shooting to a particular perch instantly) and swinging (you hold the button down to swing).

I also found the speed to get in the way of the combat. It almost undermined the fighting mechanic’s potential; there’s a lot you can do, especially after you unlock some of the later abilities. You often want to sit back and plan an attack but the speed almost forces you to button-mash your way through most encounters. But other than that, it’s almost a guarantee that fans of the web-slinging hero will have a good time. The different Spider-Mans continue to add diversity and freshness throughout and due to the amount of gameplay for all forms, it almost starts to feel like four games in one. That’s no easy feat, especially considering the significant differences found in the environments and overall gameplay. The animations are fluid and fast, the pacing is good, the level design allows for a bit of exploration while keeping you entertained, and there’s even a solid variety of enemies. Boss fights are often quite original, too.

And then there’s the longevity. The Web of Destiny reminded me a lot of the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X, believe it or not, even though it’s mostly just a branching tree of Challenges arranged in web form. There are a total of 180 different Challenges to attempt in the game, and with each successful completion comes more Spider Essence, which is used to claim both Character and Combat upgrades. It’s a really deep system and because you can replay any level as many times as you wish, no Challenge is off-limits if you miss out the first time, and if things are proving too difficult, you can always go back and get stronger. The Challenges add a lot to the gameplay, too, because they ask you to sample the game’s great variety. For instance, you’ll have to zip kick five opponents off their perches in the first Amazing Spider-Man level, and then take down three foes each from the wall, the ground, above, and within arm’s reach when playing as the stealthy Noir Spider-Man.

Speaking of the latter, the stealth in the Noir levels is sort of like stealth Lite if you’re heavily into games akin to Splinter Cell but then again, this is an arcade-style beat-‘em-up and considering that, this level of stealth felt just about right. When you snag someone from the shadows, you don’t have to worry about other enemies noticing your action, although you do have to worry about passing through well-lit areas. There’s a small problem concerning their detection, as they can’t seem to hear you, but if you wander into the light, they can see you…even when they’re not really facing in your direction. Still, performing stealthy takedowns never stopped being fun, and this acted as a cool complement to playing in the bad-ass Venom suit (where you can use Rage mode) and the futuristic 2099 suit, which lets you utilize Accelerated Vision (essentially, this game’s bullet-time). The bottom line is that when you finish one level, you want to play the next…isn’t that what matters most?

The collision detection is definitely a bit off, the camera can cause problems due to the speed and a bit of swinging inaccuracy, the gameplay graphics aren’t as polished as the cut-scenes, and I wanted a bit more musical accompaniment. But every level is really well done, the combat mechanic is loaded with potential and is almost endlessly entertaining, the variety and diversity keep your enjoyment high, and the voiceovers, characters, and patented Spidey flair are all big bonuses. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives and with a touch more polish, this could’ve been an elite title. As is, it’s well worth playing for most all superhero fans who will definitely get their money’s worth. Don’t even bother with the lack of multiplayer; there’s plenty to do. In short, despite the obvious drawbacks, I’m happy with the way it all turned out.

9/9/2010 Ben Dutka

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Comments (47 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 9:48:12 PM
Reply

Wow, sounds great. I had high hopes for this one. But I'm kinda sad to see the sandbox city disappear. It was so fun swinging around. I'm not big on superhero stuff but I know I like Spider-man and The Electric Man (Cole McGrath). So yeah def gonna pick this up at some point!

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Scarecrow
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 9:53:40 PM

I'm not with you guys in this one. As long as the game's fun and engaging it doesn't matter whether it's sandbox or not.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 10:06:23 PM

That doesn't compute, does that mean you think the game would be worth a buy or not?

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gumbi
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 9:51:31 PM
Reply

I have to echo World's sentiments about dropping the sandbox style gameplay. I thought it worked really well for Spiderman. I quite enjoyed Spiderman 1 and 2. I'd often throw those games in just to swing around and explore and be Spiderman without doing anything mission related.

Still, looking forward to playing this one.

Last edited by gumbi on 9/9/2010 9:52:00 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 11:09:11 PM

Eh, this game is better. Just feels tighter, and more like a complete production.

Even in the open cities in other Spider-Man games, it always felt a little bland, IMO. Nothing bland about this one.

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gumbi
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 2:50:58 PM

Cool. I'll definitely play it. Your reviews have never led me astray Ben.

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Scarecrow
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 9:52:39 PM
Reply

My first Activision game this decade?

God.... I need to find a way around this.
But wow, this game looks and probably plays amazing.

Spider-Man has a long history of great games. Specially in SNES and ps1.

I'll have to put my hatred for Activision aside and get this.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 10:07:23 PM

I think they are only the publisher if that helps you any.

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Fane1024
Saturday, September 11, 2010 @ 3:57:31 PM

Activision-Blizzard owns Beenox.

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Deadman
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 9:53:32 PM
Reply

I have been playing this for a few days now and loving it. Not the best Spider-Man game but not the worst.

The different styles is what really keeps interesting. So far all of the missions have taken me nearly an hour to complete each, if this keeps up that could make this a 12-13 hr. game. Thought I'd point that out cause it is an Activision game.

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Scarecrow
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 9:54:57 PM

If this sells well, watch out! This game will get countless rehashes year after year just to try to sell on name alone.

*cough* Call of D00ty / Guitar (un)Hero *cough*

Last edited by Scarecrow on 9/9/2010 9:55:15 PM

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Deadman
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 10:21:00 PM

Oh, I'm pretty sure they are kicking themselves for releasing all 4 of these games in one package lol.

Last edited by Deadman on 9/9/2010 10:21:25 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 11:11:35 PM

No, I'd say this is the best Spider-Man yet.

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Deadman
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 3:33:25 PM

Ultimate Spider-Man on Ps2/Xbox/GC is the best. Just for the fact that it was written by Brian Michael Bendis, with the art based directly off of Mark Bagley's illustrations.

This one is right up there though.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 10:10:26 PM
Reply

I'd love it if the whole game was Spider-man Noir.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 11:11:01 PM

I thought the same thing at first, but you'd get tired of it. It isn't fleshed out enough like a full stealth adventure would have to be, what with gadgets and stuff. It's great for what it is because it breaks up the monotony of traditional combat, but the game wouldn't be able to survive on Noir alone.

I mean, not as is. If they wanted to make an all-stealth Spider-Man, even if it didn't make much sense, I'd be down with that. :)

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Qubex
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 8:09:44 AM

Interesting review Ben... I watched the video review on GameSpot to see some visuals and examples of what you were mentioning here... I was intrigued to see how it would stand up against Batman...

The Noir look was my favourite, but I agree, too much of it would not have worked well.

Will probably look at getting the next Batman rather... but this could be good for Spider fans....

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 10:17:40 AM

Well, Batman is about a year away, so... ;)

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JDC80
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 10:19:53 PM
Reply

@Scarecrow

Usually there is like a two year gap between major Spider-Man titles. And since the Spider-Man movie reboot is coming out in 2012 that would probably be the next major Spider-Man game that's coming up next. As for Activision the only games I get from them are the Spider-Man titles.

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PorkChopGamer
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 10:41:19 PM
Reply

When Activision starts putting out bad games, I'll agree with these silly grudges. But this year they've given me Transformers, Singularity, and now, Spiderman, all good and solid experiences. Kotick doesn't need to try to be my friend, but he seems to be committed to releasing good games, that's all I can ask. No one complained when Naughty Dog, Insomniac, and Sucker Punch released their titles every year on the PS2. Guitar Hero and COD are great games. Stop crying.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 11:02:18 PM

People are free to spend their money how they wish, and judge games and company attitudes by voting with their wallets and their speech. Some gamers prefer not to be treated like nothing but a personal bank account.

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sawao_yamanaka
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 11:26:35 AM

Naughty dog released a game every year? Well considering they were actually good they can slide. Craptivision can't slide from mediocrity.

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Jawknee
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 2:25:22 PM

LOL Activision games usually suck so...

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Fane1024
Saturday, September 11, 2010 @ 4:03:20 PM

Kotick doesn't care about good games; fortunately, other people at Activision do.

I was with you until you called Guitar Hero "great". Not the one I played; not even close.

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Alienange
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 10:50:48 PM
Reply

Well you made that sound rather good. But can I stomach the Amazing Spider-man levels? I doubt it.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 11:09:27 PM

Why?

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Alienange
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 1:26:24 PM

"too many one-liners and his offhand, bantering comedy sort of got annoying"

It's what I dislike about Spider-man the most.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 7:51:12 PM

Oh, okay. Yeah, that was overdone. At least Noir Spider-Man isn't so snarky.

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Shams
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 2:15:47 AM
Reply

I somehow missed all the Spidermans. If i remember correctly Spiderman 2 was the last one to receive unanimous praise, but my impression of it echoed Ben's: it appeared rather generic, and a tad wonky, though swinging across sky-scraper heights seemed quite thrilling. I suppose this one might be worth jumping into finally. Thanks, Ben.

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___________
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 3:06:21 AM
Reply

ive been really surprised by this, i thought it was going to be a repeat of spiderman 3.
still wont be buying it though since its not coming out till the end of the month and DR2 is out then.
im sick of companies treating us like gum under there shoes, i mean its not enough that we have to pay more for the games, its not enough that we miss out on some content, we have to wait longer too?
how the %$#@ is that fair?

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Zorigo
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 3:30:33 AM
Reply

I'll rent this and if its as good as i hope it is ill pick it up. hopefully the flaws dont detract too badly

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MadPowerBomber
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 4:29:39 AM
Reply

Spidey deserves a good game. And another good movie. After all Marvel's been putting him through the past few years, he deserves some decent scores SOMEWHERE.

And I hope he's in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 aside from just being in the Daily Bugle stage's background, that is.

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Ultimate_Balla
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 6:55:21 AM
Reply

Yo! That's a high-ass score. I'm impressed. Since Acti games get low on price pretty quick, i'll pick up this game. . .

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Sancho
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 7:05:32 AM
Reply

Good review Ben. I'm sure I'll pick it up used being that I despise Activision. I know most people for whatever didn't like Spider-man 3, but sometimes I like to pop it in just to swing around the city. Spider-man is my all time favorite Super Hero. I have a box full of Spidey stuff. (i.e. Giant Pez dispenser, football jersey, lamp.) XD

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Orvisman
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 7:59:00 AM
Reply

I'm picking this up.

But as great as Batman: AA was, people tend to forget that wasn't the only really good superhero game of 2009.

The Wolverine game was pretty damn good as well.

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Alienange
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 1:27:45 PM

Wolverine was ok but I wouldn't go so far as to say it was in the same class as Batman.

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Amazingskillz
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 9:16:23 AM
Reply

I can honestly say that I will probably never buy or play this game, here's why. For $59.99 there are just too many first class games to buy right now. I still haven't played Heavy Rain, Red Ded Redemption, Arkham Asylum, or God of War 3. They are all on my to purchase list. By the time I get done with those, the new Assassins Creed will be out among others. There are just too many top tier titles out to spend $59.99 on a second tier title. You feel me?

Last edited by Amazingskillz on 9/10/2010 9:16:48 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 10:19:03 AM

Well, yeah. Priorities matter. If you haven't played those other games yet, I can't really recommend Spider-Man over them.

Still worth playing at some point, though.

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Alienange
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 1:29:06 PM

You say "never" today. But when the game is going for under 20 next year, you'll be singing a different tune.

And play Red Dead Redemption already. It's the game of the year.

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Scarecrow
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 6:49:00 PM

No it's not, GOWIII and Heavy Rain got that locked down 'till GT5 comes out.

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hadouken
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 11:55:27 AM
Reply

I'm glad they got rid of the sandbox levels. After a while it felt like a chore just to get to the mission. I'm going to get this soon. I figured it would turn out alright.

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Jawknee
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 2:23:56 PM

Thats how most sandbox games feel for me. Even inFamous, my favorite sandbox game ever got tedious at times.

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Pandacastro
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 12:29:23 PM
Reply

Can anyone make a spiderman game or does it have to be published by activision ??

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MadPowerBomber
Saturday, September 11, 2010 @ 2:26:05 AM

Not anyone can make them, no. Activision has the license for Marvel's titles currently, but there are obvious ways around it. Like Capcom nabbing some rights to be able to do Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the like. When the license runs up with Activision, Disney will renegotiate, and we'll see what happens then. I personally wish Marvel would pull everything in-house and put a lot of cash towards creating their own game studio, similar to how they created their own film studio, so they have more of a direct control and influence over their games. There's been two somewhat decent Marvel related games done by Activision in the past few years (Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 -- I don't count the first one 'cause it was all over the place and really unfocused -- and X-Men Origins: Wolverine), this looks like it could be the third. But we're still a long way before Marvel's titles enjoy a whole line of really good games. Sega is not doing well with their properties recently.

Which is odd. How does Sega and Activision have the Marvel license at the same time?

The good thing about DC's characters is that Warner Bros. owns them, and they're doing a bang up job lately in getting their characters into decent video games. I'm not saying DCU Online is going to be good, but knowing how much work went into it by DC employees is pretty astonishing and hands-on. The entire WildStorm Studio worked on the game, including Jim Lee (who is now co-publisher of DC Comics as a whole) who did the character designs for every character appearing in the game. The rest, Carlos D'Anda (who did the character designs for Arkham Asylum), Nome, and the rest, handled the look of the world of the DCU Online game to give it a universal feel. Having Carlos D'Anda and Paul Dini work on Arkham Asylum was a step in the right direction as well. As far as I can remember, Marvel has only done this kind of work once and it was with Brian Michael Bendis working on the video game version of Ultimate Spider-Man.

ANNNNND ... I'm done.

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eLLeJuss
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 4:29:17 PM
Reply

I never thought I'd see the day a spiderman game will get a score above 7.lol

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Scarecrow
Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 6:50:19 PM

Spiderman games actually have a long history of great games. Dating back to the SNES days.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 @ 7:00:46 PM
Reply

Stan Lee want's you!


http://gamepolitics.com/2010/09/14/stan-lee-wants-you

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