REVIEW: Spider-Man: Edge of Time

Spider-Man: Edge of Time

Developed by – Beenox

Published by – Activision

Number of Players: 1

Platform – Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3, Wii, 3DS, DS

Release Date – October 4th, 2011

Genre – Action, Adventure, Platformer

ESRB – Teen

MSRP – $29.99-$59.99

 

There was a time when a good superhero video game just meant that you got to beat up countless nameless baddies and a few big super villains, with only one special power, a $10 roll of quarters and a couple of buddies all hopped up on Mountain Dew. But as superhero films have become more sophisticated, superhero gaming has been forced to match that same level of detail and storytelling.

Beenox did a great job with their last entry into the webslinging world of Spidey games, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Boasting a cast of a multiple Spider-Men and a story written by current Amazing Spider-Man scribe Dan Slott, the developer was able to give gamers a broad range of spidery gameplay that hadn’t been scene before. Many (myself included) considered the best Spidey game since the absolutely incredible Spider-Man 2.

Then they made Edge of Time.

One of the few problems with Shattered Dimensions was its lack of focus. While playing as many different webslingers was really cool, it made the game somewhat schizophrenic and the lack of intensive playing time with any one character could force one into fits of frustration because their diverse fighting styles made for strategies that didn’t carry from level to level. With Edge of Time, Beenox has parsed down the field to only include the Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 allowing for a more concentrated effort from all involved.

You play as both Peter Parker and his 2099 counterpart Miguel O’Hara in a race to save both the present and the future. Evil Alchemax scientist Walker Sloan has gone back in time to insure that the future will belong to Alchemax. In the crossing of time-streams, Peter Parker ends up dying at the hands of Anti-Venom. Miguel O’Hara fears the ripple across time that would prevent all those inspired by Peter’s amazing life from ever knowing of his great deeds, Miguel himself included. Aside from that 2099 has changed drastically and Alchemax is indeed in absolute control. By linking their minds across time, Miguel and Peter must save the timeline that only Miguel O’Hara remembers! To say the stakes are high would be a massive understatement and it’s all thanks to Edge of Time original Spider-Man 2099 writer Peter David. His experience with writing both Spider-Men is obvious and his larger-than-life plot is only made more entertaining by their constant quipping at each other. Plus the mechanics of quantum physics are always in play. Peter breaking a wall in 2011 means that Miguel might have some problems in 2099.

*What Spider-Man does in the “present” has an effect on what happens in 2099
What Spider-Man does in the "present" has an effect on what happens in 2099

Beenox brings a very familiar feel to the gameplay this time around as well. Just like in Shattered Dimensions, you’ll web and punch your way through hordes of enemies all the while gaining valuable experience point that you can use to upgrade your combos and other attacks. Peter and Miguel also utilize special abilities that are unique to each of them. Peter’s Spider-sense ability allows him to dodge just about any attack which is useful in non-combat situations like laser bars as well. Miguel employs a Spider-decoy maneuver that allows him to distract enemies and wail on them from behind. Of the two, Miguel is definitely the easier one to get a handle on. His decoy move makes it very easy to get out of jams and avoid taking damage that the fact that he can take more damage almost doesn’t matter. Peter is a little hard to handle. His attacks (especially the web-based ones) are slower and rely on range and timing to be truly effective. But both are fun in their own way, players will find themselves gravitating toward one of the other.

*Amazing Spider-Man is the more agile of the two characters
Amazing Spider-Man is the more agile of the two characters

The upgrades aspect of the game could use work though. The interface in Shattered Dimensions seemed much more organized and much clearer as well. By using an Overdrive mode that allows certain moves to only be used in that state, it isn’t always clear if the moves that you’re buying will be immediately useful. This isn’t a deal-breaker as far as the game is concerned but seems like it’s a step backward from Shattered Dimensions more straightforward approach.

One aspect of the game that is often overlooked in the superhero/action-adventure genre is the sound. Spider-Man games have run the gamut from extremely comic book-y in their execution to much more traditional. Edge of Time uses a traditional score and it plays against the events of the plot perfectly. Early on in the game, it seems as though you are swinging into your final battle. The music begins to swell as you rush to your supposed death. I was only two hours into the game and I couldn’t believe it was all about to be over. The music has that kind of effect. It completely knocks you out of any sense of reality and helps envelop you in the world of the game. On the less musical side, Josh Keaton and Christopher Daniel Barnes prove why they were brought back for another turn in the blue and red tights with excellent voice work that captures each Spidey’s personality very well.

The graphics are what you’d expect from any game of this generation of consoles: smooth gameplay at slightly less than optimal gameplay, no bad glitches or wonky character renderings and big heroic cut scenes that any gamer can enjoy.

This game is definitely the best Spidey game since Spider-Man 2. While the lack of an open world environment would seem to work against a Spider-Man game, Beenox has proven that you can keep the entirety of the gameplay in one building and still make a compelling and replayable game. Once again Beenox’s commitment to high concept storytelling and gaming has given the webslinger another commendable entry in his video game library.

GAMEPLAY: 4 / STORY: 5 / GRAPHICS: 4 / SOUND: 3 / OVERALL: 4

 Photos provided by Hero HQ

About Pierce Lydon

Co-Founder & Staff Writer of Kabooooom. Writer. Journo. Freelancer. Lead singer of Cutters. Comics for life. Yankees 'til death.

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