Game Review: Spider-Man Edge of Time
Release Date: October 4th, 2011
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS
ESRB: T for Teen
Website: Hero HQ
When the amazing Spider-Man of 2011 dies in battle with Anti-Venom, it’s up to the technological Spider-Man of 2099 to take charge of time travel and save his defeated predecessor. The follow up to the successful Spider-Man: Shattered Dimension halves the cast for a more intimate story, but does it have the fun? Can Spider-Man fly high in a month dominated by a certain other, much desired and critically acclaimed superhero action title from the distinguished competition?
Invariably, comparisons will come up to its predecessor, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Two of the playable characters from the previous title (Ultimate and Noir) were abandoned to focus on the time-traveling aspects of Amazing (Avenging, Spectacular, Friendly Neighborhood Peter Parker) and 2099 (Miguel O’Hara). For this game, they’re adventures occur concurrently. In one portion of the timeline, Peter Parker might destroy a bridge, leading to Miguel O’Hara falling off the same bridge in the future, since it’s no longer exists. It’s a unique storytelling element, but one that rarely reaches into actual gameplay mechanics.
The true gameplay mechanics are rather solid and standard. Both Spider-Men play a little differently, but the effects are largely the same. Combos kick in up close, ranged attacks take out bad guys from afar, and a special speed attack either kicks you into overdrive or makes you invisible to enemies. For a Spider-Man game, web-swinging has to factor in a large amount, and Edge of Time keeps it downplayed to zipping from one areas to another, or swinging across rather open rooms.
The actual action gameplay’s enjoyable, beyond a few niggling times that you’ll end up facing guys that spawn shields. Likewise, you’ll be in a combo taking out a large batch of enemies only to be shot in the back by a sniper you never noticed off on the wall. The greatest success is the storyline, written by Peter David and wonderfully acted by everyone from the television voice actors of The Spectacular Spider-Man and Spider-Man: The Animated Series, alongside Val Kilmer, Laura Vandervoort, and a handful of other notable and quality voice actors. Largely, the game understands these characters, and that’s based purely on Peter David being one of the great writers, alongside the co-creator of Spider-Man 2099. A good amount of extra features, from challenge missions to alternate costumes and collectible figures all beef up the game beyond story mode.
Gameplay’s going to get a little redundant, and that’s the one of the biggest sins the game commits. Regularly, you’ll end up tracking down keys or other items in a certain area with multiple rooms, having to open up access via plot or other devices to advance the game. You’ll have to fight swarms of villains, who will undoubtedly attack you as you’re trying to rapidly hit B to pull this or press that. If the section will allow it, it’s always best to take out the enemies in your way before actually attempting the mission of the room.
The largest sin is that the time elements are wasted, and are by-and-large just plot based. It’s not as if you can truly mess with time and make things easier or harder for the Spider-Man of the future. Changes happen when you’ve accomplished certain tasks, and usually before you can interact with the actual pre-changed world. It’s a sleight of hand that gives players the conceptual drive that belay the actual gameplay; there’s no Braid elements here.
Spider-Man: Edge of Time is the illusion of a great game. Great story, great dialogue, and great acting all support great characters. The problem is that, while the gameplay is decent enough, it doesn’t reach the creative elements it could have. Repetitive battles and missions only drag down a game that doesn’t meet its time-altering promise, and as a whole hurts what could have been one of the best superhero games of the era.
6 out of 10