Posted by John on October 18, 2011

Also on: PS3, Wii, 3DS, NDS



Oh Spider-Man, how I miss the days when you were in fun video games. And by days I mean Spider-Man 2. And I suppose you can count Ultimate Spider-Man.

This Spider-Man game though, dubbed Edge of Time, isn’t that good. That’s about as positive as I can get. It’s developed by Beenox, the same guys and gals who put together Shattered Dimensions from last year. That was the game that featured four different Spider-Men, including your standard Peter Parker Spider-Man, the future one from 2099, Batman Spider-Man (labeled Noir so nobody could get sued), and Ultimate Spider-Man. I reviewed that one for Gaming-Age too, and I wasn’t really enthused by it, giving it a C. I actually like Edge of Time less.

Edge of Time starts axing away at features by stripping out two of the Spider-Men from Shattered Dimension, this time showcasing standard 616 universe Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099. A bad guy from Spider-Man 2099 voiced by Val Kilmer 100 percent phoning it in, travels back in time and establishes the big corporation he currently works for way earlier than it should have started. This sends extremely selective shockwaves through time that alter the way history should have occurred. Spider-Man 2099 also gets a vision of Peter being killed by Anti-Venom, which he’s basically trying to stop.

The plot is a mess, but the dialogue is pretty good. The voice actors for both Spider-men do a pretty solid job, especially compared to the rest of the cast. The dialogue is filled with banter, mostly coming from Peter Parker’s end, filled with bad puns and other one-liners that feel pretty true to the character. But the story doesn’t do much of anything with its time travel trappings. Basically history gets altered in a way that benefits the forward progression of the plot, but not in a way that makes sense. For instance, when it gets altered, Peter now works for Alchemax, and not the Daily Bugle. When Spidey 2099 first contacts Peter, Peter seems to know who Miguel O’Hara is, but balks at the idea that he ever worked for J. Jonah Jameson. So are we supposed to believe that Peter still had his Shattered Dimensions adventure despite the change in time? It didn’t seem likely to me. But then I realized I probably shouldn’t worry about it since nobody else that made the game seemed to either.

The combat feels like it’s almost entirely lifted from Shattered Dimensions, but with less interesting levels thrown in. It’s very melee focused, and allows you to create simple combo’s that can be enhanced or learned by spending the glowing orbs most enemies drop. Some powers are shared between both Spider-Men in the upgrades screen, while other abilities are specific to each one. They both have one special skill that allows Spider-Man 2099 to leave behind a temporary clone to trick enemies, while Spider-Man uses his spider-sense to speed things up a bit. Neither is mind blowing, but are used well enough for the combat.

I find the combat to be pretty bland though. The hits never feel like they really connect, more like you’re just tapping guys. Even when you connect with a flurry of punches there’s not much oomph there. I think part of that’s a failing in the sound design side of the game, but the visuals could spruce up the power of these punches a little too.

The web-swinging mechanic is almost entirely absent and unnecessary. Instead the focus is on quick jumps that auto target different objects and allow you to zip line webbing to get there. You can still swing around on your web, but most of the levels aren’t designed in a way that makes it either useful or fun. The whole cityscape setting found in most Spider-Man games prior to Shattered Dimensions is completely gone. In fact, pretty much the entire game takes place inside of one building. And yeah, that’s about as boring of a setting as it sounds.

Also, the villain selection has been dialed way back. One other strong suit for Shattered Dimensions was that it went wild with Spider-Man’s rogue gallery. You either got familiar riffs on guys like Kraven, or slightly more unique takes on Vulture or Hammerhead. Basically, there were a lot of bosses, even if all the boss fights weren’t exactly great. The whole concept of bosses is damn near gone in Edge of Time, most of your fights center around the occasional encounter with Anti Venom, which is interesting the first time or two, but not much more past that.

So I feel like Edge of Time takes a very average and unexciting title like Shattered Dimensions, and actually makes it a little worse. It’s a shame too, because the game is actually pretty nice to look at. The renders for both Spider-Men look great, the soundtrack isn’t half bad, and it doesn’t have much in the way of technical issues. Anything that involves crawling around on the side of surfaces still handles poorly, but that’s been a thorn in the side of most Spider-Man related video games. But everything else just ranges from ho-hum to downright awful. Dialing back the bosses and settings was a mistake, and time travel shouldn’t have been used if it wasn’t going to be explored in any meaningful way (other than superfluous structure changes).

So skip this. It’s not a very good game, not a good Spider-Man game, and not something I’d suggest to anyone. I’m a pretty big comic nerd myself, and while I’m a self-confessed fan of Spider-Man 2099, I’d rather not have the character in any game rather than have him in this one. I didn’t enjoy this at all, and find it to be pretty disappointing.

Click Here to purchase Spider-Man: Edge of Time from Amazon.com

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