Last year, developer Beenox Studios hit a high note with fans of the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, crafting a game that took place over multiple dimensions and featured four distinct versions of everybody’s favourite arachnid-themed hero.
This year, they’re back, but with only two Spider-Men in this years game, can we expect the amazing and the spectacular, or is Edge of Time half the game of its predecessor?
Things start off on a spectacular note. After a quantum conundrum of time-travel, a Val Kilmer-voiced main villain and Eddie Brock in his Anti-Venom guise collide, our regular universe Spider-Man is left dead, altering events in the future drastically, and allowing for the rise of the mega-corporation Alchemax, decades before it was meant to be.
Now, the Spider-Man of the year 2099 has to work in tandem with Peter Parker, prevent his death, and save the world from being destroyed by a paradox of Gallifreyan proportions, but its not going to be an easy task.
Having perfected the Spider-Man gameplay formula with their previous title, Shattered Dimensions, players familiar to the franchise will be more than well-versed with the controls. Players can easily, and realistically web-swing around, while convenient perches that are highlighted and scattered throughout the levels provide a quick and easy way to traverse a stage, as players can hit the web-zip button and easily zip around, while a double-jump is cunningly disguised as an option to pull yourself up higher with a web-assisted leap.
Combat comes in the form of upgradeable attacks, split between quick and heavy combos that utilise web-blasts, throws and grabs. Its a solid setup, and its been tweaked ever so slightly since the last Spidey game, making combos feel more fluid and intuitive. Between the two Spider-Men, they’re pretty much the same character, save for their one defining power.
Spidey 2099 boasts an enhanced speed boost that makes him so slippery, that he leaves an after-image behind which enemies focus on, allowing for counter-attacks to be set up and to divert attention away when things look grim.
Regular Spidey has a hyper version of his spider-sense, which allows him to dole out fist-based punishment as he avoids attacks from all angles, countering each one in return. These abilities aren’t game-breaking additions to the repertoire of the amazing arachnids, but they do give gamers a tactical edge, and knowing when and how to use them, when combined with the organic combat system, makes for a fun and strategic way to play, that pays off well.
Spidey 2099 still has some levels that will require him to freefall through several buildings, avoiding any obstacles in his way, a gameplay feature that has been carried over from the previous Spidey game. These levels are fast and require split-second timing, making them another great addition to the game, while both main characters also have access to a temporal distortion field, a building meter that can trap foes for quick and relentless combos.
A new “Web of Challenges” mode is also present, giving players a chance to earn ability-unlocking golden spiders, and it pops up during certain segments of the game, tasking players with random tasks, such as completing a stage in a certain time, avoid any damage or find certain objects. They’re not completely necessary to get past a level, but they’re designed to work with a scenario that presents itself at hand, and help to actually add something to the experience.
Visually, Edge of Time looks fantastic, but it doesn’t make great use of these visuals. The Spider-Men boast some lovely textures, and the details on their costumes are all there to see, from small tears to carbon-fibre patterns running on the 2099 costume. While there aren’t too many villains around, they’re all imaginatively designed, and the voice cast of this title make the characters sound believable and human.
One thing that is disappointingly missing, is the variety of scenery. With the action taking place through only one, albeit impossibly massive, building, there’s only so much that the developers can create in order to give players an illusion of freedom, and it quickly wears thin.
The much vaunted consequences from meddling with the time-stream that gamers were promised would alter gameplay radically, are nothing more than some scripted events. Aside from changing some rooms to have more lasers or more death-robots, it has little actual effect on the gameplay, making cause and effect feel more like causeless effects.
There’s no real reason to change what isn’t broken, and the two Spider-Men handle well, dealing out justice in a fashion that feels far more instinctive, while still requiring some thought. Even though levels feel claustrophobic and drab, web-swinging around is still a fantastic experience.
Design and Presentation: 7/10
There’s been a lot of work put into making our heroes look real and spectacular, with many details popping out and the voice work being outstanding. Its just a shame that the game zooms out, leaving no room to appreciate the work put in, while the environments seem to have suffered some neglect, resulting in dreary environments and unimaginative locations.
A lack of supporting characters doesn’t help the game much in the long run either, but at least their design is on par with everyone else.
The Web of Challenges is one fun way to keep the action flowing, but only the most dedicated fans will want to replay stages to see how far they can progress. Clocking in at around 8-10 hours to complete the campaign, there’s little else that’s worthwhile doing when it comes to replaying Edge of Time, and there is no online mode to extend the title.
Much like Shattered Dimensions, Edge of Time presents several great ideas, but forgets how to combine them into one cohesive experience. That’s not to say that this a bad Spider-Man game, as it is still rather enjoyable, but the convoluted story and lack of any extras drag it down, resulting in a single-player experience that is less amazing and more average.
Last Updated: October 18, 2011