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Spider-Man: Edge of Time review

Decent
AT A GLANCE
  • Interresting premise
  • Best looking in-game Spider-Man costume to date
  • Fun dialogue between Spideys
  • Boring level design
  • Lame enemies
  • Fails to live up to potential

For years there have been good to great Spider-Man games that were based on sources diverse as movies, TV shows, and alternate universe comics. Still, over the last few years it seems like Spidey has been spinning his wheels more than his webs. 2010’s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions was a clever idea, as you jumped across universes playing as four different Spider-Men, but four Spideys didn’t add up to more than the sum of its parts. Now its pseudo-sequel Spider-Man: Edge of Time is here with half the dimensions as it focuses on the current Peter Parker and his counterpart in the far-flung 2099 trying to save the future one paradox at a time.

 

The trouble begins when a 2099 tech industrialist (voiced by Val Kilmer) sends himself back in time to conquer corporations in the past using his future knowledge, creating an even more dystopian future than Spider-Man 2099 is used to. Good thing future Spidey found a seemingly illogical way to communicate with current day Spider-Man so they can work together across fluctuating timelines to correct the chronological wrongs, including the fact that Peter Parker will die in a matter of hours. Though the sci-fi plot makes little sense when the least bit of reason is applied, clever dialogue shared between the bickering Spideys helpfully distracts from the nonsensical story.

The script (partially written by experienced comics scribe and Spider-Man 2099 co-creator Peter David) gets the characterization of the Spider-Men correct, though they fail to play as naturally as they speak. Other devs pretty much perfected controlling Spider-Man years ago, so developer Beenox simply picks up the torch and goes with it. Using what looks to be basically the same engine as Shattered Dimensions, both Spideys swing, wall crawl, punch, and thwip webs well enough, but it never really feels like Spidey. Though some new special moves are thrown in, it’s at best dependable and vanilla Spider-Action.

Edge of Time’s real hook is that the game stars two different Spider-Men, so what does it do to make each unique? Not a whole lot. They both swing around, they both punch guys and tie them up with webs, and aside from minor moments they’re basically the same guy. Of the few things differentiating them, Peter can use his Spider Sense for boosts of fast action and 2099 can trick enemies with digital duplicates and has some (mostly annoying) free falling segments, and both have their own set of combos to spam. That’s not much to make the either feel all that special.

For as similar as the Spider-Men feel, their settings are even more parallel, in that they’re equally dull. Don’t think you’ll see any of Marvel’s famous New York settings, places like the Daily Bugle, Stark Tower, or even the Empire State Building. You spend all your time exploring the same huge, fairly uninteresting office building/research facility no matter if you’re in 2099 or present day. We’ll admit that there’s some minor area diversity, like a mammoth atrium filled with towering trees and metal platforms, but those were few and far between. It was telling that when we look back on the game now, we have trouble recalling which time period some of the samey areas took place in.

Edge of Time’s gimmick of changes in the timeline affecting different levels also didn’t pay off as well as it could have. It’s true that areas are often lit by purple light that shifts the stage around you, but you have virtually no control over it. It just happens along certain story beats, as it falls in with the overall linear feel of the game. Just find out what two or three objectives you need to complete to open a door, do them, open said door, then move on to the next square area. And the levels feel so claustrophobic, which is the exact opposite of what this hero needs. Perhaps every Spider-Man game doesn’t need to be open world, but swinging down narrow hallways and boxed-in rooms hardly takes advantage of all the character can do.

Often a hero is measured by his villains, and were you to do that with Edge of Time, Peter would look lame indeed. Faceless thugs and countless robots get in your way, all eventually punched into oblivion. And the all-too-rare boss battles often come up short. We’re fans of Anti-Venom in the comics, but here he’s uninteresting and overused, while the Black Cat stage meanders, with her battles stretched out through repetition, repeating basically the same fight for 40 minutes.

For all its troubles, Edge of Time proves that even an unimaginative Spider-Man game can be a fun time waster for fans of the Wall Crawler, but something needs to change for Parker and soon. SM:EoT, following the likewise well-intentioned but lukewarm Shattered Dimensions, shows that the current Spider-games formula has gone as far as it can. For the devoted, Edge of Time is a nice rental with a weekend of passable web-slinging, but we hope, for Peter Parker’s sake, that this one marks the end of the character’s downward trend.

Oct 6, 2011

More Info

Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, DS, Wii, 3DS
Franchise: Spider-man

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14 comments

  • Stpetter - October 12, 2011 2:20 a.m.

    Oh come on already, still the best incarnation of spidey so far in games has been the Spider-Man 2 from PS2 era. As you might notice, I'm one of those fools still hung up on GTA-spiderman esthetic. Only part in that game that infuriated me was rescuing poor civilians from sinking boats, but apart from that IT WAS SPOT ON. Just ditch the movie plot, have proper writers do the story (none of that web of shadows BS), upgrade it tech-wise to current gen, enough silly side missions/diversities (Random minor villains encounters anyone?), and for Pete's sake FREE-ROAMABLE MANHATTAN, Batman might not need full city to explore (as Arkham Asylum already proved) but Web-Slinging spidey most definitely DOES. I mean: How hard could it possibly be?
  • batmanboy11 - October 8, 2011 1:31 p.m.

    This is unfortunate. Although I didn't like Shattered Dimensions much, so this isn't a huge shock.
  • codystovall - October 6, 2011 2:41 p.m.

    You know what would make spiderman more fun...batman. sad I love antivenom and they just turn him into brainwashed baddy.
  • codystovall - October 6, 2011 2:42 p.m.

    Also, can we just star focusing on one spiderman per game(he can have different out fits) but just one.
  • UsernameLoser - October 7, 2011 3:04 p.m.

    This is a SPIDER-MAN game, not a BATMAN game. seriously, wtf
  • da1ken007 - October 6, 2011 11:46 a.m.

    I'll disagree with this. i find this game to be really fun and more then a time waster. I would give this a 7.5 or higher but that's just me. does it have its flaws of course but there is alot of fun to be had here
  • moan4stalone - October 6, 2011 10:11 a.m.

    Thanks for the review I almost purchased it. Will redbox it for sure.
  • Kyo - October 6, 2011 7:48 a.m.

    I loved SD and can't wait for this game to finally get shipped to me... but I still wish they would go with an open world type of game. Those have always been the ones people talk about long after the fact (WoS is an example, some hated it, but most fans loved it me included). Wonder when it'll happen again. I was so happy when I read that the makers of prototype were "going to make the next spider-man game".. but sadly it never came to be :/
  • SonicX_89 - October 6, 2011 5:43 a.m.

    I would really like to a new Spidey game based of the style of Web of Shadows. That game did feel repetitive at times, but it is my favorite Spider-Man game.
  • psycho ninja 4 - October 6, 2011 4:35 a.m.

    And once again, my dreams of a good spidey are ruined.
  • Vulneratus - October 6, 2011 3:36 a.m.

    The thing they don't seem to get is this: "open world" is not necessarily the same thing as "generic open world". Spiderman in a linear corridor game makes about as much sense as The Flash in an RTS... although he would give the Korean kids a run for their money what with his super fast reflexes... but I digress!... what was I saying?... Spiderman! Anyone else smell a "gritty reboot" around the corner? (And I'm not talking about the film)
  • avantguardian - October 6, 2011 1:12 a.m.

    just because the spiderman 3 movie and game happened to be terrible doesn't mean those with the license should move away from open-world games. the only thing really holding the older games back was the tech. they should stick with what's right for the character imo. for batman, it's sneaking around beating fools up with some light detective work. for spidey, it should be swinging around new york. i don't want to ream them for trying to think outside the box with the character, but at least give us one decent open-world spidey game this generation, please.
  • Sinosaur - October 5, 2011 11:18 p.m.

    I think the answer is for Brett Elston to steal the license, take it over to Capcom, and use his nerdistry to make it shine. Or developers might take some of effort they put into shoving multiple Spider-Men into one game and use it to make good gameplay.
  • avantguardian - October 6, 2011 1:02 a.m.

    "are you mocking my methane wanzer?!"

Showing 1-14 of 14 comments

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