Spider-Man: Edge of Time

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Spider-Man: Edge of Time
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Spider-Man: Edge of Time
Action
3DS, DS, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360
Reviews based on the Xbox 360 version
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox
Release Date: October 5th, 2011
After the success of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Marvel Comics and Activision went back to Beenox Studios to usher out the next Spider-Man-themed video gaming hit. Spider-Man: Edge of Time takes hold of gamer’s interest and positive feedback toward the Spider-Man 2099 character and weaves a story line based around him and the modern day Spidey. Together in differing dimensions, the two have to stop the time travelling Walker Sloan from taking over the world by going back in time and starting up Alchemax to save his loved ones by redoing the universe. But, can Beenox capitalize on the suggest and intrigue of the last title, or is this just a rehashed version with seperate story line?

Spider-Man: Edge of Time is handled quite well in many senses, and has a story telling process similar to something you might come across in a movie nowadays. The game starts off with Spider-Man battling Anti-Venom with Spider-Man 2099 racing to save him, giving the precursor of history being changed due to Walker Sloan’s interference through time travelling back to start up Alchemax. This leads to the start of the story that follows Spider-Man 2099 sneaking through Alchemax, pointing out it’s where he works during the day but wouldn’t have access to at night, only to follow Walker along with the opening credits appearin the background on things like pipes and ceilings. It makes for a good way to bypass some credits, but thise scene of Spider-Man 2099 following him takes forever with little action other then crawling and dodging the verification system Walker goes through in order to reach the machine he built. As you go through, you’re stuck fighting varying versions of security, and for the most part that’s it. Some fly, some shoot lasers, and once in a while you come across mutant reject test subjects and what look like Venom symbiote clones that also shoot lasers at you. There’s really no other characters outside the occassional Anti-Venom battle, the Abomination that comes to life after the pivotol Anti-Venom battle, and even a version of one of the ex’s of Peter Parker. Mary Jane also makes an appearance in this game for a short amount of time, but really it serves no purpose whatsoever other then to draw the story out and make her aware of the existence of Spider-Man 2099.

One of the sub plots to the story, though not really hashed out given the twist that comes the way of Peter Parker in the story later on, is that Spider-Man wants to stay in 2099 in hopes that it will protect his family and loved ones from any more bad guys. It’s definitely an interesting concept and had it been hashed out, it could have been a much stronger idea. But, sadly, that doesn’t happen and instead we’re stuck going through the Alchemax building for parts to repair the time machine, get each Spider-Man in their proper time period, and having to stop Walker, as well as The Abomination. This may seem like quite a huge task, but given the actual length of the game, which seemed to be around ten hours, it’s really nothing spectacular. The characters are all voiced well, though Spider-Man 2099 is supposed to be of Mexican or Spanish decent and not only looks like Bruce Campbell but has a voice similar to the Peter Parker of Fox Network 1990’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series. In fact, all the character share similar voices to the characters of that series except for Mary Jane. Even Eddie Brock sounds somewhat similar, but far more tortured due to the mind altering chips that were apparently the size of playing cards just sticking out of Anti-Venom and easily could have been removed at any point given that he tries to control himself and go against Sloan’s demands. Otto Octavious comes into play as well, becoming a big part of the Abomination, by helping him in the modern timeline to keep the time portal open. But, even given the changes made due to Sloan’s alterations in the present to gain control of the future, it seems the story line is based more on older Spider-Man story lines considering Dr Octopus is here and looks healthy and young though he isn’t in the series at this point, and Mary Jane seems to be more Peter’s girlfriend though she hasn’t been for a while. This ends up just being more trivial elements that fans of the character may be bothered by a bit, but could easily be chocked up to the alterations to both time periods.

The final battle to this game is actually not all that thrilling. The conclusion has you face both the Abomination as Spider-Man, and Walker Sloan in a spider suit similar to something Iron Man would have made, which is even referenced in the game, but you fight him as Spider-Man 2099, shifting between the two times to lead to one quantum duality event leading to the game’s conclusion. You never really get much of a satisfaction for defeating the enemy due to these issues, and you can’t help but wonder how it is that time goes back to normal by defeating these two so far past the point of origin, which never seems to be discussed outside a brief discussion about time and how things can affect one another, a play on a joke that is made earlier in the game. But this becomes one of the larger issues to the title. There are many times you’ll want to face certain unbeatable odds, or the game builds you up to a grand finale of some kind to a certain event, and then you shift to the other Spider-Man and in the end have to alter the future through something in the present instead of going into battle. While the focus on science and playing off the intelligence of one another, as well as time disruptions and other theories like this, the rather linear title leaves you feeling like you never get the general rush and excitement of an Action title a good majority of the time, instead leaving you to level up your characters to get stronger to battle overwhelming odds that never seem to have you actually put those power ups to good use.

Sadly, the story here drags out horrible. There are many times you’re walking around defeating enemies for keys to open doors, or trying to find one of the tentacles to the Abomination to hit it with some web to get it o go away and open an alternate path. This wouldn’t be so bad if it were done well and not with such terrible repetition and blandness. The witty banter from each Spider-Man to the enemies and amongst each other does help the game wake you up a bit, and some of the battles can actually be a little more engaging then others, but once you learn the proper pattern to take these enemies down, the game actually becomes really boring. Between the quantum shift move you can make that freezes enemies in time, the hyper senses both have that are unique to each other that slows your enemies down, and just using the webzip to knock enemies back or holding a button to break their defense, even on the hardest setting after unlocking it by completing Normal difficulty you will still find this game to pose very few actual challenges. But, this is perhaps to make way to the varying challenges for the “Web of Challenges” similar to the previous title that you can access when prompted for medals and additional golden spiders to level up your characters, and additional action figures, suits, etc., you can access from the main menu. This makes for a fun addition to the game, but it just has you replaying certain parts if you failed, and really does offer much else to the experience that can be unique.

But the biggest letdown of this title is the overuse of backgrounds and constant running in circles. First of all, the entire game takes place in the Alchemax building you start off in both as Spider-Man 2099 and Spider-Man since Peter Parker happens to be working there already after the introductory clash with Anti-Venom. You’ll see plenty of recycled walls in both time periods, and the only big changes are the science lab that mentions the modern version of the Fantastic Four known as the Future Foundation that exists in modern Marvel Comics timeline and not the past-timeline discussed earlier in the review, as well as the random jungle you get to go into with Spider-Man in the 2099 universe for a long chapter that includes three boss battles against one character. Other then that, it’s the same building for pretty much the entire game, nothing ever changes, and there was plenty of promise to this including going out to see just what happened to the worlds after Walker went through time and started Alchemax in the present day which could have built up the suspense and urgency outside of what develops from the one cgi scene showing the transformation of both time periods.

Graphically, those cgi pieces really stand out nicely. The visuals here are fantastic and feel top-of-the-line for any sort of modern HD-based game. Even the in game graphics are not bad for a God of War style Beat ’em Up Action title. The controls function well and feel tight, moving to where you direct them when you put in what to do without hesitation. Sometimes the hyper abilities of both Spider-Man characters can feel as though they don’t respond quite well at the start, leading to some moments where you inadvertantly fight the air and waste the time you have with the power-up, but the meters do charge back up rather quickly without even leveling them up in the upgrades section. On top of that, the voice work is top notch by everyone, though Mary Jane’s voice became a little more irritating then anything, and it was a surprise to see that Val Kilmer was actually in this game voicing Walker Sloan.

Aside the obvious continuity errors that fans of the Marvel Comics world may be a bit up-in-arms about, such as myself, the lack of exploration to the title really grounded this release from going further. While this in no way needed to be an open world Sandbox title, a little bit of exploration to show the state of the world would have been a welcome experience to the title instead of just implying what happened. The game spans eighteen chapters, and even during the jungle room you see the same recycled walls and backgrounds, as well as run in circles, going into one room for one thing, a secnd for another, and again for a third, only to go back to the room with the time machine, which is the focal point of the room and where you will constantly be coming back to. In the end, the story works out for what it is, but it all feels recycled and insanely drawn out, with very little replay value other then the unlockable Hard Mode which is not that much more difficult compared to Normal since you’ll already be pretty powered up, and the additional golden spiders you find in each chapter. The addition of a chapter select and difficulty select is nice, though it overights your progress in the story line if you go back to play a chapter for some reason, which is also the case of the Web of Challenges if you decide to go back and play one of them after getting further then when it happened.

The only other part here are the achievements and trophies for the consoles that support them. For the most part, these are all story based, and some are challenge based. If you are good at the challenges that appear during the story mode, you’ll get most of them easily. The rest are nothing too special, having stacking difficulty achievements, doing a certain move with each Spider-Man, and reaching upwards of a two hundred combo. These do feel like a breeze, which is welcome considering how dull and boring the actual game actually is, allowing you to finish the title as easily as possible if you happen to be a completionist as far as this part of modern gaming goes.

Overall, if you’ve been looking forward to Spider-Man: Edge of Time, you’re going to be disappointed. This honestly is a reskinned version of the previous title that had a similar God of War foundation, down to the button execution, combos, and upgrade concepts. Between running arond in circles, staring at the same walls constantly in both worlds, and a really drawn out story line that has you doing more fetch quests then anything else, you can’t help but feel that Beenox really dropped the ball with this title and relied solely on the characters to sell the game then the actual product. While they went out of their want with some of the cgi and graphics, as well as the voice talent, there’s nothing too remarkable to this title, and much of it just feels generic and frustrating through it’s simplicity on more levels then it’s difficulty. chances are good you’ll find this title to be better suited as a rental then an actual purchase considering how short it is, and how bland the whole presentation becomes, leaving you with no real desire to sit through another playthrough, even finding the first time through to be a bit of a struggle regardless of how dedicated a Spider-Man fan you are. It’s dull, repetitive, recycled, and often quite tediously boring.

Overall Score: 4.5/10