Spider-Man: Edge of Time (PS3/Xbox 360) Review

Posted by Spiderfan001 04 December 2011

Given the negative reviews Spider-Man: Edge of Time was getting on conventional gaming sites, I decided to wait for a sale before diving into the latest Spidey offering from Activison and Beenox.  Which turned out to be much sooner than I expected; when I walked into my local GameStop this week, Spider-Man: Edge of Time was on sale for half price!  So is the game really as bad as the internet says?


The Story
Spider-Man: Edge of Time features a story made in collaboration with legendary Spider-Scribe (and creator of Spider-Man 2099) Peter David.  In 2099, a scientist from the Alchemax Corporation named Walter Sloan travels back to the present day and starts the Alchemax Corporation several years before it was originally founded.  Spider-Man 2099 attempts to follow Sloan through time but instead gets caught between time periods.  Because of this, he is unaffected by the changes Sloan makes to the past and is able to see a vision of the future in which Anti Venom kills the original Spider-Man.  Sloan uses his knowledge to make Alchemax into a powerful corporation, with his actions changing certain aspects of the Marvel Universe (Peter Parker now works for Alchemax instead of the Daily Bugle, Otto Octavius never becomes Doctor Octopus, Adrian Toomes owns a fast food chain that serves chicken) while leaving other aspects intact (Peter Parker is still Spider-Man, Anti Venom is still around).  When Spider-Man 2099 gets back to his time period, he is able to create a link between himself and Peter Parker.  The two agree to work together to stop Sloan.


The most disappointing aspect of Edge of Time’s story as compared to previous Spider-Man games was how few Spider-Man characters actually show up.  Anti Venom, Black Cat and Doc Ock are the only villains who make an appearance.  Compare that to how many characters we got to see in Beenox’s previous game, Shattered Dimensions, and it’s fairly disappointing.  Mary Jane also appears in the game, but only in a typical “damsel in distress” role. 
The highlight of the game’s story was the banter between the two Spider-Men.  I liked how the youthful energy of the present Spidey contrasted the more cynical Spider-Man of 2099.  Watching these two get on each other’s nerves and eventually develop a friendship as the game progresses keeps you invested despite the sometimes tedious gameplay.  In addition, the story does throw you a cool twist at the end of act II, one that will make you want to play through to the end. 

As a nice touch, Daily Bugle headlines will appear on the corner of the screen showing the changes being made to the time stream as you play.
Gameplay

The biggest drawback to Edge of Time is that the entire game takes place inside one large building, meaning neither Spider-Man ever gets to step outside.  Gameplay consists of: entering a room, beating up all the baddies in the room, finding the key or console that unlocks the door to the next room, repeat.  Each level also has a set of optional challenges, which if met will allow you to unlock alternate costumes.  As Spider-Man 2099, you’ll sometimes have to navigate through a free fall sequence, but the imprecise controls make these sequences a chore. 
The two Spider-Men (who you will switch back and forth between) have identical move sets consisting of a light attack, a heavy attack and web shots.  In addition, both Spider-Men have the ability to freeze time around them, stopping enemies dead in their tracks.  Where things slightly differ between the two is in how each Spidey can dodge enemy attacks.  Spider-Man can activate his spider-sense, causing him to move at a super speed, while Spider-Man 2099 can create a decoy of himself to distract enemies.  Each Spider-Man can upgrade his move set by collecting experience, both by defeating enemies and by collecting the orbs littered throughout each level.

Boss battles are few and far between and are far less impressive than they were in Shattered Dimensions.  With the exception of the final boss fight, there’s not much to distinguish the bosses from regular enemies except for their much larger health bars.
Graphics

The character models in Edge of Time look great, with Spider-Man 2099 being the standout; his suit exhibits a very sleek, futuristic glow.  Everything else however, looks unremarkable.  Again, the game takes place in one giant building, and a fairly uninteresting one at that.  Arkham Asylum this is not.

Audio

The voice acting in the game is superb, with the highlights obviously being Josh Keaton (of the tragically short lived Spectacular Spider-Man animated series) as the present day Spider-Man and Christopher Daniel Barnes (of Spider-Man: TAS, and who will always be Spider-Man for me) as Spidey 2099.  Although it’s great to hear Barnes again, Keaton really steals the show here, playing not only Spidey but another character who I won’t mention here to avoid spoilers.  Suffice to say, Keaton has a lot of range as a voice actor and was a brilliant choice to play Spider-Man.
The rest of the audio, from the sound effects to the score, gets the job done nicely.

Overall
Spider-Man: Edge of Time fails to live up to the greatness of its predecessor.  One level of Shattered Dimensions packs more variety and content then the entirety of Edge of Time.  The terrific voice acting and solid story make the game worth picking up for Spider-Man fans, but only if they can find it on sale.  Despite my complaints, I still stayed up until 4 in the morning to beat the game, which says something.  Thanks Beenox!
Rating: 3/5

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