2011-10-20

Spider-Man: Edge of Time – A Fun But Flawed Spidey Adventure

by Yo Snyder

I can remember a time when I was excited to see one Marvel
or DC hero getting a video game. It was
rare back in the NES/Super NES/Genesis days to get one and when I did it didn’t
matter if it was a terrible game because I was too excited I was playing as
one of my favorite superheroes. Well, those days are long gone, and this month
we saw not one or two but three superhero properties getting a new video
game. So which one should you spend your
hard earned money on? Well, that depends
on how much you love Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Edge of
Time
begins with the end of Spider-Man. At the start we see the death of Peter Parker at the hands of Eddie
Brock a.k.a Anti-Venom in the present, and Spider-Man 2099 (the Spider-Man from
the future) now must reverse this, along with Peter Parker (the Spider-Man in
the present) before Spider-Man (in the present) dies, and time
unravels – confused yet? Don’t worry, it
gets much worse. You play as both
characters in each time period, but unlike the predecessor, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, you
have no control of which time period you play in with Edge of Time. Instead, you
follow point A to point B which leads to point C where it causes something to
happen in the future and shifts you to that character. You then follow point A to point B to point C
where it causes something to happen in the past and shifts you to that
character. The game is very linear and
repetitive. I didn’t even get to my
first boss battle until I was 26% through the story and the only real
difference was button mashing on one big guy instead of five smaller ones. Fortunately the story is entertaining enough (although
somewhat confusing at times) that I enjoyed myself. The idea is things you do in the present
affect the year 2099 immediately. The
idea is so outlandish that the Spider-Man in the present even comments about
how stupid that sounds. The writing is
quite clever. Written by Peter David,
the current writer of X-Factor and creator of Spider-Man 2099, his humor is not
lost on me. Whether its the previous
dig at the concept of the game or the great Spider-Man the musical shot he gets
in, the writing is clever enough that I wanted to get through the game so I wouldn’t miss any of the solid one-liners (a big part of what makes Peter
Parker great). The presentation is also
a plus. At one point, my seven year old
son walked in and asked me if I was watching a movie or if I was actually
controlling the Spider-Man on the screen. Beautiful graphics and the cut away scenes were stellar. There is also quite a bit of power ups to
make this game worth getting through. A
new feature in the game is the room challenges. In most rooms there is a challenge and if you complete the set task you
received a medal and a set amount of orbs which you can use to buy upgrades. 

Overall there is fun to be had with Spider-Man: Edge of Time, and if this game had released back in
June or July I’m sure I would have played through multiple times because the
replay value is moderate. Unfortunately
that is not the case and with such games as Batman:
Arkham City
and Battlefield 3
surrounding it, Spider-Man: Edge of Time
is a one and done for me. Better to rent
this one or pick it up in a few months when the price is cheaper and you are
tired of playing as the Dark Knight. 

Score out of 7:

Graphics: 5 Everything looks really slick in this game,
almost too slick at times as the character models have a plastic sheen to them.
There are also neat particle and light effects, but sometimes there are so many
of them it gets distracting during combat. Still, its a pretty game with great
presentation.

Sound: 6 Solid voice acting throughout really bring the,
er, Spider-Men alive. Dramatic music helps set the mood, but some of the sound
during combat is a little weak. It doesn’t have that bone-crunch impactful
sound that the combat in Arkham City
has.

Controls: 4 The controls are okay for the most part,
except when you climb on walls where it get confusing. Web swinging can also be
more challenging than it should.

Gameplay: 4 One button combat can work really well
(reference Arkham City) without being
repetitive. Here, though, its just repetitive. As is finding keys, crawling
through ventilation shafts and everything else you do. Lots of padding for what
is already a fairly short game.

Story: 6 This is one of the strongest elements of the
game. Its an intriguing story with some fun twists and fun interplay between
the two storylines. Without this, the game just wouldn’t be worth playing; just
goes to show what strong storytelling can do for a game.

Content: 5 Mostly a PG affair. Plenty of action without
any serious consequence. Black Cat is dressed less than appropriately; shes
even more risqu than most comic book portrayals. Some of the bad guys can be a
little scary for younger kids.

Final Score: 5
Spider-Man: Edge of Time is a fun game with some flaws. It repeats a lot of
what made Shattered Dimensions fun, and then gets a bit too repetitive for its
own good. Still, there’s plenty to unlock and it has a great story. It’d be
nice to get back to web-swinging in the city, but this was still a good time,
especially for a huge Spider-Man fan. Its biggest problem is being released in
the shadow of Arkham City, which
makes its shortcoming that much more apparent. Good rental, or buy it if you
find it for cheap.