Review: Spider-Man Edge Of Time

November 6, 2011, By Christian Davis

Ever since the release of Spider-Man 2 many years ago, all Spider-Man games that followed have been living in its shadow. The game was so spectacular that you couldn’t help but expect that sort of polish and fun when any other Spider-Man title came out. Year after year, Spider-Man games have not lived up to that predecessor and it seemed like a grim future for the Spider-Man gaming franchise. Activision is no stranger to Spider-Man and with all the games they’ve released featuring our friendly neighborhood wall crawler, you’d hope that all the practice has finally paid off. Unfortunately and not by surprise, the game does not live up to expectations but that’s not to say it’s a terrible game. There are a few positive attributes to the game and that don’t completely hinder your gameplay experience.

Edge of Time turns the Spider-Man universe on its head and has you play as both the Spider-Man of the future (Miguel O’Hara) and the hero of the present (Peter Parker).  In the year 2099, the company, Alchemax, has overtaken the world and created a dystopian future due to the untimely death of Peter Parker. Like most companies with bad intentions the CEO of Alchemax (voiced by Val Kilmer) wants even more power and has developed a time rift to the past. Why would he do such a thing? To start his reign of evil earlier and become even more of a powerhouse in the future. So, as the Spider-Man of the future, you have to stop this diabolical plan.

Graphically the game looks pretty good. Nothing spectacular, but the characters and opposing worlds both look solid. Some of the locales that you’ll be running and zip-lining through are really cool looking. Combat damage is a nice touch to the game especially in those hairier moments of the game where you’ll be close to dying constantly. The clothes are ripped in various locations revealing part of the body and blood stained flesh.  It’s a nice touch.

The best part of Spider-Man Edge of Time is the dialogue between Peter and Miguel. Spider-Man is known for his wit, quick comebacks, and being a smart ass even in the face of death. There’s no shortage of that in this game, especially with the present day Spider-Man. He’s actually pretty funny at times and it’s great to see that represented properly in a game. There’s one instance where Peter tells Miguel to stop repeating the phrase “what the shock” because it’s gets a bit annoying. Spider-Man 2099 literally does say “what the shock” or “you’ve got to be shocking me” every other minute. It’s nice to see them poke fun at that.

Being that one set of events is happening in the past and the other in the future, there are instances where one Spider-Man is in danger due to the events in one of the timeframes. This creates one of the more interesting missions that you’ll have to complete. When something like this occurs, one character has to complete a task in a certain time frame or the one in danger will die. For example, early on Spider-Man 2099 gets captured by a giant robot and is being crushed, so the Spider-Man of the past must dismantle and stop the production of the robot quickly. It does give the game some tense moments and I found myself really rushing to complete these portions to save him.

Of course, what’s a Spider-Man game without some fist fighting right? Well, maybe the fighting should have had more thought behind it. Combat in the game is unfortunately dull and leaves much to be desired. It usually ends up with you repeatedly pressing the standard attack and sometimes having to press and hold the strong attack to break a soldier’s or robot’s block. It doesn’t really escalate past that. There’s a leveling system for new moves and upgrades, but there’s no real motivation to use them aside from maybe two or three special moves. Other than that, you’ll be successful just mashing the standard attack buttons, which gets boring rather quickly.

It also doesn’t help that the level design is very linear. Go to this room, beat these guys up. Go to the next room, beat these guys up. That’s what you’ll be doing the entire time and it gets monotonous. When playing as Spider-Man 2099 however, there are scenes where you go into a free fall and must glide past obstacles to make it to the next section of the level.  It’s a pretty cool sequence that breaks up some of the repeating gameplay.

The game does try to spice things up in another way by adding challenges during your mission. Taking out “x” amount of foes before time runs out, completing this section without getting hit, etc…These challenges are either really easy or annoyingly hard. There are times where they want you to take out 5 thugs without getting hit. No problem right? You enter a room of about nine heavily armored super soldiers who all have guns and shoot at you simultaneously on sight. Challenge failed. The only way to gain access to that challenge again is to die and start that whole sequence over. No thanks. Completing these challenges will award you a golden spider which in turn are used for combat upgrades for attacks you won’t use.

Spider-Man Edge of Time isn’t really a bad game, it’s just unbelievably average. Despite it’s flaws, there’s some good presentation and the music is good too. Though the linearity of the levels and boring combat doesn’t really bring too many memorable moments to the game. It’s something that you’ll pick up and play for short periods of time, beat it, and then forget about it.

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