True believers of SelectButton rejoice! Beenox brings us the various mythos of the Spider-Man universe to our consoles once again with Spider-Man: Edge of Time. In similar spirit to last year’s Shattered Dimensions, EoT follows The Amazing Spider-Man Peter Parker and Miguel O’Hera’s Spider-Man of 2099 on an adventure to save their past, present and future. But is this web stretched too thin?
As far as superhero games go, a new Spider-Man title is guaranteed almost annually. With so many previous games to live up to, a solid story and unique presentation are a must to set any web-head title apart.
When the 2099 mega-corp Alchemax suddenly forms a century before it is supposed to, the two heroes find both their worlds (and time itself) radically altered. The two Spidermen must team up across time to reset events and set things straight. In a classic villain cliché, Alchemax exec and mastermind Walker Sloane (voiced by Val Kilmer) tinkers with time in order to turn a profit. The none-too-original plot is offset by the colorful dynamic between Parker and O’Hera exchanging wisecracks and critiquing one another throughout the game using some rather convenient “time telepathy.”
Following in Shattered Dimensions footsteps, the levels’ style and designs are reflected by the two different universes. However, repetitive corridors and the occasional open area to swing tend to all look the same after a while. Voice acting is done superbly, but sound effects are stock and the soundtrack itself sounds rather generic throughout the game. Player models look excellent with several unlockable costumes from the many varied looks of Spider-Man. The same can’t be said of the basic enemies; bosses share the heroes level of detail but the cannon fodder in either time are forgettable. The fodder enemies of the game only differ in form as humans in the modern day and as robots in 2099.
Gameplay draws directly from Shattered Dimensions, but does not bring any fresh mechanics into the mix. If fighting waves of similar enemies through drab environments is your idea of a good time, then you’ll be busy for hours button mashing. For everyone else though, it does get rather stale. There are large areas littered with collectible orbs and golden spiders used to buy upgrades that make for short distractions, but it never truly captures the freedom and agility of being Spider-Man. The free-falling gameplay in 2099 makes a return but offers more of the same: throw O’Hera down massive obstacle courses to push the story along. Luckily it was not overused.
Aside from the superficial differences, both characters play the same. Controls are simple with little to no skill required. Veterans and newcomers alike will pick up the controller and fare equally well. Combat is button mashing through and through: light and heavy attacks broken up by the odd web move. Web swinging indoors can also be clunky and awkward and the preset web zipping has issues with camera control.
This is a game trying too hard to be like its predecessor, but it lacks many fundamentals. It’s a solid enough rental title. While it can be fun to act out boyhood dreams of being the Wall-crawler punching badguys and catching thieves just like flies, this isn’t the first misstep for the iconic hero (Emo Spidey anyone?). The almost fully indoor environments, scripted aerial drops or crawling sections take away from one of the most essential aspects to any Spider-Man game: freedom. Spidey has the strength and agility to move about as he pleases and this game just feels too restricted. By no means though should it be written off as an easy game. It does have its fair share of challenges, especially the Black Cat boss battle (meeeeeeow). The game is definitely worth a spin, albeit a short one. Rent the game and let us know your take on it in the comments below.Note: Spider-Man: Edge of Time was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A physical copy of the game was purchased by SelectButton.