Spider-Man: Edge of Time
: PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, Wii, 3DS
: Action/Beat ‘em Up
: October 4, 2011
From the developers who brought gamers a fresh perspective on the Spider-Man video game line, Beenox follows up on Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions with Spider-Man: Edge of Time. Both the present and future timelines of New York are threatened and both the Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 must work together to restore their universes to their rightful place.
Edge of Time is not a sequel to Shattered Dimensions, so you can rule that out. Instead, treat it as you would the Spider-Man comic books; it’s a new, and original story.
The game opens with the Peter Parker Spider-Man in a fight with Anti-Venom (if you’re unfamiliar with the comics, Anti-Venom is… well the opposite of Venom. Eddie Brock appears in a white symbiote suit rather than the traditional black. This is because Anti-Venom seeks to destroy any harm the new Venom can cause. So you can see how Spider-Man can form an ally out of Anti-Venom). Anti-Venom, though normally on Spider-Man’s good side, has been mysteriously brain washed at the behest of Walker Sloan’s bidding. Sloan has traveled from the year 2099; he is a brilliant scientist of the infamous Alchemax Corporation. Sloan aims to establish Alchemax, before its original time, in the time of the Amazing Spider-Man in an attempt to change the events of the future so that no other company or person could even try to destabilize Alchemax.
Anti-Venom manages to severely weaken Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Miguel O’Hara, or Spider-Man 2099, tracks down Sloan within Alchemax. As Sloan begins to pass through the time portal to the past, Spider-Man 2099 makes it through too late, getting himself caught between both timelines. He begins to see visions of the past, and to his horror, finds the Spider-Man of the past killed by Anti-Venom. Upon returning to his time, Spider-Man 2099 finds the futuristic New York has been transformed into a chaotic, barren, and dark place. Sloan succeeded with his plan in the past. Yet Peter Parker still lives in the new timeline if Spider-Man 2099 can manage to reach Peter before the time of his eventual demise.
Knowing this, Spider-Man 2099 uses Peter’s DNA within the Alchemax archives to communicate with him in the past. He is able to warn Peter, now working for Alchemax rather than the Daily Bugle, that Spider-Man is doomed to die at the hands of Sloan and Anti-Venom if he doesn’t do something to change it. Initially in disbelief, Peter decides to listen to Spider-Man 2099 but soon comes to believe him when gradual changes between both timelines occur as a result of both their actions. They decide to work together to stop Sloan and restore both space and time.
Edge of Time shares some graphical similarities with Shattered Dimensions, but the keyword is “some”. For example, if you liked the art direction of Amazing Spider-Man in Shattered Dimensions, with the bold outline texture, giving it the look and feel of Spidey jumping right out of the pages of a comic; well Edge of Time’s Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t carry over that look. That’s no flaw in my opinion. In fact, the graphics during gameplay look crisp, but not as good as the game’s cut scenes. Now those look pretty good. They do a swell job of bringing both Spider-Men to life in detail, like the close ups of Spider-Man 2099, with those glowing lights emanating from within the fibers of his body suit, probably exchanging electronic data from his skin to his body’s central nervous system. You can see how the graphics makes your mind wonder. As beautiful as those cut scenes are, you might notice the interior of the Alchemax labs, where the whole game takes place, look similar. While the company is supposed to appear sleek and advanced, some areas are the reflection of other areas, and I don’t mean huge open areas but things like hallways or small rooms. Additionally the thugs you come across all look the same, though their appearance changes depending what class of enemy you’re fighting. All in all, the game could use a little more variety during the gameplay, but the cut scenes are eye candy.
Edge of Time features some snappy dialogue. If you’re a fan like me of the Spider-Man animated series that aired on FOX during the 90s, you’ll notice a familiar voice reprising the role of Spider-Man as this individual did in Shattered Dimensions. Christopher Daniel Barnes is that individual portraying Spider-Man 2099, and the familiarity of the voice brings back the adventures of Spider-Man on TV from the good old days. It just tugs at your heart strings the same way Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill did in Arkham City. Josh Keaton also returns as Amazing Spider-Man, reprising his role from Shattered Dimensions as well as the later Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. Even Val Kilmer provides his voice for Walker Sloan.
Background music keeps the tension of the Spider-Men’s race against time ever present. The story has a mysterious conspiracy behind it, and the music serves to accompany these equally surprising moments at every twist and turn.
If you missed out on Shattered Dimensions then you may or may not know that both Edge of Time and Shattered Dimensions depart from the open world Spider-Man experience for a linear, more narrative experience. Shattered Dimensions did that pretty well with four different Spider-Men. Edge of Time follows only Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099. The game takes place within the walls of Alchemax primarily.
Both Spideys will move through the immense laboratory to stop their universes from spiraling out of control. Guards ranging from light to heavy will occasionally get in your way to stop your progress, and in some instances can’t move on without taking them all down. The beat ‘em up action is found here by dishing out the hurt on the baddies. Each Spidey has their own fighting style, with Spider-Man focusing on his agility and Spider-Man 2099 with his hi-tech futuristic enhancements. Defeating enemies awards the player with experience points (XP) which can be spent on one or both Spider-Men to enhance their fighting style with more moves or upgrades to their health system.
Close quarters combat can be tricky when both Spider-Men are surrounded by foes, so tapping the shoulder button will activate “hyper sense” in Spider-Man, enabling him to dash around the floor at super speed, landing punches and kicks to enemy after enemy, while Spider-Man 2099 creates an illusion of himself, temporarily fooling enemies into thinking they’re attacking the real Spider-Man. This was a good addition to the game, but could be a little difficult to keep an attack chain going if you so happen to be placed further out of reach from an enemy.
There were some downsides to the game. One was that the ability to gain altitude by using webs to pull yourself upward has been limited to a single use. Meaning you’d have to get your feet on the ground, jump, and pull yourself upward onto another platform and repeat the process again. In Shattered Dimensions you could pull yourself up to gain altitude while in midair without any limit to the amount of times you could do so. Why this was removed in Edge of Time is strange, especially when there are places in Alchemax that have high, high ceilings. Furthermore, crawling on walls could be tricky given how the camera would situate itself from time to time, causing you to shift the direction you’re moving in even when you’re pushing the analog stick in the direction you want to go. Though the majority of wall crawling wasn’t like this, so it wasn’t a huge issue. Yet these issues take a few steps back from what Shattered Dimensions had going.
One of the more exciting, albeit frustrating at times, moments of the game are the free fall segments of Spider-Man 2099 as he dives through the bowels of Alchemax at high speed to move from one area to another. The inner workings of the massive laboratory are the obstacles that get in your way. You can weave through the narrow passes and remain unscathed if you can manage it. Thank goodness the game provides you with an indicator where Spidey is headed in free fall; otherwise you’d be slamming into fixtures very much unlike Spider-Man. These moments test your dexterity, so you’re in for a world of hurt if you don’t think you’re fast enough. What’s more is that you will be required at times to speed up your fall, but it’s really fun and worth it if you can manage to get the hang of it.
You can get through the game in one sitting if you have nothing to do for a day. Clocking in at about seven hours, it’s a decent amount of time for the kind of game it is. The Web of Challenges returns as an opportunity to rake in some extra content as well as achievements or trophies. They can be selected during gameplay, but are optional if you choose them to be. Some are easier than others and some can be unpleasantly difficult and picky. Your rewards for these challenges include a variety of alternate costumes among other things. It really comes down to your decision if you want to pursue these potential bonuses. If there was a particular chapter in the game you enjoyed you can always go back and select the corresponding chapter for another go at those challenges any way.
Edge of Time could have added more to the Shattered Dimensions experience, but it stumbled to keep the momentum going. Still, if you’re a Spider-Man fan and can look over some of the limitations of the game, while also going in to it carefree, you’ll find yourself enjoying it. It was both Spider-Men that kept me interested in the game. There are some cool segments of gameplay to experience; you’ll like it more so if you’re especially into the beat ‘em up type of games. I’d suggest trying out Shattered Dimensions too if you want to expand or have a more complete Beenox developed Spider-Man game experience.