Spider-Man: Edge of Time Review
Written : Thursday, October 20, 2011
By: Lee Abrahams
There is probably some kind of weird mathematical equation that correlates the average scores websites give out, with the number of superhero games that are released each year. It would be trite to say that they all suck, but let’s just say that the odds seem to be stacked against them. With the impending behemoth that is Batman: Arkham City, it seems that Spider-Man is getting a raw deal by being rushed out the back door. Still, if the webslinger can bust out all of his finest skills and wittiest one liners then we could be in for some fun.
Only he doesn’t and we most certainly aren’t, with the problem being that the key abilities that make Spider-Man so awesome are effectively nerfed from the get go. Sure you can web swing through some of the rooms, but the controls are woeful and most of the areas you enter are too small to make it a viable option. Instead you will find yourself using the auto-jump feature to hop between points, or just end up crawling slowly from A to B. Without Spidey's trademark agility and grace, this game devolves into just another brawler with the only difference being the fact your character has a Spider-Man suit on.
"Let’s be friends!"
Still, we are getting ahead of ourselves as there is the small matter of the story to delve into. What a story it is as well, in fact we played long and hard and couldn’t believe how difficult it was to find any trace of a decent plot. Telling the tale of how the dastardly Val Kilmer, I mean Walker Sloan, tries to pop back through time to recreate the world in his own image, it boils down to present day Spidey and his futuristic 2099 counterpart to work together to take him, and a few other evil doers, down. Think of it as an amazing dream team. Though obviously you’d have to take into account that both members of the team are pretty much identical in terms of their abilities. So you can imagine the varied gameplay possibilities that playing not one, but TWO, identikit characters can throw up. That’s right, precisely none.
Both versions of the ol' webhead have a basic range of attacks, plus some heavy and ranged attacks to boot. They also have slightly different special abilities, with future decoy operating a speedy decoy while current arachnid man moves at blurring speeds. Each area follows a similar pattern with a room full of goons waiting to be dispatched, which will then allow you to move onto a new area by virtue of a door you can unlock or button bash to death. Occasionally you get to clamber up walls, through ducts or plunge down elevator shafts and the like. Sure these sections break up the repetition somewhat, but frankly that would only be a help if they weren’t so mind-numbingly dull.
"Dastardly red beams – run away!"
The saving grace is the banter between our two heroes, which is comical for the most part but can border on asinine at times. In fact considering they are trying to be stealthy, it is amazing how much chatter goes on. Events are depicted in both timelines by virtue of some picture-in-picture action, and you can influence events through tampering with temporal causality, which basically breaks down to scripted mini puzzles and timed events, completion of which will stop your compadre from being turned into a spider-style paste. Aside from presumably tasting gross, it is obviously not a desirable outcome to success. Luckily though, as with most of the game, these occurrences are pretty easy to overcome.
With bland combat, repetitive puzzles and a decidedly linear and short storyline this game will not hold your attention for very long, though by sheer coincidence it will not actually last that long either. You can up the challenge by playing on a harder difficulty, spend your time scouring each area for collectibles and powers ups, or even hop into some of the challenge levels that you will unlock by completing various tasks but all of this feels a bit like filler material. In truth once you’ve completed the main game there is very little else to really see and do, and you probably won’t have the inclination for more of the same anyway.
"In the future, fashion sense is dead."
On the plus side you can earn some easy points here if you are willing to complete the game on hard, find all of the items, upgrade all of your abilities and so on. Nothing here is too taxing and nor is there really much in the way of innovation or ‘outside the box’ tasks that could make the game a bit more surprising and fun. The most arduous task will be unlocking and completing, to Gold standard, all of the challenges on offer. Some of them can be a mite challenging - clever of them right? - though that can often lead to frustration rather than satisfaction, so maybe only die-hard completionists need apply.
Edge of Time is certainly not the worst Spider-Man game that we’ve ever played, and at times you just get caught up in the banter and combat and have a bit of fun. Such moments are short-lived though, as you conquer room after room of cookie cutter enemies and crawl up yet another wall in seeming slow motion. Some of the powers and moves are nice, but without that traditional freedom Spider-Man: Edge of Time really could be just any old action game. It is disappointing to see that one of the world's most recognised superheroes is not getting the game he deserves.
Some very good voicework, full of cringe-inducing one liners, is very nearly undone by bland background music.
The main characters look great, but outside of that, the game is limited to the same few drab interiors and a very limited array of villains.
Pummel every enemy you see, do a bit of wall-crawling, open a door – repeat. The whole thing soon gets amazingly repetitive and even the odd boss battle fails to lift the gloom somewhat.
A Spider-Man game that totally restricts your freedom of movement and hinges on a dull story to boot is not one that many gamers will want to be a part of. This license is crying out for so much more.
A fairly respectable list, though one that focuses mainly on story progression over everything else. Levelling abilities, finding items and completing challenges make up the rest of the standard fare.
Last seen swinging into a time portal towards the bargain bin, we’d recommend you save your cash until it gets there. Spider-Man: Edge of Time is not especially terrible but is far more mundane than a hero of Spider-Man’s ilk deserves.