After last year’s Spidey game, Shattered Dimensions, Activision has decided to let Beenox become the official dev team for their games starring Marvel’s famed webslinger. So, does this game prove the choice as a good one?
The game seems to be a sequel to the previous game, although it does a good job of standing on its own without needing to play the previous one. The story this time focuses on time-travel as Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099 discovers a plot by a scientist named Walker Sloane who works at Miguel’s workplace Alchemax, the evil corporation that was the antagonistic force in the future wallcrawler’s life. Sloane goes back in time to the 70’s to form Alchemax early, giving himself all the power to control the future. Miguel, while trying to pursue him to the past, ends up the only person who knows how the timeline was meant to go before Sloane’s meddling. And he discovers that as a result of the timeline’s change, Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man himself (now an employee of Alchemax instead of a photographer), will die at the hands of Anti-Venom. The two Spider-men have to get over their natural differences and work together to save the timeline from collapsing.
Right off the bat, the graphics are really good, selling the style of 2099 and the present as being capable of existing in the same universe. When the game throws you back and forth between time points, it just works, even when you’re dealing with all the more sci-fi elements. The fact that you’re always going to be in a variation of the Alchemax building allows for familiar areas that change about with the time shifts (more on that later).
Another good selling point is the voice acting. As I’ve noted before, Josh Keaton from the most recent animated series of Spider-Man plays Peter Parker, while Christopher Daniel Barnes, who voiced him in the 90’s, takes the reins as Miguel O’Hara. And they both bring the characters to life, especially since the driving force of the game is the two heroes bantering off each other while trying to save reality. Keaton’s Peter is more idealistic and pun-heavy in his commentary, while Barnes’ Miguel is more snide and snarky in his words. The dialogue really helps, as the story is written by Peter David, who has written some of the best Spider-Man stories and was the co-creator of Spider-Man 2099. The other voices are good too, but I do have a gripe about the new character Walker Sloane’s voice, provided by Val Kilmer. Kilmer is a good actor, and he sells the arrogance and somewhat affable evil in the character. The thing is, Sloane’s character design looks like such an older man that it’s weird hearing Kilmer’s voice coming out of his lips. Everytime I saw Sloane’s face as he spoke, I found myself taken aback.
The gameplay on this one is such a joy, and it shows an improvement from previous titles. The camera actually does not screw you over like it can in these kind of games, and the combat is easier to pick up and learn. The entire game is linear, which means no free-roam like most gamers seem to expect from Spidey, but Alchemax has such big rooms that webslinging will still be your fastest way to travel. I feel I should note how when the game forces you to crawl, it doesn’t feel cumbersome and the two Spider-men handle great during these sections. The two also have distinctive styles, although it’s essentially the same controls, with Amazing Spidey focusing on his fists and webs, while Spidey 2099 uses his claws and has an Accelerated Decoy that plays into his tactics that allows him to strike distracted enemies unseen. There’s also a return of 2099’s diving sections (easily the hardest part in the game) where you will drop down a shaft and try not to die as you avoid obstacles. These sections were the ones that I had to keep redoing since it’s mostly trial and error to know the pattern of obstacles. And to address the most hyped aspect of the game, the Quantum Causality: it’s scripted, so that when an event happens in the past it changes the future. It’s mostly a clever way to add objectives and have areas randomly change on you.
Well, I’ve praised this game enough. The not-so-pleasant parts come mostly from the game’s handling of extra material. As you play the game, you unlock action figures of various regular enemies, as well as bosses. These action figures come with profiles for a lot of characters that are original to the game. This wouldn’t be so bad, if they weren’t the main way to learn about some of the more shocking twists that happen (particularly the final bosses). The other thing is the new Web of Challenges. In the previous game, the Web of Destiny was an interesting mechanic where during gameplay you could achieve certain stunts that would help unlock new costumes. In this game, to unlock new things like the bonus costumes, the Web of Challenges simply requires to get silver medals in the challenges. These often are of the “complete in this much time” or “get this high a combo without taking a hit as fast as possible”. While I do like that you can attempt this challenges outside of the main game from the main menu, it sucks that they’re not as creative as “web zip along the debris thrown at you by Juggernaut” from Shattered Dimensions. This is really annoying, because the amount of bonus suits is just awesome, giving tons of fanservice for die-hard Spidey lovers.
Another thing I should note is that the game is not long. I managed to beat it in two days, and that’s playing in normal intervals. Granted, there’s plenty of replay value if you want to complete the Web of Challenges, and those costumes are cool to play though (my favorites so far are the Big Time suit for 2099 and Future Foundation for Amazing).
Spider-Man: Edge of Time is definitely in the top spot so far for best Spidey game. It’s not the Arkham Asylum of Spider-Man games, but if Beenox is going to keep on this path, they’ll definitely give us the ultimate experience soon.
|The story is plays out like a good graphic novel, the dialogue and voice acting is really well-done, the game handles so smoothly and there's plenty of things to unlock to make you keep replaying it.||Not putting all the details behind some of the new characters in the game itself as opposed to the bonus material, the game can be short, the dive sections can be infuriating, and the Web of Challenges is not as interesting as it was before.|