3DS

North America

Spider-Man: Edge of Time

by Neal Ronaghan - October 10, 2011, 7:56 am PDT
Total comments: 6

3.5

Relive Spider-Man's greatest battles against switch-flipping, monotony, and robots!

Spider-Man has a checkered video game history. However, since he's been under the care of Activision, games featuring the web-slinger have generally been okay, with Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows being highlights. After solid contributions from Neversoft, Vicarious Visions, and the late, great Shaba Games, Activision has placed the franchise in the hands of Beenox, who unexpectedly made a great game in last year's Shattered Dimensions.

Beenox's second game, Spider-Man: Edge of Time (3DS version reviewed, which is a port of the Wii version, which is a port of the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version), takes all of the good things about the developer's web-slinging debut and throws them out the window. Instead of iterating on the fun combo-and-dodge-based combat and the varied locales and art styles of the first game, Edge of Time simplifies everything down to the level of boredom and monotony, while stripping away the majority of what makes controlling Spider-Man unique.

Edge of Time, a 3D platformer akin to last year's home console Spider-Man game, stars present-day Spider-Man and the futuristic Spider-Man 2099, involving a time-warping premise in which the villainous Walker Sloane (voiced by former Batman Val Kilmer) goes back in time to kill Spider-Man and take over the world. Sloane's time-meddling transforms present-day Spider-Man into an Alchemax employee, which is the company Spider-Man 2099's alter-ego works for in the future. The entire game takes place in this drab, faux-futuristic backdrop.

The two characters bicker a lot, and the Peter David-written dialog is a highlight of the game. The pair of Spider-Men use the fictional "quantum causality" theory to alter each other's time period, though the mechanic is used as nothing more than a narrative device. To execute quantum causality, apparently all you have to do is beat up things and flip switches.

Oddly, beating up things and flipping switches is more or less all you do in the game. You walk or web swing through one soulless corridor after another while fighting enemies. The combat, which was entertaining in last year's Shattered Dimensions, is downright boring in this scaled-down form. You have a few attacks at your disposal, none of which feel fluid. Button mashing becomes a regular activity as you try to wipe out a seemingly endless array of robots and other dull foes.

An upgrade system makes the two characters somewhat unique, but it never adds much beyond increased strength and a new move to flounder around with. A challenge system gives you more upgrade points and unlockable costumes, but it feels so removed from normal gameplay that challenges are more of an interruption than anything else. Challenges don't take you out of the game entirely, though; they simply give you an in-game goal such as "Complete the area without taking damage" or "Defeat the enemies in a limited amount of time." The game shouldn't have needed to be paused to inform you of the challenge parameters, however.

The 3D effect is rather muted. It doesn't hurt anything, but the sense of depth is barely noticeable except for text, which seems very close in the foreground. Spider-Man 2099's freefall segments, one of the only instances of gameplay variety, offer a decent 3D effect, but that is very fleeting. The game does make use of the dual screens, showing off both Spider-Men at the same time in a decently cinematic fashion.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time is quite likely the worst Spider-Man game Activision has published, falling short of even the lackluster Spider-Man 3 and Friend or Foe games. It's boring, repetitive, and indistinct. Spider-Man isn't at his best when he's walled up in a building; he's better off slinging webs in large environments, and that's something that Activision and Beenox need to remember for the next edition of this series.

Summary

Pros
  • Quality voice-acting
  • Sharp writing
Cons
  • Doesn't feel like Spider-Man
  • Fighting stupid robots
  • Lackluster combat
  • Plodding, repetitious gameplay
  • Switch-flipping

Talkback

I got the game, it is not fantastic by an means but I think it still is fun. I would not rate it that low, if your a fan of Spider-Man you will probably get more out of it.

I am a fan of Spider-Man. A pretty big fan, actually. This was the worst Spider-Man game I've ever played in the Activision era (I'd place it right behind Spider-Man 3).

Kytim89October 10, 2011

activision should allow Radical Entertainment, the developer of the Prototype games, to do a Spider-Man 2099 game.

broodwarsOctober 10, 2011

Quote from: Kytim89

activision should allow Radical Entertainment, the developer of the Prototype games, to do a Spider-Man 2099 game.

Why?  Prototype was bad enough without handing them a license people actually care about.

I really liked last year's Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, especially (and I know this is a minority opinion) the interesting Spider-Man Noir stages.  I still plan on checking this game out sometime on my PS3, but the fact that this game focuses on the two least-interesting Spider-Man from the last game and throws them in endless corridor arenas severely dampens my interest.  I don't think that Beenox made the wrong move last year stepping away from the overdone "Open World" formula that the series had beaten into the ground since Spider-Man 2, but the way this game does things goes too far.

RasOctober 10, 2011

I thought Peter David wrote this, not Dan Slott.

Quote from: Ras

I thought Peter David wrote this, not Dan Slott.

...I messed up. Thanks for calling me for mixing up the two comic writers I always seem to mess up...

Also, broodwars, I agree with pretty much everything you said. I really dug Shattered Dimensions. It was somewhat fresh. This is crap. Total crap.

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Genre Action
Developer Beenox
Players1
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Spider-Man: Edge of Time
Release Oct 04, 2011
PublisherActivision
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