The 3DS version of the new Spider-Man game by Beenox was one of the most surprising things I have seen on a 3DS since Zelda. One thing the PSP was interesting for was the ports of Playstation 3 or 360 games and now Nintendo finally has a handheld that can graphics good enough to do ports of console games. I heard literally nothing about the 3DS version of Edge of Time until I dug deep into the bowels of the internet and found a rumor that this version would be a port of the console version and I thought that couldn’t possibly be true as Nintendo had never done that before on a handheld. So I went and bought the game on a whim and I was not disappointed.
The 3DS version actually was a port of what gamers are playing on consoles just with some toned down graphics. Spider-Man Edge of Time gives some hope for the future of the 3DS if it can handle ports like this then there could be many great games being released that are more than worth playing in a handheld form. The story is a continuation of Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions and this time only follows Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 as they try to stop a scientist Walker Sloan who has gone back in time from 2099 to establish his evil corporation Alchemex early so he will be all powerful in the future.
The game opens big with the death of Amazing Spider-Man and 2099 Spider-Man goes back in time to save him. The story seems like it would be a great one shot story arc for a comic as it is written by the man who created Spider-Man 2099. The classic Spider-Man banter is there but 2099 just seems to fall flat on the dialogue. The game could have included more interesting characters as the most exciting addition is Anti-Venom, and while the story can seem kind of lacking through most of the game there is quite an interesting payoff at the end. On top of the story there are multiple challenges to compete in but they are just moments taken out of the campaign where you have a room full of thugs you have to defeat before the timer runs out. The challenges aren’t very inspired but do add a little more to the game.
The entire game takes place inside the Alchemex building and the plot revolves around the concept of Quantum Causality which means if something happens in the past then the future changes, so the building is often changing shape which leads into what could have been puzzling situations but instead are story driven occurrences. An example of the time shifting is that in the future 2099 Spider-Man is fighting a giant robot, so in the past Amazing Spider-Man destroys that robot and then in the future the giant robot turns into a few smaller robots. The game just seems like a generic brawler that happens to feature Spider-Man as he could have been excluded from the game entirely and you wouldn’t even notice. With that being said it is still a great button masher with great controls on the 3DS but it seems a little uninspired. Both characters do play very uniquely and are fun to use. The fighting aspect of this game is actually the strongest part and I always had a blast of clearing every room of bad guys.
Like the previous Spider-Man game there is an upgrade system that you spend points on to unlock new stronger abilities that add a lot more to the combat. The game does get more challenging later on though, almost impossibly so, but when you complete these difficult parts you feel a sense of accomplishment. The biggest issue with the gameplay is definitely the camera controls as you control the camera with the D-Pad which makes it hard to change angles quickly and when there is a lot happening on the screen the camera can get disorientating pretty easily, especially in the tight corridor areas. While web swinging is more accessible in the larger areas it hardly ever becomes useful and you find yourself more often using the web zip to travel which is kind of disappointing giving the fact that this is a Spider-Man game and the main appeal to Spider-Man is swinging around a city.
So far this is one of the best games I have seen on the 3DS. The cinematics are ripped directly from the console version and this Spider-Man game has the best cinematics compared to any of the previous games. The actual gameplay looks pretty great on the 3DS. The Spider-Man characters really pop and the animations are really smooth. The biggest graphic complaint is that enemies sometimes fade in and out if they are a little far away, especially when there is a lot of action happening. It is actually surprising how well the game looks overall. A 3DS game had yet to wow me with the graphics since Zelda but Edge of Time has definitely stepped up the looks department. One of the more noticeable things is that there is a glow on Spider-Man 2099 that looks really good and even during cutscenes when the camera gets really close to the character models they still manage to look presentable.
Edge of Time is all around an extremely mediocre brawler. Even with that thought in mind I still had some fun with this game. The characters are well written and the combat is fluid enough that it never became boring throughout the game. The story is pretty bland but has a more interesting twist that made it seem more suitable for a comic rather than a game. This game is mainly aimed at Spider-Man fans but other gamers could still find a lot of enjoyment from this title. Most of my favorite parts of the game came from the battles in the wider open areas where you could actually incorporate the web swinging as it made the game have a more authentic Spider-Man feel to it. The difficulty can be kind of frustrating at times but if you stick with it till the end you will not be disappointed.
Spider-Man Edge of Time is a worth entry to anyone’s 3DS library and with a system that has so few games available at the moment that really says something. On the surface it is just a simple button masher but beneath the surface there is a lot for Spider-Man or other comic fans to take out of the game. Though it is fill with a lot of mindless action and only enough writing to drive the story forward Spider-Man Edge of Time is a completely worthy 3DS title that wouldn’t be misplaced in any player’s collection of handheld games.