Last year developer Beenox took over the reins of the Spider-Man franchise for Activision and released their first Spidey inspired title in Shattered Dimensions. For the first time in a Spider-Man game you took control of not one Spider-man character but four. What on paper sounds like a brilliant move to vary up the experience turned out to bring more problems than answers. Well Beenox is back with their second Spider-Man entry in Edge of Time. Does Beenox learn its lesson or are we in for another snooze fest? Read our full review to find out.
Going into Edge of Time my knowledge was limited as to what Beenox had in store for this game. After clawing my way through the abysmal X-Men Destiny I was ready for a good comic book adventure. Spider-Man: Edge of Time cuts the number of Spider-Man in half leaving you playing as Spider-Man 2099 and The Amazing Spider-Man throughout the adventure.
Although the story in Edge of Time is nothing that an avid Marvel fan hasn’t seen before it actually is pretty interesting. Without giving anything away (as this is one of the strongest portions of the game) there is a time continuum issue between the two Spider-Men that allows them to talk to each other at different points in time and also travel between their two realities. The actions that one Spider-Man takes in their timeframe can directly alter what happens in the others. It’s an interesting twist and one that although not fully fledged out makes for some interesting back and forth banter between the two heroes. The game handles the two time frames exceptionally well, have brief cut’ ins in the bottom corners of the screen showing what the other Spider-Man is up to.
That’s pretty much where my praise for the game ends. Where Beenox has once again come up short is making the action happening on screen interesting. The game takes place indoors for the entire experience having you swing your way through a large industrial building and never once getting a breath of fresh air. Often times you will find yourself within very tight corridors having to do quick web swings to get from one ledge to another. The camera then becomes the greatest enemy for both Spider-Man making you often miss your intended target or loose sense of which direction you should be headed.
I played through Edge of Time on normal difficulty and found the experience to be a tad too far on the easy scale. The enemies in the game may win an award for being some of the dumbest of the year, and once you start to level up your two Spider-Men there is no reason why you can’t just combo your way through the game without dying only a handful of times. The most difficult portions of Edge of Time probably come as Spider-Man 2099 when he is diving through shafts in the building avoiding debris as he goes.
Spider-Man Edge of Time has some interesting narrative choices but unfortunately the rest of the experience is drab. Spider-Man’s core ability to web sling from place to place is so constricted in the games environment that it’s hard to really get the full Spider-Man feel.
Both Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 look excellent. They have an extreme amount of detail to them and seeing both of their suits get tattered throughout the game is pretty gratifying. On the flip side of the equation the fact that the entire game takes place in literally one environment just feels lazy. To compound on that issue nothing within the games environment feels all that interesting; it’s a pretty drab world to play a game in.
There are moments in Edge of Time that are actually quite a bit of fun. But speaking strictly for myself I think Beenox is missing a core understanding of what the typical Spider-Man fans want in a video game. Putting Spider-Man in a confined area is not it. Although fans of Spider-Man will find things to like about the games story it almost goes without saying that the rest of the game is extremely flawed. The combat is basic, and even with the upgrades you don’t even have to use them. The game also uses the age old trick of instead of making smarter enemies they just throw more at you to raise the difficulty which more than anything just makes your hand tired.
I truly believe that Beenox needs to re-look at how they develop their future Spider-Man titles because games like Edge of Time give me little reason to ever want to play another Spider-Man game again. Sure the game is competent, but worth recommending, not in the slightest.