Edge of Time does some of what a spider can.”
In Spider-Man: Edge of Time, some douchebag is trying to mess with time again, which allows you to be part of a Spider-Man/Spider-Man 2099 team-up. Peter David, one of the most entertaining and gay-friendly writers in comics and every manner of geeky novel, scripts the game, and while things start off pretty clichéd, the pacing eventually picks up, and the writing befits Spider-Man and his franchise. If you are a fan, then you should pick up this game.
Walking on walls is harder than you think, and the controls in the game can be confusing. For example, to crawl a wall, you just push towards it and then the compass is spun, and up is right (or is it left?), and then sometimes switches again. Unlike Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, wall crawling is not crucial or trap-laden, and you don’t have to fight disoriented, but it would be nice if they could give you a little compass to let you know which direction is which.
Comparisons to the last Spider-Man game are inevitable. The same company, Beenox, produced both games and has done better than most in translating Peter Parker and company into a video game. Fighting in both games is button mashing, but in SD, I felt more like Spider-Man, agile and powerful, controlled. In EOT, I was just flailing around until my opponents fell down. EOT looks nice, but SD had more variety and personality. I found the grapple was key and let me feel more Spider-Manish and able to leap from foe to foe and out of danger. The upgrades are cool, but since it took so long to earn them, I tended to forget they were there or how to use them.
Everything looks nice the first time you see it. Unfortunately, it only feels like the first time once, and then it becomes bland. In EOT, you are in a futuristic factory building for the entire game, unlike Web of Shadows, where you were in a jungle, a city, dreamscape, burning factory and a circus. The art style switched for each different Spider-Man in Web of Shadows, supersaturated and bright, sepia-toned for noir, darker for symbiote Spidey, neoned out for 2099. In EOT, you get offices and basements and more sewers (why must we always be in sewers—there is nothing sexy or stylistic in sewers, sorry scat fans). These areas are not ugly, per se, but certainly do not invite exploration.
The narrative, though, will catch you in its web. Beenox works the Spider-Man switching a little better in this one, and the stories of the two were much more connected. Each Spider-Man plays differently, but I’m not sure how I feel about the multiple Spider-Men, in general. I think I would prefer more variety or tighter gameplay with just one. The game is enjoyable, and I was caught up in it by the end, but more visual variety would have been nice. And a targeting system. Many things are improved or cut from this version. There is less of both web-swinging and wall-crawling, or at least it is less necessary for both, which was nice, because the control of those things was sometimes rough in SD and frustrating when it became life or death whenever Spidey lost his sense of direction.
Beenox made definite decisions about what they thought was important. Hiring Peter David to do the scripting made the writing better, and the two Spider-Men add variety to the gameplay and make the story less convoluted. Spider-Man retains his spider moves, but nothing really stands out as good enough to really draw you in and overcome the feel of the formula (fight, slam a bunch of buttons, explore and move plot along, fight, slam more buttons, etc.).
Overall, the game is entertaining, and does Spider-Man justice, but I was left wanting more (and better quality). I would say rent or wait for the price to drop. And pick up Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions to get warmed up for the second course.
Read all of Frag Dean‘s gaming reviews and coverage here.
Frag Dean is a podcaster on Silly Frags, available on iTunes, Sticher and sillyfrags.com.