Last year’s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions by Beenox was without a doubt the best Spider-Man game we’ve seen in too long a time, and thankfully Beenox continues to give the Spider-Man franchise a game worthy of the Web Head’s iconography. It’s hard to say if Spider-Man: Edge of Time is better than Shattered Dimensions, because both games are very different, yet very similar in several ways, but regardless, “amazing” and “spectacular” describe more about this game than the main character.
Released: Oct. 4, 2011
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii
Miguel O’Hara is the only other alternate Spidey in this game, and that’s one reason why I like Edge of Time over Shattered Dimensions. The story, written by the great Peter David, consists of an evil scientist, Walker Sloan (voiced by Val Kilmer, LOL), coming to the past for greedy and nefarious purposes, with our heroes inevitably getting involved. This altering of the past ends up changing the future, leading to a team-up that defies the logic of time and space, making partners out of Peter Parker and O’Hara with little regard for the 88 year difference.
What bothered me with the last game was how gimmicky gameplay felt with each character offering a different style, and EoT isn’t without its gimmicks, but it’s still very fun and exciting. In some stages you have a small window to the future/past showing the progress of your teammate. Things you do in the past as Parker will affect O’Hara in the future, making you rush to defeat a specific enemy or acquire some kind of McGuffin to save your future friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. It’s an interesting little quirk, but one that can also be very frustrating at times. This kind of Doc Brown science is applied all throughout the game in different ways, and aside from annoying time limits, it rarely feels tiresome.
Basic gameplay is practically identical to SD, mixing platforming and beat-em-up, but with differences with both Spider-Men. Parker can enter a kind of Spider-Sense mode, slowing time to avoid attacks and take out enemies easier, while O’Hara’s Spider-Suit accelerates his speed, disorienting his foes. There are tons of unlockable combos to be had, and unlike previous Spider-Man titles, I actually had fun learning and experimenting with all the different moves.
Throughout your journey you come across familiar foes like Rhino, Shocker, Doc Ock, and Anti-Venom, however, your encounter with each boss isn’t as memorable or exciting as previous showdowns from other games. The actual combat in these fights is almost an afterthought in comparison. You’ll also see Mary Jane, future Black Cat, and Jay Jonah Jameson, who makes a really funny remark about the horrible possibility of a Spider-Man musical.
The game isn’t perfect, suffering from glimpses of slight repetition, but what is perfect are the game’s graphics and animations. The look and designs are stunning, and never cease to impress. And it’s all backed up with great music with tracks supporting the mood of every action. Josh Keaton, who you’ll recognize from the animated series Spectacular Spider-Man, voices Parker, and Christopher Daniel Barnes, from the 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series (and to me personally, the Spidey voice actor that Kevin Conroy is to Batman), speaks for O’Hara, and both do a fantastic job. Oh…and that Kilmer guy doesn’t do so bad himself.
And of course it’s not a great Spidey game without tons of alternate costumes! Some costumes are pre-order specific, but players have the opportunity to play as Miles Morales Ultimate Spidey, Future Foundation Spidey, and Big Time Spidey. Spider-Armor, Cosmic, Cosmic 2099, Secret War, 1602, and Scarlet Spidey are all available only if you have a save file for Shattered Dimensions on your console, and if you don’t have one already, then shame on you!
Beenox is definitely on track for making superb Spider-Man games, and they develop their games to Spider-Man’s strengths, which is perfect, but I would really love to see Beenox broaden their scope. Edge of Time wasn’t too far out of the comfort zone established with last year’s title, and I really want to do more with Spider-Man than just beat up endless hordes of henchmen and complete the same predictable levels. If Beenox goes for a third Spider-Man game, and I hope they do, I would like to see more outward thinking about Spidey’s environment and gameplay missions. There is a lot to be explored with Spidey’s abilities, and I hope Beenox figures out how to present that to fans, but until then, Edge of Time is still arguably the absolute best Spider-Man game for your money.
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