Spider-Man: Edge of Time Review

By Russ Frushtick - Posted Oct 13, 2011

Spider-Man returns, this time battling the forces of evil in a time-travelling epic that will probably never make it into the history books.

The Pros
  • Interesting time traveling concept
  • Alternate timeline versions of familiar characters
The Cons
  • Overwhelmingly dull setting
  • Story makes no sense
  • Combat and objectives feel repetitive

Spider-Man: Edge of Time Review:

Last year, Activision made a very smart decision. There is, after all, a limit to how much variety you can have in a Spider-Man game. He swings on webs, punches guys in the face and has a sassy attitude. How do you release a Spider-Man game that doesn't feel like it's exactly the same as the seemingly hundreds that came before? Activision's solution was to offer four Spider-Mans (Spider-Men?) in the place of one. Shattered Dimensions brought along the familiar Amazing Spider-Man, sure, but he was joined by a 1930s-inspided Spidey, a Venom-infected Spidey and a high-tech, futuristic Spidey. It was a breath of fresh air for the franchise, giving fans the opportunity to play as a handful of vastly different super heroes.

A similar concept carries through in the latest entry, Spider-Man: Edge of Time. This time the roster is cut in half, with only Amazing Spider-Man and the high tech Spider-Man 2099 being featured.

Now Try To Follow Me

As with any time travel-related tale, story in Spider-Man: Edge of Time is a little tough to follow. See if you can stick with me.

The game kicks off the year 2099. That era's Spider-Man is named Miguel O'Hara, who is a scientist working for the multi-national conglomerate, Alchemex. The head of Alchemex, one Walker Sloan, is unhappy about the present state of his company and decides to do the most reasonable thing he can think of: Travel back in time to the 1970s, form the company again using futuristic technology to make him unbeatable, and basically take over the world.

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Meanwhile, in the process of discovering this plot, O'Hara realizes that Sloan's actions will end up killing the early 21st century's Spider-Man, the familiar Peter Parker. O'Hara sets out to save his fore-bearer, who, because of Sloan's actions, now works for Alchemex instead of The Daily Bugle.

If your mind is starting to hurt, you're not the only one. The story in Edge of Time is tricky to follow. It is, however, cool to see familiar faces, like Doctor Octopus and J. Jonah Jameson, and how their lives are altered because of Sloan's time travelling. J. Jonah, for example, becomes a late night TV newsman. And Doc Ock...well...he's still a crazy guy with mechanical arms. The more things change. . .

Spider-Man: Edge of Time

Hope You Like Science Facilities!

One of the cooler aspects of Shattered Dimensions was its variety of locales, from train yards to deserts to carnivals. In Edge of Time, all of the action exists within the walls of Alchemex, both in the future and in present day. I hope you like mechanical steel doors and robots, because you're going to be seeing a lot of them!

There's really nothing exceptional about the setting at all. Every single room feels like it was ripped from the Generic Science Facility playbook, with laser walls, automated turrets and hackable computers. Setting the game in two different timelines at once seems like it would be a good excuse to make one timeline vastly different from the other. In practice, the only way to easily tell that you've switched from the past to the future is by looking at which Spider-Man you're playing as.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time

A Tale of Two Spideys

Speaking of the two Spider-Men, they don't feel vastly different from one another either. The basic controls and powers are the same for both, with the only major difference being the Spidies special abilities, assigned to the left trigger. In the case of Amazing Spider-Man, he's able to activate his super senses, dodging incoming attacks while unleashing powerful melee blows on his foes. Spider-Man 2099, on the other hand, is able to create a digital decoy of himself, distracting enemies, thus letting him get the jump on them.

There are upgrade options that are unique to the two web crawlers, but none of them are dramatic enough to really make them feel all that different. Some increased web damage here, an extra combo attack here, but nothing staggering.

Equally uninspired are the objectives you'll have to complete throughout Edge of Time. 2099 and Amazing are working in tandem, affecting each other's timelines through their actions. This manifests as walls appearing or enemies changing, but the raw gameplay is never altered. You're often tasked with running into a room and beating up a bunch of guys to find a key. Or running into a room and beating up a bunch of guys to flip a switch. Or running into a room and beating up a bunch of guys to, well, just beat them up. Occasionally there's some exotic gameplay, including a few freefall sequences that have 2099 plummeting at super sonic speeds, dodging debris, but those moments are few and far between.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time

Swing Away!

It's not that Spider-Man: Edge of Time is a poorly crafted game. It's just an overwhelmingly dull one. In this increasingly-crowded holiday season, this game feels like pure, uninteresting filler. Hardly seems worthy of the $60 you could easily spend on something far more memorable.

Still want to play it? Why not rent it at Gamefly?