Spider-Man: Edge of Time Pre-E3 2011 Preview -- Time for Some Anti-VenomBy Miguel Concepcion - Posted Jun 07, 2011
With Spider-Man: Edge of Time, developer Beenox, riding along the relative success of last year’s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, gives us another radioactive dose of Spideys, specifically with two familiar web crawlers: the classic Amazing Spider-Man as well as his 2099 counterpart. Much of the gameplay will be very familiar to those who played the 2010 title, with a number of refinements, such as improved combat and the omission of first-person brawling during boss fights.
It’s not an adventure of dimensions this time around. Instead, it's an amusingly complex story of time paradoxes where one hero is saving another from a fatal outcome. There’s added draw in that, despite their similarities, Peter Parker and Miguel O’Hara aren’t best buds right off the bat, The tension and apprehension of working together across time will hopefully prove entertaining especially when both are skilled in the art of wisecracking.
While we still haven’t been granted hands-on time with the game, Activision was kind enough to reveal one of the bosses: Eddie Brock in the guise of Anti-Venom. He’s in cahoots with Walker Sloane, an Alchemax scientist created specifically for Edge of Time, and presumably the main villain of the game. Sloane’s particularly interested in Anti-Venom for his ability to drain powers, which any sensible gamer can deduce will be a challenge gameplay-wise. I also learned that this encounter with Anti-Venom is what originally kills the Amazing Spider-Man, the pivotal event that the 2099 version is looking to prevent.
We then moved to a scene showing more of the Alchemax base, the same setting that was used in the previous demo. This area was ideal in illustrating how the timelines of both characters run parallel to each other. With Miguel O’Hara advising Parker via the picture-in-picture HUD, present-day Spider-Man is tasked with the job of destroying a set of nuclear regulators, the reason being that the same regulators in the 2099 period are severely weakening future Spider-Man.
This presentation didn't spend too much time on the 2099 time period. The few minutes that were focused on Miguel O'Hara showed how far his close quarters combat is coming along. Not only is the action more fluid, Spider-Man 2099 also moves impressively fast. It does help that he has the special ability to slow down time, a talent that is made up for the fact that he has no spider sense. He was also tasked with having to deactivate a plasma chamber, an area in the game that, unsurprisingly, shows off the intense side of the game’s lighting effects.
Back in the Amazing era, we witnessed the inevitable boss fight against Anti-Venom. Often one of the more noble superheroes, Spidey tries to talk Brock into overcoming the mind control of Anti-Venom before Parker has to resort to beating actual sense into Eddie. Like any good boss, Anti-Venom presents the player with a number of multi-stage challenges. Not only does this he have shape-shifting powers, he can also take Spider-Man’s powers. So I was warned by the Activision spokesman that I would have to learn to be resourceful with Spidey’s increasingly limited skills as the battle wears on. And with that, the demo ended, leaving me teased and the battle intentionally unresolved.
We also got more clarification on how the overall narrative unfolds. Unlike Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, you will not be able to pick and choose which era you're in the mood for. Instead, Edge of Time flows on a fixed path, presumably alternating time periods with each chapter. It does speak to how potentially fleshed out the story is that game writer (and 2099 creator) Peter David clearly has a story to tell, one that cannot be told if the user could select a specific era in a given time.
Having watched both Spideys infiltrate the Alchemax headquarters two demos in a row, it would be nice to see our two heroes in other environments the next time around, not to mention us getting some hands-on time. As this demo was part of an pre-E3 event held by Activision, I won’t hold my breath for new content during the expo, but with a fall release scheduled, we’re confident there’ll be at least another preview session in our own future.