Launching in the same time-frame as the highly anticipated Batman: Arkham City, another superhero game, Spiderman: Edge of Time (EoT) swung its way onto our radar. It sure starts off promisingly enough, with attractive graphics and some excellent voice acting.
In EoT, you play as two Spidermans - the first is Peter Parker, in present day New York (the Amazing Spiderman) and the second is a sleeker, more futuristic Spiderman, Miguel O'Hara, from 2099.
Spin me a story
The game’s premise is refreshingly not such a simple one. It involves a power-mad scientist in the future named Walker Sloan, who goes back in time to launch the sinister corporation Alchemax before it was originally founded, in a bid to become an even more domineering force.
This transforms the world into a bleak, dystopian version of itself. A particular nice effect is seeing how it transforms New York city, with the famous Statue of Liberty becoming a grim sword-wielding icon of domination rather than freedom.
This also leads to present day Spiderman’s death at the hands of Anti-Venom, so O’Hara intervenes, enlisting Parker’s help to stop Walker and undo the damage done to the future.
"When I said I thought you should cut down on the steroids, I didn't mean to offend.
The game’s main hook is that what one Spiderman does in his time affects the other in theirs. As the two Spiderman’s both make their way through the massive labyrinthine complex that is Alchemax, they need to work together, and the clash of characters is part of what makes the game entertaining. While Peter Parker is snarky and flippant, O’ Hara bristles with purpose and urgency.
Another notable part of their interaction is that you see, via screen-in-screen displays, how each Spiderman’s actions affect each other’s world, and save or jeopardise each other’s lives. For example, at one point a massive robot that has O’ Hara in a death grip needs to be dismantled by Parker while it is still in the process of being built.
Parker in turn has to fend off a wave of enemies and complete this task in a designated time, or O’ Hara dies. This sequence added a sense of urgency, of racing against time and was amongst the several sequences in the game that we particularly enjoyed.
Additionally, at a certain point in the game, the two Spidey’s swap places, with Parker ending up in O’ Hara’s time and vice versa. In the interest of remaining spoiler free, this creates a welcome change of pace – along with some dialogue that we couldn’t help smiling at. It was this unpredictability that ultimately kept us wanting to continue playing, as soon as we thought the game was just following a linear, predictable path, it started switching things up.
Edge of Time definitely has its moments and nifty ideas.
Three hits and you’re out
Of course there were moments that were less enthralling. One of our least favourite sequences, and very similar to that found in God of War 3, was one in which Spiderman 2099 has to dive through an elevator shaft and while falling, navigate around a series of obstacles and through achingly small vents.
Hit one obstacle or miss one vent and momentum just carries you into hitting another - and another. Each hit decimates chunks of your shield and health bar, with three or four such hits or misses sending you back to the beginning to scream in frustration, rinse and repeat. It reminded us of being hit in the face repeatedly with a baseball bat, or trying to get hold of City Power.
Flies in the ointment
Ultimately, the game is somewhat let down by the large amount of time spent in claustrophobic environments – both Spidermans are frequently cooped-up in crawling through bland corridors or the occasionally unremarkable bowels of Alchemax. Additionally, the enemies are often unremarkable and quite similiar. This is a pity, because the variety of unlockable and upgradeable abilities that are available to both Spidermans during the course of the game are actually fun to discover and use.
Spiderman 2099 bristles with urgency and purpose, and is often a blast to play.
Abilities are separated into those common to both Spideys, and then those specific to Peter Parker and Miguel O’Hara. Shared abilities include the Time Paradox, to freeze enemies in their place or them slow down.
Whereas Parker starts the game with hyper sense, which enables him to rush energies and knock them down, O’Hara can rely on accelerated decoy, a doppelganger which will fight with you and distract enemies. Beyond this, nine more abilities unique to each Spidey wait to be unlocked, and that’s not counting the twelve shared abilities that each can employ.
In order to purchase new abilities, or upgrade existing ones, you have to gather golden spiders (the game’s currency). These are earned from completing certain tasks, or found throughout the world, and compelled us to search thoroughly around every nook and cranny. Additionally, they can be earned from completing combat and obstacle based challenges that are unlocked as you progress.
Completing challenges also unlocks bonus content, such as costumes and the gallery. Then there are the newspapers, which are revealed throughout the game, with alternate headlines showing how different the Spiderman universe will be if Sloan succeeds. All of this adds up to a great deal of interesting content that’s well worth exploring.
You will become very familiar with the depths of Alchemax.
To the point
Edge of Time is not in our opinion a bad game at all, in fact, it’s often entertaining and even quite a good one at times. The more we played it, the more we saw two other faces of the game – we simultaneously found ourselves wanting more from Edge of Time, and then, more of Edge of Time.
In its own way, it’s a compulsive play that reminded us a lot of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in certain respects. Admittedly it doesn’t rise to the heights of greatness we hope for from superhero games nowadays, but its seven hour campaign still merits a play through, particularly for those who can’t get enough of Spidey.
Variety of unlockable abilities
Entertaining rapport between the two Spidey’s
Decent story and time twists
‘Samey’ henchmen enemies