Beenox Games really outdid themselves with their first entry into the Spider-Man franchise. Shattered Dimensions did everything right and very little wrong. Seeing that success Activision had them pump out a sequel, Spider-Man: Edge of Time, and while the game stands alone very well, it doesn’t compare very well to its predecessor. So in this review I’m going to try to review it without thinking about Shattered Dimensions, that is the only way to give this game a fair shake. At first I didn’t enjoy my time with this game, but as I got deeper and deeper into the story I realized that this game is pretty darn good and people shouldn’t overlook it just because it is the middle child of Beenox Spider-Man games.
Now there are some comic book writers that can pen an extremely well crafted video game story; Paul Dini for example with the first two Arkham games, and Dan Slott with Shattered Dimensions. Peter David is not one of those men. In my opinion Peter David should have stopped writing comic books years ago, yet he continues to pop up with stale titles like X-Factor and Spider-Man 2099. Speaking of Spider-Man 2099, he is one of the main characters in Edge of Time and says “shocking” a lot. I’m assuming that’s a swear word 83 years from now. This game opens up with Spider-Man of our time getting his clock cleaned by Anti-Venom and Spider-Man 2099 trying to save Parker from dying a truly horrible death. He saves Parker and in doing so causes a huge time rift that can only be fixed if both Spider-Men work together. The game’s story plays in our time and in 2099 in the same building if you can wrap your head around that one. Thankfully it isn’t too confusing and everything gets tied up in a nice little bow, but it takes some twists and turns to get there.
The controls feel great on the Xbox 360 controller, and swinging around as either Spider-Man was quite simple. X is jump and A and B are attack. If you feel the need to shoot some webs Y will be your button of choice. Both Spider-Men have special moves that really come in handy while fighting the tougher grunts. Tapping Left Trigger while playing as Spider-Man 2099 nets you a decoy so that you can dodge incoming missiles and lead them to objects or enemies that need to be destroyed. Hyspersense is Peter Parker’s special ability and it basically makes you invulnerable for about thirty seconds, which comes in handy during some difficult boss fights. If you really like to throw things at people Right Bumper is grab and Left Bumper is throw, but I didn’t need that at all after I upgraded my webbing. To upgrade everything you need to collect items; to upgrade health, shield and stamina you have to hunt down Golden Spiders. For combat upgrades you collect all the portal energy you encounter in the world and when you defeat enemies. Much of this was moved from the original game which was a good idea; they added the Golden Spiders though, which makes it more difficult for you to become extremely over-powered.
The voice acting and graphics are stellar. I’m guessing that without having four actors playing four different Spider-Men allowed them to free up some money for Val Kilmer to play the villain. The actors for both Spider-Men also do a great job with their respective parts – current Spider-Man has the quips while he’s running around and Spider-Man 2099 is a tad more serious in tone; basically The Odd Couple meets Spider-Man. Sadly there is no Stan Lee to be found in this game. I don’t know why, but it saddens my heart. The graphics look great; all the models for the villains are for lack of a better term, amazing. Anti-Venom looks scary, Black Cat looks smoking hot and watching Spider-Man’s costume slowly turn to ribbons is pretty nice to see. The rooms and buildings look the same for the most part. I mean this game does take place in The Daily Bugle building (which turns into the Alchemex due to time changes) in our time and in 2099. There is no grand landscaping to see, it is just the inside of a building, and sadly buildings are just as boring in 2099.
As I said prior, this game is great if you play it without playing any other Spider-Man game on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. The story is self-contained and leads you on some very interesting twists and turns that will shock you, especially if you’ve read Spider-Man comic books for years. I would play this game first, that way when you get to it you won’t be as disappointed when you first start it out. This game grew on me pretty nicely as I got deeper and deeper into the game. I’m thinking it is because I’m somewhat obsessed with Time-Travel and John Titor. If you can find a copy of this game, are a fan of Spider-Man, a fan of comic books or just a fan of action brawlers you should pick this title up.
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