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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Nov 2, 2011

Review – Spider-Man: Edge of Time (Xbox 360)

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of games, but something else that’s a big part of my hobby list are comic books. I’ve been a big fan of Marvel and DC (Batman FTW!), and when we got the chance to review the new Spider-Man: Edge of Time game, I jumped right to it. I remember the old Spider-Man games from way back, especially Spider-Man: Ultimate Carnage on the SNES. With those memories in mind, I grabbed the game and slung a web right to my couch so I could get down to business.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time is, in a way, a continuation of the Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. The storyline follows Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, as his world is being torn apart by Anti-Venom. In the beginning cinematic, we see Parker meet his untimely end at the hands of this beast, and we’re sent backwards in time, into the future. Spinning back to the start of the event, Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099), is investigating an Alchemax scientist by the name of Walker Sloan. Through the opening of the game, we see how Sloan fits in to all of this madness, as he’s responsible for creating the machine that can send a person through time. Using this device, Sloan heads back to Parker’s time and drastically changes everything about the environment, including the very place of his employment.

The main handle in Edge of Time is that one Spider-Man’s actions will change the world for the other. This opens the door for new storytelling, which the developer tried, but didn’t hit the mark. Most of the game is spent with both heroes bickering at each other, which got annoying very fast. A cutscene would ensue where one Spidey was motionless, while the other was in imminent danger. The voice acting isn’t the worst, but it isn’t the best by far either. Before too long, I found myself involved in the gameplay and not paying attention to the dialogue in-game. This could have seen more work.

The first thing to notice about this game is that it’s gorgeous. The graphics are easily the best I’ve seen in a Marvel title, and a Spider-Man title at that. Activision came together with Beenox to produce the best-looking superhero title I’ve had the chance to play. From the individual threads on each Spideysuit to the impressive environments that you’ll explore, these visuals are top-notch.

Gameplay is presented to the player in the form of a massive platformer, while including combat along with a level-up system. Spider-Man: EoT is full of scenery that will have you climbing, web-slinging throughout danger zones, and free-falling at extreme speeds. As far as exploration goes, it’s not open world, but it is vast enough to keep you interested. There are many situations where you’ve got to scale the walls to avoid lasers, sling across gaps, and traverse the ventilation shafts. Though it can get repetitive, it’s enough to keep the flow of gameplay interesting.

An issue I ran into with the platforming in Edge of Time is when you’re wall-crawling. The camera controls are shoddy and the controls when climbing are clumsy. I constantly found myself turning this way, then that way, and it was frustrating when trying to get on the right track. Mostly, this was just a nuisance, nothing that would make the game unplayable.

Combat is another major part of the game. As Spidey you’ll constantly find yourself surrounded by thugs, be them sentient or human, and you’ll have to employ those special web-thickened fists to clear a path. Reminiscent of a hack-and-slash beat-em-up, you make use of two main buttons to operate a normal attack and a long-range attack. Using both of these attacks, either Spider-Man will be able to mow down enemies with little difficulty. Along with these attacks, though, is a “bullet” type attack made of web. It serves as a stun that stops enemies for a slight second while you can deal with others.

Each Spider-Man has an individual ability that uses an energy gauge. For Parker, this ability is a super-speed reflex that allows him to move so fast that his enemies appear to stand still. For O’Hara, this ability allows him to create a decoy that will wait in place while he is free to escape battle or take out multiple enemies while they are distracted. Whenever you find yourself in a bind, these abilities surely come in handy.

In combat, though, I found that the timing always seemed off. While most combat is fluid, I noticed that Spidey would be forced to finish a combo before doing anything else. If I was mid combo and tried to web-shoot I would never make it. Spider-Man would flurry away through a combo and just stop after I stopped hitting buttons. This often left him heading the wrong way, and open to attack. The timing is a big issue in fights, especially because you’re often outnumbered.

Through fighting and exploring the environment, Spider-Man will pick up orbs and experience that will all go toward leveling up abilities. Once enough experience is earned, you can enter the menu to choose abilities for either Spider-Man, or ones that are shared, and strengthen them. Also available to help with leveling are these golden spiders which can be picked up across each level. These spiders will allow players to unlock new abilities for each Spider-Man to use. This system adds a new functionality to the platformer, and it’s nice to be able to choose how to proceed. The only issue with this, is that the leveling seemed kind of slow. If you don’t grab each golden spider that you come across, you’ll potentially miss out on unlocking abilities that will be necessary to continue on.

Though the controls are a bit clumsy and the combat seems a bit off time, I still had a lot of fun with the game. It’s a great looking game, and performs just as it should. With a unique leveling system and tons of combat, Spider-Man: Edge of Time is a great title for both gamers and fans of the comic book. If you’re looking for a Spider-Man title that’s not only easy on the eyes, but filled with fun gameplay, Edge of Time is a great choice.

The Good

  • great graphics/visuals
  • remains fun through repetition
  • nice premise for a storyline
  • leveling system adds playability

The Bad

  • back and forth storytelling gets confusing, bickering is annoying
  • voice acting could use some work
  • some gameplay controls are clumsy and make the game frustrating
  • combat can be repetitive

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