After last year’s hit Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Beenox is back with the time-shifting fun of Spider-Man: Edge of Time. While it may not be as deep or fulfilling as some of our favorite web-head’s previous adventures, having the ability to control multiple Spideys across parallel time periods was pretty entertaining and handled surprisingly well. There’s plenty of web-slinging action here to keep both newcomers (if they still exist) and longtime fans busy. At least until the next inevitable adventure from Activison’s sequel-happy production schedule.
It’s 2099, and an evil scientist named Walker Sloan discovers a way to change history, which he uses to turn his company called Alchemax into a corporate superpower. The Spider-Man in the future, Miguel O’Hara, knows Sloan is up to something and sets out to stop him with some help. So Miguel uses some stored DNA of the Spider-Man from the past, aka Peter Parker, to create a device that lets him communicate with Peter through their timelines. This sets up the game’s defining mechanic of where if Miguel gets stuck at a part in the future setting, then Peter can help him out in the past.
Luckily the controls make the gameplay between the two fast and easy. There’s close range and long range attack buttons, jump and web-slinging / swinging buttons, and a button you hold down while pressing the attack buttons to pull off special combos and moves. You can also switch between the two time streams when needed by pressing down both analog sticks. There’s also a button that makes Past Spidey move really fast to avoid danger and attack faster, and makes Future Spidey warp to another location while leaving behind a copy of himself for baddies to attack. Pulling off these moves at first is exciting and fun, but after awhile it starts to become repetitive, as these are the only moves you have. There’s also not a lot of webs-winging as in previous titles, but at least you get to take on some pretty cool villains such as Anti-Venom and Doc Ock as you fight your way through baddies such as Alchemax henchman and robots, to basic thugs on the street.
Another gripe I have is that while switching back and forth between the two Spideys is cool at first, you’ll quickly realize how mundane the tasks are you have to complete with both of them. Most of the problems you’ll run into are locked doors, and if you’re lucky you might have to sneak around to complete an objective. To me, it just feels like this otherwise neat feature is never properly utilized, as there’s so many other cool and interesting things they could’ve done with it.
The graphics and sounds are great, as you’ll see every little detail on both Spider-Men costumes, bosses, and your detailed surroundings. I particularly enjoyed the way the game starts when you use Spider-Man 2099 as you crawl through air ducts while the credits appear cinematically on the walls, in the background, and sometimes right under you as you move along. The special effects, especially those when using the hyper speed / warp effect while fighting are so spectacular and flashy, that it sometimes becomes distracting. The voice-acting on here is pretty cool as well, as Josh Keaton of The Spectacular Spider-Man series voices past Spidey, while Christoper Daniel Barnes of Spider-Man the Animated Series voices 2099 Spidey. The two of them play off each other extremely well, as you’ll enjoy their banter and quips at each other while also getting along little by little.
Despite the repetitive combat and mundane tasks you have to complete, Spider-Man: Edge of Time is a solid entry in the famous web-head’s adventures, and one of the better games to come out of Activision’s sequel-factory in recent years. The time-shifting gimmick is well-implemented, and being able to control two different Spideys was a treat, especially as they’re taken from the Spider-Man 2099 and current character designs, and sport impressive visuals and really fun vocal bantering between the two. While I wish there was more varied gameplay to spice things up – and more web-slinging – the action is typically handled well and the glitches are few and far between, unlike Activisons’ other Marvel superhero release, X-Men Destiny. Fans are sure to enjoy themselves here, even if there’s not much reason to replay through after the credits roll.
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