Saturday, October 8, 2011
Spider-Man: Edge of Time Review
The plot follows Spidey 2099 hunting down Alchemax scientist Walker Sloan, a man with an idea. He has built a time travel device, and is going back in time to start the company, thus the future being completely owned by Alchemax. Meanwhile, Anti-Venom is back, and strangely wants to eliminate Amazing Spidey. If he dies, everything will go out of whack. Can 2099 stop this, or will the Timestorm consume all of creation?
My major thing with Shattered Dimensions was a lack of plot. There was an opening, and there was an ending. It was basically a popcorn-style plot. Mysterio as the villain was very cliche, considering which he was already the villain in Friend or Foe. With the story being done by high-class comic writer Dan Slott, the plot felt very shallow. Rather than rely on it, it relied on the mechanics of the different Spideys. Edge of Time is complete opposite in that way. Rather than relying on the game's mechanics, it relies on the plot. And that's a good thing.
The majority of fans don't like this game or Shattered Dimensions for not having an open-world, such as the three movie tie-ins have. I think it's disappointing not being able to swing through the streets of New York, but I'm fine with a level-based game. (The old one for the Playstation is highly rated and sometimes regarded as the best Spidey game, yet that wasn't open-world.) Of course, when you have a level-based game, it has to have a good plot to keep up the motivation. That's the one thing Shattered Dimensions failed in, it didn't have an engaging story. (It's still a good game, mind you.) Edge of Time is a really cinematic game, you will not get tired of it. There's actual danger, and you feel it. The CGI animated cutscenes are top notch, with excellent writing and voice acting.
Of course, it's the two Spider-Men that carry us through. They're similar, but a lot of the times clashing personalities, are so much fun to watch. While you may be dying from the onslaught of enemies, their dialogue back and forth will have you smiling the whole way through. I found myself laughing out loud a lot of the times, only Amazing Spidey can make trying to stop the uiniverse from erasing fun. One scene I found myself laughing at (though it's sad for mouse fans) was when a mouse was walking into a room, then the sensors pick it up and disintegrate it with a laser. Spidey 2099 says to this, "Wow, they really mean business." (It doesn't sound hilarious on paper, but on screen it's something else.)
I've been discussing the plot a lot. (Saw what I did there?) Let's talk gameplay. Since this game was done by Beenox, the same people that did Shattered Dimensions, the gameplay remains pretty similar, which is a good thing. Seasoned veterans such as myself can jump in knowing what to do already. The combos are nice, and remains fun. The combat doesn't get repetitive. The upgrade system I find isn't as great as the previous two games. The upgrades aren't as diverse and interesting. Web of Shadows still has the best upgrading system.
Graphic wise, it's very good. The environments have a good amount of detail, (though it could get a bit boring after awhile, you will miss being able to web sling outside) as do the characters. The cinematic cutscenes as I've said, are top notch. (And you unlock them as you go along, so you could enjoy them over and over again.)
The game's sound effects deserve praise, mainly the great voice acting. Here we have all stars Josh Keaton, (Spectacular Spider-Man) as Amazing Spidey, and Christopher Daniel Barnes (the Animated Series) as Spidey 2099. I've always said that hiring familiar voices is the way to do it. The soundtrack is very good, fits the thematic scale. (Shattered Dimensions still has the best soundtrack though.)
A thing I have to mention is the game's biggest weakness: the length. The game arrived in the mail on Thursday, and I beat it the next night. That's right, it took me a day. Web of Shadows took me three, while Shattered Dimensions took me four. For $60, it needs to be longer.
The other characters are portrayed mostly great, with a few exceptions. Mary Jane looks supremely useless, constantly yelling, and running away when 2099 tells her to stay put or come toward him! Web of Shadows did a good job with her character, but this, this is just sad. One of the big selling points, (for me anyway) was the inclusion of Anti-Venom. (The trailer with him in it got me beyond hyped.) With him currently having a role in the comics, it was only natural that they would throw him in. He was in my opinion, the best part of the game. (Voice: EPIC.) The transformation into Atrocity was a bit random, but it greatly adds to the game. (Perhaps a homage to Monster Ock from the Playstation one.) Though, I would have liked a finisher, after you beat the monster, it kinda disappears. I like closure to everything. Now I'm going to address one of the major plot twists of the game, skip to the last paragraph if you don't want to know what it is.
I was genuinely surprised when it was revealed who the CEO of Alchemax was: Peter Parker. Watching him on screen, it just didn't add up at first. The Peter Parker I know would never resort to destroying all of creation. "Playing God" as Spidey 2099 put it. Then after sometime, I began to see the brilliance of the character. He is portrayed as a corrupt Peter would be, with the same humor, albeit serious. Still, I don't think he would resort to erasing everything, but it's still a great portrayal.
Overall, Edge of Time feels like an animated film. The beginning with Anti-Venom is one of the most epic beginning I've ever played. Also in the beginning, with 2099 climbing down a shaft, you could see the names of the makers, it adds to the cinematic feel. This game is better than Shattered Dimensions, (amazing, since they were working on it for only a year) but its length is a bit of a problem. For hardcore Spidey fans such as myself, you'll want to pick it up right after you finish this review. For non-fans, I'd say it'd be best to wait for the price to drop, or give it a rental. You notice how the Timestorm is involved? A reference to the comic event "Timestorm: 2009-2099." There's also a playful jab at Turn off the Dark, it doesn't get any better than that. Edge of Time might just be the best Spidey game to date. Web of Shadows still wins of course.