Spider-Man: Edge of Time (PS3)

Another week, another Marvel game review. This time we’re looking at a Spiderman Action RPG crossover between Amazing Spiderman and Spiderman 2099 – an interesting cross to be sure. Is two company, or just one too many?

In Good Company

As mentioned above, in this game you play as both Amazing Spiderman and Spiderman 2099, tied together by a time vortex opened by Walter Sloan. Sloan’s plan was to go into the past to alter time to bring technology from the future back a century to make himself so rich he can effectively own the world. And his plan works – he changes time, Peter Parker no longer works at the Daily Bugle – in fact the Bugle no longer exists, and the future world is altered before Spiderman 2099’s eyes. And Spiderman 2099 learns from his archives that Amazing Spiderman dies at the Time Vortex to something, which prevents him from being able to assist in stopping this from happening. Using some sort of link that is never really explained, 2099 and Amazing are able to communicate with each other and coordinate to try to save Amazing so that he can help save the world from Sloan.

And the story just gets weirder from there. Note that I don’t say bad – the overall story is actually a very interesting story that is certainly recognizable as a ‘comic book’ story – and no, that is not a bad thing. The problem with the story is that they tried too hard to stretch it out, leaving a good story with a bunch of bland filler that really makes it feel a lot worse. Not the writer’s fault, I’m sure, but still frustrating. And even despite that, the game is only maybe 8 hours long. The story does have some interesting twists and a few moments where the cinematic comic book story shines. And the ending scene, while short, really does a good job of finishing things. At no point during the ending scene did I feel that I was getting slighted, despite the fact that the ending is only a few minutes long – which is hard to do.

The game features only a few of the classic Spider-man villains, which was a bit disappointing – since there are so many good ones that could have been present, even given the nature of the story. But the ones that were there were all well-portrayed.

Webs and Talons of Fury

The combat controls are very fluid. They all work as they should, and the abilities have a good sense of impact. Both Spidermen play slightly differently, and both feel very ‘Spiderman’ in combat although 2099 is easier to use and a bit more effective overall. Amazing Spiderman is more of a standoff fighter using a lot of jumping and mid-range web-strikes while 2099 feels more like a brawler pulling his enemies to him and tearing away at them with augmented talons and nice strong short-ranged strikes. They each have their own distinct special abilities, which is really where the combat begins to differ – although the special abilities for both serve the same purpose – one is an escape, one is a root, etc. But overall the combat is fast-paced, fluid, and fulfilling.

The downside to the combat comes from the cut-and-paste nature of the enemies and environments. It is, for the most part, a long game of corridors and rooms full of a limited assortment of enemies where you have to either kill until you can get a key, open a stuck door or activate a panel. Prettymuch rinse and repeat. If you kill the right enemy, you can occasionally even skip a large portion of the enemies – because the keys are on a specific enemy, not just received by clearing the room. There are a few places where you’ll find wide open environments, and in those few places the feeling of being Spiderman is definitely more present. The boss fights, though a bit sparse, are all impressive and well-done, some of the most enjoyable moments of the game really. And the final boss fight(s) truly do a perfect job of taking advantage of the combat system while still doing a good job of representing the dichotomy of Amazing vs 2099 by having an alternating battle where you’re essentially fighting two fights at the same time. Each fight makes full use of the combat styles of the relative character you’re controlling, and really makes for a unique combat experience that was quite fun.

The movement controls are, unfortunately, another story. They are nowhere near as responsive, which leads to frustration especially when you run into cases where you either have to climb quickly or where you need precise or rapid movement outside of combat. Web-zipping from point to point often had me going to places I didn’t intend or want to, crawling on ceilings was incredibly weirdly controlled, and quite often I would find myself jumping to places I didn’t intend to, or webswinging into a wall due to control issues. But probably the most frustrating are the Spiderman 2099 ‘falling’ sequences – the controls seemed very unreliable for them – and they just weren’t fun because of it.

This can become a big problem in the next aspect of the game – the web of challenges. These are segments incorporated ‘seamlessly’ into the game where you get rewards for accomplishing certain things in a certain timelimit. You don’t get directly penalized for not doing so, but you do lose out on the rewards. These challenges can vary from clearing a room to going through a hall full of obstacles, etc. These seem largely redundant – a desperate attempt to prolong an incredibly short game by making it seem like it offers replayability. For some completionists, this may be enough to get them redoing menial tasks for a few extra hours to get perfect in each one; but most people will just ignore that little popup saying ‘new challenge’ and move on with the game forgetting it was even there.

Final Thoughts

I know there’s normally a presentation section here, but when I really thought about it there just wasn’t much to say. Every aspect of the presentation was average. The voice acting was decent, the sound effects were okay, the soundtrack was okay, the visual effects were… okay… and the graphics were, you guessed it, okay. The environments were repetitive and bland until like the last tenth of the game when they started to fluctuate between the ‘original’ past and the new past… but aside from that, there just isn’t much to say.

There were a few buggy spots where I would find myself hitting things that there was no logical way I could hit, or I’d be hit by things that came nowhere near me. There were also a number of graphical glitches I saw, but they were usually hard to find because a lot of the environments looked ‘glitchy’ anyways due to the way time had been altered.

One little oddity is that when you’re in the vents it really doesn’t matter what direction you push – you go forward. So if you enter one that you didn’t intend to, too bad – you gotta go all the way through. I don’t understand why they even made you have to push a button to move, since everything moves in the same direction, there are no controls other than motion.. so it seems pointless to force you to push a button when every button does the same thing.

Overall

Spiderman: Edge of Time is a mediocre superhero game. The combat is fun and fulfilling and the story is pretty good – if you trim the fat. Unfortunately, beyond that everything is at best mediocre, the game is both way too short and way too long; the presentation average, the non-combat controls are awkward, and the game is fairly repetitive. That being said, I did have fun with this game.

However, the short length, limited replayability for all but the most dedicated completionists, and mediocre presentation all make this game not one I would recommend paying full price for. But if you can find it to rent, used, or borrow – it is absolutely worthy of a playthrough because it is fun and quite interesting.

Pros

  1. Good, well-written story.
  2. Solid, responsive and fun combat controls.
  3. Interesting time travel/manipulation concepts.
  4. Good ending
  5. Good boss fights.
  6. Decent voice acting
  7. Suitable sound and video effects
  8. Both Spidermen play suitably and with just enough differentiation to make them distinct.

Cons

  1. Really short.
  2. Movement controls unreliable.
  3. Can only move in one direction in vents and pipes(only forward, can’t go back and all directional buttons move you forward)
  4. All aspects of presentation are average at best.
  5. Environments are very repetitive.
  6. Enemies are also quite repetitive.
  7. Story is extended in very artificial ways that just don’t feel right.
  8. Very limited replayability, except for die-hard completionists.
  9. Some buggy or glitchy environments.
  10. Sometimes things appeared to hit but missed, or appeared to miss but hit which could be quite frustrating.
  11. Falling segments during 2099 were very annoying and didn’t control well.
  12. Web of challenges was largely ignorable and very forgettable.

 

Review Written by: Sean