Continuing in the same vein as X-Men Destiny, Activision and Beenox have taken a detour off the path to potential greatness with their newest Spidey venture, Spider-Man: Edge of Time.
It seems I may be in the minority in actually wanting to play the role of Spider-Man instead of just making him move on screen, because developer Beenox keeps insisting they’re listening directly to the fans. I sat in the demo for Spider-Man: Edge of Time, and listened to how they took out the complex combo system and open world exploration that plagued Spider-Man games before Beenox took the reigns. Unfortunately, those were the aspects I truly enjoyed while trudging my way through the mediocrity of Web of Shadows, and with no measurable jump in quality in Shattered Dimensions and now Edge of Time, I’m finding it difficult to justify the endeavor.
To be fair, Shattered Dimensions did wonders with atmosphere spanning across the various genres and story arcs Spidey has encountered over the years, but apparently fans wanted less. Spider-Man: Edge of Time focuses on the relationship between Spider-Man 2099 and Amazing Spider-Man, as 2099 tries to prevent the murder of Amazing by speaking with him through time. There is a persistent cloudy corner of the screen where 2099 will give you guidance and instructions on how to prevent your demise at the hands of Anti-Venom. This all sounds great and kudos to Beenox for getting Peter David, who wrote the movie adaptations for the Spider-Man (as well as the Iron Man, Hulk, and Transformers) flicks, on board to pen the story for the game. It seems compelling enough, but has a very Back to the Future feel of whimsy to it.
The entire game, across both timelines, takes place in a building. The building is expansive and is loaded entirely at the onset so there are smooth transitions between areas. Changes you make in the present affect 2099′s environment as one might expect. The real problem I have with this is in watching the combat. The ceilings are usually around 10 feet high and even in the larger warehouse style areas, there’s no room to swing around or utilize the agility that makes playing as Spider-Man different than Alex Mercer or Cole MacGrath. What is added this time around is a deep narrative and a different take on Spider Sense. This time around you can utilize “Hyper Sense” with 2099 to perform an attack, rewind, and perform another attack to confuse and decimate.. umm.. factory workers. Amazing Spider-Man gets a beefed-up Spider Sense as well that allows him to auto-dodge or even auto-counter enemy attacks. I didn’t want to use skill to do those things manually, right?
Either way, I’m sure at some point I’ll succumb to my desire to play Spider-Man games and give it a shot, but I can’t see plunking down full-price at launch this Fall.