Spider-Man: Edge of Time Preview
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions was a darn good game. It wasn’t up to the elite level of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum but then again, few titles could live up to such polish and overall excellence. Generally speaking, Beenox’s superhero effort was stable, solid, entertaining, and actually quite lengthy. It provided fans with four distinct looks at the web-slinging Peter Parker and two of them will return for the next effort, Spider-Man: Edge of Time. Scheduled to release later this year, the new game asks Spidey to save himself, as he must travel back and forth – as the Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 – to avoid this terrible tragedy. Some Alchemax Scientist does the dirty deed, and he’s gotta pay.
After checking out early media and info for the game, it’s easy to conclude the following: if you enjoyed last year’s effort, there’s little doubt you’ll enjoy Edge of Time. And that’s primarily because, in addition to the two returning “characters,” the gameplay will be quite similar. The fast, accessible action will return, and we’re willing to bet they’ll amp up the combat depth. Plus, we’ll get plenty of new highlights, like when Spider-Man 2099 goes flying/falling down a tunnel, and he must dodge all sorts of objects and locate passageways…on the fly, so-to-speak. The rest of the gameplay will focus on the aforementioned fighting and a fair amount of platforming; we’re just hoping the camera is a bit more reliable this time around. It was a little wonky before.
The webhammer will be back and we’re also guessing the Sphere Grid-like ability enhancement and advancement system will return as well. Okay, it wasn’t anywhere near as complex as the mechanic in FFX; it just reminded me of that feature. Also, we can expect all new, more challenging foes and a toned-up visual presentation, complete with fresh locations to explore and conquer. As for the story, that remains up in the air: it’s not that the story was poor in Shattered Dimensions; it just felt erratic and almost pointless at times, probably due to all the jumping around between time periods. But this time there are only two specific eras (we think) and the plot sounds more urgent and gripping. In some ways, it sorta reminds me of Shadow of Destiny, when you had to go back in time to stop your own murder.
Of course, there was no combat in Eike’s adventure; it was all about puzzle-solving on a grand scale. In this case, the action takes center-stage and that’s just fine. Beenox is bringing back two of the four voice actors from Shattered Dimensions, too: Josh Keaton (who played Ultimate Spider-Man) now has the role of the Amazing Spider-Man and Christopher Daniel Barnes (he played Noir Spider-Man) will take on Spider-Man 2099. So in most every way, Edge of Time seems to look, feel and sound a whole lot like the last Spidey installment. But that’s hardly a bad thing and besides, we get a new story and new locations, so it’d be a mistake to assume this is a sequel or rehash. It’s an all-new adventure and one that should satisfy the hardcore fans. I think.
4/11/2011 Ben Dutka