Spider-Man: Edge of Time Review


Poor Spider-Man. You kind of have to feel bad for the guy; even as Batman: Arkham City is blowing away fans and critics alike, the world's most famous wall-crawler is still trapped in ho-hum game after ho-hum game. Last year's Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions wasn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it introduced some interesting gameplay mechanics and the ability to play as several Spider-Men. This year's follow-up and shelf-space roommate to Arkham City, Spider-Man: Edge of Time, somehow manages to take a step backward, chopping the number of characters to two and removing all the fun stuff that made Shattered Dimensions so appealing. It's going to be a rough Christmas, Peter Parker.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time places the Spider-Man we all know and love, along with Spider-Man 2099, in a plot so incomprehensible that even David Lynch would be shrugging his shoulders. I'll give it a try: An evil businessman goes back in time to the 70's, starts an evil corporation and - get this - rips time in half. Spider-Man 2099 swoops in to save a doomed regular Spider-Man and there you have it: a time-traveling setup that doesn't seem to play be even its own rules. I didn't expect any nuanced subplots or high-minded revelations in the tale, mind you, but it would be nice if the motivations at play at least made sense.

If you thought the story was confusing, wait until you start playing. For whatever reason, the developers chose to take out the varied gameplay (stealth segments, for example) of Shattered Dimensions and replace it with endless, boring lab corridors and millions of thugs to button-mash through. The puzzling omission of everything fun makes Edge of Time feel so generic, I found myself reskinning the game in my head to see if it would make sense as, say, an Evil Dead or Heathcliff game. No matter how weird, everything seemed to fit. Its tough to praise a game so generic that it could literally be ANYTHING else and it would still make sense.

Most damning of all is the game's length. I was able to complete the whole single-player campaign in a single afternoon, and there isn't much to go back for, aside from some challenges and trophies. Some have said the single-player tops out at about seven hours, but in truth it is more like five. I can't in good conscious prod anyone to pay full price for a game that will take less time to beat than it does to run your average Nascar race.

Everything else in the game is merely passable. The graphics and controls are serviceable, but neither will knock anyone's socks off. The voice acting is more convincing than that featured in some other titles, but again, it just isn't anything to write home about.

Reviewing a game like Spider-Man: Edge of Time is extremely difficult. There is nothing technically wrong with the game; it is just bland, generic and quite simply uninteresting. It's a middle-of-the-road action game that never manages to take the next step, and this is only made more depressing by knowing what has been removed since Shattered Dimensions. Edge of Time isn't good. Edge of Time isn't bad. It just is. And in a marketplace with so many better games (yes, I'm talking about Arkham City), Spider-Man:Edge of Time just isn't worth yours.

Final Rating: 60%. There is nothing technically wrong with the game; it is just bland, generic and quite simply uninteresting.