|System: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS|
|Release: October 4, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Lindsey Weedston
Spider-Man has web-slung his way through quite a few video games, and he's finally hit his stride in recent years. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions saw a good amount of success, with average scores in the high seventies (according to GameRankings). Critics praised the spidery action, voice acting, and the bringing together of the four Spider-Man universes. Now, developer Beenox is bringing back the coolest looking of those Spider-Men, Spider-Man 2099, for Spider-Man: Edge of Time.
In this new game, Spider-Man 2099 finds himself in a bit of a pickle when present-day Peter Parker suffers an untimely death. He must therefore reach back through time to enlist the help of regular Spider-Man in order to save Spider-Man. At least, that's as much as I can gather from the trailer, which is a little vague. What I can say for sure is that Spider-Man: Edge of Time looks every bit as cool as Spider-Man 2099, especially in the last part of the trailer where Spider-Man 2099 is carrying his contemporary counterpart in his arms. Choke on that, causality!
The big new feature being touted by Activision is the "cause-and-effect" gameplay, wherein the player's actions have direct consequences on the game. I guess if you've been living in a cave for the past several years, this might seem like a new gameplay concept. Then again, maybe the developers just don't want to release too much information yet, and maybe this feature has some new twist on it that makes it different from how it works in every other recent game. The only detail given so far is that if you destroy a robot prototype in present Super-Man's universe, then that robot won't be around in Spider-Man 2099's universe. That still doesn't sound terribly impressive, but we'll have to wait and see since the rest of us can't jump around through time like a superhero.
The official Marvel website is calling Edge of Time a "focused, action-packed adventure." Shattered Dimensions was certainly action-packed, and it could be called "focused." By which I mean it was surprisingly restrictive (much like I imagine that Spider-Man costume to be). Whenever I see the word "focused" to describe a game, I can't help but think "linear." Shattered Dimensions disappointed quite a few Spider-Man fans by not allowing Spider-Man to randomly swing around New York like the monkey-based superhero he is.
It sounds like players can expect more linearity in Edge of Time, but that's not always a bad thing. Sandbox games are fun, but linear games can allow the developers to create a more focused and compelling story. This didn't happen in Shattered Dimensions, but it was Beenox's first try, after all. Plus, Edge of Time will be written by Peter David, the co-creator of the Spider-Man 2099 comics. This should give any hardcore Spider-Man fan a reason to pick up Edge of Time. Furthermore, anyone who appreciates good writing should be interested in a game that has a fairly famous writer on the development team.
It looks as though the voice acting for Edge of Time will impress once again, with Josh Keaton and Christopher Daniel Barnes already announced to voice the Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099, respectively. The dark tone of the Spider-Man 2099 sections of Shattered Dimensions is back as well. Dark colors and cold, metallic surfaces are common throughout the trailer, which also features a sign that advises you to "start your career as a human trial subject." What's alarming about the trailer is some of the gameplay footage, which looks downright unpolished. You can see Spider-Man's body bleeding into his opponent's as they grapple, which just shouldn't happen in this day and age. I can only hope that this is a rare occurrence, and that this trailer was put together in haste. The cutscene clips, however, are shiny enough to satisfy anyone. Not to mention the bright lights and explosions. No one can say that this game doesn't look cool.
So far, there's not a lot to be said for Edge of Time other than a few vague promises and the visual impressions of a brief trailer. The most exciting thing about the upcoming game is probably Peter David's involvement, but that doesn't mean much to more casual web-slinger fans. We'll have to hope that Beenox can offer something more impressive than now-common gameplay features and Spider-Man 2099's shiny thighs.
CCC Freelance Writer