Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review #433: Spider-man - Edge of Time(Playstation 3)

 And then there were two, but on a home console.
 Spider-man - Shattered Dimensions was a pretty good action/beat'em up that while not expanding on what made Spider-man games good, set out to be a different game that what we were used to. And it worked. So it only made sense to expand upon it, right? So why did we get less?

 Val Kilmer, or his character, goes back into the past to change it and make things even cozier for him in his present, the year 2099. He changes everything, now Peter Parker works for him in Alchemax Industries as well! But all is not lost, Miguel O'Hara, Spider-man 2099 is on to him, and he manages to set a link with Peter Parker. Now both Spider-men team up to save the past and the future. It's easily the best story in a Spider-man game yet, Spider-man being voiced by Spectacular Spider-man's voice actor and Spider-man 2099 by Spider-man: The Animated Series' voice actor, and they do a spectacular job of bringing both characters to life. And even while it's their interaction that drives the game, the plot itself is pretty darn interesting!
 The game takes place throughout 16 short-ish chapters, alternating between Peter and Miguel. Both Spider-men have the same basic actions: Square is a weak attack, Triangle a strong attack, Circle shoots web, R1 grabs the enemy(Spider-man throws a web against it, while Spider-man 2099 sends a clone to kick the enemy towards the real Miguel), both can crawl on walls and ceilings and both can swing from their webs. Don't get too excited, the entire game takes place inside Alchemax, a present and a future iteration of said building, so there's no free roam. And while the premise is about changing the past to affect the future, it plays out in a very linear fashion, for instance, Miguel might be struggling against robots, so as Spider-man you'll have, then and there, to destroy the blueprints. It's an interesting plot device, but it's just a plot device and not a game mechanic.

 Plenty has changed since the last game. Dodging works quite differently, and even between both characters. Both Spider-men have a Stamina gauge that's used for dodging, by pressing L2 Spider-man enters a dodging state that lasts for as long as you have stamina and he'll automatically dodge anything that comes his way. Meanwhile, Spider-man 2099 creates a clone that diverts enemy attention towards it, and, you guessed it, the clone lasts for as long as you've stamina left. Personally, I preferred how dodging worked in the previous game. It's not bad by any means, but it feels a bit... lame and kinda restrictive, if you ask me.
 There're new attacks, but a lot of attacks from the previous game are missing. Strong attacks can only be strung up to two times, so we miss out on the four triangle string and the four-attack strings that started with triangle. There're new Special moves that consume stamina, which were an OK idea, I guess? Look, it's bad enough that we lost two Spider-men and their unique movesets, so why take away even more moves? It's a weird decision. What we did gain was a ton of different unlockable costumes for each character, so props for that! But as much Spider-variety as we got, the Alchemax building, both present and future iterations, are kinda dull, and there's not much variety inside either. Contrast that with the huge amount of different stages and settings from the previous game!

 The Web of Challenges, the things behind which unlockable costumes are hidden, works a bit different than before. Each stage has between 4 and 6 challenges, but they are more involved than simply 'defeat X amount of enemies', most of them consisting in races or racking up a certain amount of combo hits. The problem is that challenges are now relegated to specific areas, so if you lose... you have to restart the challenge. I thought it was a bit lamer, but at least now you can retry challenges at any time, so there's that.
 Edge of Time is a disappointing follow-up to what was a very promising take on Spider-man. It's by no means bad, but it falls short of the bar set by its predecessor. I love how good the story and the writing is, but at the end of the day this is a videogame and that comes second to gameplay, which is something that Shattered Dimensions did better. You had more variety with the four different Spider-men, you had more attacks and moves and even more variety when it came to stages. And that's its worst sin: Coming after Shattered Dimensions.
 6.0 out of 10

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