E3 2011: Spider Man Edge of Time (Multi)
I was a bit unsure as to how I felt about another Spider Man title after Beenox’s last attempt, Shattered Dimensions. While I enjoyed the idea of different Spider Man characters, working in unison to resolve the rift in time, it felt a little bland, and some of the voice acting left room for improvement. But it was a fun little romp, and I enjoyed the hell out of Noir Spider Man. Beenox is returning to helm this new Spider Man project, Edge of Time, and it is set to focus on two Spider Man characters, present day Amazing Spider Man and Spider Man 2099. Activision and Beenox were nice enough to spend some time explaining the new title, as well as showing off some of the games action and story twists.
Before we watched out demonstration for Edge of Time, we got to learn a bit more about the backstory for the game. Miguel O’Hara, who is also known as Spider Man 2099, wants to stop the mega-corporation known as Alchemax. They have become very powerful, and they basically run the world through their power and puppetry. Miguel creates a time travel device that allows him to go back in time and change future events, so he becomes the president of Alchemax, but things go a bit haywire, and it causes problems for the current day Spider Man. Basically, he seems to end up getting killed, which requires Spider Man 2099, to try and fix this change in the timeline.
I wasn’t sure how keen I was on the particular storyline. It seemed to be a bit of a rehash from Shattered Dimensions, but with two less Spider fellows, but they do have a bit of time to toy with the story and, as with most E3 presentations, are only seeing a small vertical slice of the demo, so there could be more to the story that adds to the purpose of the dual universe, so take what I know of the story with that in mind.
One of the big mechanics that was touted during our play was the idea of Quantum Causality. Of course, with all of us being physicists in the room, we had no problem comprehending that nature of that phrase, but they decided to break it down for the layperson just in case. Basically, the idea is that a task or battle in the past can be performed or fought, and it was have a direct result in the future. The one example we saw of this was a situation where Spider Man 2099 was trapped in a room that was spewing out poisonous gases. He did not have a way to stop it, but he could contact Spider Man of the past through a temporal link and tell him to take out three containers in the past, which would then cause the tanks to not function in the future. I actually liked the idea of events affecting events, as it lets you see the tangible result of your actions in some sense. Sure, it does not make a lot of sense that a room of robots would sit dormant for 100 years to attack Spider Man 2099, but if you attack them in the past, they will no longer be there, but when to comics use real world physics to make sense of their actions. You just learn to run with the absurd.
Something new that we could reveal was the fact that Anti-Venom, the altered version of Eddie Brock’s Venom, was going to show up in a Spider Man video game for the first time with Edge of Time. Anti-Venom is exactly what you would expect, a symbiote that can heal things he touches instead of assimilating them. In his battle with the Amazing Spider Man, he slowly starts to cure him of his radioactivity, effectively short circuiting any of his powers through the battle. I thought this was rather cool in nature, as we tend to forget that Spider Man is an anomaly created by his absorption of radioactive spider venom. It is a biological agent which can be removed and that is what Anti-Venom looks to do with his battle.
We also got to see some in-depth combat with Spider Man 2099, and how they have adapted some of his power differences from the normal Spider Man into Edge of Time. While Spider Man 2099 does have advanced strength and the ability to shoot organic webbing, he does not have the famed Spider Sense, which allows the Amazing Spider Man to avoid attacks. But he does have accelerated vision and hearing, and to portray that in Edge of Time, Spider Man has a blurring attack that makes it look as if he is in two positions at once. So enemies will see what appears to be Spider Man 2099 in one location, while he has actually already moved and is attacking from a new location. It is like the world slows down a bit and allows you to direct your attacks from multiple angles. It looked as if this is time based, so you will not have access to it carte blanche, but that was not specifically indicated.
While no other characters besides Amazing Spider Man, Spider Man 2099 and Anti-Venom were witnessed in the game, we were told that we can expect to see a host of Marvel favorites, both villain and heroes in the game. I just hope that the cameos will be better than the disastrous ones in Spider Man Web of Shadows, which fit in terribly, and had even worse voice work. Speaking of voice work, we did find out that the Amazing Spider Man will be voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes, who provided the voice for the 1994 cartoon incarnation of Spider Man. Spider Man 2099 will be voice by Dan Gilvezan, who did the voice work for the same character in Spider Man: Shattered Dimensions.
With a fall 2011 timeframe set for Spider Man Edge of Time, I did enjoy what I saw, but I do have some reservations on the game. It does some cool things with time travel and the causality effects, but the story is a bit flat at this time, and it feels a bit too similar to Shattered Dimensions. Keep an eye out for more coverage as we get closer to release on Spider Man Edge of Time. Edge of Time is set for all the major consoles, and handhelds.