At Comic-Con International: San Diego 2011, we once again donned the webbed costume and took to the walls as not one but two Spider-Man incarnations. In Activision's upcoming Spider-Man: Edge of Time, gamers will jump, dive, punch, and web-sling their way through the worlds of Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099, and if this preview was any indication, they'll have a lot of fun along the way.We went the opposite direction through time in our hands-on preview, starting out with Spider-Man 2099, playing as Miguel O'hara in a future that had been twisted by the machinations of Peter David's new villain in the game. While Spidey 2099 was in last year's Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, the team at Beenox decided to completely overhaul the character this time around. He plays much more quickly and really takes advantage of advanced technology now. In addition to quick-strike attacks that let you dash around the room taking out multiple enemies in a flash, the decoy and stealth mode makes for some fun strategy and satisfying sneak attacks. You can place a decoy, go invisible, and watch enemies attack it as you flank them. Your decoy can also be used to help you get through more well-fortified areas, sending missiles or laserblasts at a door to pop it open, for example.
Miguel can also speed up to make his attacks more brutal, and can even toss down time bubbles that suspend everyone in a small radius for a time, something you'll use when in a bind, or when simply facing some of the massive and swarming characters you'll meet. The living weapons of Alchemax are smart and do use group tactics to try (and sometimes succeed) to overwhelm Miguel.
Back in the "present day" of Amazing Spider-Man, the 'ole webhead himself Peter Parker plays much like the Shattered Dimensions version. Pete's attacks are focused much more on brute strength and using his webs. Rather than slow down time around him, his focus mode brings his reflexes to an even-more-super-human level, letting him dodge attacks and dash around. The web-zip, a staple of Spidey's games in recent years, is there and in tact nicely. Web-zipping flying enemies and sending them careening to the ground just never got old.
We didn't see much of the story in our demo, as it was just two simple levels, but we did get a new tease confirmed by one of the game's producers. While fighting technologically advanced villains as Spider-Man 2099 is fun, the challenge will be in the latter half of the game when Miguel and Peter switch timelines. Suddenly Peter Parker has to fight 2099 villains, and Miguel will be taking on the classics back in the Amazing timeline. It sounds like it will keep the game fresh and make players explore new tactics later in the experience.
While Spider-Man: Edge of Time seems at first glance more evolutionary than revolutionary, it holds a lot of promise to surprise people with some pretty big leaps ahead. From the simply stunning graphics, the best a Spidey game has ever seen for sure, to the expert voiceover, the easy to pick up and polished gameplay, and even the as-yet-unseen promise of a Peter David penned story, this should be one that Spider-fans stick their hands on and don't let go when it's released October 4, 2011.