Spider-Man: Edge of Time box art

I’ve played quite a few Spider-Man games in my time. With that, I’ve played a lot of pretty bad Spider-Man games. But Edge of Time just might take the cake. After Shattered Dimensions proved to be a fun and well-designed (if not a bit rough around the edges) game, Activision apparently decided to let Beenox try another Spider-Man game, and made the horrible mistake of trying to rush it out before Batman: Arkham City sucked up all the comic-book-gamers’ attentions.

Edge of Time forces us into another game featuring multiple Spider-Men, but this time, instead of a dimension-hopping adventure, we get a time-travel story. The basic premise is that some bad guy from the future (2099) has built a time portal at the Alchemax building and is trying to kill the modern (Amazing) Spider-Man. Spider-Man 2099 discovers the plot and takes it upon himself to go back and prevent this from happening. Fortunately, the designers kept their ambitions constrained to just those two Spider-Men, and didn’t try to complicate matters by going further back in time to encounter, say, Black-suit Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider, Man-Spider, or any other Spider-Man variants from Marvel’s history. Just Amazing and 2099.

The time travel story gives the game is primary gimmick: the things you do in one time period (usually the past) can affect the other (usually the future). This seems to be an effort to correct one of my primary complaints with Shattered Dimensions, which was the overall lack of integration between the Spider-Men in the various dimensions. In this game, both Spider-Men now directly interact. In fact, they spend pretty much the entire game talking to each other through some time-traveling communicator thingie. Kudos to Beenox for trying to address a criticism of the previous game. It’s too bad they totally blew it.

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Batman: Arkham City box art

The comic book video game genre has been one of the most disappointing genres of video games in history. Almost as bad as movie-to-game adaptations (neither of which is worse than game-to-movie adaptations, though). You'd think that with all the awesome source material at their disposal, that game developers would have been able to come up with some pretty amazing games. But other than a few stand-outs, Spider-Man held the crown as the king of good comic book video games for almost a full decade during the 2000's before Rocksteady blew all previous comic book-themed video games out of the water and gave us the first truly great comic game with 2009's Batman: Arkham Asylum.

I cannot sing that game's praises enough. It was like a video game love letter to Batman fans (and all comic book fans in general). Despite being a little tedious towards the end, this game delivered an unparalleled experience that made all comic book games before it look as embarassing as Super Mario Bros. the Movie! Elements of Arkham Asylum's design (such as the free flow combat system) have even found their way into other games and genres such as Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Uncharted 3.

A sequel was inevitable, and hopes were high for Arkham City (which the developers had enough foresight to tease with a secret room showing the sequel's map in the first game). Arkham City promised an open-world map with a longer story, more villains, and Catwoman as a playable character. “Bigger, better, more” seemed to be the motto going into this game. Well, they definitely got the “bigger” and “more” parts, but not necessarily “better”.

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According to an article I read today on Digital Trends, Sony is planning yet another step towards becoming the totalitarian overlord of consumer's electronic entertainment domain with a plan to limit the number of consoles that European PlayStation Network users can link their downloadable games to. The intention of the plan is [apparently] to reduce software "piracy" through the simple act of sharing content that you've downloaded by linking to your PS Network account on someone else's PS3 or PSP. The imposed limit is supposed to allow any given downloadable content to be downloaded and installed on a maximum of 2 PS3s and 2 PSPs at any given time. Attempting to access this content through any additional consoles will require you to use a special online tool to deactivate the content on a different console.

I call BULLSHIT!

There is already a limit of five downloads allowed for any given content! And that isn't even across multiple units! Re-downloading a game on the same console costs you one of your precious five activations. So if you have to replace your PS3, then you are going to need to re-download all of your DLC.

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A few weeks ago, I started reading about some new ad campaign that Sony was planning called "Long Live Play". I was kind of disappointed to hear that Sony would be taking a new approach to its advertising, as I actually really enjoyed some of the early Kevin Butler ads. Today, I saw the first advertisement in this new campaign, and it blew me away in terms of creativity and execution!

The full ad is shown below:

While a "love letter" to the gamer in the form of a TV commercial doesn't make up for losing tens of millions of people's Credit Card information, reminding people of why they love to game is a great first step towards bringing back our business. The advertisement above features many of the most beloved characters in the PlayStation 3 library giving heartfelt thanks to the efforts of one valiant gamer for bringing their stories to life and helping them through their greatest perils.

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PlayStation Network logo

So after they get their PlayStation Network servers hacked by vengeful hackers and expose 100 million user accounts, passwords, and credit card numbers to those hackers, they offered a "Welcome Back" package with a free 30-day subscription to PlayStation Plus, some free downloadable games, and a few other stuff. But that was the least they could do after making all their customers vulnerable to identity theft. They don't deserve credit or praise for that.

I activated my free subscription to PlayStation Plus last week because I knew the offer was expiring soon. I waited to the last minute because there's really nothing on PlayStation Plus that I'm remotely interested in. My plan was to wait till the last minute to activate it so that I could still at least back up all my save files to the Cloud in case my newly refurbished PS3 decided to croak on me again.

I'm glad I did it when I did, because I noticed that the "Welcome Back" stuff was gone from the PSN when I logged in yesterday. So I guess that means the offer has ended.

But Sony didn't bother to give users any notification or warning that the program was going to expire that I was aware of. No email notification. No messages when logging into the Playstation Store. I don't even think the "Welcome Back" pages showed the expiration date (did they?). Maybe there was a notification in the little news ticker on the top right, but that thing is so small, I never notice it.

Way to go Sony.

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A gamer's thoughts

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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