If you were looking at trailers for Edge of Reality with a sense of Déjà vu you would be right in feeling that you’ve seen this all before. Edge of Reality is the latest game from Maze Theory and is based on the hit BBC show Doctor Who (ever heard of it?). However to say this game is new is an understatement. 2 years ago Maze Theory released the game Edge of Time, a VR experience of the 13th Doctors adventures in time and space. In that game, reality had been thrown out of whack and it was your job (as a normal individual) to help the Doctor restore balance to the galaxy and reality. Edge of Reality on the other hand is essentially the same game, however, this time being controller-based instead of VR and with an expanded story.
Let’s take a deeper look.
My main criticism with Edge of Time was down to the playtime. Clocking in at only 2hrs the game felt like it was over before it had even begun. This time Edge of Reality with its expanded story and additional 3rd act plays for about 4 -5ish hrs depended on how fast you play. It’s still a short game, however, the expansion on the levels make the game feel more fleshed out.
Take this for example.
In the opening level after you make your way to the back alley behind the laundrette, in Edge of Time, the level would leave you in this single location where you would have to find parts to create a transmitter to summon the Tardis which were literally littered 2ft in front of you. You would then make the transmitter and then the level would end. In Edge of Reality, you would get to this back ally and then be able to explore the local area around it in order to find out a little bit more of what was going on, which in this case was that Darleks had invaded earth. You actually come head to head with a few and have to sneak around them in order to find the parts to create this transmitter. It gives the levels more exposition, fleshing out the story and the world-building in order to further the plot. In the same level in Edge of Time, I only knew the Darleks had invaded earth due to the space ships in the sky and then the Doctor telling me once in the Tardis. There was no sense of dread in the original as the level was over too quickly.
That being said whereas some levels like this work out better in Edge of Reality, others shone brighter in the original. The main level in question contains the Weeping Angles. They are by far the scariest monsters that Doctor Who has to offer. If you blink you die, it’s their whole concept and it translates well to VR. You move your head slightly and they are right there in front of you in your personal space, making you jump back and fall onto the sofa. In Edge of Reality, they are kind of just there. You see them, move the camera with your controller, hear them moving and then it’s just like the Alien popping up behind you in Alien Isolation, you know it’s coming so why be scared of it. The tension is gone as it’s less immersive than its VR counterpart.
The best addition to Edge of Reality that sets it apart from Edge of Time is the additional third act. In Edge of Time, the game just ends once you save reality and leaves you back at the laundrette. In Edge of Reality once you reach this point your journey begins again, this time you have to find out who is disrupting reality further and actually rescue the Doctor. Yet you aren’t alone. It really did bring a smile to my face when I heard the voice of my favourite Doctor pop through the TV. Non-other than David Tennant making his return as the 10th Doctor to help you save reality. It was a nice call back to the glory days of Doctor Who. The 3rd act was actually more interesting and engaging than the rest of the original game with a nice reference to ‘The girl in the fireplace’ episode from Tennant’s run as the Doctor.
Unfortunately though as good as this 3rd act is, the bugs and gameplay issues that plague this game let it down. Puzzles like the elevator light puzzle on the second level were frustrating to complete due to the pinpoint accuracy you would have to use on getting the crosshair of the camera perfectly on the buttons of the puzzle in order to initiate them.
Shadows of your arms would not match up to what your arms would actually be doing. Autosaves would not work properly meaning I would have to start the game from the beginning again. And finally, there would be moments where the sound effects would not initiate and I would be left with just music while struggling to even hear some of the dialogue.
It’s such a shame. If these issues had been polished out properly before the launch of the game my experience would have been more enjoyable.
While Edge of Reality serves as a nice Extended cut to Edge of Time it fails to deliver on what made the original game so immersive. It does serve up some nice and more fleshed out level design to the original and the inclusion of an additional third act. However, the move from VR to standard controller game seems to have been lost in translation.
Edge of Reality was reviewed on an Xbox Series X and is available on Xbox one, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Developers: Maze Theory, Just Add Water
Publishers: Maze Theory, Another Indie, Neon Doctrine
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