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Review: Doctor Who: The Edge of Time (EU)
Doctor Who: The Edge of Time (EU) Review
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Considering Doctor Who is TV’s longest running sci-fi show, there have been surprisingly few video games based on the Doctor’s adventures onboard the TARDIS. Even fewer have actually been fun to play, with some enjoyable adventure games on PC and a few critically panned titles from the early-2010s. Roll on Doctor Who: The Edge of Time, then, a VR title that immerses you in the world of Doctor Who like no game before.

The Edge of Time sees you play as an unnamed civilian who just so happens to be in the wrong British laundrette at the wrong time. Time is fracturing, you see, due to a ‘time virus’, and the Doctor gets in touch to ask you to collect time crystals and help her escape from her involuntary internment. I’d love to tell you why and where she’s trapped, and what these time crystals are meant to do, but, honestly, I’m still not sure.

The story is fairly typical wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey stuff, and most of the exposition comes from The Doctor speaking to you through TVs, radios or the TARDIS interface. Jodie Whittaker puts in an excellent voice performance, with her trademark non-sequitters and infectious optimism, but the sci-fi jargon flies at you thick and fast. In an episode of television this wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but when you’re surrounded by distractions in a VR world, with items all around you to pick up and interact with, it can be difficult to keep up with everything that’s being said.

Each chapter of the game takes you to a different place in time and space, with Who staples such as Victorian London and luxury space cruisers all in the mix. Going in, I expected puzzles galore, and while much of the game does consist of brainteasers, they can be very hit-and-miss. A clever section where you have to redirect lasers between rooms to open doors turned out to be a highlight, although a different puzzle was actually rendered nearly impossible for me due to my colour-blindness. Some puzzles consist of just finding the right items scattered around a room, which proves a little dull, and the game never really explains the controls to you - I found myself pressing buttons on the PS Move controllers for the first 20 minutes just trying to get a feel for what I could do.

What I didn’t expect from The Edge of Time was a terrifying horror game. And yet, more than one chapter of the game had me in a cold sweat, my heart absolutely racing. One section has you walking through dark woods with only a flashlight in hand,gangly humanoid creatures constantly moving just outside your peripheral vision. Even once you get to the safety of the lift platform at the end of the chapter, you look up at the woods above you to see more of the creatures, just watching me silently as I descended into the planet.

I hated it, in a good way. And of course the Weeping Angels make an appearance, what with them basically being the perfect foes for a VR horror game. Every time I was forced to look away from them they would be a bit closer. It was so perfect, in fact, that I nearly stopped playing there and then. Yes I know, I’m a big bloody coward, but the whole sequence elicits real fear that I’ve only really experienced in horror games like Alien: Isolation. It was impressive, to say the least.

The game does face some technical problems. Loading screens between areas are far too long, and the difficulty is pitched too high at times for what is meant to be a cinematic experience. The first half of the game features no fail states at all, but later chapters had me dying multiple times on the same section, followed by lengthy loading screens that pulled me right out of the immersion. A later chapter featuring Daleks played like the stealth section of an original PlayStation game, and on more than one occasion the game crashed, booting me to the PS4 home screen.

It's a cliche, but when Doctor Who: The Edge of Time is good, it’s really good. Stepping out of the TARDIS, walking around it and seeing the ‘bigger on the inside’ first hand never gets old. Backing into a lift, desperately grasping for the lever to close the doors while never taking your eyes off the Weeping Angel in front of you is brilliant and horrible at the same time. But a confusing story, dull puzzles and some big technical issues really hold the game back from greatness. For a Doctor Who fan like me, it was worth pushing through these issues to experience the enemies, settings and even just the feel of the TV series. If you’re not a Doctor Who fan, though, there’s probably not enough here to keep you going.

Like a typical season of Doctor Who, there’s about as much good as bad, and the experience is short enough that you can get through it in a single day. And much like a season of Doctor Who, you’ll probably finish it feeling it was worth it for the few excellent moments that will stick in your memory. I wish it had been more consistent, and less buggy, but The Edge of Time is probably the best Doctor Who game to date.

 

Jodie Whittaker gives a great energetic voice performance as The Doctor, and the few other voice performances are mostly good. The inclusion of classic Doctor Who sound effects, such as the wheezing of the TARDIS or the sharp violin sting when the Weeping Angels appear, means the game sounds great and very authentic to the source material..

The game looks like Doctor Who, which can be both good and bad. Some areas of the game look fantastic, especially the lighting, while others can feel very much like a budget BBC set. The colours are a little washed-out on PS VR, but classic Doctor Who foes are recreated in loving detail.

The controls take a bit of getting used to, with players either able to walk very slowly or teleport around, but swishing the Sonic Screwdriver around with the PS Move controller feels great, and most loose items in the game world can be picked up and gleefully chucked about. Dull stealth sections, and a lack of clarity on how to progress at times, let the game down.

Horror moments are extremely effective, and in PS VR it really does feel like you’re in a Doctor Who adventure. But full game crashes, long loading screens and some voiceover bugs will pull you out of the experience.

No Platinum trophy and only a small trophy list. There are a few that will bring you back to play again, but otherwise, there’s not much here for avid trophy hunters.

Doctor Who: The Edge of Time is almost frustatingly good at times, but each high is accompanied by a low, and by the time you've finished the game you may end up with some mixed feelings. Doctor Who fans will love spending time in that world, but it's hard to recommend to anyone new to the series.

 
 
 
Game Info
Developer:
Maze Theory
Publisher:
PlayStack
Genre:

Release:

US November 12, 2019
Europe November 12, 2019

Players: 1
Online Players : 0
Collection:4
Wishlist:3
 
 
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