Video games based on movies or television shows don’t usually meet expectations. It’s a bit of an unwritten rule that gamers have come to expect. For every great interpretation like Ducktales, there’s a hundred or so E.T. The Video Games waiting to leave a bad taste in your mouth. With that in mind, I set about to save the universe in Doctor Who: Edge of Reality.
Originally released as a virtual reality experience called Doctor Who: Edge of Time, Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality has been reworked and expanded to accommodate for a more traditional console experience. A first person point and click adventure through space and time, that takes about 5-6 hours to complete. You play an unnamed person just trying to do some laundry when you’re called to action by Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor. Whittaker provides the voice work and brings the same level of energy you’ve come to expect since she’s been given the keys to the TARDIS. If you’re a fan of this regeneration of The Doctor, you’ll more than likely find the journey an enjoyable one.
You also cross paths with David Tennant’s 10th Doctor, which would have been a nice reveal, but the box art does an adequate job of spoiling the surprise. I understand that if you’re able to pull the likes of David Tennant, you want to get your money’s worth, but his appearance in the story would have felt more special had I been unaware of his involvement. Either way, it’s always nice to hear from Tennant, who was one of my favourite Doctors.
Throughout Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality you will encounter many of the Doctor’s iconic enemies including Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels. When dealing with a licensed property, it’s important to get the look and feel of what you’ve come to expect from the subject matter. I’m happy to report that all the right boxes get checked in this category. Nicholas Briggs provides the voice for the Daleks as he has since 1990. The first time you hear the mechanical sounding “EXTERMINATE!” bellowing down the streets of a Dalek occupied London, you truly feel like you’ve been dropped into an episode.
While they may be one of the more recent additions to the Doctor’s rogue’s gallery, the Weeping Angels provide the game’s most memorable experience. If you’re not familiar with the Weeping Angels, the premise is quite simple. They resemble human sized stone angels that you would find in a garden or cemetery. Looking at them, you wouldn’t notice anything special. Just a normal stone statue. However, when you take your eyes off of them, they are able to move freely, creeping ever closer until they grab you and deposit you years in the past to live your life displaced in the timestream. An excellent premise which made for some excellent television and now some effective gameplay mechanics. When you first see the Angels, you walk past them and suddenly hear stone sliding behind you. Turning around to discover where the sound was coming from reveals the jump scare of the Weeping Angels closing in on you with their true faces revealed. To say that I was a bit unnerved while playing this section of Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality is an understatement. It gives you the willies in the best way possible.
There are plenty of Easter Eggs to collect along the way; Tom Baker’s scarf, Matt Smith’s fez and bowtie, Peter Capaldi’s guitar. These are nice touches, but at the end of the day don’t add much to the overall experience aside from being callouts to the Doctors of year’s past. The TARDIS interior is fun to explore, but you really don’t get the whole “bigger on the inside” vibe as you’re confined to the main room with the control panel. The graphics are passable for a PS4 title, but aren’t pushing the envelope for what a now past-gen console is capable of. The sound design and voice work are the stars of this game and what truly make this an adventure worth taking.
I need to mention that Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality is a bit glitchy and I found myself on multiple occasions unable to progress the story until I exited out and reloaded my saved game. It’s an inconvenience for sure, but if you’re a Whovian, the good will far outweigh the bad. The Weeping Angels section is worth your time alone. Just don’t forget your Sonic Screwdriver.