Thursday, May 28, 2009

X-Men -1: The Game

Another Marvel Movie, another tie-in game. Marvel's track record for these things is pretty standard for movie tie in games, with the majority of them sucking and the occasional one, Spider-Man 2 for instance, being absolutely awesome. Luckily it seems that X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition is leaning towards the better half of that equation.

For starters Raven have got the healing factor right. In the past games have tried to shy away from this and come up with excuses why it doesn't work or underplay it. Not so with Origins, this embraces it. Wolverine will be taking on 10 guys all stabbing and shooting the crap out of him and Logan soldiers on knowing that once dealt with he'll heal up. From a geek perspective I think they may have gone too far. In the comics when Wolverine takes one hell of a kicking he's incapacitated, has to lie there until his body nits itself back together till a point when it functions again. Not so here, Logan can be missing all his skin, layers of muscle with skeleton exposed and he's still going. He's not so much Wolverine but the God damn Terminator. Still, the look of it all healing up in real time is awesome.

Also Wolverine's shirt seems to have some sort of weird healing factor as well. While his body slowly nits itself back together his shirt keeps any damage it has sustained. That is until there's a cutscene and the vest reappears in its undamaged glory, leaving you the task of destroying it once again by throwing Wolverine into the nearest barrage of bullets.

Once you've played the first two levels you've practically played the whole game as the few extra unit types that get introduced after that are few and far between, or if they do they still act exactly the same as what you've already sliced and diced. The bizarre part of it is the lack of boss fights, or even major bad guys, and I think it might just be laziness on the developers part. After the first level you fight Victor which is great, but his move set is very similar to Logan's. The next boss fight four levels later against Agent Zero starts brilliantly but comes down to stuff you've already done before.

Also the level design is strikes of laziness. The first six levels all take place in the same two locations, then the second of those is swapped out for another but we keep the first. The story works to that advantage and makes it work. Although taking its name from the film the story only takes a few beats from it, and tells its own version of Logan falling out with Stryker and getting his adamantium skeleton. This makes more of an issue of the mission to Africa that takes about 10 minutes in the film and flashes back through out the game.

I realise that this review seems quite bad but that's because it's far easier to write the negative than the positive. This game is like a good action movie, shit blows up and the bad guys get their asses kicked, it may not be the pinnacle of cinema but it is bloody enjoyable.
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