GeorgeMcBain's Blog

Posted on Apr 11th 2012 at 12:00:14 PM by (GeorgeMcBain)
Posted under review, xbox360

Console: Microsoft Xbox 360
Region: U
Year: 2006
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Z-Axis, Ltd.
Rating: T (ESRB): Violence
Genre/Sub-genre: Action/Adventure; Beat-'Em-Up
Players: 1

I recently looked at Xbox 360 games from the beginning of the system's release, mainly for achievements. I came across X-Men: The Official Game and, since I am X-Men fan, decided to put it on my GameFly queue with the other old games I was stocking up on. I received the game on a Saturday, but didn't dive into it until the following Tuesday.

A bit surprising for a movie-licensed game, the stars reprise their roles: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Shawn Ashmore as Iceman, (the awesome!) Alan Cummings as Nightcrawler, and Patrick Stewart as Professor X. While their voices are used well in the game cut scenes, said scenes are actually non-moving, in the style more lately used in motion comics of 2-D pictures of the characters moving stiffly. Nevertheless, the voices are probably the best part about this game, Jackman's in particular. He really loves to be Wolverine and it is felt in his line delivery.

The story revolves around the X-Men finding the recently escaped Alkali Lab in Alaska (from the end of the movie X2) still inhabited, this time by Hydra soldiers. Wolverine also discovers Lady Deathstrike had survived her infusion of adamantium that had looked like killed her in that movie. It turns out that Stryker had been carrying on the SENTINEL program at the Labs and, during the course of the first act, the Master Mold escapes and wreaks havoc on the world.

The gameplay involves levels for each of the main characters and uses their powers as the basic game mechanics. Wolverine levels are typical brawler levels, consisting of waves of enemies or one central adversary. Iceman feels like a simple version of a flight sim, wherein he glides through a central arena on a jet of ice while firing ice beams and missiles at enemies. Finally, Nightcrawler's levels are a bit of Wolverine brawling, but mainly consisting of using his teleportation ability to get around minor labyrinth areas.

Of the three characters, I found myself enjoying Nightcrawler's the most. It is intensely satisfying to teleport from a ledge, to a lamppost, then behind an enemy to multi-punch him, before teleporting to the rafters before his buddies could help. If I had my way, I would have loved to have seen a game where this was the main character/mechanic. It could play a bit like an Assassin's Creed game.

Now we come to my favorite part: The achievements. Basically, this is a "simple" 1,000 gamerscore. I say simple in quotes because it follows a pretty cookie-cutter example of a tie-in, where you have end of level/act, collectables, difficulty, and end of game achievements. The most frustrating part will be defeating levels on "Superhero" difficulty in order to get all the mutation points for the characters. This was particularly hard in the beginning, when the characters had little to no mutation help yet. I eventually decided to play the levels on "Hero" (or medium) setting first, getting the collectables and feeling out the levels, before revisiting at the higher setting. Some levels on Superhero would put you back at the very beginning if you die, which was frustrating when you would get to near the end and hit the wrong barrier. Luckily, in the back-half of the game, the designers seemed to care a bit less of the structure/length, and the levels seem to breeze by quickly if you have a lot of mutations.

Overall, I was content playing this for 4-5 hours for some of the gameplay and the 1,000 gamerscore. If I wasn't a fan, I think I still would have gotten enjoyment out of the Nightcrawler levels. I have X-Men Origins: Wolverine sitting on my to-play shelf, and I have heard good things about it, so I look forward to getting back into the X-Men world again in the future.

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