Number of Players – 1
Platform – Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3, Wii, Nintendo DS
Release Date – September 27th, 2011
Genre – Action/Role-Playing
ESRB – Teen
MSRP – $29.99-$59.99
Every time a new superhero video game comes out, fans everywhere brace themselves for something that will probably play as badly as Iron Man or Thor. Fortunately, we are sometimes pleasantly surprised and we end up with a premier gaming experience like Arkham Asylum. But mostly we’d just be happy with something that’s fun and doesn’t completely insult our intelligence. That’s kind of where X-Men Destiny finds itself.
The last batch of X-Men games were tied into the movie franchise and it’s pretty safe to say that they were awful. Mostly because, for big comic fans, the movie continuity isn’t all that exciting due to missing characters and plot lines that tie into the films. X-Men Destiny rights this wrong by giving us a game that rolls a whole lot of X-Men mythology into one pretty awesome brawler.
The game play is simple. You’re a new mutant and your powers have just manifested. Nightcrawler teleports you into an area, you beat up a bunch of guys on the road to joining either the Brotherhood or the X-Men. It’s basically God of War with an X-Men skin. You mash the light and heavy attack buttons, pepper your assault with the usage of your mutant abilities all the while destroying waves of Purifiers, Externals, robots and other stuff that wants to kill mutants. Pop-ups in the style of comic book sound effects appear whenever you hit high level combos adding to the comic book aesthetic of the game.
The most entertaining aspect of the game is equipping various mutant X-genes to make your character one-of-a-kind. By finding and leveling up different abilities and powers, you can create a character that fits your style of play. You’re allowed one offensive, one defensive and one utility power. Each of these is culled from a huge cast of X characters and the drops are random so no two playthroughs are exactly alike. Plus if you get all the powers and costume of a certain character you can unlock even more special abilities.
The game has a story but it’s a nothing to write home about. Mike Carey (X-Men Legacy, Unwritten) handles this one and it’s definitely not up to the level of other recent Marvel games like Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. It’s a by the numbers X-Men story. X-Men try for peace, Magneto attacks San Francisco, the Purifiers try to exterminate all the mutants and X-Men and the Brotherhood try to get the bottom of everything. Throw in Bastion and the U-Men and you’ve got yourself an X-game.
Where the story fails is in characterizing the player’s character. Each of the player characters has their own back story but it’s barely touched upon and because you are just dropped into each area with the same mission: beat up everyone. It gets a little repetitive at points and the only saving grace there is that you can beat it in less than a day.
X-Men Destiny has fairly standard graphics for this generation of consoles. At points though, certain characters (Quicksilver, in particular) come out looking a little jagged and unfinished. The settings are rather generic. You jump from the remains of a city to a lab to a warehouse. Nothing stands out. And the same goes for the sound. While the voice acting is fun and the personalities of fan favorite characters are hit spot-on, your own character comes off flat and forced. This is partly because your character just serves to move the plot along.
Still, this is a fun game for X-fans. All the heroes and villains are there and you get to control your favorite X-powers. This is definitely a better X-Men game than we’ve seen in a while and the RPG elements are a fun addition to an otherwise okay beat’em up.
GAMEPLAY: 3 / STORY: 2 / GRAPHICS: 3 / SOUND: 3 / OVERALL: 3