X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the new action game from developer Raven Software. The game is based on the movie of the same name and was developed using the Unreal engine technology. Is X-Men one of the first movie based games that actually works? Read more to find out.
In X-Men you take control of James “Logan” Howlett, codenamed “Wolverine”.The game’s storyline is primarily the back-story of Wolverine from his birth in the 19th century, through to his military service and eventual recruitment to Col. William Stryler’s Weapon X program, through to his final confrontation with Weapon XI.
X-Men has similarities to other titles such as God of War, Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Blade. It contains similar hack ‘n’ slash gameplay that the above titles do. In X-Men the combat comes in three forms, light attacks, heavy attacks, and grabs with each mapped to a different button. Another form of attack is the lunge, which allows Wolverine to quickly close the distance between him and an enemy. Wolverine can also use the environment to his advantage, by doing things such as impaling foes on spikes. During combat, Wolverine's rage meter begins to build up, and when full, allows him to unleash more deadly, devastating attacks, like the claw spin and a berserker mode.
In similar fashion to Ninja Gaiden 2, X-Men is quite gory. As you perform various attacks on enemies, the action slows down to show you your perfect decapitation or dismemberment. Although not as gory as Ninja Gaiden 2, X-Men is not a game for the kiddies.
One aspect of X-Men that has never been done before in a game involving Wolverine is the inclusion of a regeneration factor. This progressive damage system is great. How it works is that when Wolverine sustains injuries the damage is reflected on his character as chunks of his flesh and clothes are removed. With the regeneration system, Wolverine’s injuries heal in real-time, allowing you to see his muscles and skin grow back.
A useful tool at your disposal in X-Men is Wolverine’s feral senses. With one press on the d-pad you can utilize Wolverine’s animal instincts as the feral senses shades out the background and highlights the weak points in enemies, as well as highlighting areas where Wolverine can access that will help you solve puzzles and discover escape routes.
Also in common with games like Ninja Gaiden 2 is the boss battles contained within the game. Throughout the game you will face massive bosses that include 200-foot tall Sentinels, grotesque Wendigos, and unyielding Leviathans. While the bosses are huge in size, they don’t take long to beat. In comparison some of the boss battles in Ninja Gaiden 2 took ages to beat.
While X-Men plays quite well and the regeneration health system is great, it is not up to the standard of God of War and Ninja Gaiden 2. It just doesn’t have the polish and feel of those games. X-Men is more aimed at a casual play through as it is nowhere near as difficult as Ninja Gaiden 2 and you don’t really need to learn any combos in X-Men to beat it like you do in Ninja Gaiden 2. This may appeal to those looking for a fun but not too challenging action game based on a famous comic book hero.
The graphics in X-Men are good, but not great. They are not up to the standard of recent action titles like Ninja Blade. The environments in X-Men are the highlight of the graphics as the jungles that you are located in some levels look lush and rich in colour and very detailed. Wolverine himself is very well animated and highly detailed. The attention to Wolverine himself is evident with the regeneration health system with chunks of his flesh and clothes being removed as he is attacked and subsequently growing back as he regenerates. The enemy characters are quite bland and lack detail. They pretty much all look the same. The bosses however are very well detailed and look great.
The sound in X-Men is good. The voice over’s of the various characters seen throughout the game are spot on and true to the film. The sound of Wolverine’s blades sounds great and it is very satisfying hearing them slicing through the enemies.
While X-Men may be no God of War or Ninja Gaiden 2, it is a great action title that will appeal to those who either thought Ninja Gaiden 2 was too hard or those who like the X-Men characters and want to play one of the first movie tie-in games that actually came through and produced a decent game.
Simple, easy to use controls that anyone can instantly step into and start hacking limbs off. Although it does lack the polish of other action games, it is a fun game to play through, especially if you like Wolverine.
Detailed environments along with a well detailed Wolverine character make X-Men a good game to look at. It’s just a shame the enemy characters look so bland.
Good voice over’s and the sound of those blades slashing through the enemies make X-Men sound good.
Finally a game based on a movie that actually turns out well. With a single player campaign that will last a decent length of time, X-Men is well worth at least one play through. Also, with the additional content that is now available where players can now download the Weapon X Arena, a level composed of four unique combat simulators, from Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for 800 Microsoft Points, X-Men is a very solid action game indeed.
Reviewed & Written By Craig Cirillo