Platform: Xbox 360
Developed by Silicon Knights
Published by Activision
Xbox 360 Features:
1MB to Save Game
4.9 Required Hard Drive Space
HD Video Output 480p/720p/1080i/1080p
The X-Men have seen some better days. Box office numbers for the movie franchise have been on steady decline. Other than Wolverine the Video Game that was released a few years ago, X-Men video games have landed in bargain bins quicker than you can say “bazinga”. So along comes X-Men Destiny for the Xbox 360 and PS3 with little fanfare or hoopla. While the lack of hype always has me a little skeptical, I went in with an open mind hoping Silicon Knights could rebound from the Too Human fiasco. Unfortunately, after only minutes into the game, I was disappointed and left with the opinion X-Men Destiny is a game best left on store shelves. That said, X-Men Destiny does have a few redeeming qualities that may interest fans of the Marvel characters.
X-Men Destiny is a game that by no means pushes the PS3 or Xbox 360’s hardware. Murky, dated, and uninspiring are just a few words I would use to describe the games visuals. It is a game that, unfortunately, is not visually stunning or appealing. Although the games characters are very recognizable, the level detail in not on par with other super hero characters we have seen on the current generation of consoles. Not to mention the characters seem jittery and the lips synching is not in synch with the dialogue. The games environments are equally unappealing and seem to repeat themselves as you weave your way around the San Francisco city ruins. Needless to say, I was left a little underwhelmed with what X-Men Destiny had to offer in the visuals department.
Much like the games visuals, the sound in the game is equally unsatisfying. The voice work lacks emotion, the soundtrack is repetitive, and the games sound effects offer up noting we have already heard a thousand times over. It is more of a disappointment than anything else. The musical score features no recognizable artists and the soundtrack is composed of those whimsical orchestral sounds we hear in nearly every marvel game to date. Simply put, X-Men Destiny’s sound package is forgettable.
X-Men Destiny’s storyline is very basic. Professor X is dead and the mutants are not as welcomed as they once were. The beginning of the game takes place at a memorial peace rally in San Francisco, and before you know it chaos ensures and the X-Men jump into action. But before you launch into any battles or chaotic scenes, you are tasked with selecting between 3-characters new to the X-Men World. Each of the three characters has there own back-story and at first glance it certainly appears the game has all the makings to be a fairly deep experience with a rich storyline, yet it is anything but. Other than some changes in dialogue depending on the choices you make, you still play the same levels and fight the same bosses regardless which character you choose or which stream of dialogue you decide to engage in.
After you choose your character, and the above mentioned rally goes sideways, your mutant’s powers spring into action. While you are limited to 3-characters you do find yourself aligning with other more notable X-Men characters such as Wolverine, Cyclops, or Magneto, and you do eventually unlock a plethora of powers. The other X-Men fight along side you throughout the game and but the amount of damage they do is limited.
Much like most RPGs, you are given a series of choices along the way when you encounter characters, and you are forced to listen to meaningless dialogue throughout the game. Yet the choices you make do not impact the gameplay. This makes me question the direction the developers decided to take and I am left wondering why the RPG elements were included as X-Men Destiny as the game is a very linear affair that guides you from one level to the next. In many ways the game presents as if the developers simply ran out of time and thus the RPG elements remained unfinished.
If the storyline and so called RPG elements leave you scratching your head, it gets worse. The combat in the game is repetitive and dull. At its core, X-Men Destiny is masher and you can successfully make your way through the 5-6 hour single player campaign merely mindlessly pressing buttons. Sure you have some X-Men powers at your disposal, and when used effectively you can do some damage, but it is not a deal breaker and not absolutely necessary to master them in order to proceed in the game. X-Men Destiny seems to have been ‘dumbed-down’ for the younger gamers, but in doing so they made the combat a tad too easy and far too repetitive. It makes for a game that made me sleepy and more interested in my to-do list for the following day.
The controls in the game are very basic. Heavy Attacks, Light Attacks, Dodge and Jump are the core mechanics. They effectively work and do as they intend. Yet they still feel sluggish and lack any creativity.
As I mentioned, your characters do have powers at their disposal and there are instances where using the “Mutant Powers” are rewarding. There are three types of mutant powers. The “Density Control” power is all about big bruising attacks. Instead of dodging and finessing the enemies this power is all about cleaning house. The “Shadow Matter” power is a mysterious power that harnesses dark energies to deliver damage fast. It is a high-speed power that is a good fit for elusive players who would rather avoid a direct confrontation. Finally, the “Energy Projection” powers are used for ranged attacks and are designed for players who would rather tackle problems before they become big problems. These powers are faster than Density Control assaults, more damaging than Shadow Matter attacks.
Additionally, the enemy AI does not offer up much of a challenge. The hordes of enemies converge on you like the Zombies in The Walking Dead HBO series. It never seems to end. Killing them over and over becomes tedious and monotonous. Clear one area and you have to enter another area with yet another swarm of enemies. Boss fights are also very unrewarding. Once you figure out the boss attack patterns, bosses are easily disposed of.
Collecting X-Genes and Suits is one of the few rewarding elements in the game. You gain experience points in the game and these points can be used to upgrade your X-Genes. Collecting XP is accomplished by defeating enemies and completing objectives. Did I mention the objectives often involve killing hordes of enemies usually within a prescribed time limit?
X-Men Destiny does not contain a co-op mode, or any multiplayer mode for that matter. A co-op mode might have salvaged the game somewhat; unfortunately, no such mode exists and you are left with a short uninspired single player experience
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