Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Review: X-Men Legends (X-Box)
Posted by Chris :: 9:33 PM

(How apropos that I review this on the X-Box, huh?)

So, needless to say all the prior attempts to recreate the feel of the X-Men have been quite unsuccessful. The bad games greatly outweigh the good games, which are few and far between. I still remember owning the original X-Men game for the NES. Now that was a fun game.

As the game begins, we discover that a young Mutant named Alison Crestmere is being taken away the local Authorities for allegedly being a Mutant. Although she really is a Mutant and the Authorities, well, they ain't who they say they are. A little squiggly-flabbedy-doo and Officer reveals herself to be Mystique, who along with Blob attempt to kidnap young Alison. Enter Wolverine. And then the fun begins...

X-Men Legends is a "dungeon crawler" type RPG Scroller in the vein of Baldur's Gate and Champions of Norrath. Or what I like to call a Button Masher RPG. Now, I hate RPGs with a freaking PASSION. Can't stand'em. I for one like to actually be in control of my destiny instead of watching spells being cast that may or may not be hit. That's what I like about X-Men Legends. It's essentially a side scroller with XP. You have a group of four X-Men, and you can choose from many X-Favs as Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Rogue, Beast, Gambit, Nightcrawler and more. You can easily control any member in your group with a touch of the D-Pad. There are even many, many combos you can pull off by having two members attach the same enemy. One of my favs is the "Toss into a Blast" type combos. Each member has their own strengths and weaknesses that can be used to your advantage and certain stages you need specific X-Men to progress in the level. This can be quite frustrating sometimes though, especially if you don't have that X-Man in your group. So you gotta backtrack to a "X-traction Point" to switch members. I will say that another very annoying part of gameplay is that because you have four similar dressed X-Men on the screen at one time, in the heat of battle, it's very easy to lose track of the character you're controlling. Especially when fighting several enemies at once or a boss. You'd think that they'd have some kind of indicator under your X-Man you're controlling. Well, they do. Thing is, so do the other 3 X-Men. WTF. The Story mode also comes in Co-Op Flavor, which is pretty delicious. Especially if you like to be lazy and sit back and watch all them do the dirty work.

Like I said, this is quite the button masher, so the controls aren't that hard to pick up. You have your standard punch/swipe button, kick, and jump. There are also certain button combinations you can pull off for combos. You also have your mutant powers you can use with any button + L Trigger, but those you upgrade via your XP. There are also signature Extreme Powers that you can use to completely wipe out eveything in your path. From Jean's Phoenix Force to Cyclops' insane looking Optic Blast, these moves are very impressive looking. However those require X-treme Tokens that are hidden through out the levels in the destructable environments.

Oh man, the Destructable Environments. You name it, you can destroy it. Walls, cars, trees, anything. And you can also toss your enemies through said objects. There's no better feeling than tossing a baddie through a park bench. Also while you progress in the X-Men Story mode, you get little side plot featuring Alison who is learning how to control her Mutant powers. This means you get to explore Xavier's School for the Gifted, learning many things along the way. Including using the Danger Room where she hones in on her skills and eventually joins your party.

I really enjoy the Cel Shaded graphics in XML. it gives the game a real comic book feel. While not as nice looking as other cel shaded games such as Viewtful Joe and others, it's still quite nice. It's a different look at the X-Men, while not as hard edged, but still not cartoony. X-Men Legends also features some nice voiceover work by some of the biggest names in the voiceover industry. It's nice to see Patrick Stewart reprise his role of Prof. Charles Xavier from the movies. Some of the voices are great, like Logan, Nightcrawler, and Alison, but with the good comes the bad. Cyclops and Storm are prime examples of the bad side of tracks. Just dreadful.

So for X-Men fanboys, I'd say that this game is a definate winner. There are little touches thrown in althoughout the game that'll make you say "Hey! That's cool." Which is really all you can ask for, really. I'd recommend this for RPG fans as well, even though this isn't a standard RPG. The Button Mashy aspect might turn some off, but if that's the case, you obviously hate fun. So if you don't like that, it might be a rental just to try it out.

Pros: X-Men Fanboys Rejoice! A good X-Men game that we can be proud of! Great story mode and for the most part, great Action RPG Gameplay.

Cons: It's a bit button mashy, and you can really sometimes get lost in all the chaos. And stay away from baaaad voice acting.

I give X-Men Legends a...

Out Of 5.

Sounds kind of interesting. Like a combo between Freedom Force (PC) and Diablo/Baldur's Gate. And what's this noise about hating RPGs? You're fired. :)

- Dan

I still hate RPGs, btw. Not counting Legend of Zelda, of course.
I'm fully behind the firing for not liking RPG games.

Also, please explain to me the term Dungeon Crawler. Doesn't the game have to take place only a dungeon for that to be true? Because those games suck, but Baldur's Gate does not suck.

And I might have to check this game out. Is there an auto-pause feature like in Baldur's Gate II?

A "dungeon crawler" is a game in which the player spends most of his time exploring a maze filled with enemies to get to a specific location. Doesn't necessarily need to be an actual dungeon - it could be, for instance, the Weapon X facility (as in Wolverine's Revenge). However, it also is generally an RPG/Action RPG only-term.

- Dan
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