This is my first ever product review. I hope you enjoy reading it more than I enjoyed playing the game 😉
my verdict on Marvel’s newest X-Men computer game venture
I will be honest… I feel cheated.
There has been a lot of hype about this game, a lot of “name dropping” from the world of Marvel comics insisting this will be the best Marvel computer game ever produced because it was written by this big-name writer and because of all the freedom offered by the game’s sytem where you can “create your own character”, “choose your powers”, etc, but after only my first play-through of the game, I can tell you that all of this is far from true.
– – – –
First and foremost, I want to state that I am not a comic book fan. I have a lot of knowledge on the subject, but I have never actually enjoyed reading them.
Nevertheless I was excited to hear of Mike Carey’s involvement in the project. I had high hopes that he would be an asset to the game, and this was indeed the case. The plotline is intriguing, the four character choices are unique and interesting, the script is humorous and at times quite heart-warming, and there is a lot of “geek outs” for the established fan base, but the problem here is that no matter how good a writer, if the rest of the project is poor, their efforts bare no relevance. This is one of those cases.
– – – –
For something with such an intelligent, original premise, this game is certainly patronising in its gameplay. My personal favourite example being within the early tutorial section of the game when Emma Frost requests that the character “try jumping”, which, funnily enough, I am pretty sure any individual can do, no “trying” required. Another fine example is that the “Collectibles” that would, in other games, require a great deal of hunting to find and earn the usual Achievements on discovery of all of them, are, for the most part, practically impossible to miss. Considering the age rating, you would expect them to treat their players with more respect.
The gameplay itself is not much of a challenge, either. I played through on the easiest setting, and then on the hardest, and to be quite honest, I did not notice much of a difference until around two-thirds the way through the game, when suddenly it became redicilously difficult. I dispise games that have uneven difficulties like that, where you ease through them for so long and then spend hours on one part. There needs to be a balance, but the creators of this game do not seem to have even tried to within that regard. The constant “button bashing” gameplay and the amount of replays required in order to gain many of the Achivements also make this a chore to tolerate.
– – – –
Visually, there is not much to make this stand out from the crowd. In fact, given the impressive visuals from prior Marvel Comics game outings (mainly Spider-Man) and how breathtaking the competition is (DC’s Batman Akham games should not be underestimated…), I found this to be a disgrace. It does not seem like a “Next-Gen” game at all, rather something you would find at a second-hand store that was released back in the nineties.
The voice-acting is both a pleasure and a pain, with the inclusion of many voices that we know from other Marvel productions being a nice touch, but the fact the words being said are inconsistent with the subtitles provided makes you wonder what on earth is going on with the editing. In fact, most of the subtitles are better than what is actually being said, so clearly they missed a trick there.
The soundtrack leaves much to be desired as well. To be honest, I barely noticed it, and I cannot even remember it, which does not bode well.
– – – –
The “Some Destinies Are Chosen” tagline does, in its defense, do exactly what it says on the tin. There are four characters to play, and with each one you could easily play two or three times to experience different side-quests, watch different cut-scenes, etc. But, as aforementioned, you would have to have a lot of patience for the repetitive gameplay. It come down, again, to having a talented, but sadly wasted, writer.
The fact that you can essentially choose hundreds of combinations of powers from within the X-Universe is also very interesting, and contributes to the possible replayability, but be warned, no plot explanation is given, and for the comic book geeks or picky gamers such as myself out there, that will be quite an annoyance.
– – – –
Clearly not much money was wasted on the development of this first stand-alone X-Men game to have been released in nigh ten years, which is a real shame because it had so, so much potential and, thanks to the mostly negative critical and fan response, I doubt there will be another one any time soon.
So, in conclusion, if you have the time and the patience, and you are a fan of comic books, I would recommend you at least rent this for the plot and the fun of the choosing your own powers, or pick it up second hand, but hardcore gamers and those paying out the full price will be utterly disappointed.
It is important that I receive feedback from my readers. I would truly appreciate any feedback at all that you can provide me. Posting comments of encouragement, or constructively critiquing my efforts. I really want to further myself as a writer and with your help I can.