Good comic games are often a rarity,
especially RPG titles but fortunately for fans of the Marvel Universe
(more specifically... the X-Men), the first ever X-Men RPG title has
finally arrived on the PlayStation 2 and gamers can now assemble, train
and lead their own X-Men fighting force into battle against some of the
deadliest foes in the Marvel Universe that include the Brotherhood of
Mutants and the insidious Morlocks.
If the screenshots of X-Men Legends seems familiar to you, than that's
because the game was made by the creators of Baldur's Gate Dark
Alliance, one of the most entertaining RPG experiences to be delivered
onto the PS2. The developers have also decided to up the stakes of the
popular RPG genre by adding a variety of new and improved elements into
the game and of course by including the X-Men into the mix.
Plenty of the basic game mechanics are familiar, the X-Men quaff potions
to keep themselves healed, the character development system is also that
of a basic RPG system with statistics to upgrade and a basic equipment
system. There's much more action than RPG though, and deep action at
that, especially with more than one human player to mix things up. The
AI is pretty competent in the solo game which can be programmed to more
or less take care of itself but a multiplayer session offers far more
opportunities for cool cooperative attacks. With that said, the game is
a combination of Gauntlet meets Dungeons & Dragons and one cannot
complain about such a loving combination.
The storyline of
Legends starts out slowly, and one criticism that could be made is that
it kind of throws players to the wolves after the first mission.
Suddenly having to control a complete team of four and master their
powers in the process (after spending the first level controlling only
the completely straightforward Wolverine) is a bit much. The game makes
the Danger Room tutorials very accessible though, even in the middle of
a mission, so you can turn that way to gain a bit of experience and some
more power-up items. A very interesting addition to the RPG genre.
The combat system of X-Men legends is a combination of hack 'n' slash
and super powers, although it is possible to slug your way through the
game with a relatively straightforward strategy by using brute force
such as Wolverine but it is much more efficient and much more fun to
ping-pong the bad guys around with well-orchestrated combos. Launching
an opponent with a tornado or telekinesis, zapping them in the air with
some energy blast, and bashing them into the wall on the way down not
only does serious damage, it's also immensely satisfying. You can even
use the pick-up-and-toss command (usually employed for throwing bits of
the environment around) to hit something with the Wolverine Fastball
The musical score of X-Men Legends is brilliant and truly matches the
heroics of the game, unfortunately the character acting of the game is a
little too campy for this reviewer but then again, this is what heroics
are about. "Don't worry ma'am, I'll save your cat!" The strength of the
audio also helps bring the characters to life and throw in the
occasional Marvel cameo and X-Men in-jokes and you have a rather
impressive, if not sometimes amusing sounding game.
Legends is a very impressive looking game on the PlayStation 2 and the
attention to detail is quite amazing which really helps immerse the
player into the Marvel Universe of comics. With that said, the game
world is surprisingly detailed for the interactivity it offers, but at
the same time it doesn't offer too harsh a contrast to the comparatively
simple character models. The X-Men's designs for this game are a nice
blend of old-school bright primary colours and the modern, slightly
fetish trend in superhero character design with a touch of sharp
outlining and toon-shading to accent their comic book roots.
In conclusion, X-Men Legends is a highly addictive and entertaining game
with finely detailed
characterization, a great storyline and some amazing graphics.
Unfortunately some diehard X-Men fans may squirm a little because the
writers have virtually thrown in a plethora of X-Men history that was
like continuity itself was a jigsaw and the writers couldn't put that
jigsaw together again. However, the majority of gamers will be
blissfully unaware of this fact and X-Men fans will just rejoice in
seeing their heroes on the PlayStation 2. If you're looking for a
detailed and action orientated RPG title than look no further because
this game will give you a good 25 hours of perfect escapism! Excelsior!