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whatshot X-Men Origins: Wolverine PS3 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 8.8
Sound 8.7
Value 8.3
Distributor: Activision
Classification:
MA15+
Review Date:
May 2009
Reviewer:
Tyrone Williams

8.4


X-Men Origins: Wolverine


Click here to learn more

After reading mixed reviews of X-Men Origins: Wolverine at the theatres, I must admit that I was quite apprehensive regarding "another" movie game. Although Activision have had a string of movie based games over the years, some of these have been a hit and others a miss. With that said, X-Men Origins: Wolverine arrives on PS3, XBox 360 and PC and the number one question, you're probably thinking is whether Activision have broken the "movie curse"?

Although I did play part of the game before seeing the movie, I decided to put it down before I would spoil any parts of the film. My initial thoughts to the game was a combination of Conan the Barbarian meets God of War meets the world of superheroes and needless to say, I was quite pleasantly surprised at how well the game played and how impressive the graphics were on the PlayStation 3. Fast forward a few days and I've finally had the chance to see the latest blockbuster movie starring a buff Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Although an entertaining movie, the story was a tad contrived, clichéd and is the classic stuff of superhero movies.

*** movie spoilers ***

For those unaware of Wolverine, the character actually started in the world of Marvel Comics and had strong allegiances to the X-Men, a team of mutant superheroes. The movie is loosely based on the comic origin of Wolverine that involves two brothers during the late 19th century who discover that they have strange abilities. For Wolverine, this includes super strength and speed plus the ability of growing three deadly bone daggers from his hands.

As they mature, they discover that they are "almost" indestructible and they become involved in various wars to appease their bloodlust. Unfortunately something occurs between the two brothers and Wolverine played by Hugh Jackman is forced to go his separate way. As the years pass, Wolverine has made a new life for himself and has even "settled" down. Unfortunately fate has other ideas and his partner Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins) is seemingly murdered by his brother Victor, aka Sabretooth and vows revenge.

Through happenstance, his old military commander, William Stryker offers Wolverine the chance of being injected by adamantite into his bones that will make him totally indestructible. Although the operation is successful, Wolverine has been setup by Stryker and from their, the animalistic nature of Wolverine is unleashed. Although the movie is quite clichéd, it's actually an entertaining journey that will ultimately prove forgettable, however for the moment, it's a fun ride.

*** end of movie spoilers ***

In relation to the PS3 title, Raven, the developers behind X-Men Origins: Wolverine have taken a slight detour from the movie and through some artistic liberty have slightly deviated from the film. Best of all, the characters in the game look like their movie counterparts and I must admit that some of the prerendered cutscenes were extremely realistic at times.

At the basics, Wolverine is an action fighting game that allows the player to control Wolverine as he performs a variety of "Wolverine" based maneuvers that is actually quite violent. Even though Wolverine can perform some standard moves, the key to the game is the varied and entertaining combinations that truly pay homage to his Marvel comic book character.

With the ridiculous maneuvers and combinations of God of War and the blood thirsty nature of games such as Conan the Barbarian, Wolverine is its own master thanks to the storyline, puzzle solving and missions that go hand in hand with the comic book and the movie. As you progress through the game, you are awarded experience points which assists in leveling your character and once leveled, additional maneuvers will be unlocked. Best of all, their are quite a few "Secrets" hidden away in the game such as Wolverine action figure that will unlock additional items in the game.

The control system on the PS3 has been perfectly mapped by Raven as you perform a variety of battle hardy maneuvers such as the Wolverine jump where you land on a prey and then pummel him to death with your razor sharp claws. Even the interaction with the environment is a flawless experience and initially in the game, the first stage is quite reminiscent of Drake's Fortune to the jungle atmosphere of the level.

As you progress, you must embark on linear based missions but thankfully the star is the violent and bloody combinations that you can perform which awards the player for how well they have achieved these combinations, whether it's decapitations or throwing your foes into the wall... it's quite satisfying.

As you progress and should you become stuck, you can change to "Wolverine" vision or feral vision that makes a faint blue line, think of the bread crumb trail in Fable II. It's definitely a handy thing to have which can be turned on or off via the d-pad and may show you ledges where you need to reach or stones to push.

Apart from your standard soldiers with guns, the game boasts quite a few boss levels that assists in breaking up the monotony of this standard fighting and makes the player think a little as strategy is needed. The first battle involves a giant mutated Orc-like creature that requires quite a large amount of ducking and running which is frustrating, however assists with the gameplay.

If you do become injured, you can keep out of sight or attempt to dodge your enemies as your health will slowly regenerate. Battles includes a wide range of Marvel characters that include interesting fights such as The Sentinel and even Gambit. The fight against your brother Victor or Sabretooth at the start is quite frustrating because when you beat him down, his health eventually returns. Certain fights like this are created in order to keep the storyline matched with the movie and unfortunately linear gameplay.

Graphically, the title is pure eye candy on the PS3 with beautiful gaming environments, realistic real-world physics and some of the nicest attention to detail in a fighting action game for a long time. Best of all, the game is not just limited to one area as it contains everything from Jungles to cities and more. The characters are extremely well animated and move with a fluidity that only assists in the superhero genre and have also been modeled after their real-world "actor" counterparts. When you see Wolverine, you definitely see Hugh Jackman in the character. The cinematics in the game is the cherry on the cake due to the realism of these cutscenes that I could sit and watch all day. Add in a variety of lighting and special effects and you have one decent looking game.

The soundtrack of the game suits the action and ambience of the game and for purists, Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Live Schreiber (Victor/Sabretooth) and Will I. Am (John Wraith) have all lent their voices to the game and thankfully all of them really get into the characters so nothing is forced or cheap. Even though only three stars from the film lent their forces to the characters, the other actors are just as professional. The sound effects in the game are simply phenomenal, especially the battles such as Wolverine performing his spinning attack through the air that needs to be heard on a surround sound system to truly enjoy. There's also plenty of corny Wolverine-esq one liners too!

At the end of the day, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a very good game that features action, adventure and fighting all under the auspice of Wolverine. With decent graphics, cinemas to die for, Wolverine truly breaks the "movie curse" and Raven should be commended on creating such as engaging and entertaining title. The gameplay is quite sturdy that translates to some exciting and well thought out boss battles. My only gripe is that most gamers will be able to complete this title in around 15 hours, depending on your experience, however it's definitely worth the journey.

Let's hope Raven creates a sequel to this very impressive game!





 

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