X-Men: The Official Game
After the abominable X-Men: Wolverine's Revenge. I wasn't holding out much hope for this latest movie tie-in third-person action-adventure, based on Marvel's superhuman freakoids. However, unless my brain is being fried by Professor Xavier's Cerebro machine, I quite enjoyed X-Men: The Official Game.
Scripted by the latest movie's co-writer Zak Penn, the game neatly bridges the gap between X-Men 2 and X-Men 3, explaining events just after the tragic drowning of Jean Grey at Alkalai Lake. You control three of the most popular X-Men - adamantium-clawed Wolverine, ice-spewing new boy Iceman and teleporting blue demon Nightcrawler, with each presenting differing gameplay experiences. Wolverine's levels are full-on melee combat, where you can employ a fury meter to unleash manic attacks against Al-controlled enemies, whereas Iceman's missions comprise of flying around on an ice trail and freezing foes with sub-zero blasts. However, the most satisfying combat is with Nightcrawler, who can teleport directly behind baddies, before pummelling their stupid, surprised faces.
You can also summon help from other X-Men such as Storm during certain levels, which is hugely satisfying as she strikes down numerous enemies - including the a-bit-crap enemy Multiple Man - with high-voltage lightning death from above. A neat semi-RPG touch is the ability to enhance your character's abilities and stats after every level, although it's very basic stuff on offer.
Yes, X-Men: The Official Game is a blatant console port, but there's enough throwaway gameplay here along with destructible environments, Havok physics, movie soundtrack and half-decent graphic novel-style cutscenes to warrant a look - if you're a Marvel fanboy after a game with a bit of X factor.
Download X-Men: The Official Game
With a strong franchise to support, and picky fans to satisfy, it's no wonder the X-Men game has a few problems. Remarkably, however, is that this game raises above and beyond those problems and provides a varied and fun gameplay, something that stands out among today's flashy graphics driven games.
Sometimes inept in its design, X-Men none the less delivered a unique design. Three separate games are combined into one, letting you jump from playing Iceman to Wolvering to Nightcrawler. This lets you take a break from one game and jump straight into another when you get tired of the game you're currently playing. Wolverine's gameplay is a straight brawler, smashing through enemies. Nightcrawler gives you a bit of an acrobatic puzzler experience and teleporting combat, and Iceman's mode lets you play a flight sim. I really loved the fact that each gameplay style was unique and fun. Each of the characters has an incredible power that basically just kicks butt. Plus, you can make your character stronger as you progress through the game, lending the game a very small amount of RPG flavor.
Unfortunately, all this cool is balanced by a few choice problems. The first and foremost is the game difficulty, which is inconsistent to a great degree. If a game designer is compared to a talented artisan, it seems like X-Men was designed by a guy with a sledgehammer and a chisel, hammering at huge block of processed fun. There's almost zero replay here, since you've got a handful of unlockable bonus levels (Danger Room sequences) and the levels can usually be completed on the hardest difficulty within the first or second go around.
Graphically and aurally, there's little here to write home about. I believe that three actors from X-2 do make an appearance, but don't quote me on that. I'm certain of Patrick Stewart, but less sure about Hugh Jackman and Kelly Xu. Strangely, this works decently given the storytelling style the game uses, a sort of animated comic book that tells the game story in cutscenes. Don't worry about film spoilers for X-3, I'm fairly certain none of the events here carry over into the movie.
All in all, this is definitely a fun game. It is short, as all franchise games tend to be, and it does suffer from substantially frustrating issues, but that doesn't kill the experience. You can kick butt as some of the X-Men, and waste a few hours, and in the end, that's not that bad.