Game Over Online ~ X-Men: The Official Game

GameOver Game Reviews - X-Men: The Official Game (c) Activision, Reviewed by - David Brothers

Game & Publisher X-Men: The Official Game (c) Activision
System Requirements GameCube
Overall Rating 70%
Date Published Monday, June 19th, 2006 at 11:55 AM


Divider Left By: David Brothers Divider Right

X-Men: The Official Game sounds like a good idea on the surface. Take three of the most popular X-Men from the movies and make a game bridging parts two and three. Toss in three distinct styles of gameplay, a fully realized story, and some sweet graphics, and what do you get? A good game, right? Er. Sit down. We should have a talk.

First, there's a lot to like about X-Men. The graphics are pretty good, though not necessarily great, and the voice acting is good for the most part. The animations are good, and the characters aren't just simple palette swaps. The game also does a good job (too good, perhaps, and I'll get to that later on) of differentiating the different play styles. Wolverine's levels feel like an old brawler, Nightcrawler's are stealth tinged, and Iceman is almost like a freeform shooter. These differences are where X-Men's biggest problem comes into play.

Instead of feeling like one game with three distinct characters, you feel like you're playing three different games mashed together. Wolverine's brawler stages are so monotonous as to be criminal. You'll fight some thugs, destroy some objects, and fight some more thugs. You get an assist from Storm early in the game, but she's pretty much a non-issue. You'll occasionally get to use her lightning to take out some goons and that's about it. Wolverine's mode is a beat 'em up, plain and simple, and comes complete with spotty controls and repetitive moves. You can only slash, slash, and slash for so long before you get bored. Iceman is always on his ice slide, which was another cool idea at first, but it also manages to get old. It's remniscient of a 3D shooter more than anything.

One bright spot is Nightcrawler's side of the game. The teleportation is probably the best part of it. It's extremely fun to simply zip around the stages with the touch of a button. Attacking through teleports is fun, too, and Nightcrawler's stages tend to have plenty of objects to crawl on or teleport up to.

Beyond that, though, he falls into the same traps as the other two. The stages are pretty much uninspired. There'll be sections where you run along empty corridors looking for a button, sections where you have to climb or manueuver up to a new area, and sections where you get ambushed by waves and waves of enemies. This is particularly noticeable in the early stage where Nightcrawler collaborates with Colossus. Colossus's job is to stand in one place and punch something when you remove the field. Once you remove the field, enemies attack him and you have to go rescue him so he can do his job. What's the rub? You have to do a bit of trekking through corridors to get to where you need to be, and then run back. You have to do all of this in order, rather than doing it all at once, too. It seems like good design, but it just ends up being tedious, and heaven forbid if you accidentally get lost.

The difficulty curve for X-Men is pretty steep. The bad guys, even on normal, are kind of relentlessly cheap. It seems almost as if fighting against hordes of faceless and stupid bad guys is playing the role of fighting intelligent AI. You won't see any smart tactics here. Enemies stand around until they attack, then they stand around again. Calling it "baffling" is putting too fine a point on it. It's absolutely confusing that we'd get enemies as dumb as this in this day and age.

The hordes you'll be fighting ramp up the game's difficulty, too. Fighting against them with a very limited set of moves and little room for breathers is almost as frustrating as dying due to them. You've got healing powers at your disposal, but that does little to make things better.

X-Men: The Official Game isn't a terrible game, but it's not any good, either. It managed to dip down below mediocre and into the realm of "Why bother?" It's short, uninteresting, and probably won't keep your attention based solely on the fighting, either. It's an odd mishmash that just doesn't work out the way it was supposed to.

 

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Rating
70%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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