reviews\ Sep 26, 2004 at 8:00 pm

X-Men: Legends - XB - Review

Let’s face it; good superhero games are very few and far between.  With the exception of City of Heroes (NCSoft’s incredibly addicting PC MMO), there hasn’t been a decent team-based superhero game in a long time.  However, Raven Software and Activision are looking to change all that with the release of X-Men Legends.  Legends takes our familiar uncanny buddies and puts them in a top-down Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance-style action RPG.  The game features some great RPG elements, customizable characters and excellent multiplayer gameplay.  X-Men fans should take note, as Legends is the best game yet to feature their likenesses, as well as one of the best superhero games in a long time.


X-Men Legends starts out by introducing the character Alison (soon to become Magma) as she is being kidnapped by Blob, Mystique and the rest of the Brotherhood of Mutants.  You are then put in control of Wolverine and you must follow Blob’s trail to rescue Alison and attempt to discover why the Brotherhood would want her in the first place.  Along the way, you will pick up Cyclops as a member of your team and face off against Mystique and Blob, utilizing your mutant powers to defeat them both.




Legends will give you access to fifteen X-Men total, most of whom must be unlocked as you progress through the game.  Most of the familiar favorites from the comics make an appearance: Nightcrawler, Storm, Rogue, Iceman, Colossus, Gambit, Jubilee and so on.  Each of these characters has their own unique combos and special mutant powers, which you can acquire as you gain experience and level up.  You can have a team of four at once, and selecting between each of them as you play is as easy as hitting a direction on the D-Pad.  You can also switch out whoever is in your team of four by finding an extraction point and swapping them out (extraction points also allow you to save your game.


Your X-Men will also be able to perform special combos together.  For example, by grabbing and throwing an enemy into another member on your squad sometimes has them smack the enemy like a baseball, resulting in a “Batter Up” combo.  Or, Rogue can pick up and throw Wolverine claws first into an enemy.  There are many different special move types that you can do by mixing and matching different combinations of team members.



Certain environmental factors will also come into play that will require you to choose your team members carefully.  For example, at one point there is a ravine with no area to cross.  Therefore, with Iceman in your team, you must use his mutant abilities to create a bridge over the gap.  If you don’t have Iceman on your team, then you must get to the nearest extraction point and bring him along.


The multiplayer aspects are far and away one of the coolest features in the game.  There is support for up to four players to go through the story mode cooperatively.  The all-out brawls that ensue in this mode remind me of all the fun I had as a kid playing the old four-player X-Men arcade game with my buddies.  Plus, players can switch in and out of the game whenever they want simply by plugging in a new controller and activating it.  Once you get out of the game, the computer AI will automatically take over and assume control of that character.


The graphics are very cool, featuring a pseudo cel-shaded look that brings to mind the aesthetic of the comic books.  The characters each sport a unique feel to them, keeping with their individual attitudes from the comics.  The environments are great, especially the X-Mansion.  There’s a great touch in the upstairs portion of the mansion, where you’ll find the rooms of the various X-Men.  These each have little nuances associated with the members of the X-Men team and show what they do in their free time or offer a little background on them.  For example, Wolverine’s room has a Canadian flag hanging up, Beast’s room has a chalkboard with a long mathematical equation written out followed by a note, “need more chalk”, and Colossus’s room has a painting that he’s been working on of his homeland, Russia.  These are excellent additions that fans of the comics will undoubtedly appreciate.  The graphics are also quite smooth, only with minor instances of slowdown during intense periods of action.



The sound effects are quite good with familiar sounds (the “brwak” sound of Wolverine’s claws extending comes to mind) and some great voice acting, featuring Patrick Stewart as Professor X and Lou Diamond Phillips as Forge.  The music is also very nice, adding to the atmosphere of the game.  However, some of the X-Men banter within the missions does grow a little repetitive.


X-Men Legends is a great action RPG that finally does the comic book heroes justice.  Plus, the multiplayer aspects are fantastic and should be enough to keep players happy for a long time.  Check it out if you are a fan of the X-Men, or are simply looking for a great action-RPG. 


Review Scoring Details for X-Men Legends

Gameplay: 9.2
Not just straight out brawling, X-Men Legends features some nice RPG elements. You have access to 15 X-Men total, and can level them up as you play, giving them higher attributes and more mutant abilities.  You can also switch out members of your four-person team as you go by finding an extraction point and switching them out.  The game also does an excellent job of retaining the overall feel of the comics and represents the characters very well.

Graphics: 8.9 
The graphics are pseudo cel-shaded, and do a good job of keeping with the aesthetic of the comics.  The environments are very detailed, with little nuances from the comic series.  There are a few bouts of slowdown and stuttering, but only when the onscreen activity gets a little too heavy.

Sound: 8.8
The sound effects are good, adding to the overall atmosphere of the game.  The voice acting is very well done, with actors like Patrick Stewart and Lou Diamond Phillips lending their talents. However, some of the team banter does get repetitious during missions.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 9.2
The attention to detail in this game is fantastic, and will no doubt impress fans of the comics.  Plus, the deep gameplay and versatile multiplayer support will keep them coming for more.

Multiplayer: 9.5
Four-player co-op action at it should be done.

Overall: 9.3
With great action-RPG elements, awesome multiplayer support and a meticulous faithfulness to the comics, this is the best X-Men game ever.


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