X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse – PSP – Preview

A member of
Magneto’s Brotherhood sums it up rather succinctly near the game’s onset: “Never
thought I’d see the day the Brotherhood’d be working alongside you X-Pukes!”

Only in the
virtual world, and only when the threat is such that it warrants such an
unlikely alliance between the enemies.

But this has
occurred. Apocalypse has attacked and decimated the Brotherhood’s stronghold on
Genosha, and when Magneto (and company) partner with some X-Men to rescue
Professor X, aka Charles Xavier, the alliance seems cemented.

Not that it
does not come without its problems, but that gives X-Men Legends II: Rise of
Apocalypse plenty of personality to go along with strong action and compelling
gameplay. Oh, and Blur Studio has supplied some absolutely amazing CG animation
that really spices up the game and draws players into the world.

Activision
recently hosted an event in San Francisco to show off the latest build of X-Men
L2 on multiple platforms, among them the PSP. Ok, you are probably wondering if
the PSP can handle a game with the scope of the X-Men Legends franchise, not to
mention four characters onscreen simultaneously and the CG animation.

Well, not
only does the PSP handle it all with incredible ease, but the PSP version will
feature 30% more gameplay and four more characters. Upstairs at the Activision
event, the star of the X-Men show was the online multiplayer element. PSP gamers
won’t be left out in that regard either. The PSP version will feature total WiFi
multiplayer support. 

Those who
played the original title will remember fondly how the game allowed players to
jump into the mix by simply plugging in a controller on their favorite console
system, and then taking on one of the characters in the four-member team. Well,
fans screamed for online support and the developers (Vicarious Visions is
responsible for the game on the PSP) listened.

Yes, there
is a drawback to the PSP screen size and that is the text moments in the game.
It is a tad small, and older players may need to grab those “reading” glasses to
read it. And with the game being 30% bigger (the Xbox version has close to 100
levels) this is clearly a game that will keep gamers immersed for a long, long
time.

Now some of
the levels do feel a little short during the play time (especially the missions
at the start of the game), and they are rather linear, but the joy of putting
together that perfect team with some of the X-Men and Brotherhood is just too
much fun. Everyone knows how much attitude Wolverine has; well, compare that to
Juggernaut, who lumbers through as a maelstrom of mayhem within one hulking
body.

The CG work
is more than impressive, easily rivals the look sported by the home consoles (if
not looking a little better on the smaller screen) and has so many little
elements that certainly stand out. Early in the game, when the Brotherhood and
X-Men meet, one of the Brotherhood gets in Wolverine’s face. The scruffy member
of the team responds by extending his claws between the two, then turns, walks
off and retracts all the claws but the middle one. It is so indicative of his
personality that the moment is almost priceless.

Meetings
between the two groups are often interrupted by confrontation of the verbal
kind, and it seems that Professor X and Magneto’s hold on this alliance is
tenuous at best.

The control
scheme on the PSP is easy to pick up and once again players can interrupt the
game to level their avatars or let the game’s AI take care of the minutia
through auto-distribution of drops or leveling points – thereby ensuring almost
totally uninterrupted gameplay. Of course, the X on the ground allows players to
swap out team members, just like in the previous game.

If you liked
the first X-Men Legends title on the home console platforms, then you will love the second
on this handheld platform. There is so much more here to immerse oneself in. It
is so easy to jump into and have an absolute blast with this version of the game.
The control scheme is simple to understand and use effectively, and the game
mechanics are such that the look, feel and sound of the game shines without
detracting from the gameplay itself.

X-Men
Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse is slated to release September 20 on the Xbox,
PC, PlayStation 2, GameCube and PSP platforms.