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.