Game: "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"
System: Xbox 360
Published by: Acclaim
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Review: I wasn’t expecting much from a game based on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Don’t let anyone tell you that all games based on movies are always bad. Most, yes, but not all.
In the past, games centered on everyone’s favorite “best at what he does”-type guy have been a little... underwhelming. Wolverine: Adamantium Rage portrayed the titular character as slow and exceedingly easy to kill, and the less said about the NES game, the better. This time around, the developers have decided to stay closer to the spirit of the character.
And if you know one thing about Wolverine as a character, you know that a big part of his raison d’etre is violence. In the past, the most you could expect from Wolverine sheathing his claws in some meaty stooge is a punching sound, and maybe a colorful little explosion. This time, however, every slice and stab is rendered in all its gory glory. Blood will gush from every wound! Heads will be shoved into spinning helicopter blades! Bodies will be impaled on trees and left to rot! Grown men will be beaten to death with their own arms! Even Wolverine himself will lose pound after pound of flesh until you’d swear you were controlling a roaring, blood-soaked skeleton.
With just a few seconds rest, you’ll be surprised to see muscles growing back and skin reappearing. Yes, finally, Wolverine’s legendary healing factor has been rendered into a game in such a way that it actually seems like a worthwhile power to have. It’s about time, too. Everyone from Marcus Fenix to Master Chief has the ability to magically heal themselves.
Combat runs in a similar vein as God of War, albeit with much smaller combo trees. You have a standard button-mash combo, but the emphasis is more on stringing together single moves in order to take down your opponents. To wit, you have categories of moves derived from jumping, grappling, dodging, and lunging (a simple two-button command that lets you leap across long distances almost instantly). I would like to have seen a little more expansion of the different combat trees, but as you’ll find in the game, it’s not all that necessary.
The good news is that Wolverine’s healing factor lets him do some creative, and downright suicidal, maneuvers in the course of the game. The bad news is that being able to recover so readily means that the game cruises along at a middling difficulty and never really gets all that challenging. Sure, you’ll fight big groups of enemies who won’t wait and attack you one at a time, but a combination of button-mashing and a handful of moves that render Wolverine temporarily invulnerable mean that you’ll never have to wait too long for a break in the action.
The game’s strongest point is its presentation. The sheer amount of violence and gore is just plain incredible, especially considering that movie tie-in games tend to be more directed towards children. Combat is visceral, and even if you aren’t being pushed to your very limit, it’s still rewarding when you pull off the right combination of moves to leave your enemies dismembered and screaming. By itself, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a decent third person brawler. It’s when you put it up against all the lackluster movie tie-in games that it really starts to shine.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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