X-Men: Destiny (2011)

It Will End in Extinction – For Your Species, or For Mine

Let’s get back to the mediocre! I don’t want the review of a comic book game that is so awesome as Batman: Arkham City to go to your heads. Let’s go to my favorite comic book company (Marvel) and my favorite comic book franchise (X-Men) and the most mediocre comic book game I played this year. That is X-Men: Destiny, brought to us by Silicon Knights and Activision.

We start in San Francisco, as one of three brand new characters (Aimi Yoshida, Grant Alexander, or Adrian Luca) in the crowd of a peace rally in memory of recently deceased Professor X. The rally is attacked by an unknown magnetic force and our character’s powers manifest, allowing us to choose from 3 different power sets. We decide to use those powers to clear the city of an anti-mutant group called the Purifiers, mainly because that’s more interesting than the alternative decision of going home and seeing how it turns out on TV. Along the way, you meet various mutant members of the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants who try to get you to take their side on missions. You eventually come to China Town to meet Gambit who helps you find a secret lab where they’re synthesizing mutant powers. You later find out Bastion, the robot from the future that killed Professor X, is behind the whole thing, and you decide whether you want to side with the X-Men or the Brotherhood, and the game ends with a whimper. The choices you make along the way don’t really matter. You just get a different ending video depending on if you went X-Men or Brotherhood.

I find that I typically judge in favor of an X-Men property, so if you don’t have the same bias, feel free to take everything I say and subtract 2. This game is not very good. Minus 2. It’s a pretty basic hack-and-slash action adventure with some role-playing aspects thrown in. As with most hack-and-slash games, you will typically spend most of your time pressing X. As you defeat your enemies, they will explode into yellow orbs that serve as your experience points. With these you can upgrade your 4 moves, and a series of suits and modifiers that you find along the way. These things can usually add abilities like healing, increased attacks, and flight that can be moderately helpful, but you’ll probably be fine without it. The game is pretty easy. The enemies usually don’t require any special tactics. Even the bosses don’t require much by way of tactics, or even my full attention most of the time. The only boss battle I found annoying was one with someone called John Sublime. He injects himself with the powers of Colossus, Quicksilver, and Surge. The reason he was so annoying is that you had to fight him in three sections with no health available in between, so you better do it right the first time or else you’ll have to play a lame boss battle multiple times. And having him come at you in three sections make it seem like he’s the final boss battle, and that got my hopes up that the game was almost over.

Graphically, this game is pretty substandard. The parts that you play are pretty average, but the cutscenes are awful. I don’t know how they take such a step down for the part that most people choose to make their game look better, but these guys did it. They looked like I was playing this game on the Wii or something. Oooooo NINTENDO BURN! There were only a few actual cutscenes in the game though; most of them used the regular game engine and didn’t look that bad. A lot of the characters were captured pretty well. I always played as the Asian chick Aimi because I’d rather be the cool looking, hot, Asian girl than the nondescript white guy or the big dumb doofus. Most of the actual Marvel characters turned out pretty well. Emma Frost was hot, Gambit was awesome, Magneto was badass, most of them looked pretty good. Mystique was a bit off though. It seemed like her hair was bigger than her head, and she had a pore problem. Also, Nightcrawler’s costume was a little wacky and unlike any version of his costume I’ve seen in the comics. Most of the characters were pretty unchanged from what you see in the comics though. They did choose to change up Magneto’s outfit into something that looked more like armor, which seems unnecessary because Magneto already looks awesome. There were also a couple of things that they got pretty lazy with on the graphics. For example, three of the bosses in the game are the exact same giant robot thing in different colors, and one of those bosses is the final boss of the game. As a gamer, I’m used to the regular enemies throughout the level being the same model in different colors, but you should at least have imagination enough for your bosses. For other things graphically, the camera can act up from time to time and get you killed, but it happened relatively infrequently, and I would’ve appreciated the ability to skip the awful cutscenes on my second playthrough.

The sound is actually a good thing in this game. Not so much the sound effects or music, but the voice acting is actually good. They’re all pretty much exactly what I imagine the character would actually sound like. Wolverine has the gruff growl that you would expect him to, Quicksilver talks too fast, and Gambit has a great Cajun accent with a lot of charisma to it. Colossus’ accent was a little over the top and annoying, and Pixie’s voice actor chose not to try a Welsh accent at all, but they were mostly good.

One other good thing about this game is the achievements. It’s a pretty damned easy game to get 1000 out of 1000. I rented the game from RedBox and got it back to them in 24 hours, 1000 points richer and a better person. Do one playthrough on easy and the last level on hard, and there’s only a couple more to scrape up. And there are much worse games you could play with harder achievements. If you want them chievos, you can dip into this mediocre game for 1000, but don’t bother buying it. I think it’s still $60 and it’s WAY not worth that. I only paid 3 for it. That’s about right. I think this game only really served to make me really want another, good, X-Men Legends game. But that’s not what this was. So X-Men: Destiny gets “Aw…bummer” out of “I WANT MORE X-MEN LEGENDS!”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!