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X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Score: 87%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Raven
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a surprisingly good movie tie-in game. Granted, its basically a hack-and-slash (which is very befitting the main character), but it's pretty fun and doesn't ever really get overly monotonous.

One of the most impressive aspects of X-Men Origins is the detail in this game. Besides the lush environments and fairly large levels, there is also the amount of detail in the major characters. Wolverine looks like Hugh Jackman, Sabertooth looks like Liev Schrieber and while Stryker doesn't look quite right, he is close enough to make it work. Though I have to say, there could have been a bit more variety in the enemies. At first glance, it might appear that there is a nice assortment of bad guys for you to go up against, there really isn't all that much difference. When you are in the jungle, you will be fighting pretty much the same guys; some might have machetes, while others have guns. The same goes for the enemies in the Weapon X facility or other locations throughout the game. Each level has a very distinct feel to their enemies (when compared to the other levels), but the grunts in those levels are pretty homogeneous.

But the most impressive visual polish is how Wolverine's body reacts to damage and healing. If you don't know to look for it, then you might miss it, but not only does he take physical damage as his health meter goes down, but when you get a pause in action to have your healing factor kick in, those wounds will shrink on the character model itself. Needless to say, this is really impressive and helps with the general Wolverine feel of the game.

Audio isn't bad. The music is good and keeps things going, but general sound effects aren't anything too spectacular. At least several actors from the movie were able to reprise their roles for the game. These include Jackman, Scrieber and will.i.am (who plays the teleporting mutant John Wraith). Most of the other characters are played by professional voice-actors and they seem to do a fairly good job of sounding like their silver-screen counterparts. But then again, those characters don't really say a whole lot over the course of the game, so it all works out in the end.


X-Men Origins: Wolverine is split between the events of the recent movie and extra story that was thrown in to lengthen the game. The main story itself follows Logan as he gains his adamantium skeleton in the hopes of hunting down Sabertooth/Victor Creed to stop his killer half-brother once and for all. And as those events play out pretty closely to the movie (though there are some major differences that might just be a result of the developers at Raven Soft not knowing what was going on in the movie), you get to play levels in Wolverine's past when he, Sabertooth and a few other mutant-soldiers carried out missions in a secret covert government agency.

I actually liked the way the game kept alternating the levels like this. Where most movie-based games try and stick to the script as much as possible, X-Men Origins lets you play a lot more with Wolverine's powers and go crazy on bad guys that didn't even appear in the movie. It really helped to break things up and keep those who have seen the movie from knowing everything that is going to happen.

As for Wolverine and his powers, his primary attacks are with his claws. Most of the time, you will be pulling off deadly combos that will rip your enemies to shreds (or you can grab them and throw them for environmental kills). When you take damage, your health bar goes down, but in true Wolverine fashion, given time, the healing factor kicks in and your health regenerates. If it gets too low, then damage done will be harder to heal and you could get the Game Over screen. But, the game gives you enough visual cues to let you know when you are taking real damage and you can typically get away easily enough to rebuild your health (or plow through the last few enemies and then regenerate). The only times I found I was seriously hurting were during some of the boss fights, but that was primarily because some of them have pretty tough attacks.

Another of Wolverine's abilities is his Feral Sense. When you activate this, you not only see a line directing you to where you need to go, but objects you can interact with turn a different color than the blood-red shade that takes over the screen. This is really good because a lot of these objects are the aforementioned environmental kills that you can perform, and pretty much all of them look good and gory.

Adding a bit of an RPG element to the game is the ability to level up as you take out enemies. As you level up, you not only earn a bigger health and rage bar, but you also unlock attacks and can increase the effectiveness of those attacks with points you earn throughout the game. While this aspect certainly wasn't necessary to have a Wolverine-based hack-n-slash, it adds a nice dynamic and makes the game a bit deeper.


X-Men Origins: Wolverine falls into the standard hack-n-slash difficulty ranges. There are three settings that will cause you to get hurt more with each hit or cause enemies to take less damage, but in the end, getting through the game doesn't require a ton of thought. For the most part, you can turn your brain off and attack whatever moves. The only times when you have to really think in order to progress are during some of the boss fights. So for the most part, the game just takes patience and quick reflexes and isn't all that tough in the grand scheme of things.

The boss-fights had enough variety in them to make you sit up and take notice. Because of this, it typically took me a few tries before I was able to get past each one. In the end, it came down to the standard practice of figuring out what pattern the enemy uses and keeping one step ahead of them. While this is nice and all, it seems like every fight of this type (no matter what the game is) becomes really easy once you see exactly what the pattern is or when the enemy reveals its weak spot. So yes, these fights are tougher than the standard grunts, but even they can be quickly defeated if you have a keen enough eye.

Game Mechanics:

With the exception of casual games and FPS or strategy games, I am always wary of PC controls because, quite frankly, games designed with gamepads in mind rarely translate well to a keyboard and mouse. Thankfully, X-Men Origins: Wolverine keeps a good handle on things and doesn't take advantage of the 100+ keys available. As you would expect (and as it should be), you will rarely take your hands off of the mouse and your fingers never stray far from the left side of your keyboard.

Your attacks are performed by your left and right mouse clicks and combinations of these clicks will unleash major damage. Outside of using the mouse to look around, that's all that hand has to worry about. The WSAD keys are your movement (again, as you would expect), and a few of the keys around them are used for some less frequent tasks. When you want to pick up something or interact with an object, you tap the (C) key and when you want to perform your lunch move, you lock onto a target by clicking (E) and shooting forward with a tap of the (Q). While people more used to gamepads might find this hard to get accustomed to, long-time PC gamers should have no problems pick up X-Men Origins: Wolverine and hacking away at generic bad guys.

As for action games and movie-based games alike, Wolverine will keep you entertained. While there are times when it can get tedious as you hack through wave after wave of the same bad guys, it is still a good game to turn your brain off while playing and just enjoy the gore.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP Sp2/Vista Sp1, Pentium D 2.6 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Processor, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB Free Hard Drive space, 256 MB (Shader Model 3.0+) Video Card, DirectX Compatible Sound Card, DirectX 9.0c

Test System:

Windows Vista Ultimate, AMD Phenom 9500 Quad-Core 2.20 GHz, 4 GB Ram, ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c

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