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X-Men Destiny

Score: 64%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Silicon Knights
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

X-Men Destiny is not the prettiest game for the Wii. Alas, it seems in the rush to drop this game on every console imaginable, it got most of the rush. The art is pretty inconsistent at best. For one, many characters have two or more very weird speaking portraits that don't look anything like each other. Secondly, they seem to have been drawn by at least two different artists with wildly different line thicknesses, styles, views of anatomy, and layers of blur. When you're not looking at the hand-drawn portraits, the in-game graphics aren't much better. Things are very blocky, and complex textures and shading seem to have been left out. Perspective is also pretty awful. Things like cars or even wires can seem to be gigantic next to your character.

Sound effects are pretty heavily recycled. It seems like the same sound is used for punching, and for indicating you hit a map marker, and... well for about a dozen other actions as well. I swear, sometimes I can't tell what the background noise is supposed to represent. There's a train station that has an ambient sound that could be rats scurrying, paper crumbling, or a dozen people chewing at the same time. Other than that, you've got pretty generic action game music, and pretty generic voices to fill things in. To top things off, no one's lips or facial expressions change or move at all, making all this a big puppet show.

There also seems to be no sound for connecting a hit. So you'll hear the whooshing of your attacks, but there's no satisfying smack on the end of it to let you know you connected a hit. Add this to the graphics that are often jittery, and I don't know how to describe it except as a hot mess.


Gameplay:

X-Men Destiny's story starts with a kind of post apocalyptic world. There's famine, flood, and all manner of natural disaster, but somehow the masses find a way to blame it all on mutants, people born with special powers or abilities. Purifier cults have sprung up, attempting to snuff out all mutant life for good. Well, you're a mutant, and, of course, you're not going to stand for that.

In X-Men Destiny, you won't play as a famous member of the X-Men from the comics. You'll play as one of three characters made for this game. This has a bit of precedent with the movies we've seen for X-Men lately. Apparently following comic canon is not all that important now, at least to movie and game producers. The characters you get to choose from aren't very compelling as heroes, or cool characters at all. You get two burly guys that have faces that look like they're out of an artist's rendering of a criminal, and one girl with most of her face covered in hair and scarf. You do get to meet some characters from the comics, however, like Nightcrawler, Mystique, and Emma Frost.

The thing is, there doesn't seem to be much of a reason to choose a character at all. Their speed, abilities, and much of their dialogue is exactly the same. You can choose each character's powers from a set of 3 different ones that focus on projectiles, offense, and defense respectively. There's a bit of backstory to each character to distinguish them, but that's about it.

Big phrases like "X-Treme" and "Amazing" flash up after you complete certain moves. Yeah, I get the whole "Bam! Pow! Wham!" retro comic thing, but it seems like we're past that now. This isn't even a retro comic world, and it's not starring classic characters, so the whole thing does feel a little awkwardly forced. I mean, who uses the phrase "Uncanny" anymore?


Difficulty:

X-Men Destiny isn't particularly difficult, though it does take some patience to get through some of the boss fights. Other than that, there doesn't seem to be a reason to use any of the fancy powered-up moves you obtain throughout the game. Slash, slash, and occasionally jump for variety, and you'll do just fine.

The lack of a need to use any real strategy or variety in attacks makes things a little boring and tedious, but it's probably better than the alternative complicated mess that it could be.


Game Mechanics:

X-Men Destiny has some pretty loose controls, but again, it's got some pretty low requirements for winning, so it doesn't seem to matter much. A little concentration and patience during the more complicated boss fights is all you really need.

It didn't take long to get stuck by the environment. In the first level, after speaking with Emma, my character was transported to a stairwell that was surrounded by invisible walls. Luckily, I've played games that were put together even more sloppily than this, so I knew the trick was executing a combo next to one of the invisible walls, thereby popping the character back into playable space. Good times. Glitches aside, the environment, when it's working, can still be difficult to navigate. There are so many invisible walls that it's tough to figure out where you're supposed to go next. The mini map at the bottom right of the screen isn't much help either, as it just shows you a rough outline of your surroundings, but no real indication of your destination. It seems like you should be able to jump on some things, like cars and rocks, but you're just not allowed.

X-Men Destiny just isn't a good X-Men game. It's only real redeeming feature is its very simple story, if you can stand watching the portraits long enough to hear it. It would be a good idea to skip this game, or at least try its prettier cousins on other consoles first.


-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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