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X-Men Destiny

Score: 54%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Silicon Knights
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

The best comic books deal with issues larger than worrying about punching the bad guy in the face and saving the city from doomsday weapons. Spider-Man's adventures are wrapped in the ideals of power and responsibility, while Batman plumbs the darkest depths of the human psyche.

X-Men has always stood as one of the world's best metaphors for human rights. Some of the best X-Men stories have dealt with the concept and how individuals react to choices. Given the current trend of offering players meaningful story choices, X-Men Destiny seems like a slam-dunk -- an X-Men adventure where players choose their side in the midst of anti-mutant hysteria. But, how something sounds and reality are usually two different things.

X-Men Destiny attempts to put its best step forward with its presentation. There are couple of neat touches, such as a few stylish titles and flourishes during fights, though even these come off as flat. The same description works for most of the game. Rather than going for a comic book look, X-Men Destiny sticks to a realistic presentation. It is both off-putting and incredibly stiff. Even battles with Wolverine and Gambit, which should be highlights, are awkward. Even the voice acting, which features some well-known talent, fails to go beyond adequate.


X-Men Destiny is a standard button mashing beat 'em up posing as an RPG. Gameplay is split between traveling through straightforward levels and fighting groups of look-a-like enemies. Sometimes the action is broken up by Challenge Arenas, though these are rarely more than another excuse to toss another platoon of enemies at you.

The setup paints a grim picture for mutants. Professor X is dead and anti-mutant hysteria is at a tipping point. After an apparent mutant attack at a pro-mutant rally, chaos breaks out as the Purifiers attempt to cleanse San Francisco of its mutant population. As a new mutant, you're offered the choice to side with either the X-Men or the Brotherhood.

X-Men Destiny takes a tumble with its main characters. The four characters are somewhat interesting, but their story arcs are bland and incredibly rushed. The game is short and, at least I assume, runs with the idea you'll want to play through multiple times to see each mutant's story. More than likely, you'll play through a Brotherhood and X-Men story and call it a day.

With a game sporting the title X-Men: Destiny, you would expect the opportunity to make choices and control your own destiny through the game's universe. Although you are presented with the opportunity to choose your path at several points in your five-hour adventure, they never matter beyond presenting you with either choice A or B. Regardless of which faction you side with, you're always placed in the same situations. Choice is meaningless.


Nothing about X-Men Destiny is particularly hard. I was able to blast through the game in one five hour sitting, dying twice: once when I tried to get a little too fancy with my powers and another during the final boss. Switching to a higher difficulty levels adds some challenge, though even then you can fight your way through battles just by bashing the buttons. You'll unlock new moves and powers during the game, though trying to pull them off with any sort of strategy will usually leave you open to attacks.

Challenge Arenas fall to the same issue. Though most stick close to the game's brawler mentality, a few introduce wider goals, like shutting down a set of robots before time runs out. Though each suffers from its own issues, they at least offer something different to do.

Game Mechanics:

All four characters have access to a core set of mutant power sets, which you choose at the start of the game. These include energy blasts, shadow manipulation and density control (resulting in super strength). You begin with a weak set of powers, but earn improved powers at key points in the story. As with the most of the game, the powers are presented as a major choice, yet your decisions have little impact on how things play out. Regardless of your selected power path, you'll spend most of your time just mashing away at buttons. The concept behind the character's developing mutant powers hits a snag once "X-Genes" - abilities linked to iconic X-Men characters - are introduced. It takes away from your mutant's unique power set and ends up creating a slight narrative contradiction. New X-Genes are earned by completing key plot points or Challenge Arenas. Gene powers come in three types -- Offense, Defense and Support - and are based after iconic X-Men powers.

The game gives you several powers to choose from, though most are duplicates. The only reason you might choose one over the other is to access a character's super ability, which you can only use once you've equipped all three X-Genes from a particular character and their tribute costume. The idea has merit, though I think the developers would have been better served if they'd introduced a "blank slate" character with abilities similar to Rogue or, even better, Hope.

Die-hard X-fans may be able to squeak a weekend rental out of X-Men Destiny just to enjoy the license, though it won't take long to see everything the game has to offer players.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Microsoft Xbox 360 Rage Sony PlayStation 3 X-Men Destiny

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated