All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


X-Men Destiny

Score: 35%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Other Ocean Interactive
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

X-Men Destiny isn't a good-looking game by any stretch of the imagination, but it comes closer to fulfilling its graphical potential than its next-gen counterparts. But then again, that's because there's less graphical potential on the Nintendo DS. The isometric camera angle works, but if you get too close to a wall at the bottom of the screen, you risk being completely blind to what's going on. The story scenes aren't animated in cutscenes, but in still pictures of your character, in addition to other well-known X-Men characters. Though these aren't impressive, they're better than nothing. However, I will take issue with some of the faces that appear during these scenes. Cyclops, Wolverine, Sabretooth, and Magneto look fine, but many of the females look messed up. Pixie looks like someone's performing the Heimlich maneuver on her and Emma Frost (who's supposed to be one of the sexiest women in the entire Marvel Universe) is absolutely hideous in this game. The environments are nothing but bland corridors, and the animation work is sub-par. In fact, it's almost impossible to tell if you're hitting your enemy if the sound is turned off.

X-Men Destiny 's sound design is minimalist, and that's not to the game's credit. The soundtrack is bland action heroic mixed in with some low-key espionage techno, and it's completely forgettable. There are precious (using the term lightly) few bits of voice acting in the form of a handful of half-hearted death cries. That's about all there is in terms of audio.


The Nintendo DS version of X-Men Destiny retains the same promising setup that the console version features. Professor X has been killed by Bastion, and human/mutant relations are tenuous at best. A peace rally is organized in San Francisco to show that though Xavier is gone, his ideals are shared by many. Unfortunately, someone has sinister designs on the entire affair and decides to attack it. The initial suspect is, of course, Magneto. However, just about everyone who belongs to the Brotherhood denies it, insinuating that if it was his handiwork, he would have left few (if any) survivors. You don't play as an X-Man, nor do you have the choice between three barely-developed main characters. You're forced into the shoes of Samuel Kamerhe, the protégé of the Mutant Response Division's leader, Luis Reyes. And, like the three heroes of the console version, Kamerhe's latent mutant powers decide to awaken as he's nearly killed. And thus begins Samuel's journey to survive the Purifier-infested streets of San Francisco.

X-Men Destiny is an isometric beat-em-up that actually manages to be more boring and shallow than its already-painful console counterpart. You run through bland environments, beating down (or being beaten down by) wave after wave of thugs. During the action, you are the only friendly face in San Francisco; nearly everyone else wants you dead or otherwise nowhere near them. Every now and then, though, you'll stumble upon an X-Man and a member of the Brotherhood. One will almost never appear without his enemy faction counterpart; this is the game's way of presenting its series of thoughtless binary moral choices. These choices have very little impact on either the storytelling or the gameplay, though they affect the gameplay slightly more in this version. Basically, if you side with the Brotherhood, you will receive a power that is more cruel in nature, and vice versa with the X-Men. That's all there is to it, though.


X-Men Destiny for Nintendo DS is frustrating. Once you get to the later levels (which doesn't take long), enemies start dogpiling on you. And this isn't Assassin's Creed; enemies don't take their turns attacking you. They converge from several angles and proceed to whale away at you. This would have been rectified by a simple defense button, but for some reason, there isn't one.

The checkpoint system is a bit antiquated (by that, I mean dating back to the Super Nintendo era), but they are plentiful enough to put a dent in the frustration factor. For all intents and purposes, they are old fashioned save points, but they unfortunately don't refill your health and mutant power meter. If you're really struggling once you reach one of these points, just let yourself die so you can respawn with both meters refilled. To top it off, they give you the option to re-spec your character at absolutely no cost.

Game Mechanics:

Depth is a complete stranger to X-Men Destiny for Nintendo DS. This is button-mashing tedium distilled down to its purest state. All you'll do is run where you can, pausing every now and then to beat a handful of Purifiers or Sentinels into submission or pick up a collectible. Each enemy you take down drops a few orbs that replenish your health and mutant powers. I've always thought the concept of having to recharge mutant powers was a bit redundant and silly, especially considering the fact that the powers themselves are the object of much political strife. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

X-Men Destiny features a very light smattering of role-playing elements. I mean it when I say "very light," because all that entails is an experience system. Every time you take an enemy down, you inch a bit closer to leveling up. When you level up, you earn Power Points, which can be slotted (and reassigned) in the upgrade tree at any save point. As mentioned before, the ability to re-spec your character can make the game easier at certain points, but it belies the game's already-weak approach to choice and consequence.

I'll remain impressed with the ideas behind X-Men Destiny for a good while, but my disappointment with the execution will linger for even longer. This should have been a grand return to form for Marvel's most beloved team of outcasts. Instead, it's an ugly and quite noticeable blemish on an otherwise respectable franchise. And this DS version is the weakest of them all. The Nintendo DS may be approaching the end of its twilight years, but there are better ways to spend your money than on X-Men Destiny.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

Related Links:

Sony PlayStation 3 Spider-Man: Edge of Time Nintendo DS Spider-Man: Edge of Time

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated