Video Game Review - X-Men Legends

One game I've been playing a lot on my XBox is X-Men Legends. This game has been out for a while, and there is a sequel now as well. I received it as a Christmas gift, and I've been having a lot of fun with it.

The game is sort of a cross of multiple game types. It has character building elements like a role playing game, it has twitchy finger fighting like an action game, and it has a bit of a strategy twist as well. You start the game playing as Wolverine. Blob and Mystique attempted to kidnap a girl who recently discovered her mutant powers (Magma), and you are trying to figure out why. The game is played from a third person perspective as you guide Wolvie through an inner-city landscape looking for Blob. You have light punch, heavy punch, throw, and jump as your immediate action commands, and if you hold the R-trigger you can access his mutant super-powers. A bit of traditional fighting game play enters here in that, different combinations of light and strong attacks will have different effects on your opponents. One combination will trip, another toss, and another will stun. This game dips into so many different game types without ever really committing to one. To call it an action adventure game really doesn't give a full description of all of the nuances of the game.

As the game progresses, more mutants are at your disposal. You can play with up to four mutants on your team at a time, and can swap team members at X-traction points (as well as save the game, shop for power ups, and enter the Danger Room to practice maneuvers and level up). Choosing the right X-Men for a particular challenge can make the level either very easy, or very difficult, and the character building element has a lot of impact on how each character plays.

The graphics in this game are pretty good, but I they aren't the best I've seen on the XBox. From the top down perspective, the characters appear like any other 3D rendered X-Men game. Upon closer inspection, it appears that some form of cel-shading was used to render each character. This would be great if close up shots allowed to show the detail of each model, but at the distance the camera is at, the entire effect is lost. The camera can be a pain at times as well, as it does not follow the action intuitively. One minor quibble I have with the camera control is that, to swivel the camera to look left, you push left. I prefer an inverted control scheme, but there isn't an option to change this (that I've found). It is a minor annoyance, but I've come to terms with it.

So far, this game has been great fun. I like a dive in, hack and slash gameplay style, so I've been using Wolverine quite a bit and powering up his combat skills. Players who like more of a tactical battle could choose to focus on Cyclops and Jean Grey, whose ranged attacks allow for more of a "thinking-man's" approach.

I have to admit here that I'm a big comic books fan. I'm not a collector or expert by any means, but I really enjoy movie translations of comic book heroes, and video game translations to some extent as well. I've enjoyed the X-Men movies, and the games have been a fun extension of that universe for me. One nice extra is that Patrick Stewart provides the voice acting for Professor X, keeping with his portrayal of the same character in feature films.

This is definitely a very unique and fun game. It touches on a lot of different gaming genres, and it manages to do a good if not great job of emulating them all. If you are at all a fan of the X-Men universe and what to get your fix until the third movie arrives, this will certainly do the trick.


Jade Mason