The lights are on
Decisions, decisions, decisions; many developers today all
seem very eager to intertwine making decisions into the core concept of a video
game. This is indeed the case for Silicon Knights' latest title X-Men: Destiny. This new X-Men game is
all about decisions, from making them in the game to the decisions made while
developing the game; and everyone makes bad decisions from time to time. X-Men: Destiny, sadly is chock full of
those kind, from the gameplay all the way to the basic look of the game itself.
If you have ever played an X-Men game or are just a fan of
the X-Men and video games, then you have probably wished for a game that lets
you create your own mutant and take them for a spin around the city. Silicon
Knights saw you had that itch and gave you something for it. However, instead of
a good sized back-scratcher, they gave you a Taco Bell spork, able to scratch
some of the itch, but leaves you hoping for something more and better in the
end. X-Men:Destiny plays like a third
person action/adventure brawler with some RPG elements thrown in, such as a
small character creation and customization ability and the gaining of
experience for leveling up skills. It takes place in a timeline where Professor
X is killed by a villain from the future bent on destroying all mutants. Destiny starts at a peace rally in San
Francisco. After the rally between humans and mutants is unexpectedly attacked,
the X-Men, the Brotherhood, and Homo Sapiens alike are thrust into chaos as all
sides fight for survival. You play as a new mutant whose powers suddenly
manifest during the attack.
It is at this point you choose your character for the game.
You can choose from three different characters with predetermined appearances
and back-stories. After that, you then choose which power your mutant will
have. Initially, you choose from one of three different types of powers. Whichever
of the three power sets you choose in the beginning evolves into other powers
over time. Which power set you pick at the beginning determines how your powers
evolve and what choices you get for greater powers later down the line. One
turns you into a Juggernaut with fists of steel. One gives you the ability to
hurl energy projectiles. The third gives you quick and swift melee abilities using
Shadow Matter. This was one of the shining elements of Destiny. Though you start out as kind of a punk with only a
miniscule power, as the game progresses, your power evolves and you gain some
fun and impressive abilities that take a little of the repetitive edge off of
You also pick up special collectable abilities along the way
that help with different aspects and power-ups, such as refilling your M-Power
(what you use to pull of special techniques) meter during combat, being able to
deal more damage with attacks, dodging projectiles more easily, special
character costumes, etc. This may seem like a prepping to creating an
overpowered Superman character, but instead it adds some depth to your mutant
and gives a slightly unique feel to how you advance in that specific
The look and feel of the landscape and exploration are not
nearly as stimulating as evolving your mutant abilities. The look of the game is
very plain and looks too much like it came out five years ago, which is when
the texture and graphics would have been slightly impressive. With all the
great looking games out there, it's sad that Silicon Knights felt they needed
to skimp on the looks.
The landscape itself, aside from looking like a PS2 game, is
very linear. You have a predetermined path and exploration is almost
non-existent. The story progresses much in the same way, usually only giving
you the choice of Brotherhood or X-Men within the dialogue (which isn't that
stirring either). Dialogue consists of mostly exposition from characters and
missions they are on. It's no Mass Effect,
but the voice acting keeps it from being too boring, as the voices seem to match
the characters perfectly, and there are many a characters to see. Several famous
Mutants from the comics make cameos and even help you fight your way through
the hordes of enemies you will face. This help from the X-Men or Brotherhood
makes for some very memorable and epic battles.
Despite all the options mentioned that can keep tedium at
bay, nothing can stave it off for long. The combat is extremely repetitive,
being mostly akin to the classic beat-em up arcade games. Though fun, it gets
old pretty quick. With so much potential, this repetitive formula basically
cuts the Achilles tendon of X-Men:
Destiny mid race. The formula consists of "kill this many enemies, move on
to the next area, kill this many enemies, move on to the next area." Just rinse
and repeat and you've got it. All your attackers almost all look the same and
their main strategy is to charge the powerful mutant head on. Basically, if you
know anything about how not to stand still and get hit, you've pretty much
mastered the counter strategy to most of the peons in the game.
Sadly, the controls don't help in any way. Though the button
mapping is well done, the attacking feels clumsy and heavy. Impact on your foes
by your attacks feels miniscule and nearly ineffective. Movement is like
driving a car through drying cement, and the jumping is...well, have you ever
tried jumping out of drying cement?
The results are simple: I had some fun with X-Men: Destiny. It isn't revolutionary in
the least, however, it is an enjoyable beat-em up for the short time it takes
to finish, and it may even warrant another play through to experience the other
powers. If you are a big fan of the X-Men, then you will probably enjoy this
game for what it is, a simple (perhaps too simple), create your own mutant,
brawler. If you're not a fan, you will more than likely get tired of this game
after your first hour or two of playing.
Thank you for this detailed review.
I wanted this game to do good, but when I saw the Trailer...I'm thinking "yay...its Ultimate Alliance 3rd Person! Minus the Team mates".
and it was...sadly...true. The RPG element and the path choosing was kind of lame...and the lack of customization is down right laughable. Lets give you three characters...instead of just letting you make your own!
I hope Rocksteady gets ahold of X-men Titles...