sinkt: Wolverine's claws are always out in this game, and sharper than you could imagine. - User Reviews -
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sinkt: Wolverine's claws are always out in this game, and sharper than you could imagine.

Most gamers know to be suspicious of movie-based games because, frankly, they're almost always terrible - even if the material they’re based off of is excellent. Well, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a bit of an anomaly because the game is probably better than the actual movie, and for one reason: rewarding, visceral, brutal combat. Don't read too much into the 7/10 score; what's seven but a number? Keep reading and you'll see why the game got the score it got, but also realize that this game is a blast.

This isn’t “Saturday-morning cartoon” Wolverine or even the Wolverine seen in the film; it’s a whole different beast, more true to the original material’s primal nature. The game features gore and violence befitting of its “M” rating, which is the reason why the game is so fun. From decapitation to dismembering to ripping the mechanical arm off of an enhanced soldier and beating him to death with it (One of my personal favorites), Wolverine never runs out of brutal, satisfying ways to dispatch his foes. The game also employs slow motion and cinematic camera angles beautifully, capitalizing on each and every insane moment.

On top of that, Wolverine is almost unstoppable. There is a bar on the screen representing Wolverine’s regeneration. Take more damage than he can regenerate, and Wolverine’s vitals are exposed, opening up another bar that can be drained, leading to a game over. However, it’s not a screen most will be encountering very often, as Wolverine heals rapidly, and the game’s foes are rarely enough to incapacitate you. The coolest thing about taking damage in the game is that it’s displayed in real-time. As Wolverine survives an onslaught of bullets, explosions, and whatever else the enemies throw at him, his shirt rips to shreds and layers of skin are destroyed, exposing muscle. Take more damage, and his adamantium skeleton is exposed.

The average 15-hour experience also gives you an extra layer of depth when you're not hacking people to pieces with experience and a leveling system. Skill points can be used to increase health, damage dished out, and rage, as well as be used to increase the strength of certain, special moves. Aside from maxing Wolverine out, the game also features unlockable costumes and trophies. The unlockable costumes are a nice addition, however, because collected figurines in the game only opens up the option of getting secret costumes. After opening up the bonus option, you'll have to defeat whichever Wolverine you're trying to unlock, which can lead to some rather fun, challenging battles.

It doesn’t revolutionize the third-person action mechanic, but the game is elevated far beyond hack n’ slash, as varied enemy types and situations force the player to react in different ways and take advantage of a wide variety of moves, including “Fury Attacks”, which can be activated after filling a Rage Meter. Furthermore, some of the best death sequences require skill, combos, and the implementation of “Quick Kills”, which can be done by pressing Heavy Attack after grabbing an enemy.

I had so much fun with the combat that I never felt it get stale, which is why the boss fights were a bit of a disappointment. There are two different types of bosses that reoccur frequently throughout the game, and the strategy for killing both is exactly the same, making them feel more like a chore than an accomplishment. But while the more frequent boss fights got stale quickly, the game also features some unique ones which fare much better – particularly a multistage one against a 250-ft Sentinel.

Unfortunately, rewarding and enjoyable combat is where the heavy praise stops. The game sports a few pre-rendered CGI cutscenes, which look fantastic, but the actual in-game graphics aren’t much to look at. They occasionally shine, but generally don’t look too spectacular. Even the real-time damage, while still cool, lacks detail. Thankfully, Hugh Jackman lends his voice to the character, but the majority of sound effects are average at best - though they serve their purpose well enough. A few glitches, while not a deal breaker, can be a minor annoyance. Once I “fell” into an area I wasn’t supposed to fall into, forcing me to restart a checkpoint, while the AI occasionally lapses into stupidity and doesn’t move. During the rather uninspiring platforming sections, your enemy will occasionally be the camera, which locks in place every once in a while.

Most disappointing, however, is the disjointed, utterly confusing narrative. The game hops between “Three Years in the Past” (In Africa) and “Three Years in the Future”…which is the “present”, but not really because the opening cinematic is further in the future than the supposed “present”. Sounds confusing? It is. Furthermore, characters are rarely introduced properly and almost never expounded upon. With the liberties the new film takes in regards to the source material, even X-Men fans that have yet to see the new film might end up confused. Of course, I can’t knock the game for certain liberties it took with the story, because it’s based on the movie, but Deadpool fans are bound to be disappointed, as well as those (Such as myself) hoping that gambit would play a large role. While the actual story is poor because the story in the movie is poor, the game doesn’t help the cause any by making it even more confusing and disjointed.

Wolverine’s past videogame outings have left the player with a feeling of disappointment because the character feels weakened or has a health bar, despite his regeneration ability. X-Men Origins: Wolverine, on the other hand, embraces the character for all that he is: a badass killing machine. Words can’t do justice to the visceral, savage, and brutal combat this game champions. Even a terrible narrative and occasional technical hiccup can’t hold this game back, thanks to the unadulterated fun and satisfaction the gameplay brings, as Wolverine is thrown from set-piece to set-piece. The game starts off with Wolverine jumping out of a plane without a parachute, you can beat a certain enemy-type to death with its own arm, and most enemies you face will lose a limb or a head, and that’s really indicative of the entire experience. The game is a brutal thrill ride; certainly not the deepest of games, but a ton of fun.


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