I’ve enjoyed the past X-Men games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance and its sequel. A mindless brawler is just what I need sometimes. So, I was looking forward to playing X-Men Destiny when I saw it at E3 this past summer. While originally touted as an X-Men role-playing game I don’t see that X-Men Destiny really qualifies. It is more of an action brawler where you can pick a couple of upgrades and a faction for your character. There are three characters to choose from but there is not stat or inventory management. Don’t get me wrong, I like the option of picking a character and their abilities, but this is not an RPG.
The one really fun part as an X-Men fan is the number of characters they packed into the game. There are the standards like Wolverine, Magneto, Cyclopes and Emma Frost, but also some lesser known ones like Surge, Pixi, Northstar and Caliban. Since the two factions you have to pick from are X-Men and the Brotherhood they also have Toad, Juggernaut and Mystic. For the most part are only a couple of the characters with you at any given time but late in the game they do start to add multiples. You never get to play as any of these characters but you can augment your own abilities with ones from the other man characters. I actually did not mind this though as I had fun adding in things like Quicksilver’s speed, Wolverine’s healing and Surges electric stun abilities to my own. If you set each of the 4 augmentation to the same character you then basically are playing with their abilities, but I never did find all 4 for any 1 character.
As you would expect from a brawler X-Men Destiny is all fighting groups of enemies. You have a few combos abilities that unlock as you play the game in addition to the standard and strong attacks. However, when you combine these and the augmentations you can make some fun combinations. Really though you will find the couple of attack combinations you prefer and just use them repeatedly. That is not really a fault of X-Men Destiny, but just how this type of game plays. After playing Gears of War 3 on insane for a while it is nice to switch over to X-Men Destiny and just smash enemies mindlessly. So, the combat is nothing special, but it works.
The big issue is that X-Men Destiny just looks and sounds bad. When you are playing the graphics are average, but when you get to the cut scenes between missions you can really see how bad the characters look. Maybe it is because the characters are so recognizable, but pretty much all of the X-Men and Brotherhood just look off. Costumes don’t match the classic looks in some cases, and the ones that do still look bad. The voice acting was also disappointing. This is probably due to there being so many X-Men movies out now, but many of the character voices just don’t sound like what we’ve come to expect.
The other frustration I had, was with the last few fights. You face off against a few rooms of the tougher enemies. During these you get no additional health pick ups. You then move on to the cheapest, toughest boss fight in the game. Still with no additional health. If you somehow manage to beat that boss (it took me 5 tries and memorizing his pattern) you then move on to the final boss fight. While you still get no additional health the last boss is actually much easier than the one before it. I found this whole sequence really annoying because it was so different from the rest of the game, and they seemed to just stop giving health to artificially make it harder.
The whole game was probably just over 4 hours for me to beat and I took the time to do each challenge room that I could find. I’m actually glad it was not much longer because much more of it and I would have gotten bored with the lack of additional combos. The best part of the game was actually the credits. As the credits start rolling on the left side of the screen you are thrown into a large arena with the faction you picked and 200 enemies. If you can clear 200 before the credits end you unlock an extra suit for your character. I’m not sure how helpful that suit is unless you plan to play through the game a second time to try the other faction, but the actual fight against so many enemies was really fun.
A copy of X-Men Destiny for the Xbox 360 was provided to us for this review from Activision.