X-Men Origins : Wolverine
Thing is uf all these games that we would have to digest and review on a yearly cycle (of which I’d probably be forced to do more if the actual game companies sent me their games to review, and didn’t rely on me to spend my own out of pocket budget to buy said games… of which I would seldom do since I don’t have disposable income to review anything but the most promising of games… like this)? Most of the games based on product like movies or TV Series fall flat on their face godawful when reviewed. Promise here is a promise usually unfulfilled, an expectation there usually becomes expectation too much for said title. So don’t take this the wrong way Griptonie/Activision, but if I seem a tad bit snippy on my reviews of games like this it’s because I usually have good reason to.
Let’s see now, usually when students come in late for school or fail to turn in their assigned work they usually have to turn in an excuse… sometimes it might actually be the equivalent of the dog ate the homework… dear god though that’s terrible, dogs aren’t meant to consume paper! At least say the dog destroyed the homework, not ate it!! But as for the developers of games it’s not so much they need to deliver us notes saying why they didn’t get said game out on time (though at times they do need to do that, case in point for instance Killzone 2 or MGS4 if memory serves) instead they need a letter explaining why innovation died and they decided to follow the crowd… really, I’d like that excuse slip now thanks.
Case in point X-Men Origins : Wolverine and it’s excuse for slitting innovation’s throat with adamantium claws in exchange for a premise we’ve seen before. In this case? It’s… oh joy wait for it… oh, yes, it’s God of War gameplay mechanics… AGAIN!! AGAIN PEOPLE AGAIN!! Now if that seems familiar dig back into your collective minds to earlier this volume and my review of Ghost Rider the Game, mostly because Ghost Rider the Game rode the crazy train of God of War game mechanics… and came up woefully short on goods. Now, mind you, that is not to say X-Men Origins : Wolverine came up short… it does it’s job I suppose though to be honest if you want a God of War style beat em up game you should get God of War… it’s just that I was expecting better, or at least expecting the game to not be an inferior ghost of God of War in the gameplay mechanics.
Set during a delightful electocution
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Apparently everyone and their third cousin who makes a God of War clone makes only the superficial visible content (the beat em up) while failing to grasp the true depth of the game. The many toys to deal out death, the powers, the intricately beautiful level design that you can explore and really dig into deep as you go all out on vast environments, as well as story and character development that really puts the cherry on top of the killing machine sundae that is God of War. Sad to say but while X-Men Origins : Wolverine is better than the pretender games of MARVEL being the best at what you do when compared to shovel ware isn’t the best as what you can do when you can still achieve higher status all the same.
So yes, the game does get you really down and dirty with Logan, and you really get a good grip of his feral abilities (including a rather seldom used sensory ability that just points out where to go next or what’s ahead as opposed to really giving you a tool to put to good use in the game) but at the same time you feel that there could be more that you could be doing with this game. The God of War beat em up aspect is great, but still keeps the game from perfection because it still lacks all the depth of a real God of War “killer” game. Also since you play only as Logan you really don’t get any quality time with the rest of Team X at all, a level with Deadpool or Creed (Sabretooth) or Wraith would have been a nice way to shake things up, but doesn’t happen. So, because of that, the gameplay is solid but quickly becomes repetitive without any means to shake things up.
Now as a tie in to the movie it does a banger job, right down to the voice acting by the cast of the movie (Hugh Jackman is back as Wolverine as is the rest of the cast represented here as well), and they do a good job of it (nice work), and while I am sure the cut scenes are not
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The PSP version is supposed to be unique. Developed specifically for the handheld, and I have a feeling it is just that (though I’d have to munch down a review of the PS2 and/or Wii versions to make entirely sure of the uniqueness of this version). Promises made for this version include levels exclusive to the PSP version, and again I can only confirm that by playing another version but I have a feeling they’re on the level with that assessment.
Let’s see, what else does the Jewel Case promise… ah, “Cinematic Boss Battles”… hmm… well I wouldn’t call the battles cinematic, nor even God of War level… they can be hard at times, but once you get down a specific pattern for the boss the fight can be handled… but then again that same logic applies to boss battles in God of War so who am I to complain about that here. So much for that being good, what else.
There’s also an astonishing cast of MARVEL heroes and villains in the game, which makes sense since the source movie also contains a large cast of heroes and villains as well! So… well, go figure.
Hmm… did I miss anything?
Straightforward gameplay whose challenge comes in beating the many level requirements to unlock the extras, which is actually a challenge.. But a challenge frustrated by the fact you can’t replay levels at will to get another chance to beat certain requirements you missed the first time. I guess you have to replay the game entirely to beat those (still haven’t finished the game yet as of this first review).
Overall it’s all just a God of War clone, and while there are abit of moves to go through you’ll find memorizing a few moves and options (like throwing your enemies to set up for pounce hammerings) will suffice. Enemies, also, are not very varied and only come in so many flavors outside of boss battles (human and larger non human or “Super Soldier” variety ala Ultimate Alliance) so there isn’t much to remember other than the Frankenstein motto “Fire Bad!” (if Wolverine is set on fire his healing factor is shut off, as shown by the outline of the screen turning green then red as you near death… so you have to wait until your healing factor kicks back in, or get into rage mode to heal up again quick while taking out enemies as quick as possible… since Rage mode doesn’t last very long).
The extras are the usual rhythm and roll of content. Image gallery, movie (high quality cut scenes) gallery, costumes to unlock… two innovations in this though is the Audio Logs (original content not included in gameplay) and a Bonus section I
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OK. Let’s overall this already.
The game does it’s job and as a hack and slash beat em up but I’ve seen better all the same. Cut scenes (the six really good ones) are to notch, and there’s some innovative extras to unlock here as well as the fact the cast came in to do their voiceover work of their characters for the game. On the bad side the game cam become highly repetitive, as your only moving from point to point hacking up everything in sight, and while you do have objectives to complete they’re not always clear (you’ll have to actually manually look up your objectives at times to know what you’re supposed to do or not do). It’s not Ghost Rider, but it’s not perfect. It’s the best at what it does, but considering the rest that followed this road were shovel ware it’s not hard to be the best compared to low level crud.
Oh bother! Now I have to score it and it’s mixed bag results!
Would I recommend it? Depends. Depends on if your willing to spend the money to buy it. If you are willing? Then yes, though you should be aware it probably also inherited the God of War short lifespan of gaming (about 10 hours or so though one person I just read giving a review said it could be as short as four hours, that‘s even shorter than Silent Hill : Origins dammit!!) along with it’s gameplay mechanics, so this won’t last long. Also on occasion the camera seems to go wonky a few times (or you go wonky and pop up elsewhere on the level during a fight, which happened to me a few times during the first Creed fight in Canada), and moving Logan through tight fits or making jumps to avoid laser detection beams ain‘t the most accurate task to do on the PSP controls (it sometimes feels awkward moving Logan using the control nub of the PSP). But there are the unlockable extras earned during gameplay that I am pretty certain you won’t unlock to 100% accuracy first few play through (of course the option of being able to select your level to replay instead of having to replay the game fresh just to unlock content you missed first time out is a real bummer).
I’m going to say that this is a fair enough game, but I wouldn’t spend $40-$50 on it (which I actually did to review this one… burn…) all the same. I’d actually wait, which I didn’t mind you, for this to pop up in a bargain bin before owning it.
So that’s that. If you are NOT a die hard Wolverine fan wait until the prices drop before snapping up a copy. Otherwise X-Men Origins : Wolverine gets a wary 3 Adamantium Claws popped in the up position (three claws up) out of 5.
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