" X-Men Destiny seems to be universally despised, and while I mostly agree, fanboys of the X-Men universe may still be entertained."
X-Men Destiny seems to be universally despised, and while I mostly agree, fanboys of the X-Men universe may still be entertained by seeing a ton of different mainstream, as well as some lesser known, mutants.
The game begins with the player choosing one of three newly sprouting mutants. Bastion has just killed Xavier, and Cyclops along with the X-men are trying to calm tensions between mutants and humans with a peace rally. The rally gets attacked, of course, and the selected burgeoning mutant joins the fight to try to further the cause of peace with the X-Men, or to advance the dominance of the Homo- Superior race with the Brotherhood. The clear cut morality system doesn’t have an effect on anything except the ending. Straightforward mission decisions are clearly presented; do you want to help Mystique, or do you want to help Nightcrawler? Either option entails a short, monotonous set piece fight.
It seems the four hour campaign is designed to be played through a total of six times, two playthroughs for each of the three character choices, siding once with the X-Men and once with The Brotherhood. The problem is, cut scenes can’t be skipped, and the dialogue doesn’t vary enough to derive pleasure from even two playthroughs. Forcing players to listen to the same line six times seems almost cruel.
Loads of heroes and villains from the X-Men universe make an appearance during the campaign; Gambit, Colossus, Caliban, Toad, Magneto; the list goes on for a while. The original story is decent enough to see it through to the end; though it is rather uninspired. All of the characters have the same voice actors as in the X-Men cartoons, and this small fact made the dialogue much more enjoyable for me; it’s amazing what good voice acting can do. This is proven even further by the performances of the three original characters, who at times sound like they are awkwardly forcing their lines.
The shallow combat is a great example of how boring a button-masher can be. Light and heavy attacks can be chained into a five hit combo at most. Dodging and blocking enemies is possible, but I was able to complete the game without blocking at all. Four combos can be unlocked, and each one is an improvement on the last combo, making old combos generally worthless.
Three different mutant-power types are offered near the start of the game; Density (which grants powers over earth), Energy (which focuses on energy based projectiles), and Shadow (which focuses on teleporting). Eight powers are presented two at a time to choose between throughout the game. Acquiring all the powers for a character takes two playthroughs, further suggesting this game was intended to be played through more than once, which again begs the question, ‘why can’t cut scenes be skipped?’ There is a nice variety in powers between the mutant types; regarding powers each character plays uniquely. Overall however, the button-mashing combat plays similarly between all three characters; once an AOE combo and a hard hitting combo are unlocked, they are just repeated over and over.
Collectable offensive, defensive, and utility X-Genes and suits based on various mutants are scattered around which can be equipped to grant additional powers. Emma Frost’s defensive X-Gene can grant diamond skin; Juggernaut’s offensive X-Gene turns the dodge button into a dash attack; Northstar’s utility X-Gene can grant flight. The suits are mostly aesthetic, with one exception. If three X-Genes and a suit all based on the same mutant are equipped, a unique attack based on the corresponding mutant can be unleashed using X-Mode. Avalanche’s X-Mode creates an earthquake which stuns enemies; Cyclops’s X-Mode makes powers require no energy, as well as granting bonus damage, and adding stun to all attacks. Which X-Gene or suit is found is random; and some abilities are far superior to others. X-Genes and suits can be carried over into a second playthrough, but they cannot be shared between the three main characters.
Mutant powers and X-Genes can be leveled up by using yellow orbs that slain enemies drop. Maxing out powers and a few favorite X-Genes can easily be done by the end of a single playthrough. Enemies also drop health and energy orbs in spades, enough so that I never felt in danger during combat, except when fighting bosses.
The monotonous, repetitive boss fights require mostly memorization and following patterns. One boss slams his fist into the ground a few times, and then it gets stuck, causing an electrified fence to lose its power, allowing the character to climb up and hit the boss in the face a few times. Repeat twice, and the boss goes down. The boss fights intrigued me by preying on my X-Men fanboyism, (fighting Magneto and Sentinels is always fun), but that was where all of my pleasure derived from the fights came from.
The idea behind X-Men Destiny had so much potential, Fable or Mass Effect, but with X-Men. Unfortunately the simple gameplay gets boring quickly, and the choices made have almost no effect. The morality systems in games keep getting better and better, but this game takes a few steps backwards. I can only hope someone like Bioware tries this idea again.
Community review by Chris_Strott (July 23, 2013)
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