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X-Men Legends PS2 Review - -

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 8.8
Sound 8.0
Value 8.7
Distributor: Activision
Andrew B


X-Men Legends

Good comic games are often a rarity, especially RPG titles but fortunately for fans of the Marvel Universe (more specifically... the X-Men), the first ever X-Men RPG title has finally arrived on the PlayStation 2 and gamers can now assemble, train and lead their own X-Men fighting force into battle against some of the deadliest foes in the Marvel Universe that include the Brotherhood of Mutants and the insidious Morlocks.

If the screenshots of X-Men Legends seems familiar to you, than that's because the game was made by the creators of Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance, one of the most entertaining RPG experiences to be delivered onto the PS2. The developers have also decided to up the stakes of the popular RPG genre by adding a variety of new and improved elements into the game and of course by including the X-Men into the mix.

Plenty of the basic game mechanics are familiar, the X-Men quaff potions to keep themselves healed, the character development system is also that of a basic RPG system with statistics to upgrade and a basic equipment system. There's much more action than RPG though, and deep action at that, especially with more than one human player to mix things up. The AI is pretty competent in the solo game which can be programmed to more or less take care of itself but a multiplayer session offers far more opportunities for cool cooperative attacks. With that said, the game is a combination of Gauntlet meets Dungeons & Dragons and one cannot complain about such a loving combination.

The storyline of Legends starts out slowly, and one criticism that could be made is that it kind of throws players to the wolves after the first mission. Suddenly having to control a complete team of four and master their powers in the process (after spending the first level controlling only the completely straightforward Wolverine) is a bit much. The game makes the Danger Room tutorials very accessible though, even in the middle of a mission, so you can turn that way to gain a bit of experience and some more power-up items. A very interesting addition to the RPG genre.

The combat system of X-Men legends is a combination of hack 'n' slash and super powers, although it is possible to slug your way through the game with a relatively straightforward strategy by using brute force such as Wolverine but it is much more efficient and much more fun to ping-pong the bad guys around with well-orchestrated combos. Launching an opponent with a tornado or telekinesis, zapping them in the air with some energy blast, and bashing them into the wall on the way down not only does serious damage, it's also immensely satisfying. You can even use the pick-up-and-toss command (usually employed for throwing bits of the environment around) to hit something with the Wolverine Fastball Special.

The musical score of X-Men Legends is brilliant and truly matches the heroics of the game, unfortunately the character acting of the game is a little too campy for this reviewer but then again, this is what heroics are about. "Don't worry ma'am, I'll save your cat!" The strength of the audio also helps bring the characters to life and throw in the occasional Marvel cameo and X-Men in-jokes and you have a rather impressive, if not sometimes amusing sounding game.

Graphically, X-Men Legends is a very impressive looking game on the PlayStation 2 and the attention to detail is quite amazing which really helps immerse the player into the Marvel Universe of comics. With that said, the game world is surprisingly detailed for the interactivity it offers, but at the same time it doesn't offer too harsh a contrast to the comparatively simple character models. The X-Men's designs for this game are a nice blend of old-school bright primary colours and the modern, slightly fetish trend in superhero character design with a touch of sharp outlining and toon-shading to accent their comic book roots.

In conclusion, X-Men Legends is a highly addictive and entertaining game with finely detailed
characterization, a great storyline and some amazing graphics. Unfortunately some diehard X-Men fans may squirm a little because the writers have virtually thrown in a plethora of X-Men history that was like continuity itself was a jigsaw and the writers couldn't put that jigsaw together again. However, the majority of gamers will be blissfully unaware of this fact and X-Men fans will just rejoice in seeing their heroes on the PlayStation 2. If you're looking for a detailed and action orientated RPG title than look no further because this game will give you a good 25 hours of perfect escapism! Excelsior!


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