Hey Got Gamers,
Earlier this week I had a chance to check out X-Men Destiny, and like the Matrix films, the focus of this superhero game is choice.
The game starts with your first choice: your character. This time around, you can pick from one of three pre-made mutant characters; and so far these mutants are my favorite part of the game. Their back stories and motivations are extremely interesting. On the far right of the above image is Aimi, a Japanese national who was smuggled into North America by her parents. At a young age she is forced to struggle with abandonment issues that have haunted her ever since her parents smuggled her out of Japan. However, she does everything without understanding that her parents sent her off alone to keep her out of the mutant interment camps that are being run by her government.
Grant is the guy on the right, and honestly I don’t find him interesting at all. He’s your average jock that has to grow up. However, in the center is my favorite character: Adrian. Adrian is a mentally unstable anti-mutant thug. In his head he hears the voice of his dead father telling him to exterminate mutants in order to save the human race. As you can imagine that causes a few issues when this anti-mutant thug suddenly develops his own mutant powers.
Once you select your character, you’ll be asked to pick one of three powers. I went with the density control during my first play through. That’s the power that is shown in the image above this paragraph, and basically that power forms rocks around different parts of your body (which you could find useful in a brawl). However, if you’re not into rock-knuckle brawling, you can choose the dark matter power that gives you Green Lantern like abilities. However, the word you should focus on is “like” because it doesn’t look like you’ll have as much range as a Green Lantern (but that may be an unrealistic expectation given current technology). Instead, the primary example I was given is an indestructible dark energy blade that could be useful if you found yourself in a brawl with some non-playable characters. The final power is actually a range of energy attacks that can be used offensively in the same way you can use a laser gun offensively, or defensively by turning the energy into a shield (which would be handy if you found yourself in a brawl… hint, hint).
At various parts throughout the game, you’ll also be given the choice to mix and match the powers of iconic X-Men characters with those of your chosen avatar. These powers are called X-Genes in the game, and come in offensive, defensive, and utility types. However, you won’t be given the choice to mix and match those iconic powers at will. You’ll have to collect them throughout the game by completing various missions for either faction.
I am sure this is expected, but those factions I mentioned are the X-men (the good guys) and the Brotherhood (the bad guys). Throughout the game you’ll be given the choice to complete missions for both sides, which is actually the part of the game that I found the most confusing. Neither side of the mutant civil war seemed to show any true interest in me. This could be something that is fixed later by a plot point, but during my hands on time, both sides treated me like I was a convenient tool that could be used and then ignored. Every conversation with the X-men or Brotherhood members ended with me doing some job that they were unwilling or unable to do themselves. All of this left me feeling unappreciated.
Now, this could be a problem that may be easily solved by having detailed knowledge of the X-men universe, but I have none that is worth mentioning. The only saving grace in this situation is that you can play the game without that knowledge. It’s explained early on that the good guys are good, and the bad guys are bad; and every time you’re told what faction each mission giver works for. The game is very intuitive in this area, but I still have to ask myself why should I pay all that money to buy a game based on relationships and loyalties that I don’t understand?
Although that may become a non-issue because the game has the potential to create a bigger problem for itself. I want to remind everyone that this is just a preview, but the vast majority of the game play I saw came in the form of brawling. Yes there were dialogue trees and RPG elements, but 90% of what I played involved beating up 10 guys, moving on, beating up 10 guys, moving on, and beating up 10 guys. Now to be fair, I only played the first level of the game, so there is plenty of time for the game to introduce players to new and exciting game play concepts. However, I can only report on what I saw, and by far the majority of what I saw was third person brawling.
As of now, X-Men Destiny leaves me with a lot of questions that I find myself needing answers to. Will the interesting character stories play a central role in the game? Will the game end up being a true action RPG, or will it be a brawler in disguise? Do I have to be knowledgeable on all things X-Men before starting this game? Will all the choices in this game mean anything when you find yourself on the last level?
If X-Men Destiny can come back with good answers to those questions, then we could have a good game on our hands. X-men Origins: Wolverine provided that some X-Men have a place in quality gaming. However, if those answers are not good enough, then this could be a waste of time. For you, and myself, I wish I had those answers right now, but at the moment all I can say is that time will tell. Therefore, at this point I would highly suggest waiting for reviews to be posted before buying this game. It’s currently scheduled to be released on September 27th and we’ll review it on Got Game as soon as we can.
In the mean time, and if you still have a craving for more X-Men related stuff, you have another choice to make. Do you, or don’t you watch X-Men First Class on DVD or Blu-Ray.
I’ll be honest, I can’t answer that question. I’m not even sure if I have an opinion on any film that’s worth your time. Simply put I’m not a film critic, and this is Got Game after all.
However, when I went to check out X-Men Destiny, they were also demoing X-Men First Class next door; and while I’m not prepared to offer an opinion on it, I did hear them say that the movie will be hitting store shelves on September 9th 2011.