STAFF REVIEW of X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009.
by Rick Wallace

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Box art Right off the bat, X-Men Origins: Wolverine has 2 things against it and they would be the facts that this game is based on a movie and also superhero video games do not have a great reputation. So to be able to shake off those factors as game really has to come off and give the gamer a wow factor immediately. One of the top things going for the game is the fact that Raven Software was leading up the development. They are known for such games as Marvel Ultimate Alliance and X-Men Legends which were superb superhero games. So let get right down to it. Does the latest Wolverine title break the mold set by previous movie and superhero games?

That answer would be a flat out yes. The game is action packed and full of everything you would expect from a superhero game. The game plays true to the violent nature of Wolverine from start to end and it doesn?t once pull any punches. You?ll see dismemberment after dismemberment and plenty of blood to go along with that. Raven Studios chose to go the ?Mature? audience route and it pays off extremely well in presentation. Wolverine is not meant to be dumbed down in any fashion and you can bet that doesn?t happen at all in this game. The game does follow the movie plot to a degree and as I mention in the upcoming paragraph you should be impressed with the cinematic interludes that tell the story. Hopefully this game launches a new Wolverine series, as I could see myself owning each and every one of them just for the fun factor alone.

First thing you will probably notice is the graphical nature of the game. Each environment is portrayed extremely well and the lighting at times is absolutely phenomenal. And we?re just talking about the gameplay. The CG cut scenes are absolutely breathtaking and at times you?ll be taking a second look to be sure you aren?t actually watching a scene from the movie. Animations seem to be spot on for both Ai attacks and Wolverine?s own attacks. The only issues I had with the game graphically were a few camera glitches and headaches. But nothing too serious that would warrant a huge subtraction from the games overall review score. A few of the cut scenes seem to get some skipping here and there, and at one point I thought my 360 had frozen but it carried on shortly after that thought crossed my mind. I have read of some clipping and jumping outside the level taking place but personally did not experience it. With the amount of detail put into the games levels and environments it?s probably safe to assume that you may find a graphical rift somewhere, but that should be expected.

As I mentioned the camera angle at times was a little clunky and wouldn't allow you to see from an angle you needed to. For a game that has platformer aspects to it, this can be quite frustrating. Another thing I ran into was aiming while on a turret gun. I guess this doesn't really fall into the graphical realm of things, but it was quite hard to aim at moving objects and maybe that is because I was riding on the back of a boat and they wanted to give the feeling that it's not easy to aim while riding on water. Again, just pet peeves and really not game breaking things here.

When it comes to sounds, the game is right on par with what one would expect. There really is nothing outstanding to say about the voice acting, musical scores, or environment sounds. As stated, things will sound exactly as you would expect them to. You?ll hear the sound of people being impaled by Wolverine?s claws, typical gunfire, and ambient environmental sounds. Now I am not saying this is bad for the game, it?s just as expected.

When it comes down to it though most folks want to know how the game plays and I have to say the game plays very well and is a lot of fun. You?ll hack and slash your way through each level and there does tend to be some button mashing. One thing I did notice is that however many times you press the attack button will be the number of times Wolverine attacks. This is good and bad. For instance, if you instant kill and enemy with one swipe of your claws, but you hit the X button 3 times, he?ll swing 2 more times before leaving the attack animation. This can get a little frustrating at times. Other than that though, the game really does play well. There are puzzles to solve ala Tomb Raider, button mashing sequences in order to access new areas or kill off big bosses, and then as mentioned there is just the typical hack and slash style. So the game offers action and puzzle solving wrapped into one package and it seems to work very well.

The controls are not to bad in the game either, and for the most part work very well int he game. You'll have the regular attacks using X and Y. The A button jumps and the B button grabs. The left and right bumper allows you use your lunging technique and the triggers allow you to activate special moves. All of the controls are simple and easy to use and really do seem to fit the game scheme well. Even for a button masher at times.

The game offers you 3 levels of difficulty. I played on both easy and normal and while there are some subtle differences, and most noticeable against larger hordes and big bosses, there really isn?t a whole lot of difference between the 2 levels. Hard difficulty is locked at the beginning of the game so I think its safe to assume that you need to beat the game on normal at least to get to the next level of difficulty. I can see hard being extremely frustrating at times though especially with some of the issues that the game has with camera angles and locked in animations.

As you progress you will level up Wolverine as you did with characters in Marvel Ultimate Alliance. You will learn new skills and special abilities as well throughout the game which come in quite handy. As you earn skill points you can enter a menu and apply these skill points to Wolverine allowing stronger attacks or increased health. You?ll also be collecting plenty of special power ups and collectables throughout the game as well to unlock special bonuses such as new character skins or bonus missions. Once again, as a whole the game gives you quite a bit of variety and really should be considered by any super hero fan.

Now unfortunately there is no online play or co-op involved. I am sure we could all think of some online game modes that could be fun, but I am not sure if this genre of game is quite at that point. As for co-op, I mean really. Wolverine works alone, so why shouldn?t that be portrayed in the game as well. In the end, this has to be one of the best movie adaptation games as well as super hero games I have played in quite sometime. I really enjoyed my time with the game and look forward to heading back into the game at the hard difficulty level. Bottom line is, if you like super hero games then this one should really be a no brainer for you as its fun to just run around dismembering every single part of an enemy?s body. And the graphics are great as well. Put that together with the leveling up, item collecting and puzzle solving and you got yourself a winner.

Please allow the animation to break once an enemy dies no matter how many times I pushed the button. A little more in the way of collectables and hidden unlockables would also be a welcome addition. Also allow cut scenes to be skipped, especially once you reload from a checkpoint and you have already seen the ctscene. Overall though, very fun game and please keep this type of gameplay for future renditions or other origin titles.

Overall: 8.1 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 7.7 / 10


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