Game Review: X-Men Destiny
A few years ago Silicon Knights released Too Human for the Xbox 360, which was quickly lambasted for its loose combat and for generally being a bad game. Now in 2011 they’ve developed a new title with a major comic book licence attached to it, and it seems they haven’t made any improvements in the last few years. In fact, X-Men Destiny seems to be an even worse game than Too Human.
X-Men Destiny starts players off at an anti-mutant rally in San Francisco, and things quickly get out of hand as a mysterious enemy attacks the crowd and the X-Men. Three young people in that crowd have their mutant abilities awoken at the moment of the attack, and the player has to choose which of these characters to portray. You get to choose your initial mutant ability, and two subsequent others later in the game.
As soon as the opening sequence ends, the story falls through and it will struggle to hold your attention for the rest of the game. The use of classic X-Men characters is piss poor as well: why would any of them, especially Cyclops and Wolverine, listen to a teenage girl or boy who is just learning her abilities for the first time, when she talks about plans he/she overheard made by the game’s villian? Even at the game’s end, why is your character the only one who can take on the final boss? Even Cyclops helps out earlier in a skirmish with Magneto, but in a moment of direst need I’m all alone. The game’s plot structure is just inane.
The main storyline is not even the worst part of X-Men Destiny. Pretty much everything else takes the cake in that department. One thing that irritates from the get-go is the overuse of architecture while running around the streets of San Francisco. There are whole streets in the game that have no enemies or even hidden collectibles; the developers could have deleted these useless areas and made the game look slightly better. Too Human had a shiny look to its characters and game world and overall looked decent; X-Men Destiny on the other hand has no shine and is quite dreary. Graphically this game walks the thin line between a late era Playstation 2 game and an early Xbox 360/PS3 title. Characters disappear during both cutscenes and gameplay while they are still talking to you, and will never reappear. Combat, both in game and in cutscenes, causes so much slowdown that the game seems to stutter - and at times I thought it would freeze up on-screen.
X-Men Destiny is a third-person hack ‘n’ slash game and it drags that aspect into the ground. At times all that is needed is to press the action button with no need to look at the screen; your character will just attack mindless enemies as they rush at you. Even boss battles are easy as you can manoevre around them, simply slashing over and over again to take down their shield and eventually their health bar. Just avoid their patterned attacks and you will finish them in a breeze.
As for those mindless enemies, the sounds they make are laughable. Who at Silicon Knights thought it was a good idea to use the Wilhelm scream when enemies die from a normal attack or falling? At first it’s funny, but after a while it becomes incredibly annoying. The voiceovers are atrocious as well, especially for one of the main characters you play as, who came straight off the boat from Japan but nonetheless speaks perfect English while her parents back home cannot speak any. The only character who sounds any good is Cyclops, who is voiced by Nolan North (well known as the voice of Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series).
Overall X-Men Destiny is one of the worst games I have played in a very long time. Everything in the game made me cringe from the moment I hit the start button. Since first being unveiled almost a year ago this has not had much coverage on any gaming sites or magazines, and you can see why. It just feels like a rushed product and maybe should have had more development time and better ideas. To anyone who was thinking of purchasing this game, I recommend putting it right back down and saving your money. X-Men Destiny is a shame and blemish on the beloved comic franchise, and Jack Kirby would be turning in his grave if he saw it.
FMV rating: *