A production powerhouse in the world of comics, Marvel Comics was
responsible for Heroes such as Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic
Four etc. but one of their most successful creations comes in the form of
the X-men, a mutant superhero team with many incarnations in the comic
world, as well as spawning 2 movies and a multitude of games. X-men: Legends
is the latest addition to the Marvel gaming stable.
X-men: Legends sees you leading the X-men against The Brotherhood, who are
on the move while at the same time, hostilities between mutants and humans
are growing rapidly; with the Sentinels being used in increasing numbers.
This puts increasing pressure on the team as there are only so many X-men
and way too many situations to deal with. It is up to you to guide the X-men
to success in the many endeavours you’ll encounter in this game.
The characters are definitely nice to look at; they seem to be a blend of
cel-rendering and 3D rendering; although if you’ll notice the Xmen’s
costumes, they resemble their movie counterparts with the sleek leather and
ultra modern look. Some of the X-men also look very different in this
video-game offering; Beast actually looks more like a blue colored human
rather than a primate and Jean Grey had her hair cut for some apparent
reason. Not that it’s a bad thing, its just interesting to see the
developer’s new take on said characters. Magneto and his brotherhood look as
bad (not in a bad way!) as ever, their designs are more faithful to their
comic incarnations, although Toad is the exception to the rule as he looks
like some two-bit punk.
Xmen: Legends definitely runs smoothly on the XBOX as the animation is well
defined and framerate is at an optimum level. The different movements of
each character are a testament to the good animation work done by the
developer on this title. Although the animation definitely runs nicely,
there is still an issue with speed, as when you’re playing this game you’ll
wish that it were a tad faster.
The X-Mansion, the streets of New York, the Morlock tunnels, the Weapon X
Facility and the European Sentinel factory are just some of the places that
you’ll see in Xmen: Legends. Also cel-rendered, each level has its own
style, ensuring no monotony in the visuals as you progress. The overall
level design is definitely excellent in this game, as different places
require different methods of navigation and usage of Mutant Powers. The
environment is also highly interactive; although not everything can be
broken, rest assured a lot of the things found in the levels can be
destroyed; with certain things giving out health packs or energy packs. A
good rule of thumb is to always have Iceman with you as there’ll be many
occassions when an ice-bridge is needed. The environment is also very
interactive, try not to get too carried away with destroying anything and
everything in sight!
The controls in X-men: Legends aren’t very intuitive and require somewhat of
a learning curve. The basic attack/melee button is “A”, the jump button is
“Y”, the “X” button for interaction with objects makes that button arguably
the most intuitive as a lot of games use that button as a default for
interaction. The Right trigger brings up the mutant ability screen and
depending on which button you push, the character performs the chosen
ability. Once you get the hang of it though, it shouldn’t be too hard, with
the occassional slip-up that is.
X-men: Legends is defined as an RPG, and like in all RPGs, it is a
pre-requisite that the characters must level up. This upgrades their current
power levels, as well as letting you choose which of their mutant abilities
to progress. One example is Wolverine, where you can either upgrade his Claw
Slash, Beserk Fury or Healing Factor, among other things. The levelling-up
game mechanic definitely adds depth to the game, and as you go along, the
opponents also become harder, in accordance with your characters’ overall
Its always a joy when the developer goes to extra lengths to make sure that
each character is unique from the other, and in X-men: Legends, this is
definitely the case. When you come to the character selection screen, you
must think carefully as to which mutant suits which mission. They all have
very unique powers, which can be advantageous in some situations and quite
the opposite in others. A general tip is to make sure you have Iceman and
Wolverine handy, because a lot of bridges need to be built with Iceman and
Wolverine’s Beserk Fury and Healing Factor definitely give you the edge over
hordes. Another good character to have around is Cyclops, but that’s
depending on which ability you concentrate on, as Cyke is highly dependent
on distance. Jean Grey can also be very helpful, as her telekinetic powers
can operate levers at a distance which other characters cannot reach
There is a heavy emphasis on teamwork in X-men: Legends as each team member
interacts differently with each other. An example of an interaction can be
seen in Colossus and Wolverine, let’s say you were controlling Colossus,
approach Wolverine and press the “X” button, Colossus then proceeds to pick
up Wolverine and throw him a.k.a. The Fastball special. Another example is
when you have a flying character like Rogue pick up a team mate and fly them
around. Its examples like those which give the game a lot of depth, as
you’ll definitely be needing the different abilities and interactions in
order to get past certain obstacles.
When you’re playing X-men: Legends initially, you’ll find that the opponents
you encounter are not the sort that game developers just happen to throw in,
they’re actually quite difficult, especially as you get used to distancing
and the controls. As stated before, the more the game progresses and the
more your characters level up, the opponents also seem to get a lot
stronger, providing quite a challenge without being too frustrating.
As stated before, X-men: Legends is heavily oriented in teamwork and as so,
there’s a multiplayer option available. What multiplayer constitutes in this
game is a couple of people pressing start and hopping right into the action.
This definitely makes for a seamless transition from single-player into
multiplayer mode. Although if you have a couple of friends over, the
missions involving the X-man Magma can become quite boring, as you all will
want the action to come very soon. It goes the other way though, there’s a
player control screen, where if someone wants to stop playing, you can
de-activate their controls so their character is free to either be
controlled by you or the A.I.
It is an absolute joy to take the field with some friends in X-men: Legends
as the gameplay does not slow down and the framerate does not drop at all,
making for some pretty intense battles. The camera work is also good as it
zooms out the further you are apart. But its always better to stick together
and pit 2 characters against an opponent in order to get the advantage.
The instense battles that come out of X-men: Legends definitely give rise to
bone-crunching soundeffects and tense pre-battle build-ups. The soundeffects
are definitely utilised to full effect and throughout a large scale battle,
a lot of the sounds are actually clearly heard and mesh well with each
other, making the battle seem a lot bigger than what it is.
Vicarious Visions have definitely gone for the minimalist approach when it
comes to the music in this game. The sublime soundtrrack gives way to the
soundeffects to great effect. The music in this game definitely serves to
enhance to mood and atmosphere and definitely does not come off annoying.
The voice acting in X-Men: Legends is quite good. Wolverine definitely
sounds like his cartoon counterpart and although a lot of the X-men sound
different to what you would remember them in the classic animation series,
the actors definitely add their own touch to them. The villains also have
their own unique malice added to them through the effective use of talented
X-men: Legends is being the RPG title that it is, is quite a lengthy game.
There are missions of all sorts found within its framework and it will take
you a number of gameplay hours in order to finish it. The mulitplayer aspect
gives it even more longevity if you’re the type to want to team up with
people and lay the smackdown on hapless opponents.
X-men: Legends is definitely recommended for those comic fans out there, who
were waiting for a quality game featuring their heroes. It is definitely
hours of fun and will even suit those casual gamers who love a good fight on