I personally love this game and still play it. The only complaints I have are about the camera and character balance. Speaking of character balance, I got bored and decided to rank the characters. If this helps even one person I'll be happy, otherwise I'll be the only one to use this. >_>
I'm going to mix it up and avoid using tier labels such as top and bottom, there aren't enough characters in this game to really rank them that way. Instead I'll just post their names in order of best to worst. So the first person is better than the second and so forth. Because I'm bored enough I'll go over why these characters have their placings. Yay for boredom! Professor X isn't listed for obvious reasons.
-Storm: Storm has everything going for her: the ability to weld, crowd control (lightning stun), the ability to put out fires (whirlwind), flight, a shield that increases your team's defense, and the ability to increase the damage of combos and the experience you get from them. It's hard to go wrong with Storm, so I don't have much to say. Put her stat points into focus/body (I usually keep her body at half her focus, if that makes sense).
-Jean: Jean kicks some serious ass the moment she reaches level 5 and gains access to Psycho Shout. Psycho shout causes great damage to many enemies while slowing them down. Like Storm, she has a great defensive shield. You pretty much take no damage if you use both Storm and Jean's shields (yes, they stack). Telekinesis is a fun skill that can be used by the player to throw enemies off the stage to instantly kill them, but it's greatly outclassed by Psycho Shout. Unfortunately Jean isn't usable on the Arbiter mission, where Psycho Shout would own everything and she has trouble against Sentinels. Jean is only lower than Storm due to the number of Sentinels during the late stages of the game, otherwise they're really close. As for her stats, do the same as Storm (body half of focus).
Colossus: Colossus can destroy everything and everyone inside a room without going in it. Do I need to say more? Focus on his Concussion attack tree and the knock back passive skill . He can also use his personal shield to tank, but it's unlikely he'll need to. His Power Smash skill can cause a lot of single target damage, so use it against bosses. I'd put almost all of his points into focus so he can spam his AoE.
Nightcrawler: Nightcrawler is the best Sentinel killer you can get. Simply equip him with the Hammer of Nimrod and spam his Teleport Flurry skill in order to destroy Sentinels quickly. His Teleport Leap shouldn't be used as an attack skill, instead use it to get items and to shave off time during your second visit to the sewers. His Shadow Blend buff reduces the damage done to him, but he should be using Teleport Flurry to the point where he doesn't care. He can also prevent party members from dying with Leap of Faith if he's being controlled by the AI, but I doubt anyone will be dying anytime soon. I would wait until Sentinels start showing up to use him, unless you need him to get items (Arbiter/Sentinel Factory). Again, almost all stat points should go into focus.
Psylocke: Psylocke is the last person you will recruit, but she's also stupidly powerful. Use her Psychic Bolts to attack and stun enemies at a range. Focus your skill points into her Psychic Bolts and Blade Master skills. After you have those maxed put points wherever you feel like, just avoid her shield (it's useless). Unfortunately she not only joins last, but she also joins during a point where Sentinels are common. Still, she's strong enough to make up for it by destroying everything else. Again, put her stat points into focus (she might need a little body, though).
Size issues, see next post.
Procrastinators meet tomorrow.
Cyclops: Cyclops will be in your party for most of the game, even if he's not the best character there is. His Optic Blast is the only mutant power really worth putting points into until the Havok fight, which is when you'll need his Tactics skill. Still, he gives leadership bonuses and can do great damage with his Optic blast. Nightcrawler will replace him for the last part of the game though. Stat points should be put into focus/body (body=half of focus). Are you tired of me saying that yet?
Magma: Magma is mediocre. She can weld and build bridges, so if there was anyone better than Storm/Jean you could theoretically replace them because Magma can solve all puzzles. But there's not, so you won't. She can tank and deal great damage in her fire form. With a fire elemental attack and a power enhancer her punches and kicks will do awesome damage. Unfortunately AoE attacks are much better than melee single target damage. She's definitely usable, but everyone above her just performs better. That's the case for everyone else on this list, they're usable, but everyone else is just too good to not use. I guess her points would go body, she doesn't need strike because of the power enhancer tactic, no one really needs agility, and she won't be using skills often enough to care about focus. I suppose you could give her a few points in focus so she can refresh her self-buff more often, but by the time she joins you energy packs probably aren't a problem.
Gambit: Gambit has a decent ranged attack, a decent AoE attack, and a decent buff. His buff adds energy damage to your team's attacks, so along with his passive skills that add energy damage to his attacks he is best suited for a melee role. His AoE skill also knocks enemies down, but its radius isn't very big. He's alright, but outperformed. He's really close to Magma actually, the only reason she's above him is because of her welding/bridge making abilities. I don't know at what ratio, but his stat points should go into focus/body. He will be using his Staff Slam AoE and his self-buff enough to justify having more focus than Magma.
Iceman: What Iceman can do, everyone else can do better! Tons of other people can use power enhancers to improve their melee damage, and there are plenty of people who can control crowds (*cough* Storm/Jean Grey*cough*). I suppose you could focus on his Ice Shards technique, but then he'd just be a Jubilee with better melee and the ability to build bridges. As for stat points, do the same thing you'd do for Gambit. Because he only slows down one enemy at a time, you'll have to use his Freeze Blast a lot to slow down a decent number of enemies.
Beast: Beast is at the top of what was originally going to be low tier until I scrapped the labels. When you first get him dump all your points into Grappling and you'll have an OHKO machine for the HAARP facility. After Grappling focus all your points into Propeller Kick so he can use a mediocre AoE. Unfortunately he can use the power enhancer tactic to improve his melee damage, so his use is short-term. Stat points: Body=half of focus. He's going to need to spam Propeller kick once his melee greatness wears off.
Procrastinators meet tomorrow.
Rogue: Rogue also has Grappling and as such should max it ASAP like Beast. Unlike Beast, however, Rogue doesn't have an AoE to spam. Instead she gets an energy based attack that does minimal damage but stuns. Yay! The skills she steals from enemies are very useful, partly because there aren't many skills to steal! I suppose it can help her with physically resistant foes, but due to the low damage all it will let her does is stun them and go punch someone else. Fortunately for Rogue Southern Strike (which you should focus on after Grappling) will maintain its use longer than her Grappling melee awesome, and her self-buff allows her to tank better. Ultimately Rogue and Beast are really close and would be equals if it weren't for Rogue's lack of AoE. She's better suited for boss fights, which there aren't very many of, so her use is even more limited. She does have flight, which is better than Beast's double jump, but that's minor. Body/focus for her! When you first get her you might actually want to put some points into agility (she's the exception), because hers SUCKS!
Wolverine: You were probably surprised to see Wolverine this low. Why IS he this low, you ask? Like Cyclops, only one of his skills is worth using. The difference? Cyclops has range, while Wolverine doesn't. Wolverine's Brutal Slash only hits one unit most of the time, two or three on a rare occasion. It's fast and deals decent damage, which makes him a good boss/Sentinel killer, but he's no Nightcrawler and again, boss fights don't occur that often and they aren't that hard. In order to OHKO like Beast and Rogue do early on, he has to use spam skills early on when energy packs are scarce. Healing factor doesn't help preserve your health packs all that much, and he has no way to boost his defense, so bosses will do more damage to him than Rogue. His attack speed/movement boost doesn't mean much when his regular attacks aren't that great. The bleed damage helps a lot, but Beast/Rogue's limited early-game use is more valuable than Wolverine's limited mid/late-game use. So yes, Wolverine is better than Beast and Rogue later on, but by the time he reaches his peak everyone else has as well, so it's not that impressive. Besides, Colossus can deal great single target damage, so you already have someone with great single target and AoE damage. Verdict: Just like Beast/Rogue, Wolverine is a limited use character. Stat points should go into focus and body(half). Spamming Brutal Slash is his best form of DPS, so he needs the SP. I might be biased against Wolverine or something, but the highest I could see him going is above Beast.
Jubilee: Poor Jubilee, how I like you but must rank you so low! She has a ranged attack, can confuse enemies, and combines Cyclop's Tactics skill with a damage reduction for the enemies. Her confusing power is only useful when it confuses, when it converts the enemies the AI won't attack, so it's better to stop putting points into it before it starts converting. Bait's damage reduction isn't near as awesome as the damage reduction you get from Storm's/Jean's shields, and no one cares about a slight increase in Strike/Agility. So all she has is her ranged attack, which is okay once it starts throwing more than three projectiles. The problem is getting her to that point isn't worth the effort and she has no way to improve her melee attacks. Normally I wouldn't count the melee against her, but the AI is going to have her fight with her fists sometimes, and when it does she will do craptastic damage. Focus/body, probably will less body than everyone else.
Procrastinators meet tomorrow.
Emma Frost: Poor Emma, she would be decent if it weren't for everything she has against her. She has no damaging skills, instead she focuses on crowd control. Her confuse skill should be capped off before it starts converting, and you should put no points in Fear because it causes enemies to run away, which means you have to chase them down to kill them. So she serves as a tank who can use the power enhancer trick to improve her psychic based melee damage. Why do I emphasize the psychic part? Sentinels. You're half-way through the game when you get her, so everyone is starting to peak (and most stay at their peak for the rest of the game) when she's just starting. At least Beast/Rogue have early game use, Emma's single target damage isn't very impressive for the time she joins and Sentinels cut her potential way down.
As for equips: The stat enhancers don't matter much, as the increase isn't that noticeable, so focus enhancers on everyone is fine. Some characters don't even need focus enhancers. Jean and Colossus probably want a DNA generator, as they're going to be spamming their skills the most. Nightcrawler wants a Hammer of Nimrod for Sentinel killing, and everyone else is fine with a power enhancer. Everyone wants the most current Nanofiber Armor. Simple, huh?
So there it is, not that many (if any) will use it. At least I can come back to remind myself of what I thought. >_>
Procrastinators meet tomorrow.
There are some inconsistencies and a trend in this list I want to point out now that I've typed all my thoughts up and had time to think about it.
-Tanks rank fairly low. This is due to the lack of difficulty in this game and AoE offense taking precedent.
-Join time: For some characters it matters, for some it doesn't. The characters that it matters most for are Storm, Jean, Psylocke, Cyclops, Beast, Rogue, Jubilee, and Emma. I know I just listed most of the cast, but hear me out. Storm, Jean, Cyclops, Beast and Rogue benefit for their join time, as it means the first three were kicking butt for a long time, and it gives Beast and Rogue and opportunity to shine. Jubilee is really the only one who is hurt by her join time, because she has to go through a blah stage before she gets better. If she joined at a higher level this wouldn't be as big of a deal. Psylocke's join time is a double-edged sword for her, at one end she is immediately awesome and doesn't have to suffer through a growing period, but on the other end she quickly runs into a lot of Sentinels which she isn't the most effective on. Ultimately I think her instantaneous awesome beats out her weakness against Sentinels. Emma's join time doesn't hurt her as much as I imply; she has plenty of time to shine before Sentinels start showing up and she can help find the soldiers on the campus grounds. It's during this small period, and during the times where she is forced that I can see her being used. Searching the campus grounds isn't really the job for Colossus, the enemies are few and spread out and he is slow. The little robots might be mental resistant though, so Magma/Iceman might be preferable. However during the first trip to the Astral Plane she has Professor X and Jean to compete with, who both deal extreme damage. After the professor leaves, she then has to compete with Jean, who has a party-wide shield and Psycho Shout to destroy everything there. So Emma probably won't be doing much during the Astral Plane section. This "little" section has went on too long. XD
-Boss Fights: I mention some skills being useful for boss fights, then mention that boss fights are easy and not worth giving a character credit for. Whoops! I'm going to side with the easy no credit route, as any skill, single target or AoE, works well against bosses.
Changes I can already see happening (possibly):
-Wolverine should definitely move above Rogue. His single target skill is better, and her early-game use fades quicker than Beast's due to the lack of AoE. I suppose it would come down to Healing Factor vs. a mediocre self-buff. I say Healing Factor wins, because there is plenty of down time where you're just going from point A to point B, and during this time Wolverine is recovering health.
-Cyclops between Colossus and Nightcrawler. Nightcrawler is mediocre outside of Sentinel killing, which is where he shines. Most of the time I imagine Cyclops being used due to his superior non-Sentinel offense, leadership bonuses, and ability to weld. The few things his teleportation can do for you don't outclass those leads. As for Psylocke, she has Sentinel issues, joins late, and does nothing for the team outside her offense. Cyclops has worse offense when compared to her, but he has the same leads going for him except change non-Sentinel offense to Sentinel offense, and add join time.
Procrastinators meet tomorrow.
I'm going to move this to the PS2 X-Men Legends Board, as it has some activity. But here's an updated list (I decided to tier them instead of a straight-up list). Go to the PS2 board for the reasoning.
Procrastinators meet tomorrow.