Review by Zodiac186
"The best X-Men game since the original on the Sega Genesis."
Before I start, let my just say X-Men Legends is a great game. It has a few flaws, such as the camera, but it's still a solid game and a hell of a lot of fun to play. On with the review!
Hm...I don't wanna give too much away, but Magneto and the Brotherhood of Mutants are the main villains you'll encounter over the course of X-Men Legends. Shocker there. There are a few other baddies, but I won't spoil who they are. Oh yeah...story. Magneto gets pissed off at the human race and declares war upon all non-mutants. It's not a groundbreaking plot, but there are some interesting twists and turns that will keep you interested.
The graphics are okay. The environments reminded me of Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and were pretty impressive. The character models on the other hand are something else. The X-Men are cell shaded and look very cool decimating levels of enemies, but when you see closeups of the X-Men during in-game cutscenes, their hands looks like oven mitts. Then there are the power animations, which look amazing, especially when they're upgraded to the higher levels. Jubilee's Independence Day and Jean Grey's Phoenix Force are some amazing moves to behold.
Just...whoa. The gameplay is the major focus if the game. You get a group of four X-Men together (out of about 15. You can change your team at any X-Traction point/save point scattered throughout levels) and decimate entire levels of enemies, bosses, and random items scattered around the level. There are two melee attack buttons: Punch and Smash. Basic combo attacks are done by hitting these two buttons in various patterns. It may sound basic, and it is, but once you're thrown into the fray, it's a blast. And this is where the mutant powers come in. Each X-Man/X-Woman gets four mutant powers: Two attacks, one status changing move, and one X-Treme Move. Take Cyclops for example. He has his basic Optic Blast which is a single powerful beam of energy. His next attack is the Optic Sweep which is weaker than the Optic Blast and knocks oncoming enemies down. His next move is (I believe) Strategy and it ups various stats and gives various bonuses for a short time. Then His X-Treme move is a huge blast of Optic energy that decimates all in his way. You can also call in other teammates to use a mutant power at the same time you are to get combos which award even more experience points, which brings us to character customization/leveling.
Leveling is the same as a classic RPG. You gain experience points for every enemy you defeat and once you gain enough experience points, you gain a level. Even characters who aren't in use at that specific moment gain experience. In addition to automatic stat upgrades, you're awarded an additional point or two to tack on to one of four different stats: Strike (Attack), Agility (Defense), Body (Hit Points), and Focus (Energy/Energy Regeneration). Adding one point to a character's Body attribute will give that character a few more Hit Points, a point in Strike will raise a character's Attack by one, and so on. In addition to stats, you also get separate points used to upgrade your mutant powers and other little additions. Take Storm for example. You can upgrade her Lighting and Whirlwind, but you can also add points to other mutant attributes, such as adding lightning to her melee attacks. Throughout your travels in X-Men Legends you'll find equipable items which give you various stat boosts such as being able to fly longer or giving a 20% defense boost.
The difficulty and length of each level varies. Some take half an hour while others take over an house. There are a few puzzles scattered around the levels, but nothing that can't be solved by blowing something up or using Iceman/Jean Grey to make a bridge across an obstacle. To sum it up, it's fun to punch, kick, and blast your way through totally destructible levels in the X-Men Universe.
The music matches the mood of the level you're playing. Sometimes the rockish music in a certain level can get a little corny, but otherwise the music is great and so are the sound effects. A few of the Morlock voices are a little creepy, but the sound is good.
There are about 15 characters for the story mode to use. After you beat the game, villains are unlocked to use in the Multi-player modes (not the story). The roster of X-Men includes such staples as Cyclops and Wolverine and fan favorites such as Jubilee. Sadly, Angel, Shadowcat, and Cable didn't make the cut as a playable characters, but others such as Storm, Rogue, Nightcrawler, and Iceman are available to use. Hopefully, in future installments of X-Men Legends ::crosses fingers:: Angel will be available to join the rest of the X-Men in the mayhem.
The AI for the non-player controlled can be customized to suit the situation or your preferences and the computer does a good job of controlling them.
One issue I had with the characters was balance. There are some characters who are vastly better than others. Iceman becomes a staple on your four person team once you acquire him. Once you upgrade Wolverine enough, he can take out soldiers in one hit of his claw attack. Then you have a character like Nightcrawler who's only use is teleporting. It can come in handy sometimes when a forcefield blocks your path, but the forcefield can be easily removed when you walk into the room next to it and flip the switch. Other characters (Jean Grey, Storm, etc.) can fly and carry people around with them once their flight ability is upgraded enough.
This game has a great Co-Op mode. Up to four players can choose their character and join in the X-Men Mayhem. They can also plug in at any time in the game and help you out in Story Mode. There's also a separate multi-player mode which includes: Skirmish, Brawl, King of the Hill, Last Man Standing, and Last Man Ladder. Plus, you collect Danger Room discs throughout the game which give you access to different Danger Room missions. There are also Comic Books (which give a certain character stat boosts) and Sketch Books (character/level artwork) to collect. Flashback missions and alternate costumes are other extras to be found. In other words, there's a lot to do in this game and it will be a long time before you get bored with it.
Final Grade: 9/10
I love this game. I watched the X-Men cartoon every Saturday morning in the 90s and read the comics once in a while. The game is just so much fun to play and slamming baddies against a brick wall with Jean Grey's Telekinesis never gets old. While the camera can be cumbersome at times and characters can get stuck on corners, they're minor flaws which will hopefully be fixed if and when there is a sequel. I highly recommend this game to anyone who like beating the stuffing out of baddies and the environments in which you fight them. Finally, the X-Men game we've been waiting for since the Sega Genesis.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/26/04
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