Review by Ramza FFT
"Take the role of your favorite mutant hero"
The X-Men have had a glorious run in comics and cartoons. The X-Men video games have not had as good of a fate. X-Men Legends looks to bring some respect back to the mutants. Does it accomplish this task?
In Legends, the X-Men are once again entangled in a brewing battle between humans and mutants. The game's main antagonist, General Kincaid, wants to round up the mutants and destroy them. On the other side is Magneto, who is a mutant looking to punish the humans for their hatred of mutants. And finally you have the X-Men, who are looking to do what is right, by stopping both Magneto and Kincaid, and restoring some measure of peace between the mutants and humans. The story is adequate and should keep games hooked in until the end of the game.
X-Men Legends plays like (and is) an action RPG. You run around with your group of four X-Men (15 playable total) and beat down anything that gets in your way, including items on the maps. After a certain amount of experience from killing enemies your characters level up. Ability points can be spent on upgrading attack, defense, mana points, and hit points. Points can also be spent on new attacks and defense buffs, which through more points become stronger and more useful. In combat X-Men can link together their attacks and receive more experience and do more damage. Also, each X-Man has a super attack that unleashes mass devastation on the enemy. The combat system is fairly deep but easy to understand. Unfortunately the game starts to become a bit repetitive toward the end. And while the combat system is good, the game in general isn't as fun as I was hoping. Another problem that occurs during the game is the need to have certain X-Men in your party for very random occurrences. For example, you will need Ice Man to make a bridge that just so happens to be missing in front of you. This means you must run back to an extraction point, bring in Ice Man, make a bridge, run back to the extraction point take out Ice Man for an X-Men you want and then cross the bridge. This happened more often than it should have, and it should have never happened.
A large element of X-Men Legends is the X-Mansion. The mansion acts as a home point of sorts. It is where you can select the next mission that you want to partake in. Also at the mansion are the goodies of the game that fans will really dig. For example, there is a trivia question mini game, and collectible artwork and comic books that can be viewed after finding them in the game. On top of that, you can train your X-Men in the Danger Room, and talk to random X-Men in the mansion. You are forced, however, to use the mutant Magma while in the mansion and also develop her skills for use as a character in the game, something I wasn't particularly fond of.
The sound in X-Men Legends is the weakest element of the game. Whether it is repetitive background music or mostly poor voice acting the audio leaves much to be desired. The bright spots are some great sound affects that reverberate wonderfully in surround sound.
The graphics are largely up to a matter of opinion. This comes from the use of cell shading of the characters. Personally I like cell shading but it lacks detail in this game, especially in close ups on characters, which makes them look mostly like a mess. No matter your opinion on cell shading, there are some great environments and FMV sequences that help realize the world of the X-Men.
Overall X-Men Legends is a pretty standard game. No aspect of the story, gameplay, sound, or graphics really stands out or detracts too much from the experience. As far as X-Men games are concerned I would rate this one behind the X-Men arcade game. Devout fans of X-Men will probably derive more enjoyment from this game than I did. But as it stands X-Men Legends deserves a 7/10.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/19/05
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