First Impressions: X-Men: Destiny (XBOX 360)
by Bobby Shortle
This is not a review of X-Men: Destiny. Instead this is just an impression of what playing a few hours of the game feels like. The hope here is to let you, the reader, know how the first hour or so of the game feels and plays. This is all in the hopes of helping you make a better buying decision.
I was in college when Activision and Raven Software put out the X-Men Legends games. These isometric action RPG’s were a wonderful representation of the X-Men property. They managed to strike the right balance between the developers desire to tell a story through a new character and the players desire to step into the shoes of their favorite superheroes. X-Men Destiny gets neither of these things right.
The mutant vs. human feud is reaching dangerous levels. The X-Men have relocated to San Francisco and are attending a memorial service for their fallen leader Charles Xavier. The event is supposed to promote peace between mutant and man but, as he is want to do, Magneto decides to crash the party. It is this moment that you choose one of three characters. Each has their own set of predetermined characteristics and in a moment of peril you choose the direction your powers will go.
The first mistake that developer Silicon Knights has made is to make you play as a non established X-Man. I want to be Wolverine, Cyclops or Beast. I don’t want to play as their new and underpowered buddy. I know there are game play and story challenges to controlling an existing and powerful character but that’s why you get paid the big bucks. In this post Arkham Asylum world there is no excuse for avoiding taking on a famous hero (or in this case heroes). You will run into the other X-Men along the way. These characters are poorly voiced, spottily animated and, worst of all, they highlight just how weak you are.
The combat in the first hour of the game is uninspiring and button mashy. There is an ineffectual lock on system that for some reason doesn’t auto select the closest enemy and instead makes you scroll through with the analog stick. Why? Isn’t that game design 101? You acquire X-Genes that act as experience points. You use these to upgrade your character’s abilities and attributes. My character, Aimi Yoshida, is a shadow master who can craft blades out of dark matter and move faster than the eye can perceive. Which really amounts to a few melee attacks and a dash move. I got a few upgrades in my play time but none that made the action more dynamic. Though it does seem like the way you can upgrade your powers allows for some dynamic character progression.
There is also a binary choice and conversation system that lets you determine your own destiny. (Get it? huh….huh) I tease because the idea of Infamous with X-Men is, on paper, an awesome idea. But the execution is just not there. The animation in the game is poor, the textures are bland and voice acting is sub par. It reminded me of a rushed license game rather than a stand alone product. I stopped playing after about an hour and a half with absolutely no desire to move on.
Skip it. – Bland, repetitive and not engaging.
WHAT SHOULD YOU PLAY INSTEAD
Batman: Arkham Asylum, Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions, Marvel Ultimate Alliance