X-Men: The Official Game
X-Men: The Official Game - PS2 Review
X-Men: The Official Game
With the release of X-Men 3: The Last Stand, along comes the ubiquitous video game tie-in to give gamers the chance to play as their favourite comic book hero. Unfortunately games spawned from big movie franchises are often less than stellar efforts rushed out to coincide with the movie release and hype. Is this the case or does the game do the franchise proud?

Story

The game is set between the events occurring in the second and third films and centres on Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Iceman. Why only three x-men have been chosen and why these particular three were chosen remains a mystery however it is most likely due to their very different mutant abilities and (more cynically) the fact that the movie actors were willing to provide the voices for the game.

The story unfolds across some familiar locations from the second film, with the initial objective being the recovery of Cerebro from General Stryker’s Alkali Lake bunker to confrontations with some of the evil mutants both from the movie and the comic franchise.

The story does seem disjointed as you are only allowed to use certain X-men for certain missions and can only change at certain (sometimes far apart) points. While this is understandable from a design point of view based on the different skills of the characters it really detracts from the flow of the story.

Overall the story seems rushed and the cut-scenes between levels are poorly done – cut-scenes take the form of comic book stills that occasionally animate. While the game may sate some of the hardcore fans with a few notable appearances as a whole the story and its pacing leaves a lot to be desired.

Graphics

The graphics in the game are decent – All of the X-men look like their movie counterparts with a bit of comic book styling added to the mix. All of the characters animate well and retain many of the mannerisms you associate with each character. Scenery and settings are also decent however I found a lot of the game to be very dark. In game presentation is decent with the menus looking like screens from Cerebro or the X-Jet.

Sounds

The three main characters are voiced by their movie counterparts, Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Alan Cummings (Nightcrawler) and Sean Ashmore (Iceman). Patrick Stewart also voices Professor X guiding you on your various missions however all other voices are provided by sound-a-likes and they are disappointing at best.

Sound effects are overall pretty satisfying from the sound of Nightcrawler’s BAMF to the slicing and dicing of Wolverine’s claws.

Gameplay/Controls

The game is essentially a 3rd person action adventure whereby each mission starts out with a set character and a number of objectives to complete. Due to the characters different powers, who you take control of tends to determine the type of mission, Wolverine is all out brawling against seemingly endless enemies, Nightcrawler’s usually follow a mix of stealth, platforming and brawling and Iceman’s usually a race against the clock as you navigate him on his mid-air ice trail. While this makes for some variation in the gameplay I found that the only missions I really enjoyed were the Nightcrawler missions. He had the most fun and best developed abilities; teleporting from platforms, behind enemies, teleport attacks etc. Unfortunately Wolverine only has 3-4 combos at his disposal and these quickly become repetitive and there is also very little variation in enemies. Again I did not enjoy the Iceman missions as instead of being able to explore you are often on a time limit and this serves to make the levels overly linear, also some of his ice-beams look very naff.

There are plenty of missions and secret content to be unlocked and 3 difficulty levels to take on. The game offers around 7-9 hours for gameplay and would be perfect for a weekend rental.

Conclusion

X-men has turned out to be probably the best comic book to movie translations. The movie and comic is chock full of diverse, fantastic and well loved characters that fans can’t wait to see on their PS2s, however what this game manages to do is take probably the world’s most adored comic hero (Wolverine) and make him bland, weak and dull to play. While the game does offer some fun sections overall it feels rushed and unimaginative and if you are an X-men fan you would be better to check out the X-men Legends games which make much better use of the licence.

Overall I give X-Men: The official game………………………

6.5/10

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