X-Men Destiny Review
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On 10/18/2011 at 08:00 PM by Stanton Daries
I wish my power were to go back in time and not play it.
For anyone looking for a game that requires no intelligent thoughts or strategy. X-Men fans can avoid as the story is non-canon.
In the world of video games there are very few intellectual properties that will let you print money as easily as the X-Men line. The game only has to be the least bit decent to get a flock of mutie lovers to come running with cold hard cash in hand. Unfortunately the latest X-Men game was given to developer Silicon Knights which is keeping very much to current form in making games no one wants to play.
Taking place in a (thankfully) alternate timeline the X-Men have moved themselves to the city of San Francisco to have a fresh start after Bastion (think super sentinel from the future) has killed Professor Xavier before itself being destroyed by Magneto who then disappeared. They have apparently only been here a short time and are in the midst of a mutant/human peace really being held by the mayor of San Francisco with special guest Cyclops and Luis Reyes, head of the Mutant Response Division, a peacekeeping force to prevent violence on or from mutants. At this rally are three people who are about to express mutant powers and you pick who you will be.
Will it be Grant Alexander, the college football player who thinks the rally is a good place to meet girls; Aima Yoshida, the Japanese refugee who was stuck on a boat to America by her father to avoid a crackdown in their country; or Adrian Luca, the son of a prominent Purifier (anti-mutant Nazi) who is at the rally to do something likely not peaceful? Once your choice is made all hell will break loose as it appears Magneto has returned to wreak some havoc and now you must choose your power set fitting into the classic RPG moulds of tank (Density Control), mage (Energy Projection), and rogue (Shadow Matter).
Have no fear in your choices as the game follows the exact same path regardless of what you choose to be or do. You can tell exactly where the “custom dialogue” occurs as there will be a slight pause before Cyclops addresses your tattoo or football dreams before clicking back into giving you the same mission he was going to give you. In fact there is no choice in the game that seems to determine any real consequences; you will often have to decide between helping an X-Man or Brotherhood mutant in a mission and it seems like regardless which choice you make the other will just make some snide comment and move on.
The best advice I can give you in the game is what fellow PixlBit staffer Sam Hawkins gave me while I was thinking on a decision: “See the problem is you’ve thought about this more than they ever have. Just push the X button!”
Unfortunately that advice not only works in the story decisions but in the gameplay as well. Destiny is a button masher in every sense of the word. You will move from section to section with the same goal of killing X number of enemies before being allowed to move on. There is almost no variation in this overall theme and the X button will definitely be getting a work out as you go to town on people who should really have the common sense to run away from the man who just took down twenty of their friends with shadow blades.
Each of the 8 chapters has at least one boss fight. These fights ultimately break down into the same button mashing pattern as your regular fights with you having to time dodges to avoid the larger attacks. The most aggravating thing about the fights is that they either would end with you being “rescued” by a more established character in the end or something equally annoying. Why was I even needed if the X-Men can take down three of what I just fought without trying?
Throughout the game you will gain mutant abilities that allow you to perform special attacks. These abilities were either completely useless to me and I largely forgot about them or they were so overpowered that you used them when you just wanted to move on quickly. My favorite example is the Infinity Blade ability which I was able to take down Juggernaut with in under ten seconds. Scary boss fight there.
In addition to your mutant abilities you will find X-Genes and Suits. The X-Genes fall into an offense, defense, and utility category that will allow you to gain certain abilities based on the mutants the genes are coming from. For example Psylocke’s defense will let you phase through objects and attacks when you dodge (completely overpowered) while Quicksilver’s utility will let you run very quickly. The suits allow you to wear the same outfit that your favorite characters wear; however this makes me really question who was in charge of the art at Silicon Knights. The suits were obviously designed to fit in with the general look and design of the character that would be wearing it. Putting a guy in Pyro’s suit without his gear or fire abilities just leaves you with a guy running around in bright orange tights. But hey it is San Francisco, no one noticed.
Apparently if you equip an entire set of matching X-Genes with the right suit you can go into a super powered X-Mode but the one suit I was to put together left me more confused at the power up than anything else. Granted people died faster around me but not any faster than me using a mutant ability on them.
The graphics generally disappoint in most areas. While the main characters themselves look pretty decently rendered there are large sections where the scenery looks awful and you will often find yourself running into the dreaded invisible wall while trying to walk past something that looks like it ended two feet back; this is especially frustrating in the boss fights when trying to avoid a giant fist. The voice acting was not necessarily bad, but was off in that it was obvious everyone was reading to themselves and unsure of what emotional content to put into it.
Essentially this game is just another example of Silicon Knights dropping the ball and delivering a mindless, uninspired button masher. If you are looking for something that is pure repetition just to see what happens in this alternative X-Men story, then have fun. Otherwise there are much better action RPGs out there to play.