The X-Men have been entertaining millions of fanatical fans for years in the form of unique and beautiful action figures, in the pages of popular comic books, on the moving screen, and most recently in the form of interactive video games hoping to take advantage of the X-Men’s popularity and cash in. X-Men: Legends was a well received game that has sold pretty well, so it’s not a surprise to see game developers and publishers working with the movie industry to try to bring the X-Men franchise to another level with the latest game in the franchise, X-men: The Official Game. This genre of games is about to really take-off if the movie companies, developers, and publishers have their way, so maybe well actually get a few well developed movie licenses in the years to come.
The Good Parts (3 out of 5)
X-Men: The Official Game allows you to play the game as three beloved, powerful, and solid characters that have a lot of potential as interactive animated video-characters; Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Iceman.
The three playable characters have character voice acting provided by Hugh Jackman, Allan Cummings, and Shawn Ashmore, reprising their movie roles on the interactive screen.
The overall presentation is only a little above average, but there are a few nice visual elements and scenes in the game that are fun and entertaining.
Needs Improvement (2 out of 5)
A very linear battle experience makes the combat in X-Men: The Official Game entertaining for the first hour or so, but after that the lack of useful and entertaining combos or specific character attacks, like in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, makes the game boring. Nightcrawler and Iceman are a lot more fun to play than Wolverine; they each have a few moves that are at least unique to them, along with their mutant abilities.
X-Men: The Official Game has a story line that falls in between X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, a poorly written and constructed story that shows signs of little thought and that makes me think they just took parts of other stories and pieced them together.
They used a lot of static comic book pictures to produce the between level cut scenes; they look stiff and have awkward looking movements, especially with lips that don’t move, it just looks weird.
Graphics (2 out of 5)
There are quite a few graphical bugs included with X-Men: The Official Game, enemies were able to teleport to the other side of a level and suddenly appear and several times I knocked an opponent into an on screen object and they would just stick there, unable to disappear when dead for some reason.
The presentation cycled between average visuals with okay details and textures, to mundane looking, dull and lacklustre, and totally lacking color, detail and texture. The best looking scenes were the boss scenes; Wolverine versus Sentinel, Iceman taking on Pyro, and the opening scenario with the Nightcrawler.
Sounds (3 out of 5)
The sound track is definitely music from the movies, it sounds pretty good, exciting and dramatic when necessary to help create a mood or atmosphere, but it will randomly stop and start at various times during play, which was annoying.
The voice acting for the three main characters is excellent, but then there professionals, and they should sound dramatic and energy filled, unlike the other voice actors, which sound uninspired, like they didn’t really want to be there.
The sound effects in X_-men: The Official Game_ include Wolverine’s blades striking home, Nightcrawler teleporting on top of an opponent and flipping him, and Iceman creating ice bridges to fly across the sky. Wonderful and funny at times, certainly entertaining and reasonably well executed, but ultimately kind of basic, they could easily have done better.
Story (3 out of 5)
The story line takes place between the 2nd and 3rd movies in three levels that allow you to play a different character on each level. You start the story as Nightcrawler penetrating a fortified installation, then are given the option to play the game as Iceman ice-surfing across the sky and Wolverine returning to Alkali Lake to take care of business during later levels.
Playability (2 out of 5)
You can play the game on various difficulty levels, but the hardest one is the only one that represents a challenge, just straight forward rip them apart game play with a few treats thrown in to try to keep the gamer happy. It took me twelve hours to play through the three levels and collect all the extra health, extra damage, and unlock all the story trees.
Overall (3 out of 5)
Despite all the issues with the graphical problems, the barely animated comic book scenes, the lack of any team elements in X-Men: The Official Game, and the forced story that feels pieced together, I still enjoyed playing The Official Game. Playing the game as Iceman was the real fun, along with Nightcrawler, while Wolverine was only fun for the first hour or so. This game isn’t the movie inspired dream we’ve been wishing for (much like other movie tie-in games such as 007 Blood Stone), they would have to put a lot more thought, time and energy into a title for that to happen, but it’s still fun to play a game as characters I have watched on the big screen and wondered how much fun they would be to play as an interactive action character.