From the very start of this project game developers were focused on the main selling point of X-men Destiny being something unique, and focusing on the story of ” you”. It was said that the character you choose would be yours to develop, make tough choices, and evolve your mutant powers as you saw fit. It was a promise the Developers at Silicon Knights managed to live up to.
Unlike many recent Marvel titles X-men destiny boldly lacks any connections to the slew of movie franchises, and more impressively manages to stay away from cashing on big names like Wolverine by overplaying his screen time. The setting itself is focused on the more recent comic book lore. The iconic Xavier school in upstate New York is no more, Xavier himself is dead ” or presumed to be” and the X-men are scattered while tensions between Mutants and humans is reaching a boiling point that may lead to an all out war. As the player you take on the role of one of three characters whom have just recently come into your mutant ability, swept up into the conflict and must not only choose if they support the X-men way of doing things, or the ways of the Brotherhood; but also must choose how their powers evolve through the game.
The strongest card this game had to play lay in the customizing abilities functions. While the choices seem limited at fist at the ” base power” level it’s quickly noticed that as a player gains experience and puts points into their powers things can change. Base powers quickly branch off into secondary abilities and so on throughout the game. On top of this their are other abilities to customize such as Offensive, Defensive, and utility powers. Depending on how a player mix, and matches these genetic abilities their attacks or defensive abilities can affect overall play style. An example of this is a ” brawler” may choose to take a Wolverine defense, granting them a healing factor, Psylock offense to do Psi damage that will stun a enemy, and a Colossus Utility that will aid in their damage rating. The alterations made to ability will also alter the visual styles of the main characters ability.
The story in itself had a true to the comics feel to it, being able to stay away from anything established in the x-men films. The X-men themselves played a shocking small part of the story. With the exception of a select few, most are only seen in a few short cameo appearances. This, for better or worse made it easier to focus on the main characters journey without overshadowing there importance by giving more time to well established characters like Wolverine, or Gambit. The major downside to this was a distinct lack of connection to the X-Men or Brotherhood. It was difficult to ” feel” like part of the team when conversations were limited, and interactions were minimal. This was made only more frustrating by the fact that ” the players character” was a brand new mutant, and is said to be going through the turmoil and hardships of such a new life. Such hardships were very lightly touched upon with highly passive comments made during conversation, and held very little weight or defined a personality behind the character.
Game play is fast, and fairly simple to get into. You could go through the game mashing buttons if you so wished and come out on top, however pulling off combo’s awards points, and are fairly simple; no overly complex x,x,x,y,x,back, back, a -while holding RB ‘ to do a slightly different kick. If anything the game play is too fast. That is to say that you roll from one mission into another into another in dungeon crawler style. After a time things feel like one never ending brawl with no down time or ability to explore the streets of San Fransisco or chat with characters or return to a safe house or base and be able to casually tool with player stats and outfits. The constant ” GO!” feeling did little to help the games already short run time.
X-Men Destiny is short. Before reviewing this title I managed to run through the entire game in 6 and a half hours. That includes all bonus missions and done on a high difficulty setting. This is where the pacing set by the rolling from one fight to the next and limited game play area’s and story come to clash and cause the most noticeable flaw. It may sound like a negative note, but in honestly should be seen as a good thing. Being bothered that a game in it’s whole is as short as some DLC add on for other games suggest that X-Men Destiny was enjoyable enough to want to continue on. Granted Destiny does offer a ” game plus ” feature after beating the game, allowing one to replay from the start at their current level, and skill choices. However even doing that will only increase the game to a whole 12 or so hours.
Visually the game is quite striking at first appearance. Being developed by Silicone Knights one would naturally expect great things. however this goes downhill. In an age of cloth, and hair dynamics and physics engines it was heartbreaking to see such a promising title be on par with a game console from ten years ago when it came to these things. Emma Frost was the first character to really show off this flaw in the opening cut scenes. Her hair had all the ability to flow, and drape as a stone wall. Hands often broke through other body parts, and even a certain tench coat wearing Cajun had his leg constantly break through the coat, nor did his coat bend in a scene where Gambit was seated but remained as if he was standing. It may be something petty to complain about, and I personally and very forgiving on visuals when the story makes up for it. In this case however, given names such as SKS, and Activision attached it’s hard to let it slide.
Over all the game at it’s core was unique for a X-men title, the ability to focus on a character other than the iconic names, and choosing if you were on the moral high-ground like the X-men, or down and dirty like the Brotherhood offered a ability to go through the game more than once and try out new things. The mixing and matching of powers and abilities gave a feeling of uniqueness. The forced pace, shallow ” character” story, and unpolished visuals and sound took a lot away from what had the potential to be much more than it was. X-Men Destiny is a game worth playing, even in it’s bite size form and flaws. Shelling out the money to own it is questionable and left more to the heart of the fans. It’s defiantly worth renting or borrowing first.