Giant Bomb Review


X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

  • X360

Wolverine's satisfying combat and hearty enthusiasm for creative mutilation help distract from the repetition and rough edges.

It's just a scratch!
If there were ever a comic-book character designed for graphic violence, it's Wolverine. X-Men Origins: Wolverine succeeds when it focuses on testing the limits of its hero's razor-sharp hand-knives and rapid health regeneration ability, often with results that would be gut-churning if they weren't so over-the-top. This is a game that earns its M rating with the gallons of viscera that pour forth from both Wolverine and his enemies, and it's definitely a more attention-grabbing game for it. The danger in relying on brutality and shock is that you have to keep upping the ante, or you'll quickly lose the player's attention. Wolverine heeds this maxim for a good two-thirds of its runtime, though it runs out of steam before it limps to its conclusion.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine takes its story cues from the movie of the same name, though like most of the enemies in the game, it's pretty well mangled. It still sheds some light on Wolverine's life before hooking up with the X-Men, but the chronology's all mixed up, certain aspects of the story have been either expanded or condensed, and there's a considerable number of new plot turns thrown in for good measure. Some changes seem to be for the benefit of the game; others just seem arbitrary. If you're a person of the comic-book persuasion, the story here will probably provide no end of infuriation, though even if you're not, the end result is that you won't really care about the story. The good news is you don't really have to, since Wolverine's only real apparent motivation is to murder everyone and everything in sight.

Wolverine hates helicopters almost as much as 50 Cent.
For the most part, X-Men Origins: Wolverine handles a lot like an easier, simpler God of War. There's a loose combo attack system, counterattacks, grab moves, environmental kills, some flashier rage attacks, and a lunge move that lets you rapidly get up-close and personal with an enemy. The combat is decidedly group-focused, though you'll regularly finding yourself squaring off against lumbering, goliath-type enemies. Aside from the lunge, which has a comically absurd edge to it, the pieces feel fairly common, but they fit together dynamically enough, and the bloody results are mighty satisfying.

For the first few hours it doesn't take much finesse to swiftly and brutally murder your foes, thanks in part to Wolverine's regenerating health. The enemies gradually get tougher, requiring you to be a little less sloppy and a little more thoughtful about how you take on your foes. There's an experience system at work here, so as the bad guys get stronger, so do you. Every time Wolverine levels up, you get a health bump and some points that you can sink into skills and attributes. There are mutagen collectibles you can find, which provide gameplay modifiers that can range from increasing the experience you earn from each kill to giving you back a sliver of health every time you attack an enemy.

As you might imagine from a character with six long-ass razor-sharp knives sticking out of his knuckles, every one of Wolverine's attacks is a blood-letting one, and the majority of his finishing moves leave his enemies in various states of vivisection, and the game isn't too squeamish not to slow down and zoom in on the carnage. Similarly, Wolverine himself can get pretty banged up, and it's not uncommon to see exposed muscle tissue or catch a peek at his adamantium-coated skeleton. The procedural battle damage can look a little goofy sometimes, particularly when dude's face is missing and he's walking around like nothing's doing, but it still reinforces the fact that you are playing as a gentleman who should not be trifled with. No, not at all.

The game breaks up all the piping-hot death with crazy skydiving set pieces, switch-and-jump-based puzzles, and outsized boss battles. The skydive sequences, one of which has you leaping from one helicopter to another, leaving each looking like a can of dog food in your wake, are pretty thrilling. The puzzles usually aren't that complicated, but Wolverine's handling definitely seems more calibrated for wild and furious combat than precision jumping, which can make these sections feel clunky. The boss fights, while often massive in scope, have a tendency to feel artificially padded out. It doesn't take long to figure out most boss weaknesses, but you'll still be required to perform the same attack pattern over and over again. This is a problem that ends up affecting all of the combat at a point, and eventually even the basic grunts seem like they take way too long to dispatch. 

Coincidentally, this happened not too long after the game ran out of violent new tricks. Once the game stopped stunning me with new outrageous depictions of slaughter, the repetition of the combat started to set in, and I started noticing some of the game's other shortcomings, like the dodgy frame rate and buggy collision detection. These issues aside, if you've come to see Wolverine at his most brutal, this game does not disappoint. There is no shortage of unflinching dismemberment throughout X-Men Origins: Wolverine, even if some of the finer points aren't so sharp.
27 Comments Refresh
Posted by JJOR64

The game looks solid.  ScrewAttack gave the game a lot of praise.

Posted by LiquidPrince

Great review. I'd give it a four though.

Posted by buzz_killington

Id give it a four as well.

Posted by AndrewB

Anyone who didn't see that coming is only kidding themselves. It looked all kinds of fun in the Quick Look, but you could tell that the repetition was going to get old quickly.

Posted by MeatSim

Wolverine and 50 Cent should team up and take down all the Helicopters in the world.

Posted by skrutop

"even if some of the finer points aren't so sharp"...I see what you did there.

Sounds like a solid rental; I'll have to check that out at some point.

Posted by InFamous91

i honeslty feel that the game is quite better than the movie
in my opinion(also being a x-men fan), the movie was a let down

Posted by Undeadpool

I hope the Deadpool game winds up being this entertaining.

Posted by Babble

Interesting review, the QL made me want to try this out from Gamefly at the very least. 

Posted by TomA

Wow that was surprising.

Posted by Godzilla_Sushi

I really enjoyed the demo. Couldn't tell you why I bothered to download it, only that I was happy I did.

Posted by Coleslaw893

I have to agree with LiquidPrince, I personally would give it a four, but I can understand why you decided to go with a three.

Sure it can get repetitive at times, but its just so much fun I can easily overlook that and the occasional technical errors.

Posted by Double0hFor


Posted by Media_Master

Video would be nice

Ryan's pic is only missing some claws

Edited by giyanks22

Looks pretty good.  Nice review Ryan

Posted by Aaron_G

I still want this. 

Posted by SenatorSpacer

I'm gonig to totally rent this game.

Posted by TravisT

I've beat the game twice and liked the review, but I'd give it a 4.

Posted by TheHT

just started playing a few hours ago. game's so brutally satisfying it's ridiculous. i would never have got it if i didn't check out the quicklook which pretty much had me sold the moment wolverine landed on that poor sucker in the beginning.

Edited by Afroman269

I wish the movie had the same type of violence like the video game. It would of made it so much more awesome.

Posted by Kohe321

Good review, Ryan. I'm getting this...

Posted by HydraHam

great review

PS- What happened to video reviews? did you guys just give up on them?

Posted by tovraa

Wow this is bad and if it was not for the trophies I would not be playing it

the best game wolverine is been in is the Marvel Vs Capcom and that’s out soon:-)

I would Rent not Buy unless you enjoyed Eat Lead: Matt Hazard

Posted by originalgamer

This game is too long!!! why won't it end!

Posted by yevinorion

Yeah, this review pretty much echoes my sentiments. I'm really enjoying it for sure, but this ain't no AAA title. Still, it's a hell of a lot of fun and the lunge ability is just so awesome at making combat remain fluid and fast. It does get a bit repetitive, but more so with some of the boss battles that use the same tactic rather than normal fighting as you can really vary up your attacks to keep it from getting stale.

Posted by darkjester74

Good review Ryan, thanks.  Hey, we miss the video reviews, you guys should totally bring those back!

Posted by RHCPfan24

I want to get a rental of this game. It looks like a fun weekend.