mikeinsc's X-Men: Destiny (Xbox 360) review

Silicon Knights Not Doing Well

It's not been a kind console generation for our friends at Silicon Knights. After some pretty well regarded efforts on the Gamecube, they came into this generation with some momentum. Tragically, the momentum is dead and Silicon Knights is morphing into one of those companies whose output becomes a huge concern before you play the game. Too Human wasn't openly terrible, just brutally sub-par in almost every single way. Now, they are given the X-Men license to attempt to make a good, playable RPG. And with the X-Men having a history of well-made RPG titles in the past, the possibility of a solid performance wasn't exactly outside the realm of the possible.

...OK, I thought that was the case. I was a bit incorrect.

X-Men Destiny is a downright terrible game. It's really short for an action-RPG (maybe 6 hours on the highest difficulty). You fight alongside numerous members of the X-men universe...and the visual fidelity of the people you fight with varies widely from person to person. None look like a real current gen character model (maybe a high-end original X-Box model) but some are just ugly. Cyclops and Wolverine look OK, Gambit looks bad, Emma Frost looks terrible.

You are one of three generic templates. They each have their own storyline, sort of, but it doesn't seem all that relevant to the overall experience. What you character's history is/is not is a nice little bit of backstory, but the story plays out the same whomever you may pick. The dialogue from you is going to change, but the dialogue is pretty bad, so you might as well skip most of the options anyway.

One of the bigger problems with the game is that you are such a blank slate that you don't easily get into their plight. You don't have set powers, unlike every other mutant ever, being allowed to basically pick and choose new powers as you gain more experience and progress further into the story. It sounds like a cool concept, but if you have any idea what mutants are SUPPOSED to be, it is a significant irritation.

The gameplay is just poor brawling with the occasional usage of your powers tossed in. The enemies are cannon fodder who can take a bit more punishment than one would expect. The tougher enemies are mindless combatants with easy-to-decipher patterns of attack. The bosses, outside of one battle, aren't even all that much of a challenge. You fight some major names in the mutant universe (Wolverine and Magneto, for example), but they don't seem to be all that powerful. You are, technically, a young person who just learned they HAD powers a little while earlier --- and now you're able to handle some of the most powerful mutants ever? The ending consists of a lot of repeating of the EXACT SAME storyline which isn't exactly fun to do...over and over and over again before another tedious boss fight.

The collectibles, overall, are useless outside of the outfits. You can collect outfits and capabilities of other mutants and those actually are cool concepts. Being able to choose to be quicker using Quicksilver's abilities or more durable using Emma Frost's abilities is an idea that I wish was introduced for a far better game.

Visually it is unimpressive. The voice work isn't impressive. The controls aren't impressive. The camera is almost as bothersome as early 3D titles which is pretty unforgivable. Silicon Knights seems inordinately fond of fixed camera perspective areas which are OK, except in this game, they almost universally make the game much harder to get through. You will die do to falling to your death. But you don't die all that often. I tend to die a lot in games due to lack of patience, but even on hard, I had to INTENTIONALLY die a lot in an attempt to hit the 100 death achievement. On hard, with somebody as impatient as me, I should've BLOWN through that.

I can't recommend this game, even for a rental. It is a boring slog. And while I personally want to see Dennis Dyack do well because I loved SK's last gen stuff, this generation, they are just not putting out anything worth playing yet. I hope they have some ideas for their next game because they have a lot of work to do. When multiple games come across as being rushed and have a lot of control problems, you have to wonder if they know how to make games in this generation.

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