INTERESTING WOLVERINE FACT: HE LIKES TO SLICE THINGS OPEN!It's a proven fact that developing videogames based around big hit cinema releases is a challenge, with the movie studio often dictacting what and what shouldn't be included. So why should developers take on such a title, well for one they are often guaranteed to sell copies as excited movie watchers pick up a copy on their weekly shopping spree, plus it's to easy to forget that it's still possible to make a good movie based videogame. It just needs the right confident studio who are up for the task, it's with that in mind that I take a look at Raven Software's X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Raven Software have some Marvel pedigree already, afterall this is the studio that developed the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance game back in 2006 and they've also worked on a few other titles for Marvel. So you'd expect a slightly more enjoyable game based upon X-Men Origins: Wolverine wouldn't you, considering the development teams past history and for the most part you do get a solid gaming experience. Now it should be mentioned that I haven't watched the movie of which the game is based yet, so I went into X-Men Origins: Wolverine not expecting a Metal Gear Solid-like level of story. While it's a solid offering for a videogame, the story didn't exactly make me want to watch the movie. Which probably isn't exactly the main point.
But story aside, it's nice to experience a movie based videogame that plays rather well. While it borrows heavily from more established titles such as God of War, it still feels responsive and solid. Most importantly though, is that it makes you feel like Wolverine. If you don't exactly know who Wolverine is, then let me just say he is this dude with claws in his hands that likes to slice things open and your all set. Wolverine's characteristics are somewhat basic but true to the character, afterall he is all about the rage and his many abilities match his uniqueness as a superhero. It definatly as it's charm as you go slicing and dicing through through man after mutant. The gameplay as a unique charm for sure.
It's not all about being a God of War copy though, X-Men Origins: Wolverine adds it's own little additions in the form of powerups and levels. Leveling up Wolverine will unlock new abilties and skill points for you to make him even more of a slicer and dicer then before. Sadly these don't allow for any huge amount of character customization, you'll always end up using your skill points to improve your claw damage or the length of time you can keep up the devastating claw spin. Still, it's more then we see in most games based around a multi-million pound movie.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine does have some stand out moments though, the actual boss battles are a lot of fun and you definatly get that superhero against superhero vibe from a number of them. For example Wolverine's battle against Victor Creed (aka Sabretooth) are a true highlight as you go throwing each other, destroying anything and everything in your path. There are a few issues with these battles, like much of the game they suffer from glitches in both the level design and animations. In battling the final boss, I dare lunge towards him as on three occasions I actually feel through the level without being hit. This is disappointing as the overall feel towards combat is one thing the game gets right.
Visually it's a solid package with flowing animations (though even they can feel a little loose from time to time) and the game matches the visual style one would expect from a game dedicated to the story of Wolverine. It's grity, bloody and super violent, so I don't recommend this to your kids if they aren't of age. While some might find the violence a turn off, I found it to be a stand out point for the game, afterall Wolverine isn't exactly a nice guy. Some of this violence is well thought out aswell, for example the camera will cinematically spin around as you take down the final surviving soldier of a squad or when you exacute a quick kill and you see Wolverine stab some helpless man endlessly. It's gory, but it's also satisfying and true to the character.
The biggest let down of X-Men Origins, is the simple fact that all this style and violent action tries to cover a rather messy and roughly developed game. Yes it plays well despite feeling repetitive towards the end, and yes it's true to both the movie and the character of Wolverine. But there are issues throughout that stops it from truly being a great movie based videogame. Glitches with level designs, odd animations, overuse of certain boss monsters and a rather dull battle with the iconic X-Men Sentinel character. All this slowly urged me away from giving it a four star score, you'll have fun with this game for sure and I hightly recommend a rental. But the fact that it's such a rough experience stopped me from calling this a game great, it as it's moments that's for sure and it's definatly one of the better comic book/movie based videogames I've played. But more development time could have made it into an even better overall package.
SCORE: 3.5 STARS OUT OF 5.
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