Say "Hello" to the real Wolverine.
As developers continuously work on ways to advance games and the different ways to play them, the Beat-em-up genre is one that is surely dieing out. Western Beat-em-ups are practically unheard of nowadays with only a few frenzied Japanese style based Beat-em-ups surviving the genre, along the lines of Devil May Cry and the upcoming Bayonetta but one of the great things about this medium of entertainment is that it's never too late for a ressurection. It's also never too late for a real surprise which is where X-Men Origins: Wolverine comes in. Not only does it stylishly bring a genuinely entertaining button masher back to your consoles but is probably also the best Movie tie-in game since Spider-Man 2. Anyone who follows video games as religiously as I do is either fist pumping right now, or has already played Wolverine and loved it.
Unsurprisingly, Wolverine manages to completely disregard it's movie counterpart apart from a few key plot points but what may prove to be it's biggest weakness is how loosely it plays with the chronology of the comic books. Considering the nature of comic book chronology and the excessive use of retconning that they utilise, this may prove to be a blessing for most players but comic book fanatics may become raged by this. Seriously, though, you won't be bothering with the plot anyway as it's so ridiculous and underplayed that it's worth completely disregarding to focus on the combat. Which is awesome.
You've never been this aggresive in your life. Think about the most badass characters you've ever played as in a game and imagine him with 6 blades sticking out of his hands considering the havoc you can wreak. That is what makes Wolverine so enticing. Combat is essentially broken into light, heavy and airborne attacks, with 4 signature moves which are all brutal to the max. When you attack enemies, their limbs fly off in exessive fashion and blood sprays across the lush vistas with every hit making this the most violent superhero game to date. Even when you're tackling robots, the Wolverine avatar itself moves which such force and power that you can almost feel the rage yourself. It's also worth pointing out that Wolverine himself looks pretty fantastic. What with this technically being an adaptation of the movie, the developers Raven have obviously been able to pull Hugh Jackman in to share his likeness and voice and the result is one of the best looking celeb-scans in recent tie-ins. It looks especially awesome when Wolverine has been blasted to pieces and slowly you see underneath his layers of clothing, flesh and then adamantium skeleton. Even better is the way that as you're playing, without taking damage, Wolverine will begin to heal and all those layers slowly re-materialise. As an aside, environments look pretty cool, especially outdoors. Inside environments still look fine, but it's nothing you've missed in other sci-fi-based games.
The combat is the key selling point but the slight scattering of puzzles and platforming are certainly capable of keeping you entertained for the few sequences that they are vital to keeping the flow going. For the first three-quarters of the game this keeps the game feeling fairly fluid and balanced, but towards the end of the game, a lot of issues become apparent. The combat is still remarkably satisfying but with a lack of new tricks being introduced to you, some of the minor issues begin to become downright frustrating. Occasional lag in the frame-rate, the constant on screen reminder of special attacks, and the very poorly presented boss battles all begin to grate on you towards the end and it really does begin to show just why the Beat-em-up is an obsolete genre nowadays. It would be nice to say that at the last minute, the game saves itself but unfortunately, it won't resonate with you any more than you appreciate the combat. The final battle is as awkward as all the previous boss fights and if you're already tired of the fighting, you'll more than likely be done with Wolverine. I, however, immediately reloaded the game and started again, partially in order to pick up a few loose achievements but mostly to go back to the beginning of the game, more powerful than ever and really savour the violent way that Wolverine should have been depicted as long ago.