zig's X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition (PC) review

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Clawing dudes is fun, bub.

You know what gameplay mechanic I hate? Quck time events (QTE). The ones where they flash a series of buttons on the screen and you have less than a second to press each one, or you have to mash one button inhumanly fast. I've been playing video games for 15 years and I'm still completely unable to do these things. Maybe I'm defective; whatever, my point is they ruin games for me. God of War was one of the worst offenders, where practically every other enemy required severe button-mashing and every boss involved several QTEs.

So when I tell you the new X-Men game is a God of War clone, I find it important to specify that it keeps the QTEs to a very bare minimum. Some of the bigger enemies and bosses require button-mashing, but even those seemed less strenuous and more doable than God of War's. Other than that, the games are indeed very similar. Lots of hacking and slashing and punching and grabbing combos, along with some Tomb-Raider-esque puzzle/platforming segments thrown in to mix things up.

Another element  basically ripped from God of War is the Rage meter, which allows you to pull off special moves as it fills. Your character also earns XP and levels up by killing dudes; with each level you earn "Stars" which can be spent on new abilities like the Claw Spin, the Claw Drill and the Claw... something else.  In addition, you'll find "Mutagens" throughout the world which enhance your character with abilities like earning more XP per kill, increased defense, increased maximum health/rage and so on.  All of this is fine and good, but ultimately it doesn't really add any depth. You get most of the combos you'll use in the game within the first hour or so.

The story is light and unimportant; it jumps back and forth between a government mission in Africa and three years later, just after Wolverine has had the Adamantium coating put on his bones. It doesn't make much sense in terms of character progression; you've still got all the same skills and mutagens that you earned "three years later" when you go back to an Africa mission. Of course making sense would only matter if the story was something you could possibly care about. More importantly, this juggling act helps keep the environments from becoming repetitive.

I had a lot more fun playing X-Men Origins: Wolverine than I ever did with any of its forebears. It took me about eight hours to complete and I'm pretty sure I won't be going back for a second run-through; it's not a game I would pay full price for, but I found it on sale for $30 and it was almost worth that. It's also not a hard game, at least not on the Normal difficulty (and this is the highest difficulty available on your first playthrough).  It looks pretty good; there's a satisfying amount of gore and the gameplay is solid if unoriginal.

Technical notes:  I played the PC version and I used a Xbox360 gamepad.  The game ran very well at 1920x1200 with 4xMSAA with every setting on high.  System specs: Intel C2D 3.2Ghz, 4GB RAM, 8800GTX, Windows7 RC1.

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