There are many video games created based on comic books out there today. Most of them are complete ass. But there are a few that slip through that are at least decent and sometimes good and fun to play. X-Men Legends is one of those games. Obviously, it's not the greatest comic book game, but it was the beginning of a gameplay system that spawned off into good games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance. I remember the first time I played X-Men Legends around when it first came out. Me and two friends played it damn near non-stop through the night and into the morning; we felt the gameplay was that addicting. Diablo + X-Men = this game. Seriously, this game is very Diablolike, which is awesome because I fucking love Diablo. From the level ups with stat and skill building to the random items that enemies drop, X-Men Legends creates a fun dungeon crawling system. Now, like I said before, this isn't greatest game; it has flaws. But at that time when it came out, it was like God reached down from the heavens and said, “LET THERE BE AWESOME!” Now, I have this game on the PS2, so my review will reflect that version of the game.
Basically the game plays like this: You choose a member of the X-Men, you hack and slash while using special attacks that drains an Energy meter. Naturally, you reach 0 HP, you die. By defeating enemies and completing mission objectives, you gain XP which raises your level. When a level is raised, you acquire 1 stat point and 1 skill point. Stat points boost damage, HP, EP; the usual. Skill Points can increase the effectiveness of your special abilities and buffs to your character like increased Heath Regeneration or Attack Power. Pretty much standard RPG shit. You could be telling yourself, “So? Da fuck is da big deal?” Well, imagine doing all this but using DA MUTHA FUCKIN X-MEN! The cast of playable characters I think gives this game the appeal. Your choice of characters are as follows: Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Gambit, Iceman, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Magma, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, and Wolverine. Back in the day, this was fucking jaw dropping. When I first played, I chose Gambit while my friends played as Rogue and Cyclops. All I did was spam charged cards and loved every second of it.
Combat is simple. Two buttons control light and heavy attacks so you can do knockdown combos or pop up combos, etc. Clicking the right trigger brings up a menu for your special abilities. By hitting the coordinated button would unleash them(EX: R2+X = Wolverine's Feral Claw attack). Basically, you mash the shit out of the buttons until your opponents are dead. Some enemies have resistances to abilities like electric damage or physical damage, so you change your attack plan accordingly. To recover HP and EP, you collect Heather and Energy items that replenish them by using L1 for health and R1 for Energy. It's really simple. Just mash and don't die. If your character does die, you can revive them by spending money. You get credits in this game from smashing objects and beating enemies that can spent on equipment to boost your characters stats.
|Combat is not difficult|
The environments are giant dungeons, pretty much. You can explore vast areas, find hidden items(once again, basic RPG shit), all the way until you complete the mission objectives and/or get to the location you need to. Most events end with a boss fight. There are also discs you can collect in the game which unlock trials, character specific missions, etc. which you can participate in using the famous “Danger Room” at the X-Mansion. Completing these trials and missions grants you more XP and some items you can only get from these missions. A grinding, dungeon exploring buffet is in store for you in this game. Also, some environmental areas can be changed based on what character is in your party. Iceman can put out random fires that could lead to secrets as well as form ice bridges across ditches. Another example, is Storm can use lightning on metal to fuse it shut. Ok, personally, if you are going to make a party in this game and you don't want to have to change it every time something like this pops up(some times, you have to form a bridge to continue a mission), just fucking have Iceman in your party. Seriously, putting out fires and forming bridges occurs a lot in this game and if you already have Iceman in your party, you're golden. Locations in the game include New York City, Asteroid M and other famous X-Men/Marvel locales.
|Everyone also has a "Super" move they can use|
So the basics have been covered, before I talk about how much I love this game, lets point out the one terrible thing about it first. The fucking story. I know what you're thinking, “how da fuck could an X-Men game have a bad story?” Unfortunately, it's complete shit. The “main character” of the story is Allison Crestmere, aka, Magma from the New X-Men series. You're basically playing the role of a new mutant being exposed to the world. You find out what the X-Men are, how to deal with your powers, blah, blah, blah, boring ass stupid shit. If you are really into X-Men, then you will not giving a flying fuck about what anyone is talking about because you already know everything. Hmm, I guess saying that, if you don't know anything about the X-Men, then maybe you will find it interesting...well, fuck. Let me rephrase. I THINK the story is ass, but it could be good for newcomers. Here it is in a nutshell: STOP MAGNETO. That's it. Magneto and the Brotherhood are the bad guys and you stop them. They hate non-mutants and they want to rule/destroy the world so the mutants will be the only ones left because Mag-fuckin-neto thinks mutants are superior. Basic X-Men story. What's annoying about this is the fact that Magma is the lead character, a character that knows nothing about the X-Men and their history, so in a way, this character is the player. First off, you won't want to use her AT ALL. I mean, would who would you choose to play as, Wolverine or some fire bitch that you didn't grow up reading about? No brainer. Second, if Magma is supposed to be the player, then why not make it where you can customize your own character? Look, I know this game came out forever ago, but seriously, a quick skin and a choice of what type of mutant you are would have been better. I just found myself mashing the X button through all dialogue. Yes, there is voice acting in this game and yes, Sir Patrick Stewart graces us with the voice of Professor Xavier, and YES, once again, Steven Blum plays a voice acting role in this game(seriously, this guys is in fucking EVERYTHING). But I still just mashed through dialogue eagerly awaiting the next chance to crush some fools.
Now, this is just me, but another thing I hate about this game is that a lot of the character design and ideas are based of the Ultimate Marvel series. Which I hate with a fucking passion. The Ultimate Marvel series is just a different version of Marvel comics where different shit happens. It's bullshit. Once again, this comes down to my personal taste. For example, I hate that I have to wear Colossus' stupid Ultimate costume instead of his classic red. It's just bullshit.
|Some of the art in the game isn't that great either|
As for the graphics in this game, I have two opinions based on when I played it first to when I played it recently. X-Men Legends sports the cel shaded look. When I first played it, I thought it was pretty cool. Kind of gave it a comic feel to it. But then after playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance where they went with 3D models, I look back on the cel shaded graphics and they annoy the fuck out of me. It looks ugly. But it's playable, I don't want to get that mistaken. But after being spoiled with updated graphics and having experienced WAY TOO MANY FUCKING CEL SHADED GAMES, I can't really appreciate these graphics now. Which sucks, because I don't want this point to shy people away, but it urks me. And the fact that video game creation has potentially ruined some games for me graphically, really pisses me off. But I digress. It's not the best but it could have been worse.
So, what are the good points? Let me be blunt, YOU'RE PLAYING AS THE FUCKING X-MEN. This gives automatic cool points. Second, the dungeon crawling/Diablo experience I mentioned earlier. I really like RPGs so when you combine it with comics I love, I am pretty much sucked in right away. Another reason is that it is really fun to play with friends and form awesome X-Men teams. You can play this with one player, but the AI likes to do stupid shit like fall off cliffs and crap like that. I also like grinding in RPGs and believe me, if you want levels, you'll be grinding. The fun factor for this game is off the charts. Fighting X-Men villains, going through their locations; it's a blast. A good blend of RPG and comics if you ask me. Some can say that game gets kind of tedious, but it doesn't for me. It was one of those games that got me hooked just from reading the back of the case in the game store. Though it is an older game, I suggest giving it a try, especially if you've played Marvel Ultimate Alliance. You will get to see what started those games.
Before I close, I just want to give some tips for this game that I have experienced. Which ever character you choose to control, make it one of the tank characters, like Colossus or Rogue. I find the game much easier just smashing shit about instead of using an energy focused character that has to rely on special abilities. The EP meter goes FAST so playing a character like Storm or Jean Grey can be kind of difficult. I like using Rogue because she has the ability of Flight, which is just fun as hell to use. Just fly all over the stage. You can even pick up allies and chuck them at opponents. But a good team should be this: 2 Tanks(Colossus, Rogue, Wolverine), 1 Energy focused for support(Storm/Jean Grey) and Iceman. Personally, my team for this game is Rogue, Colossus, Storm, and Iceman. Characters that are balanced like Cyclops don't really pan out that well because you're trying to balance physical fighting ability with energy attacks. As the game goes on, you'll notice that you're damage output isn't all that effective. So, basically make a decision with your character: Tank or Energy attacks.
Plenty of exploration, RPG elements and X-Men to choose from. This game is a must play for comic fans.