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X-Men Destiny Review (X360)

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

By

X-Men Destiny Review (X360)
Activision
In their nearly 50-year history, the X-Men have never been described as bland or boring. They are super-powered mutants capable of pretty much anything fighting other super-powered mutants in crazy over-the-top battles so full of explosions and carnage that they make Michael Bay blush. They can't be boring. Yet, somehow, Silicon Knights has managed to make a game about those same mutants more dry and boring and mediocre than we ever thought possible. X-Men Destiny is just thoroughly average on every front.
Game Details

  • Publisher: Activision
  • Developer: Silicon Knights
  • ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
  • Genre: Action
  • Pros: Cameos from real X-Men
  • Cons: Bland button combat; your character has no real unique identity; choices don't matter; bad level design; dumb platforming; mercifully short

X-Men Destiny takes place at a time after Professor Charles Xavier has died and Cyclops and Emma Frost are running the X-Men. Your character is a young person (your choice of one of three characters) who is attending a rally in honor of the Professor in San Francisco. The rally is suddenly attacked and in the heat of the moment your mutant abilities reveal themselves for the first time. The story follows your character as they learn more about their powers, gain some new ones, and figure out who attacked the rally and left San Francisco in ruins.

Your character is a fresh new face, but the rest of the cast is made up of familiar mutants such as Wolverine, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Magneto, Gambit, and many more.

Gameplay

The game is a pretty basic beat-em-up where you just sort of mash buttons to kill mobs of enemies. You just move from one checkpoint to the next, kill a bunch of enemies, and then move onto the next inevitable combat zone. Enemy A.I. is absolutely braindead and rarely puts up a fight. Even when more powerful enemies or even bosses show up, they have extremely simple patterns and are easy as well. Occasionally you might do some simple platforming, which is little more than jumping between glowing ledges on the sides of buildings and shimmying along to the next one.

Activision
The game offers an illusion of choice to try and keep things interesting, but ultimately the game plays pretty much the same way no matter what you pick. The three playable characters all have the same story (but different backstories, of course) and mission structure with the only difference really being the dialogue. You do get to choose new major powers at a few points in the game, but whether you decide you want to punch enemies or shoot energy bolts, or cast an energy shield or cause earthquakes, the combat never gets any better.

You also earn new X-Men costumes and genes from established characters, which let you mix and match additional powers to customize your mutant. You can have Gambit's speed, turn into solid ice like Iceman for defense, gain M-power (your basic attacks are limitless, but more powerful stuff drains your M-power meter) faster, and many many more. The idea of customizing powers is interesting, but also sort of lame because your character never has a unique identity. They are just an amalgamation of all of the X-Men instead of having their own powers. And having access to all of these extra abilities, which you can swap in and out at will, just makes the already easy, boring gameplay even easier.

Also disappointing is that the game's morality system, where instead of good or evil you're siding with the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Mutants, ultimately doesn't matter beyond which dialogue you'll hear. No matter which side you choose you always end up doing the mostly the same missions (there are some unique ones on each side, but they all ultimately play the same) and having the same characters pick a fight with you whether you're good or bad. You do get different moves and abilities depending on which side you choose, but that all goes back to the core problem of the gameplay being boring and repetitive as hell, so the moves you end up using don't matter.

X-Men Destiny is far from bad - it isn't broken or anything and is perfectly playable - but it is just boring. Combat is easy and repetitive. The choices the game gives you are mostly entirely meaningless and even the ones that matter - new powers - don't ever elevate the gameplay beyond mediocrity.

Activision
Graphics and Sound

The presentation is a problem here as well. The character models are okay, but the environments are bland and little more than hallways (whether actual hallways or debris) that funnel you to the next enemy encounter. Special effects for all of the powers are really, surprisingly flat and lack any sort of impact or flair. Enemy designs are simple and repetitive, so get ready to fight identical thugs a million times. The sound is similarly mediocre. The dialogue is badly written and the voice acting is awful and sounds (maybe literally) phoned in.

Bottom Line

X-Men Destiny is remarkable only in its mediocrity. It features bland repetitive gameplay with only shallow illusions of choice scattered about that ultimately make no difference to the story or the gameplay. The best part about it is that it is only 5 hours long, so you don't suffer for very long on your way to a bunch of pretty easy achievements. X-Men Destiny is entirely forgettable and not worth your time even for the biggest comic fans. Skip it.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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