Review: Can the X-Men save the world and save us from boredom too?!
Late in 2004 Activision released yet another one of their X-Men games called X-Men Legends, and to many gamers it was much different then your average licensed title. Although X-Men Legends begins like your typical hack n' slash action game, it quickly grows into a huge multi-player role playing adventure with several playable heroes. Let's see if this game is a Legend or not, ok?
If you are new to the X-Men universe, the X-Men are a group of gifted individuals with super human abilities. Because of their special talents they are often called Mutants. Even though the X-Men use their powers for the good of the world, many humans consider them freaks and would rather have them all locked up. X-Men Legends begins when a young woman named Alison starts to cause a huge uproar when there are rumours she is a mutant. Not only are the Mutant Police after her, but she is also being chased by an evil renegade group of mutants called the Brotherhood. You begin the game as popular X-Men Wolverine, and he must track down Alison before she falls into the wrong hands.
Don't be fooled what X-Men Legends says on the back of the box, the game may be a multi-player game, but you have to unlock this function first. Imagine my disappointment when my friends and I wanted to try it out, only to realize that Wolverine was the only playable character from the get go. Fortunately, you can find other X-Men like Cyclops, Storm, and many more just by getting further into the game and you can either have them controlled by your friends or the computer. Once you unlock enough heroes the multi-player actually works pretty well - and you can choose to go in co-op, or against one another as well.
X-Men Legends isn't one of those games you can play right off the bat though. Don't get me wrong, the game controls fine once you or your friends learned the complete controller layout (which isn't always easy on those huge Xbox pads) but since this game focuses a lot on role-playing, gamers are forced to constantly surf through menus to level up and equip various items. If your friends have patience then this can still be a very playable and interesting game, but I do wish some of the RPG features were done automatically so it doesn't break up the action all the time.
I guess in order to keep all this onscreen action going the game uses a simple low polygon look. I can live with the sometimes goofy visuals, and the many interactive backgrounds are cool, but why are there so many environments with invisible walls here? Don't you hate when something is blocking your way yet there's nothing there?
The graphics are not the only thing that disappointed me. The average music is nothing very noteworthy and a lot of the voices can be repetitive during fights, but most of the sound effects are impressive. All the playable characters have their unique special effects that sound very real, plus each of them even come with vocals as well. Even Patrick Stewart (from the X-Men movies and Star Trek the Next Generation) lends his voice for Professor Xavier here.