So I spent the afternoon down at Activision in order to check out the new X-Men Origins: Wolverine game for Crave and our partners at SuperheroHype! Developer Raven Software has a history of success when it comes to comic book based video games with the successful launches of games like X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
The story goes that Raven decided to make a Wolverine game long before a movie was in the works, when news of a movie came down the pike the stars seemed to be aligned. Fast forward a bit and we have a game that while based on the movie, it will certainly take on a life of it’s own.
The game itself is more of an expansion of the films story than a level by level redo of the film, there is a ton of extra content that immediately sets the game apart from it’s cinematic cousin. The game starts off in the not so distant future as a nod to the comics, from there the story is told through a sequence of flashbacks. This really works to get you personally involved in the game and to further set itself apart from the film. The cut scenes are gorgeous by the way, and the overall graphic quality is remarkable. Raven does an excellent job of moving the player from cut scene to action almost seamlessly.
You can go to number of different sites for screen shots but those shots just don’t do this game justice, we played a finished version of the game and it was incredible. The developers and producers we talked to couldn’t stress enough how much effort was put forth to makle the player feel like they really were Wolverine, and in just about every aspect of the game they achieve this feat. Wolverine is a one man killing machine with foot long razor sharp claws sticking out of his wrists, he’s nearly indestructible and highly skilled in combat. All of these aspects are captured by the Raven team.
Wolverine has a healing factor, and the games rendition of that power finally does the character some justice. As you battle your opponents Logan will take damage. Get shot up and your full of bullet holes, get blown up and chunks of you are missing, take a moment to catch your breath after a hard fought victory and watch in amazement as Logan’s body slowly begins to heal, but not too slowly. The game encourages you to get in there and mix it up for the most part, but to also take care and be smart. When I say that Wolverine takes damage understand that I mean that in the most realistic sense possible. If you take a lot of damage you’re literally seeing Logan’s insides!
The controls for the game are also really well thought out, all the buttons are where you need them to be and the action flows rather seamlessly. One of the cooler features is the lunge. Simply push and hold the right bumper to gain an enemy to target, once that’s accomplished you hit the left bumper and watch as Logan launches himself at the sometimes unsuspecting foe for a bloody yet gratifying instant kill.
One of the elements that rates this game above others of its kind is the leveling system. Typically when levels are introduced the main character starts off pretty weak ala X-Men Legends 2, well forget that, Wolverine is the most dangerous guy in the room from jump street and the only place to go is up. As you level you unlock new attacks and abilities as well as increase the damage you deal and how long your health bar is. The games controls are simple enough to pick up and play the game with the ‘X’ button being your primary ‘quick’ attack while the ‘Y’ button used in conjunction with the ‘X’ to do more devastating (see the term gruesome dismemberment) attacks. Holding down the fierce attack button will also allow you to hit opponents with a super upper cut that launches your opponent into the air where you can then perform any number of air combo’s.
The game will ultimately stand out for the little touches that simply enhance the experience, things that you wouldn’t know to ask for until you see them like when you chop off a guys legs (did I mention this game was rated M?) and he squirms on the ground in pain before he dies, I’ll tell ya it never gets old. One part of the game called for a little stealth action and lets you get your Metal Gear on for a moment, the only difference is that you’re still Wolverine so you can sneak up on and decapitate an unwary opponent. Speaking of opponents, they seem to have finally nailed the proper difficulty of your enemies. Forget realistic combat where you spend forever fighting in a room full of nobodies. In this game you wade through victims, guys too dumb to run for their lives, seriously, get ready to feel like Wolverine and not Hugh Jackman’s stunt double in a real life bar fight.
The game also features a nifty feature called the rage meter, fill that bad boy up by felling enemies and breaking stuff and as you level you unlock more rage attacks. The control for rage attacks takes a page from Ravens prior games, all you have to do is hold down the right trigger and hit the corresponding button. Rage attacks are extra lethal and work good against groups. The last feature I want to talk about is the feral sense feature which allows you to see the world through Logan’s eyes or senses to be more exact. Talk about a trippy experience, I want to try whatever that guy is having if you know what I mean. All kidding aside the feral sense mode really helps you navigate the game properly and in certain times is a real help against stealthier opponents.
In review the game looks great, and the gameplay is on par with the great graphics. They were kind enough to show us some of the bigger boss battles and let me tell you, you’re in for a very serious adventure. The game is challenging with a good amount of puzzles thrown in to break up the monotony of combat, the voice acting is pretty tight and the game has an immersive quality that the developers where going for. I know that movie tie-in games might have let you down in the past, but this game is different. It’s not bound by a movie script, if anything titling the game after the movie is doing those guys a favor, this game stands on its own two feet. Look for a full review once the game drops.