X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review
I’ve played just about every game Wolverine has been in since the NES days. Wolverine for NES, X-Men for Sega, the X-Men Arcade game, Wolverine for Sega/SNES, Wolverine for PS2, etc. Some of them had their moments, some of them flat out sucked. However, after playing the latest Wolverine game, I can finally say something.
Finally! A Wolverine game that doesn’t suck! Just like the developer said it would be.
The game pretty much follows the story of the movie without straying too much. You start the game as Wolverine on a mission in Africa with Stryker, Sabretooth, Deadpool, and the rest of the team. You are then approached for the Weapon X program where you gain your adamantium skeleton and the rest is history. The story is decent, but like the movie, flawed, especially near the end. However, it’s good enough to work and make you care enough about the character. Playing through the single-player campaign should take about 7 or 8 hours or so. After beating the game on Normal, the Hard difficulty is then unlocked. Bonus: There’s a neat easter egg after you beat the game, after the credits if you read the X-Men comics.
The gameplay in Wolverine is similar in style to God of War in that it’s basically a button-masher. That’s not to say it doesn’t work well though as the combat works remarkably well in the game. You will use the Square button for your standard claw attack and triangle for a heavy/charged attack. Circle allows you to grab and throw an enemy or in some instances, use the enemies’ weapon against them.
As you kill your enemies you are awarded XP. As you progress you will learn new moves and combos with which to kill your enemies. As you level up you gain skill points which can be used to increase certain attributes, such as increased claw damage, increased health, or an increase to your rage or “fury” attacks. All of this works well and helps vary the gameplay and allows you to tailor your skills to your gameplay style. Mutagens can also be found throughout the game which can enhance attributes such as increased XP, increased Rage per kill, reduced enemy damage, etc. Along with Mutagens, hidden dog tags will be located throughout the levels for you to find.
Wolverine also will gain access to 4 different “fury” attacks which are super attacks which drain the rage you accumulate. These range from Berserk mode which sends Wolvie into a rage, causing massive damage, a claw spin, and more.
You will fight soldiers for most of the game which can start to get slightly repetitive. There are a decent number of boss battles which break up the action though, including Sentinels, Sabretooth, Gambit, and more. The only downside is that they all follow similar patterns in that the main way to beat them is to jump on their back to claw them. A more varied boss fight structure really would have improved the game.
One final gameplay note is just how violent and bloody of a game Wolverine is. Where Wolverine succeeds is in making you feel like you really are doing things Wolverine would do. You’ll be slicing into enemies, ripping off heads, and in general, acting like an animal, just like Wolverine. The game does a great job of capturing the feel of the character.
The graphics are a mixed bag in Wolverine. The cut scenes look extremely good, with the audio syncing to the characters’ lips well. They are crisp and look amazingly like the characters they are portraying. In-game however is hit or miss. A lot of environments can look plain or generic. You’ll see a lot of the same environments for most of the game as well, adding to this. The character detail is pretty good and is especially good for major/boss characters.
The audio is pretty good as Hugh Jackman voices Wolverine. The rest of the voice-acting is pretty solid with no major complaints. Fortunately, Wolverine doesn’t repeat too many of the same one-liners, a trap Marvel Ultimate Alliance fell into big-time “I’m the best at what I do.” “I’m the best at what I do.” “I’m the best at what I do.” The sound effects fit well and the music, what little there is, fits well.
At the end of the day, I absolutely had a blast playing this game. It surprisingly never got repetitive which was a great accomplishment from the game. It has a decent replay value as there are hidden dog tags to be found and after one play-through, a Hard difficulty is unlocked, although a second play-through might be pushing it. If you are at all a fan of Wolverine, I highly suggest checking this title out as I was pleasantly surprised at how fun the game was and was one of the most-fun games I’ve played this year.