X-Men Origins: Wolverine (360)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Friday, May 29, 2009

Graphics: 8.50
Sound: 9.50
Gameplay: 10.00
Replays: 5.00
Gamelength: 9.00

One of the most popular super heroes of all-time is back in action for the video game adaptation of the recent movie by the same title, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”.

For almost three and a half decades, Wolverine has been a part of the comic book world. Shortly after his first appearance, he gained the spotlight and ultimately, his own comic book, a role in the X-Men and even starring roles in several very popular movies. He’s no stranger to the video game world, either, with tons of games based on his character, as well as an appearance in many, many more. This latest venture is the video game adaptation of Wolverine’s most recent big screen appearance, solely based entirely on his character. Join me as I experience the true brutal style of wolverine, learn his origin and delve a little deeper into his backstory in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”.

Much to my surprise, this game has very refined visuals. I had never expected a video game adaptation of any movie to ever be this good in the first place, but the graphics just top off the experience. There’s a decent bit of variety, ranging from the forests and ruined temples of Africa and out to plenty of other places around the globe. There’s even a visit to the Weapon-X facility in chapter 1, which is a pretty damn cool experience. Character models look fantastic; even the “generic bad guys” are visually appealing. The bosses are massive and are likely to cause those “WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?!” moments that we all seem to crave.

Voice acting is as good as you’d expect and includes all of the talent from the movie for every included major character. Wolverine has plenty of lines and as usual, Hugh Jackman plays the role better than anyone else ever could. He seems to have the act down to a pin point science and he really knows how to pull off Wolverine’s dark personality. Sound effects are equally impressive, although they don’t really steal the show. The soundtrack is epic and very fitting, but it’s not the sorta’ thing that you’ll want to go out of your way to listen to in the real world.

This may be a somewhat shallow game with some degree of repetition, but it’s one hell of a fun ride. After selecting a difficulty, you’re immediately placed into the action. As you play through the first level, basic actions are explained in as much detail as any player should realistically require. This is a regular occurrence  as you’re given a mini-tutorial in the form of pop-up boxes that explain how to use various things as they become available. Even without those mini-tutorials, however, the game is extremely easy to pick up and get into. Even on the hardest difficulty, the game is never anywhere near impossible and retains the fun factor. The controls are a combination of those found in “Marvel Ultimate Alliance” and basic third-person shooter controls and they work very well. Combat is handled with two primary attack buttons, but you can also grab enemies, use your special attacks and even impale enemies on various things in the environment. There’s also a lunge ability, which can be heavily abused to make many sections of the game very, very easy, but it never gets old. The game does a very good job of making you feel powerful and even includes Wolverine’s regeneration ability, which acts like a slow-paced version of the shields found in the original “Halo”. When your health bar drops, your vitals become exposed until you avoid fire for a few seconds. After that, your health starts regenerating until you’re hit again. This system works perfectly and while it does make the game a breeze at times, some of the bosses still give Wolverine a run for his money. The game feels like “Devil May Cry”-lite, with an extremely fast-paced combat system and a level-up system, but the level-up system is very basic. It’s easily possible to completely max Wolverine out within’ a single playthrough, although it happens faster after the “Kill Multiplier” ability is unlocked at level 10, provided the player kills enemies as fast as possible to maximize the experience point gain. Aside from basic combat, there are also plenty of moments that give the game a bit of variation, which even includes very basic puzzles and, early on in the game, a gatling gun section. None of those moments are difficult in any sense of the word, but they’re never dull or boring and seem to fit into the game very well, with very few breaks in the action. There are also a few things to collect, such as extra maximum health bonuses, “Mutagens” and Wolverine action figures. Of those, the “Mutagens” are the most important and act as Wolverine’s equipment in a certain sense. Upon obtaining one of those “Mutagens”, Wolverine can then equip it to boost a specific attribute, such as claw damage, reflexes or health regeneration. Over time, three full slots to equip them can be unlocked. Most of the “Mutagens” have three levels of upgrades, all of which are found in the various levels with proper exploration and each level makes a huge difference. By the end of the game, Wolverine is a complete and utter seemingly invincible powerhouse and the game does a wonderful job representing just that fact. As for the flaws, we experienced a single major glitch, which did not seem to repeat itself during either of our playthroughs and after a little bit of research, it does not seem to be a widespread issue. Aside from that, the only real flaw is the fact that the game has to end and has no real replay value unless you just feel like cutting some people up for no good reason.

Overall, Raven has completely and utterly wow’ed me. This is the single best movie-based game that I have ever played and other developers have their work cut out for them if they ever try to compete with this masterpiece.

Pros:
-Plenty of eye candy.
-Epic soundtrack.
-Perfect voice acting taken straight from the actors of the movie.
-Top-notch sound effects.
-Lots of variation to keep the action fresh.
-Difficulty scales up perfectly based on which setting you choose.
-Collectibles are never far too out of the way or painful to spot.
-Impressive game length, with up to 12 hours of gameplay for a single playthrough.

Cons:
-Not much of a reason to replay the game after completion.
-No online play at all.

Bottom line:
This is the single best video game adaptation of any movie ever created. If you like third-person action games with a crazy fast pace or just have a sheer love for Wolverine, this is the game for you. I highly recommend this game.

Overall Rating: 9.50

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