I am both a fan of X-men and comic books in general. I have many fond memories of playing the four-player, beat-em up style Konami arcade game back in the 80's and I have spent more than a few hours playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 with my buddies. Silicon Knights' newest title, X-Men: Destiny, should have been a no-brainer - backed by such a great concept as it boasted being the next great brawling action game where you could create the mutant you always believed should be in this universe. Unfortunately due to its execution, the game becomes really diluted, which knocks it down a few notches on the likeability scale.
Before the game starts, the game will ask you to choose one of three distinct characters - each with their own minor story line. However, don' t feel pressured because you will soon see that your story line does nothing to affect game play or the overall story line of the game. X-Men: Destiny opens up in an alternate story line where Professor X is dead and Cyclops is in charge of what remains of the scattered X-Men. During a rally where Cyclops is meeting with the Mayor of San Francisco to establish a new "era of peace", a brutal attack causes mass chaos, leading to the introduction of your character.
During the attack, your character's undiscovered mutant powers manifest for the first time and players will be prompted to decide what power set your character will possess. All three characters can choose one of three power sets - An armored rock strong bruiser, a ranged energy blaster or an agile melee fighter harnessing the power of shadow. As you progress through the game, depending on the choices you make, you will unlock new powers and new skills to use throughout the game. I will admit right now that I spent the first half of the game not even realizing I could upgrade these powers by spending experience points. Though even after I did, it didn't change much during the combat. Running through the game you will find collectible abilities, multiple costumes and X-genes which allow you to boost your offensive, defensive and utility powers. These include powers like Colossus' metallic armor, Wolverine's regeneration or Cyclops' leadership. Regarding X-Genes, if you match all four abilities to a specific identity (i.e. Wolverine, Iceman, Psylocke) you will gain a special X-Gene ability that you can unleash during combat.
Now all of this is great and should make for an immersed and customizable game that every X-men fan could want, but then we get to the combat system. This is one of the downfalls of this game. It takes button mashing to a whole new level. You theoretically could press the same button the entire game and beat the whole thing without ever changing anything up. Like I mentioned earlier, I spent the first half of the game without even upgrading any of my combos and thinking to myself "Is this it? I've spent the past two hours pushing the same button and blowing through the game." Along with the mind-numbing button pressing, the missions are repetitive. The only noticeable change is the background and even that is limited. Destiny does try to break up the monotony by throwing you into mini-challenge arena maps during game play, but you have a sense of familiarity when you enter a single room map and just destroy 25/50/100 enemies. With so many advancements in action games these days I would have expected more, or at least more variety/strategy in the combat system to draw me in.
Overall the game is a great rental and shouldn't take you more than five hours to beat. If you're a fan of X-men, this game is very entertaining and lets you see your favorite X-men/Brotherhood characters in all their one-liner glory. As an "Action-RPG" title, there is simple action and a very linear RPG. Don't get me wrong I had a blast playing this game, it was so much fun to make my own character and totally worth the couple hours of game play - plus the character cameos were great. This is totally a game that you really could enjoy but not a title that we will talk about this time next year.
X-Men: Destiny was developed by Silicon Knights and published by Activision on September 27th 2011 for the PS3, Wii and 360. A copy of the game was supplied by the publisher for review purposes.