Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
A solid game with a few rough spotsOct. 13 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
Having been an immensely popular comic-book series for some time, the X-Men have recently enjoyed a new level of mainstream recognition thanks to the live-action movies starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Whether you've followed them for years or have just become a fan recently, X-Men: Legends is game you'll probably enjoy.
A note: I played this on the GameCube, YMMV on other platforms.
Gameplay is typical for a hack'n'slash console RPG -- your party roams through a number of dungeon-like levels and kills a bunch of baddies, picking up experience and various goodies along the way. The game is arranged into a series of missions (some long, some fairly short) spaced by interludes in the X-Mansion.
Controls are generally good, and the character under your command will generally do exactly what you want, though sometimes large thrown objects will explode rather closer than you expect. Attacking and moving are simple and intuitive, though stringing some of the longer attack patterns together can be difficult. There is a limited ability to command those characters that are not under your direct control, but if needed it is a simple matter to take over whatever member of your party you wish. Enemies can also be thrown around -- off of bridges, into walls, and even into each other, making for some interesting battles.
The camera, however, is problematic. Despite obvious efforts by the programmers to make view-obstructing surfaces transparent, you will often find yourself completely unable to see your characters. Even when this is not a problem, you will also experience difficulty on occasion in trying to see an enemy. The ability to zoom in or out is very limited, and consequently you will sometimes find yourself being blasted by opponents who are offscreen and unseeable.
The incorporation of mutant powers is done fairly well, though at times it seems like the programmers worked a little too hard to come up with four different power attacks for each character. It seems odd, for instance, that Wolverine has any special attacks, or that Colossus has a special punch. It seems like any punch from Colossus would hit just as hard as this 'special' one. Additionally, it does seem a little strange for the mutants
to 'run out' of power (particularly Wolverine, whose attacks are all physical). This is a necessary concession to gameplay, however, and in most cases the attacks make sense and fit the character, so these are minor quibbles. The arrangement of attacks is also intuitive for the most part, with A and B special attacks for offense, X for buffs, and Y for the character's super attack (usually an area-effect blast rather than pinpoint destruction).
The ally AI is fairly competent, though it tends to underutilize powers. AI characters also don't seem to use health packs, even when they are set to do so automatically. Thus they will occasionally die. They will also get trapped in doors at times, and, because there is some effect caused by bumping into each other, occasionally fall off bridges and die. However, a lot of these problems can be solved by having your friend pick up a
controller and join the fray. It's not too hard.
Level design is a little uneven. Although some areas are very convoluted, progress is almost always linear, with only a few instances where there are genuinely different routes one can take through an area. Save points usually appear in every other zone of a mission, which is sometimes too infrequent, given the prospect of accidental character death. Additionally, there will be times when you need to have a particular X-Man in your group (usually Iceman or Magma will be required, but sometimes Storm or Cyclops), and you must pick your way back through a level to change out your team. You'll find yourself always using Magma or Iceman and trying to swap out other characters, but the game really isn't long enough for you to get used to them all. There is mercifully little key-hunting to do, and when a key or other pass is needed it can usually be found close to where it must be used. Additionally, just about everything in the levels can be destroyed, from trash cans up to (in some cases) walls. It doesn't all yield treasure, but if you're frustrated, having Magma or Wolverine blow up the scenery can blow off a little steam.
The spoils of war are not terribly exciting. Characters can only use three accessories, and the effects of these aren't usually very interesting, though they can be quite helpful. Some accessories can also be purchased using "tech bits", but this monetary system feels stilted and artificial; additionally, these tech bits can be very hard to find at times. Most items can be sold for tech bits, but because of a limited inventory size this is not a reliable way to make a buck. Health and Energy packs are only rarely dropped when you need them. On one level my dying characters strode waist-deep through a sea of useless energy packs, with nary a save point (where health packs can be purchased) in sight. Additionally, because of an obscure and arbitrary cap on the number of health and energy packs that can be carried, you will find yourself passing up a whole zone full of them with ease, only to run out in the next zone, where there are none to be had.
The only real awkwardness in the game setup was the menu system. There are different buttons for "Back" and "Accept", but in most cases "Back" also accepts your setup, while "Accept" sends you back to the game. Also, some actions at save points will return you to a menu once completed, while others will send you back to the game, forcing you to enter the save point and start the process over again. The "objectives" system was also not particularly helpful, as some objectives only appeared on the list after being completed, and others never got checked off even if I did them. Ignoring that screen is easy, though.
Despite the (mostly minor) problems, gameplay is a blast. The breadth of moves (and characters) available means that you'll probably never run out of ways to engage the enemy, and the destructability of the environment means that battles are visual treats. The first time Wolverine slashes a guy and knocks him THROUGH a wall, you'll know what I mean. Your exploration of the X-Mansion in the interludes also provides some nice insights into the massive web of backstory behind the X-Men, though it seems a little smaller than it should be. And I frankly had a ton of fun just getting around at times; there's a unique thrill in ice-gliding through New York City as Iceman.
The writers for the game have produced a very good story that lays out the situation simply enough for X-Men novices to understand what's going on, while simultaneously layering in a number of references for the comics' hard-core fans to enjoy. The various X-Men and their abilities are introduced gradually enough that we get an appreciation for most of them. The plot is reasonably tight, the various X-Men and villains all behave
naturally, and the dialogue, though occasionally stilted, never really bogs down.
Thematically, however, the story disappoints. The usual arc of human hatred for mutants is nicely constructed, but the parallels to real life are drawn only tenuously. Given that the plot could have allowed a more convincing analogy to real-world terrorism, this is something of a disappointment. Also, the rapid end to the story sort of waves off the mutant vs. human problem, leaving the issue hanging without any real sense that progress has been made. The inclusion of a major, non-mutant, sympathetic character whose viewpoint changes even a little might have helped this out; except for a brief cameo by Moira McTaggart, all the humans in the game appear as unrelenting monsters. A more on-the-fence character who comes down on the side of the mutants would have created a more optimistic closing.
Given the usually lame and paper-thin stories one usually finds in games, however, this was much more fun and a lot meatier.
Most of the voice acting is quite good; Patrick Stewart shines as always. A few characters, however, feel a little off. Wolverine is particularly uneven -- sometimes dead on, sometimes sounding like a piggish moron. Cyclops also sounds a little too peppy, and Allison's voice grates on my ears. The music in the game, however, is seriously annoying. Outside of combat, the music is repetitve and droning, adding no pleasure and in some cases seriously detracting from it. It's nice that the tune changes in the proximity of enemies; however, the battle music is only louder, not better. Fortunately, the score is mostly quiet enough that you can ignore it.
Sound effects are nothing to write home about, but not bad either.
The graphics in this game are generally good, with just a few painful failings. The character models move realistically, and it's a real treat to see enemies tossed about by Storm's tornadoes. Most of the attack effects are strikingly good, though the buffing powers almost universally look lame. Character and enemy designs are very good during gameplay, but as many reviewers have noted, the heavy outlines of the pseudo cel-shaded
technique cause the game's appearance to suffer in many of the cutscenes. The movie-style cutscenes look fine, though a few characters look distorted or rubbery.
The environments in the game also look very good, for the most part. The Astral Plane, however, is horrible. You'll have to do several levels in this monotonous, semi-transparent, muddled hell-hole, and I grew to dread it.
The character heads used in the HUD and the character screens are pretty uneven. Some of them look awesome, and others look simply hideous. Allison and Gambit look particularly bad, but ugliness, flawed proportions, or muddled texture are not uncommon. Which is unfortunate, because you see these heads constantly.
The game is pretty short, even more so if you don't partake in many of the Danger Room missions. The second playthrough offers the ability to choose the appearance of the characters from several iterations of the X-Men saga. The linearity of the levels means there's not much else new to do the second time around. However, the "Danger Room" feature from the main menu offers you a chance to play out numerous scenarios and battles, for some additional gameplay. You'll be able to get a little extra mileage out of this one, but not a lot.
OVERALL: GOOD (76%)
X-Men: Legends offers great hack-and-slash gameplay and an entertaining storyline, paired with a much-loved franchise and generally good graphics. There are a few sour notes in the graphics and programming, and the music is a boring droning mess, but these problems don't ruin the fun. Though not a game for the ages, Legends is a solid offering that will please hardcore X-Men fans and newcomers alike.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The game I've been waiting for...Sept. 26 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
After watching the first X-Men movie I remember thinking- why doesn't someone make a game where the player can control a group of X-Men and utilize each of their unique skills to complete missions? Apparently, the team at Raven where thinking the same thing and the game they have given us with Legends is a real jem! X-Men: Legends is an action-RPG. It's a genre made popular by PC games such as Diablo. For those who've never played an action RPG, In short- it's a combination of arcade action with the longetivity of roll-playing. The majority of the game plays like an action arcade game, but at the same time you're collecting money, items and gaining experience points. As your characters advance they "level up" and eventually the begin to gain extra combat moves and abilities. As with other RPG (Roll Playing Games) you can buy and sell items.
The action-RPG genre is hands down the best choice for any combat driven mythology.X-Men Legends is an excellent example of when this works. As a result of solid design and excellent use of a license, this is the X-Men game to have. I would love to see a Star Wars, Star Trek or even Transformers based action RPG (a G1 Transformers based action-RPG would be a dream come true).
Because the multi-player mode was added in as an after thought, the game plays best as a single player game and increases in difficulty the more human players you add. If you plan to play four-player mode, expect to invest a large amount of time getting everyone on the team up to speed and working togeather (you'll have to use strategy, the AI controlled X-Men sure do).
Overall a very fun and challenging game for all fans of X-Men.
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
uh....one word, if I must....AWESOME!Sept. 4 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
this is a fantastic game for action/adventure/RPG/radical game lovin' fans
heres a more formal approach:
There are 15 playable characters, with 1 that you must unlock.
Possibilities for secret character--
Shadowcat, Professor X, Dazzler, and many others of course.
In the first stage you start out with just Wolverine. Then as move along through the extremely long stage, you gather 3 more mutants. In the next few stages you will find the rest of your campanions.
As I said before the stages,all of them, are very long. I love this aspect of the game because it makes it more challenging and interesting. There are, however, save points throughout them which is good. At these points you can, of course, save the game, but you also can switch out the X-men in your party so that you do not have to stay with the same 4 all through the stage.
Do not be fooled! This game will be more of a challenge than you may expect. If you think it is going to be an easy, leisurely game like most of the other X-men games(No offense, I loved those games)then you would be wrong. There is so much more to X-Men: Legends. It is just a great all around game.
I would recommend getting it for sure. It is definitely at the top of my list, along with Zoids: Battle Legends(GC).
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This game is multiplayer FUNFeb. 6 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
First off, I'm a long-time fan of the X-Men. I've always loved it, though I had to stop the comic book habit about ten years ago when the costs of keeping up with it interfered with pesky things like rent. (Heh) I've never stopped enjoying the X-Men universe though, nor it's characters. So when I hear that there was finally a *good* X-Men game out, I was super interested.
This game was just fun. I got it for Christmas and myself, my boyfriend and another friend played together. We just finished it tonight. We're pretty casual gamers, but we could easily lose three or four hours in a stretch on the game without realizing it. You just want to keep going.
The mutant powers are fun. And building them up and seeing how high they get is great. My favorite character has always been Jean Grey and she's always either missing or terribly underpowered in previous X-Men titles. This one, she can really build up and be a strong character on her own. By the end - we spent a lot of time in the Danger Room gaining experience to max out our characters to level 45 (though you can't fully max out all skills you can come darn close) - I could fling just about anything with the telekinesis, use the psionic scream to push, damage and stun enemies not only in all of my room, but through nearby walls, fly, carry another person when I flew and even shield myself and all my team mates. Super, super fun for an always underrated character.
I wish there were more games like this. Multiplayer and just plain *fun.* Yeah, some moments were hard and we didn't know what we were doing wrong, but it felt good to figure it out and get past it. Thankfully, a sequel has already been announced and the ending hints at who the Big Bad will be in it. Sign me up; I'd love to have more of this to play.
This game is really best as a multiplayer experience so get together with your friends and have something to regularly look forward to playing. You'll really enjoy it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If XML2 is anything like this...Sept. 23 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
...I'll definitely buy that one also. I'm not much of a gamer because I find most games kind of boring, but this game kept my attention for good one or two-hour blocks. And I'm one who'll quit playing Halo at a friend's house after ten or so minutes into it.
Anyway, yeah, XML is a pretty fun game. The plot outline is good for the most part; it's the basic Magneto-plans-to-eliminate-humankind plot you're probably used to with the big-screen movies. Situated within the action play are little snippets of you controlling Alison Crestmere (later, Magma) and her journey to learn more about, and become part of, the team.
I think the best part of the game are its quiet parts. The voice talents involved here are excellent, as well as the use of one of the history of the team. But don't get me wrong, the smash-em-up parts of the game are also stimulating and/or dizzying and electric. Experimenting with different teams is also quite entertaining (for instance, some characters can throw Wolverine, which is kind of comical). The addition of the Danger Room is also nice, but it really serves no purpose outside of the main gameplay.
There are a couple of things that I hope the sequel addresses though. First, I hope that they make the enemies a bit (if not a lot) tougher. To my understanding, XML2 incorporates a difficulty setting which, in my opinion, is a (ahem...) monumental idea. I also wish that the characters are more balance the second time around because here, some characters are godlike while others, well, you just wonder what the hell they're doing here. But I guess that's where you can have your difficulty setting: just having Jubilee, Emma Frost, Nightcrawler, and whoever else in your team is a freaking nightmare.
The graphics and controls are pretty straightforward. I'm not one to the complain about the cartoonish look of the action scenes (I think they look cool) and the FMV scenes look decent. It's during the mission briefing snippets where things fall apart. The cell-shading technique doesn't work here, which makes me wonder why the developers didn't just make these into FMV also. And don't get me started with the Astral Plane. I mean, what the hell...
Nevertheless, these are just a few little drawbacks that keep this game from excellence. An RPG-style game with unique elements of its own, I think it should be a definite buy for fans and non-fans of both the X-Men and Marvel universe.