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Let’s Play, Bub

untitled I made no qualms about how poor a film I thought “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was, but that I was somewhat excited about the video game. Having downloaded the demo for “X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition” I got my hands on the full copy of the game and have been enjoying fighting my way through it ever since.

The game’s significantly better than the movie, and has actually given me quite a few “wow” moments of awesomeness, as it picks up on a lot of comic-book story arcs that the film ignores, and does a much better job of steering close to the comics and the first three movies (and previous X-Men games) than the movie does.

The game itself gets a B, highly enjoyable, but with some flaws…you can find out more in the full review below.
“X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition” (or at least the XBox 360, PS3 and PC versions of the game) come from Raven Software: that name might not mean much to you, but Raven are the same company who previously brought Wolverine and his fellow X-Men to games consoles in “X-Men Legends” and its sequel. Both games were immersive RPGs, giving you the chance to play as the X-Men and their enemies, engaging in epic battles, use mutant powers, and really paving the way for the later “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” (with its sequel due out later this year.)

wolverslice

The game itself follows the plot of the film very loosely: playing as Logan, the mutant who will later become Wolverine, the player navigates through some missions undertaken as part of the Weapon X team, then following him as he gets his adamantium claws and proceeds to seek revenge on the team who have betrayed him.

Gameplay itself is simple, but surprisingly effective: basic controls using the face buttons comprise of light and heavy attacks, jumping and the ability to grap/throw enemies, with the triggers unlocking some special movies (similar to those used in “X-Men Legends”) and a long-distance-covering lunge attack. Logan’s feral senses can also be turned on and channeled, giving the screen a cool orange filter and highlighting hidden areas and goals.

Fittingly for a game where you control a feral beast with unbreakable claws, a lot of the gameplay involves hacking and slashing: where the film made little use of Wolverine’s claws, the game’s effects add in lots of blood and injuries, both for Wolverine and those he fights. Despite all his slashing apart of enemies, Wolverine isn’t immune to damage, and as he is injured, costume and body become increasingly deteriorated, at times reduced to mere skeleton before he regenerates. The regeneration happens quickly, rarely impeding the gameplay, but nonetheless providing enough of a challenge when faced with a horde of enemies, some of whom are significantly bigger than Mr. Claws.

x-men_origins_wolverine_video_game_image__11_The enemies provide some of the problems for the game, however: as awesome as the gameplay can be, shredding enemies to pieces, there are about ten recurring types of enemies who rarely change their attacks, with the only real threat provided by their increasing numbers. Not only does this provide some ridiculously awkward camera angles, but the game has some significant lag when Wolverine is faced with some multiple enemies, especially when they’re all of differing types, most obvious when attacked by close-range enemies while others armed with rocket launchers take aim from afar. When the enemies get bigger (thinking of four Hulk-shaped W.E.N.D.I.G.O. prototypes on-screen at the same time) the lag gets even worse. While camera and lag are the only real problems with the game, there are some other inconsistencies that don’t help the game, with unclear levelling-up and save structures and a non-linear narrative. The game remains immersive, but there are times where the control is limited and that the game’s progress is just a series of button-mashing with no real choice in terms of control, becoming quite apparent in some cut-scenes where it remains unclear whether it’s pre-rendered, or you’re meant to press some buttons.

It’s a disappointing downside to a game that’s surprisingly well-rendered: textures in particular stand out even on standard TVs, and the effects as Wolverine is injured and regenerates are impressive. If you can see past some minor flaws, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition” is a good comic-book game, but easily one of the best movie tie-in games that we’ve seen in recent years. And besides, who doesn’t love slashing some bad army guys to bits with their claws.

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  1. morethinking
    June 2, 2009 at 1:54 AM

    Quite an unexpected predicament. Usually movie tie-ins are horrible, but this has my brother talking, so I might give it a go.

  2. May 30, 2009 at 6:41 PM

    I’m playing through this at the moment. So much better than the film. It’s got blood and violence to start with! The character actually feels like Wolverine, which helps.

    • burnallzombies
      May 30, 2009 at 6:59 PM

      I don’t like that it’s Hugh Jackman’s voice though, rather than Steve Blum who does the voice in the other games (he’s in it as some of the additional voices.) But if you play this and watch the film, they really feel quite different, totally different story even!

      • June 1, 2009 at 11:39 AM

        I suppose people who got it because of the film would complain if it wasn’t Jackman. I’ve only just started Africa Part 2, but so far the storyline is certainly different from the film. Infact it’s considerably better!

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