X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Rated M for Mature (360, PS3, PC)
Rated T for Teen (PS2, PSP, Wii)
Released May 1
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP, DS
Published by Activision
What It Is: X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the video game tie-in to the movie spin-off of the series of film adaptations of the X-Men comics. That sentence alone contains about four reasons why this game should be awful. Its not just low expectations that make Wolverine shockingly fun, though. This here is one finely tuned and calibrated piece of total junkcorn escapism.
You'll pop your claws over: The games smooth implementation of Wolverines skills. Superpowers can be hard to do in a game, but Wolverines powers (razor-sharp claws, a powerful healing factor, an uncanny ability to appear in 20 comics a month) lend themselves well to video games. Automatic health regeneration pops up in most action games these days, but what makes no narrative sense with a litany of FPS soldiers works perfectly with a comic-book mutant.
Its also surprisingly satisfying to slice and dice your way through entire platoons of bad guys. Its even more surprising that the game doesnt shy away from depicting the carnage caused by a dude with knife-hands. Wolverine paints the walls with blood and viscera, and the game celebrates dismemberment and decapitation. A light RPG sheen adds a modicum of depth, as each kill and secret discovery earns experience points that eventually help boost character stats and attacks. The graphics are also more polished than expected from a movie tie-in.
Wolverine's boring factor kicks in: When boneheaded game design interrupts the bloodletting. Somebody at Raven Software apparently confused Wolverine with Lara Croft, as the game occasionally slows down for mundane Tomb Raider-style environmental puzzles. Wolverine might be the best at what he does, but that doesnt include block-pushing or precise jumping. Gory vivisection eventually wears out its appeal, but half-assed puzzles arent the appropriate solution. There could also be a bit more variety in enemy types and the methods required to destroy them. Finally, some of the secondary voice-acting is comically bad.
What To Do: X-Men Origins: Wolverine offers up some prime hack-n-slash nonsense, but theres nothing substantial about its cheap, buzzy high. True Wolverine fanatics will be happy with a purchase, but without a multiplayer mode or varied gameplay, your time with the game will most likely be as short as the lives of any of Wolverines girlfriends.
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