Activisionï¿½s new action/ role-playing game X-men Legends 2 is absolute fun on a disc. If you already have the first one or if you donï¿½t have either of the X-men Legends games, be sure to get this one. The story is great the graphics are good and the fun is non-stop.
This game is firing on all cylinders. It is easy to pickup and has that fun factor of being the X-Men and Brotherhood mutants. Nothing breaks the tension like parading around as Colossus and smashing everything in sight or shooting laser beams from Cyclops’ eyes. With so many characters to choose from the game offers great replay ability too.
The controls are easy to learn. Mainly you will only be using three buttons, heavy and light attacks and a modifier for special talents. The special moves are specific to each mutant. For instance Storm has a lighting strike move that is extremely effective against enemies at a distance. Characters will build experience points as they fight which can be spent on a variety of things to upgrade your characters abilities and add special moves. If this sounds too complicated, the game can be played by mashing buttons with a fair amount of success.
In single player mode you start off fairly simple. The game sort of guides you along and as the game progresses more skill is need. I think X-men 2 did a good job of gradually increasing the difficulty. Of course you can manually add more difficultly through the options menu and probably will need to have a few hours of play. This is a team based game so you will have four characters under your control. One will be directly under your control and the others will follow along and help. The AI for the team seems to do pretty well but at times they will get a little off track. A simple push of the L2 button will beckon them back to your side.
Switching between the team members is fairly simple utilizing the directional pad on your controller. Push up and a helpful menu in the bottom left of the screen will give you a quick key to who is on each direction. Switching comes in handy when special talents are needed, but I found that sticking with one person mainly improved my overall play.
Multiplayer can be extremely fun. You and your friends can each control a character and play the story line just like the single player mode. There are also some mini-games that can be pretty fun. The only drawback is the amount of screen real-estate lost to the various menus and stat meters on the screen. This is a minor nuisance that seemed to not get too bad as long as everyone stuck together. Getting too much separation can cause frustration as the action gets covered by the different stat overlays and the viewing distance gets too far out to reasonably see the action. Of course if you have access to a 100 in projector screen I can imagine this wonï¿½t be a problem. The rest of us in sub 30in land will need to set some ground rules for staying close to avoid frustration.
If you canï¿½t round up enough buddies at home you can go online and join in a game with your best virtual buddies who have similar consoles and TV types. Once online you will notice a little bit of lag when characters are jumping all over but a lot depends on your buddyï¿½s connections. Also if anyone of you access a menu the game will cause a load time for all which can really interrupt the flow of the game. I would recommend getting real buddies for multiplayer fun but virtual ones will do in a pinch.
The story line is well thought out and is broken up into 5 Acts. Apocalypse is taking over big time and the Brotherhood and X-men have joined hands to tackle the overwhelming task of defeating Apocalypse and his army. Each act has a multitude of levels and missions in those levels. The game will consume a lot of time to get all the way through which enhances its RPG qualities. Throughout the game you will have a home base that you perform missions from. At home is Xavier and other characters to give you help along the way.
The home base also offers mini games and a chance to reform your team from a large stash of X-men and Brotherhood characters. A good rule of thumb is to have a couple of long distance characters like Storm or Magneto and a couple of brawlers like Wolverine and Juggernaut. Certain character combos in certain levels will unlock some special events. Most is trial and error, but the game has subtle clues and for those who just want to know you can look at one of the guides online.
The graphics are pretty good for this game. You are given a top view of the situation and you can control the zoom and angle via the right control stick. The action is captured well and the special moves by each mutant produce some pretty good effects. At times the view can get a little misleading but overall it serves the purpose. Graphically the characters are rendered very well. The landscapes are pretty interactive and well drawn but donï¿½t allow too much free roaming. This helps you keep going in the right direction. There are numerous cut scenes throughout the game but most of them are optional. For instance you must initiate the mission briefings if you want them. There is dialog between your team and other characters and you are given options on what you can ask. At times listening to them talk can get old unless you are really into the story.
I enjoyed the sound in the game. The voices were really good and the occasional cartoon beating sounds added a bit of enjoyment. Music is a little underdone but did not hinder the gaming experience. Hook your console up to a surround sound system for extra oomph in sound.
The game could use a little more polishing on the menus for selecting characters and choosing inventory. Every time the menu is accessed it adds another long load time. The long load times get anticlimactic after sweating through the fast paced levels.
Overall X-Men Legends II is a lot of fun to play in single player and multiplayer modes. The length and depth of the story keep the game playable for a very longtime. In addition the amount of un-lockable items will keep X-men gamers interested. The vast amount of characters that are playable and non-playable characters should appeal to all X-men fans. This would be a good addition to anyoneï¿½s game collection.
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