X-Men: Destiny Review

X-Men Destiny

X-Men Destiny

Most tend to agree that the X-Men franchise is awesome. Humans that have mutated genes granting them unique abilities is a great concept, and because of the unique cast of characters and powers X-Men has created there are ample opportunities for developers expand upon it. Silicon Knights has taken it upon themselves to do just that and create a game to continue the story with a new mutant. X-Men: Destiny is touted as an action-RPG with impactful choices that shape its narrative. Unfortunately, they were zero for two on that front. What gamers get instead is a shallow action brawler that feels way too much like a cash-in.

X-Men: Destiny takes place after the death of Professor X. During a memorial peace rally held in honor of him in San Francisco, an anti-mutant group of militia known as the “Purifiers” barges in and attacks the surrounding mutants in the area. It’s here when players take control of one of three pre-determined characters: Japanese refugee Aimi Yoshida, college football jock Grant Alexander, and Adrian Luca whose family is heavily involved in ant-mutant matters. The player is then given a choice of three power sets: Energy Projection, a projectile class, Shadow Matter, a fast attack class but small damage, and Destiny Control, a tank class with slow attacks but larger damage. Right off the bat, gamers will notice the characters and classes are extremely cookie-cutter; they can most likely guess the personalities of the jock or the Japanese girl and even though the three main classes are given fancy names they too are as generic as possible (tank, average, ranged).

Throughout the game players are given a choice of either siding with the X-Men and their leader Cyclops or the Brotherhood with their leader of course being Magneto. Most choices are black and white (do we kill the enemy or save him), so for the most part no tough decisions are given. Each character is given their own back story and opening cutscene, but save a few dialogue choices the game hardly changes depending on the choice of character. What’s even more perplexing is that each story largely follows the same path no matter which side is chosen, the X-Men or the Brotherhood; the gamer still fights Wolverine and Magneto in the same part of the campaign no matter which path he/she chooses to take. It’s a shame how little impact choice has on X-Men: Destiny even though it’s advertised as otherwise.

X-Men Destiny - Robot Enemy

The game sports a linear, single-player campaign with no co-op play or multiplayer. While this is fine if done well, unfortunately it largely isn’t and only lasts around six hours. During the game, players will be given a multitude of missions that range from beating up ten guys to beating up fifty guys. There are a few decent boss battles thrown in, but players will mostly spend their time beating up the same group of enemies over and over in enclosed environments. Speaking of which, there are times when the player is required to advance from one area to the next and it literally consists on jumping from one highlighted obstacle to the next. In addition, the combat itself is basic as well consisting of mashing a light attack button in combination with a heavy attack button. While there are strings of combo moves to execute, none are ever needed to be used as button mashing is sufficient enough to advance the campaign.

The upgrade system for the powers is the only RPG element in the game. Even this is straightforward and simple with players just gaining experience to upgrade powers from one level to the next. It doesn’t ever get more intricate or deviate from the simple formula. There is an option for a new game plus to keep upgrading powers, but throughout the first play through most can be acquired and no upgrade is worth another play through since the enemies don’t provide any kind of challenge. When taking into account all of this and the lack of choice impacting the story, there really isn’t much replay value offered by X-Men: Destiny.

One of the saving graces of this game is the myriad of additional powers and costumes players can collect and equip during the experience. Specific genes and costumes can be collected and used that are tailored from existing X-Men. For instance, Pyro’s genes can be used to equip players’ attacks with burn damage or Iceman’s genes cane be used to give players more defensive abilities. Also, costumes work the same way. Players can use Juggernaut’s or Wolverine’s costume for not only buffs but new abilities depending on the choice they make. While this provides good fan service, these choices of additional powers are almost purely cosmetic. The enemy A.I. is so dumb and unvaried that almost no tactical play is required. Players can slice and dice right through whatever the game throws at them. The power system basically comes down to deciding which color the player likes best to destroy his/her foes.

In addition to all of these flaws, X-Men: Destiny from a graphical perspective looks downright dated. Character models are representative enough of the X-Men, but the textures are dull and the frame-rate is choppy in many instances. The environments don’t ever stand out and the whole presentation is lackluster. Overall, it looks a marginal step-up from last generation consoles. The sound doesn’t help matters either, as powers rarely sound impactful and the voice-acting and music are average at best.

Unless you are a hardcore X-Men fan, there is very little reason to pick this up, and even they might not be too pleased with this. There are so many bad design choices throughout the experience that fan service only goes so far. The repetitive missions, dumb A.I., shallow combat, and ugly visuals cannot be ignored. Perhaps the game could’ve been marginally better had it been left in the oven for longer, but honestly a complete overhaul is needed here to do justice to the X-Men name.


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Author: Sean Mackey View all posts by

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