Don't Get X-cited

The latest X-Men game, X-Men the Official Game is nothing but a disappointment. Much like the movie, hardcore X-Men fans will be left wanting more and gamers will merely be left bored and unexcited. Featuring only three playable characters, Wolverine, Iceman and Nightcrawler the game progresses quickly with a story that ostensibly takes place between the second and third movies. Ostensibly the story is so muddled and uninteresting that it's hardly even there.

The gameplay controls are relatively simple but the game's difficulty is essentially non-existent, with experienced gamers being able to play on the hardest levels within a half-hour of starting to play. The graphics within the levels are pretty good, although as far as X-Men games go the powers are relatively limited, you end up with only a few combos available to you and the enemies are still easily defeated.

The cut scene animations are truly poor, with still-image voices overdubbed-although the voices are the actors from the movie with Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Shawn Ashmore among others "appearing"- you'll want to skip over them immediately. While other X-Men, games (X-Men Legends I, II) provide at least options with the various mutants' powers, there are only four categories of upgrades, and within a few levels you'll have maxed out if you're playing on the expert difficulty setting - after that, its level after level of essentially button mashing until an unsatisfying conclusion. The bosses are easily defeated and mostly just consist of you chasing them around, hitting them, chasing them some more, hitting them again and then they die. Exciting? No.

Die-hard X-Men fans may still purchase it because of the name, but there is unfortunately nothing more to offer beyond the franchise name. The only highlight of the game is playing as Iceman, creating ice-bridges and flying around the skies shooting ice shards. The gameplay for Iceman is actually very enjoyable, but when those levels are done, you're left with the rest of a generic game. Once in levels, you are stuck often for 3-4 levels as one character after you initially choose (between Wolverine and Nightcrawler, Iceman's missions are completely separate) and with frustratingly simple and uninspired levels this can fairly be cruel and unusual punishment.

There are few other bright spots, Wolverine's rage ability unleashes some awesome attacks, but the rest of the time he feels rather pedestrian - something that should never be associated with Wolverine. Otherwise with no real combos to speak of, relatively simple yet dull fighting and a story that has too many holes to keep even the most dedicated X-Men fan involved X-Men: The Official Game leaves you bored and frustrated. If the movie didn't exist, neither would the game-no big loss there.

X-Men: The Official Game is available for Gamecube, PS2, X-Box, X-Box 360 and PC all with little variation and discernable differences in graphics and gameplay quality.

Gameplay: 5.4
Graphics: 7.1
Sound/Music: 4
Overall: 5.1
Learning Curve: about 30 minutes
// Score of out 10 //

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