X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Uncaged Edition) – Review (Xbox 360, PS3)

Wolverine is a 3rd person action game, reminiscent of brawlers of old, developed by Raven Software as a retail tie-in to the new Xmen Origins – Wolverine movie. It borrows heavily from other games, in particular God of War and Tomb Rraider, and as such isn’t going to win any prizes for originality but this doesn’t stop it from delivering a compelling experience.

This is an adult rated game, the opening video sequence definitely helps set this tone. It opens with Wolverine being stalked through a derelict looking building by some soldiers. Wolverine proceeds to take each of the men down one by one, stabbing and slicing heads, chests, arms and legs all in very gory detail. This is very much representative of the rest of the game, as it allows you to carry out all of these attacks, plus many more. One similarly violent section that I think deserves a mention is a scene where Wolverine lunges on to the front of a helicopter that is squaring up to him. After landing on the front of the craft, he proceeds to punch in the glass of the cockpit, grabs the pilot from his seat and thrusts his head in the rotating blades above resulting in a purpley, red cloud that will leave a maniacal grin on even the squeamish of faces. It needs to be congratulated on this realistic representation of what a man with giant knifes attached to his hands could do in the real world.

The games story follows that of the movie, as well as adding its own side plots in there too. It follows Wolverine at various points of his past, starting with an ill fated PMC mission in Africa, the adamantium being grafted to his skeleton at alkali lake and his journey to track down and kill the people that did it to him and killed his girlfriend. The Africa mission is revisited at regular intervals during the game, acting as an anchor that the future story arc keeps referring back to.
The games (fictional) cast contains a lot of family faces, the smooth talking southerner Gambit, the grotesque ‘Blob’, Victor Creed A.K.A Sabertooth (a.k.a Wolverines Brother) and the over-powered manmade mutant Deadpool (Weapon 11). A lot of these appearances could be called cameos rather than full fledged appearances because with the exception of Gambit and Sabertooth, they only serve as brief boss battles.

Whilst the sections where you are killing the games varied collection of regular enemies are great fun, the game pads out the experience with fairly regular boss battles with 2 different types of larger enemy. These initially seem like they could be quite interesting, but you quickly realise that both variations have the exact same attack patterns, and the method of attacking them is required, dodge when they attack you, jump on their back, stab them in the face, repeat 4-8 times. These sections are really disappointing, as they possess no real difficulty, and serve only to prolong the experience.

The game possesses a level of quality and attention to detail that is not usually becoming of a movie licensed game. This is no cheap cash in and according to many reports I have heard, it’s much better than the movie that it is based on, with many recommending skipping the movie and playing the game instead. This is praise that is usually unheard of, the only exception being, the recently re-released, Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.

The games graphics are a highlight, with the environments looking polish and detailed (in particular the opening jungle level). The graphical detail on the Wolverine character is extremely impressive, managing to capture the damage taken to clothes, skin and muscle tissue, right down to the skeleton and the subsequent regeneration. This feature never fails to be entertaining, although it can cause some confusion because during the in-game cut-scenes characters can be occasionally seen talking to a Wolverine with most of his face and chest missing as if nothing is out of the ordinary.

Overall

Overall I am very impressed by X-men Origins: Wolverine. It has a set a new bar for the average movie tie-in game, providing a solid gameplay experience comparable to AAA rivals, and despite some minor complaints about certain enemies and set-pieces, Raven have managed to deliver an enjoyable game, worthy of any comic fans money.

4/5

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~ by rusted3572 on May 12, 2009.

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