Developer: Raven Software
Bringing the well-known comic book team to video game format has previously been hit or miss (mostly miss). X-Men Legends scores a win with its combination of Street-Fighter button combos and special powers with the experience gaining type story progression that has been the groundwork for most RPG’s.
Those familiar with the X-Men universe will be familiar with the general story backdrop of good mutants vs bad mutants vs all of mankind. Based out of the X-Men Mansion, you accomplish missions with up to a four-man X-team. As you progress, team members gain experience which can be spent to boost certain disciplines and powers, making them all the more ass-kicking. X-Traction points in each level allows swapping of team members as different missions are best accomplished by utilizing the different fighting techniques each mutant possesses. But since the game doesn’t ‘demand’ certain characters, you’ll find yourself sticking to a basic four as once you’ve invested into getting a character powerful, it makes no sense to swap them out with a less powerful one. Small design flaw there, as all characters don’t get their fair screen time.
The graphics are standard fare with some exceptionally rendered cut scenes. Rendering the characters in a cell shaded style against the regular destructable environments was an original touch and makes it easier to distiguish between characters. Which is often hard because of…
Camera angles. They are awkward and clunky (top down, angled top down distant and angle top down close). It’s impossible to see down the hallway or street so you are forced to deal with whatever you can get on the screen. That’s fine for standard turn-based RPG combat, but when it’s real time button combo fighting, a better view of the playing field is necessary.
But aside from the blatant bad choice in camera work, the game play is involved (rpg) and addicting (combat), even with the standard (yawn) story line.