GamesCom 2011 – X-men Destiny hands on

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Its been quite a while since we’ve last played an original X-men game, and lately, Activision has been focusing a lot of effort onto bringing back superhero games. Activisions Derby Scott was on hand to show me the opening level of X-men Destiny, an all new adventure that puts players in the shoes of one of three brand new mutants.

“You’ve got three characters to choose from when you start, which is at an anti-mutant rally in San Francisco”, Scott tells me. “You can choose from Aimi, who was smuggled to the US by her mutant parents in Japan to escape the persecution that is being perpetrated there by the government, Grant, who is basically your muscle head jock who just at the rally to pick up chicks, or Adrian, a mole within the pro-mutant group who is there to stir up trouble. He also happens to be a member of the anti-mutant group, The Purifiers”.

“The thing is, none of those three characters know that they’re actually a mutant, who has yet to awaken their powers”.

I pick Aimi, who has become angry and bitter due to her isolation from her parents, when disaster strikes the rally. A huge explosion occurs, killing and injuring many people, while debris flies everywhere. A flaming car is about to smash into me, which is just the catalyst Aimi needs to activate her powers.

At this point, time freezes and I get a choice of three powers. “What you’ve got there, is density control, energy protection and shadow skills, Scott says. Density control is your usual melee option, makes you tough and strong and is great for beginners. Energy projection will allow you to blast away at enemies, while shadow skills is more nightcrawlerish, and lets you teleport around a map while summoning dark weapons with which to attack”.

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I skip the cinematic, to keep things flowing, which is something that Scott takes note of. See, this is what we’re talking about with choice. We’ve got a great story here, penned by X-Men Legacy writer Mike Carey, but for those of you who want to get into the action, you don’t even need to see it”.

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I choose Density control for Aimi, which allows me to shift my body, creating rock like armour with which to smash my way through anything. Its not long before I encounter some Purifiers, and I start combat.

The combat feels fast and free, and taking place on a 3D map, allows for some strategy with attacks. I block and parry, dodge as well as use some combos, and the combat feels solid, as well as hints at a few moves that are not shown in the menu. “The game is quite deep, and its not common for us to be surprised at what players come up with. They’re experimenting and using their powers in combos that we never even thought were possible”.

We move on further, and encounter some more purifiers, but this time we have some help from the super quick Quicksilver, a member from the Brotherhood of Mutants. “See, at this point, you’re still neutral in the game”, Scott says. “But you’re going to have to make a choice about which side you want to work for, whether its the Brotherhood or the X-men, and they’ll send members that will help you during missions”.

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“You’ll also face different objectives with each side, as the Brotherhood is more extreme, whereas the X-men want to protect everybody, regardless of mutations. Those decisions will impact on what powers are offered to you”.

With this combat section wrapped up, we proceed down the linear map, and pick up an X-gene, which belongs to the character Surge. Equipping it gives me a similar costume to hers, while also allowing me an enhanced dodge move that lets me electrically blast my way through crowds. “There are going to be plenty of those, and you can hotswop them any time in the game”, Scott tells me.

“Its a way of allowing you to still feel like an X-man, even though you aren’t playing as one technically”.

After a short scene that sees me use some new enhanced moves to launch enemies into the air, I’m going underground, teaming up with Emma Frost, and taking down more bad guys. “We really wanted to create a unique universe for this game, Scott says, and also make it worthwhile to play the game finished several times, as its really fun to collect all those powers”.

“Its a game for the fans and for those people who don’t know anything about the X-men, but most of all, its going to be fun”.

Last Updated: August 22, 2011

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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