Movie licensed games always suck. Right?
This rule almost always proves itself over and over again. Just recently, Riddick was re-released, giving me hope, reminding me that sometimes, movie licensed games can be good.
Raven Software, who are basically veterans in the world of game development, commented on their game in a recent trailer saying, “Finally, the movie-game that doesn’t suck”. They seem pretty confident in the games quality, but we hear that kind of talk all the time, so I took a look for myself to see if a miracle could possibly happen twice.
Claws, check. Clever one liners, check. Let’s do this, bub.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine puts you in the shoes of the almost semi-indestructible fan favourite, Logan AKA Wolverine. The game follows the same story as the movie, although the developers have changed quite a lot to accommodate the needs of a videogame.
God of Claw
So to not beat around the bush, I want to get straight to the point.
Origins is a complete and unashamed clone of God of War, except that you control Wolverine, and you aren’t in Ancient Greece. Now, I would love to say that this is a bad thing, but God of War rocks and everyone loves Wolverine, so it actually does sound kind of awesome no paper, now doesn’t it?
Besides the ability to use different weapons, the game really does play out like God of War in many ways. You unlock new skills that can be upgraded through experience points, and also get ‘mutagens’, which you can put into limited slots to give you certain boosts as well as a rage bar that fills up, allowing you to use special moves and powers.
Thankfully, there are basically no Quick Time Events at any point in the game, although you will have a few areas that require you to bash on a button.
The puzzle and platform areas from God of War are also there, and will have you breaking from all of the action every now and then to push statues onto floor-plates to open up other doors, climb walls, swing from ropes and and so on.
The controls are pretty standard to what you would expect from the genre, and the camera behaves surprisingly well, which is usually where titles like this fail so badly.
Since Wolverine is able to regenerate, the healing system seen is so many games actually makes some sense. Since they can’t have you indestructible, what the developers have done is given you a health meter, as well as a vitals meter. Lose health, and you can regenerate it again, but lose all of your health bar, and your vitals start taking damage. It works out well and makes decent sense considering.
As far as visuals are concerned, the game makes pretty good use of the Unreal Engine 3 Technology, but it is also the graphics that make you begin to think that maybe the developers were a little pushed for time when making the game.
Certain levels can be drop dead gorgeous, with huge open areas and great visual effects, while some others, as well as some character models will make you think the opposite.
But the main issue is that the framerate can suffer quite badly from at times, and you never really feel like the game is running really smoothly. This can be a little bit of a bother, considering that it is a game that is packed with action and fast movements although at the end of the day it doesn’t hamper the gameplay badly, so it’s nothing to really worry about.
Those Big Claws Ain’t No Joke
While the film has a PG-13 rating, the videogame is rated Mature, and rightly so, because it is incredibly violent. If you have ever wanted to see what Wolverine really does with his claws, then this is the way to find out. Blood sprays, heads fly and limbs get lopped off quite frequently.
There is also a cool effect that has been added thanks to the allowed violence. When Wolverine takes damage, it shows. If you become riddled with bullets, swords and explosives, your body will start ripping apart, and huge chunks will even start to go missing. So much so that at times when a lot of big weaponry has been thrown at you, you will look more like a few large chunks of meat attached to an adamantium skeleton than anything else. The body then regenerates, closing up holes and wounds, which is very nifty, especially when you fully regenerate and the only thing left of your shirts is the bits going over your shoulders.
The sound is pretty standard, so nothing special there and while there are some big names from the film doing the voice acting, it’s nothing special and a lot of characters do not sound (or even look) like their film counterparts.
Anyone who is not completely loving the idea of controlling Hugh Jackman will be happy to know that throughout the game you collect little Wolverine figurines, which open up bonus battles that allow you to play as the classic wolverines, such as the yellow and blue, yellow and tan outfits, and even his black uniform from his X-Force days.
In conclusion, I actually have to say that I was fairly surprised by Origins. It has it’s problems, so don’t think that it doesn’t, but at the end of the day I realised that I was having fun, and that’s the point of gaming isn’t it? The game is also quite lengthy, taking around 12 hours to complete, which is a lot better than the 6 hour romps that are becoming too common these days.
PS3 owners do have God of War III to look forward to, but if you can’t wait any longer and need something similar to quench your thirst (for blood), this might do the trick. Xbox 360 owners will not be able to partake in the next God of War game, so if you want something similar, you got it. Either that or you can wait and see how Bayonetta turns out.
I’m actually a little sad that the game is rated M, because it means that a lot of younger gamers will not get to play as Wolverine and kicks some serious butt, in a way that I would have loved to when I was a little tike watching the X-Men cartoon on Saturday mornings. Too many of the combos and elements of the game are reliant on the violence factor, so it is unfortunate that the violence could not have been optional.
Too many casual gamers are duped into buying terrible licensed games that leech off of the hype and popularity of their silver screen counterparts. At least this time around, when they do, they will get something decent instead of just another quick cash-in from a publisher.
Reviewed on Xbox 360.
Just like God of War, mashing buttons and mixing up combo’s is always fun.
Good looking, but lacking polish. Choppy framerates can be quite a bother.
Nothing special here. Voice acting could have been much better considering the talent.
A decently lengthy campaign, with the option to go back and collect all the unlockable costumes as well as hidden dog tags.
“I’m the best at what I do, and what I do isn’t very nice.”
Last Updated: May 4, 2009