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X-Men Destiny - Wii Review

Game Info
X-Men Destiny

Wii | Activision / Silicon Knights | 1 Player | Out Now
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16th November 2011; By Patrick

Silicon Knights used to be what you'd call a top-tier developer back in the days of the Gamecube. They created
Eternal Darkness with Nintendo, and they made the Gamecube title Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes as well, which were both critically acclaimed and well-received titles. Then they created Too Human for the 360, which was plagued with mundane problems to the point of being near-unplayable. They're back again; this time with X-Men Destiny for the Wii, PS3, and 360. Guess which game it's closer to?

    I want to make one thing very clear here: my review policy is to complete every game I play before reviewing it, if possible. If not possible, then my review usually explains all the problems with it. The reason I say this is of course because I was not able to complete this game. I tried, and I tried, and I've been trying ever since before the game even released, but it was no good. I'm here to tell you why.

    First of all, I assume the game is a short one for one simple reason. Along with my review copy, Activision was kind enough to send over a disc that contained PR information about the game, and within it was a mini-walkthrough Review Guide, that at the end said, "Congratulations! You're now 25% of the way through the game!". I didn't get past the part about two paragraphs from the end or so, so I'd say I got about 20% through. It took me about an hour and a half, and having played through another (much better, but still bad) version on PS3, I can say that the game lasts six hours. Keep in mind this is a well-budgeted, full-price retail title.

And now for the crème de la crème, as it were. I'm just going to say this straight off the bat: the game looks hideous. I'm one of those people who strongly believes that graphics don't matter, but this is inexcusable. The way the characters move is reminiscent of a
budget game from the Nintendo 64, while the textures look like a homebrew Gamecube project. The mouths don't even open. Not even once. Even worse is when the camera focuses on the face of the "speaking" character to emphasize their facial expression, even when they look completely dead.

    The game contains three storylines of three different characters, but the story is mostly the same throughout. The three characters themselves are mutants that have just woken to their new powers, although their personalities are all bland and their stories are boring and lifeless. The three characters have different stories, and each character has three ability sets. And so while the game encourages you very heavily to play through all three story missions, there is no incentive to change the fighting style once you find the fighting style that is least painful for you. And in fact, there's no reason to change the character either, as they are all as dull and boring as the last.

The main story is about your character facing a "moral dilemma" between joining either the X-Men or Magneto's Brotherhood, although this is laughable in regards to gameplay. As you make your "touch moral choices" [sic], which incidentally are as deep as choosing the portrait of the character you want to side with. no real changes in gameplay happen; just who talks to you more when it's done. The story is told in a completely linear fashion, with most of the gameplay consisting of moving from point A to point B and beating up any enemies along the way, and supposedly ignoring the fallacy that you're trying to make humans
not be afraid of you by beating them up.

    The Wii version is also the victim of several flaws that may not be present in other versions. One such flaw is the camera, which makes me laugh just thinking about it. Many low-budget in-game cameras will get caught on walls or something, which is very frustrating. This camera gets caught on your character, zooming in on their hair or something and then remaining stuck there. At one point the screen even literally went pitch black for a few seconds while the action continued, then resumed as if it never happened.

    The other major issue present in the Wii version is the control scheme. I don't know why it forces you to exclusively use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but there are simply not enough buttons for what the game is trying to make you do. The Control Pad on the Wii Remote is used far too much, with Up being lock-on (which does nothing, I might add), Left and Right manipulate the very limited camera when it's not caught onto something, and the Down button is your block -- something critical for strategic gameplay. The A Button is attack, the C and A Buttons together is a heavy attack, B is jump with B and A being a ground pound, and dodging is done with waggle.

    As you progress throughout the game, you will gain Mutant Abilities (power-ups for your character) and X-Genes (abilities of other X-Men that you can use), and not only are descriptions of the abilities extremely inefficient and vague, the X-Genes also get used up after individual usage. And because the controls weren't complicated enough, you have to use Mutant Abilities while holding down the C button and selecting from the D-Pad, and X-Genes by doing the same with the Z button. If you confuse them, there's always the chance that you might waste a highly important X-Gene like Regeneration (your only method of healing) so you need to be careful!

Another component missing from the Wii version -- for seemingly no reason other than they couldn't be bothered to incorporate it in all versions -- is the difficulty level selection. You're on one difficulty, whether you like it or not, and it's also extremely inconsistent. The game starts off as a simple enough Beat 'em up, and remains that way throughout normal combat. But the second you enter a boss fight, they will kick your behind to high heaven, making you retry over and over -- especially the Gambit fight which I could never get past. Oh, and did I mention you can't skip cutscenes? So if you die at a boss, you get to re-watch the cutscene. Again. And again. And again...

    As far as the audio is concerned, the voice acting is dry and poor, with some lines being completely out of place in both tone and script. The music is grating at best, and I would recommend playing the entire game mute if the game had subtitles. Actually, if you mute it, you might have more fun with it. Who knows?

    Miyamoto once said that the most important part of the game is the first hour, as it should show you what the game is truly like, and since then, I have always valued my first impression. The way I see it with X-Men Destiny, there are two scenarios. The first is that the entire game is at this level of "quality", in which case this is possibly the worst game I've ever played. The second is that the game gets better after a while, in which I must say "Shame on you" to Silicon Knights for making that part inaccessible. I really wanted to like this, but I have no choice but to assume the first, and thus give it the following score.

00/30 - Catastrophic

Gameplay 0/10 - All aspects broken, controls so bad they're almost painful, linear structure from point A to point B, most useful abilities are one-use only
Presentation 0/10 - Graphics are inexcusably terrible, music is awful, voice acting is just plain bad, camera completely broken, textures are abysmal
Enjoyment 0/5 - None to be had, controls ruin experience, difficulty completely unbalanced, game doesn't want you to do well
Extra Content 0/5 - Main game in three parts that are each awful, no extra content to speak of, moral choices provide no gameplay variation at all

Equivalent to a score of 00% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by Patrick

X-Men Destiny
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