Game Review: X-Men Destiny
Developer: Silicon Knights
Available Platforms: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
When Professor X died and Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngster was destroyed, the mutant race was at a crossroads. On one side, Cyclops leads his X-Men into the light, as allies of humanity that can peacefully coexist. On the other, Magneto has seen where this war will go, and is ready for homo sapiens superior to rule. When a battle breaks out at a rally alongside your new mutant abilities, you don’t have long to decide; will you join the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Mutants? Be careful, as your decision might change the fate of the world.
X-Men Destiny, in many ways, is a single-player take on the X-Men Legends gameplay. Only taking on one character at any given time, you go through a mostly linear storyline, fighting and jumping your way through. As you play, you level up your mutant abilities, gain new ones, and awkwardly, dress as some of your favorite mutants and acquire their powers. With three playable characters and three power types to mix and match at the beginning, you could end up finishing the game as a Japanese teenager with shadow/Iceman powers, or a racist hick that can turn into stone and run at super speeds, or somewhere between.
What X-Men Destiny attempts to do uniquely is allow players to make decisions throughout the game, like BioShock or Mass Effect. When you talk to people in the game, you can ask normal questions related to the plot, but in certain instances, you’re forced to make a decision. Inevitably, these decisions are tied to becoming an X-Man or a Brotherhood of Mutants warrior. Additionally, four times in the game are you tasked with choosing your power set, and every choice blocks the others from your use.
While inevitably repetitive, the game’s combat engine can be fun. It works best when you’re fighting large crowds and using your mutant abilities to take out as many as you can. The story itself is not bad, but doesn’t offer as much selection as you’d think, as covered below. Voice acting and visuals are fine. On all levels, the game is approachable, entertaining, and effectively formed. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, there’s just nothing that’s too right about it.
The largest argument against X-Men Destiny is its lack of substance. Even if all three characters and power sets were vastly different, one run through the game only takes roughly six, maybe a few minutes less if you skip the challenge rooms. At most, you’re looking at a game that could possibly take 20 hours to completely master, but there’s no drive to. You can easily get most of the Achievements in one run (and can get them all by hunting and pecking back on previous missions), and even play out different outcomes at certain times, going back in time and choosing to help out the Brotherhood over the X-Men, picking a different power when faced with the option, or the like. The game is almost too helpful in letting you master it with one character, leaving the other two vestigial desires for those who are really immersed in the world. While the three characters leave more options open than choosing male or female Shepard in Mass Effect, the story is nowhere near as engaging, could roughly be blocked out as one issue per six-issue storyline per hour.
X-Men Destiny isn’t explicitly a bad game. It’s the best X-Men game in years. Still, it brings nothing new, and is so incredibly, short, repetitive, and linear that it’s a rental at best. The perceived notion of choice is too limited to be in a game that’s supposedly about your destiny as a hero or villain.
- Decent and concise X-Men storyline not restrained by comics or expectations
- Surprisingly linear, despite multiple options presented
- Can be beaten in a few hours
6 out of 10