X-Men Legends II Rise of Apocalypse ReviewCain Dornan
The Marvel comic universe has played host to countless movie and game re-creations over the past few years. While the two large entertainment mediums did manage to play host to quite a number of solid projects that allowed super hero fans to see their favourite and much-loved superheroes being presented in a different medium, there have also been a fair share of dreadful creations that many fans would rather forget. Such a case has resulted in many gamers remaining optimistic as to the success of each new game that is based off of the Marvel universe that hits retailer shevles, as the risk of the game being a dreadful one is often quite high. While Activision and Raven Studios latest creation, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse is certainly not a failed attempt at further expanding last years new direction for the super hero franchise, it isnt quite an impressive title, either. The game offers some interesting aspects that will likely please almost any super hero fan, however, an often bland and repetitive gameplay experience manages to dampen the games world slightly. Its a type of game that, in the end, you either love or hate and thats what is often difficult about reviewing such games.
X-Men Legends II has incurred mixed opinions here at Gamer Within. While some of us have found enjoyment in the game, others, including myself, have found it to be a dull and largely uninteresting affair. While this may partially be due to my little interest in the X-Men world, the main contributor is the fact that the game simply does not introduce anything new. While the new art style does add slight variation from the countless other RPGs currently available, the gameplay offers little uniqueness and differentiation to make it a viable option for any gamer who has spent quality time with numerous other titles of the same genre.
The game follows on from its predecessor, putting you once again in control of up to four mutants at your command at any one time. After defeating Magneto, Professor Xavier and the X-Men return to the mutant base to relive their aching muscles and rest their feet. Their rest is short lived, as it always is, when the Professor detects a strange reading in the wilderness of Egypt during his usual routine exercise with Cerebro. The Professor decides to dispatch the X-Men team to investigate the strange reading while he attends the Convention for Mutant Awareness, where he and another mutant by the name of Polaris have been mysterious abducted. Naturally, it is up to the X-Men to locate and rescue Xavier and Polaris, and they soon discover that Apocalypse, one of the most powerful mutants in the world, is behind the abduction. Apparently, he is planning his own psychotic way of gaining more power by draining it from mutant victims, which grants him with new abilities and greater overall strength. In order to save Polaris and the Professor, all the while saving the world from complete domination by a psychopath, the X-Men must join forces with their hated enemy, Magneto, to bring the evil Apocalypse to his knees and destroy him once and for all. As always, this will be no easy task.
Switching between each character is assigned to the pad, allowing you to quickly and easily select your desired character that you wish to control at any time. General controls are basic and overly repetitive, requiring you to repeatedly tap two buttons to issue attacks or to perform power attacks that are specific to each individual character. The most problematic aspect of the controls is that there is little variation throughout the entire experience, with most enemies, including boss battles, requiring nothing more than blatantly attacking the enemy with little tactical requirements, as you are largely required to do nothing more than repeatedly tapping the attack buttons and dodging the occasional attack.
In addition to supporting a full, decent-length single player experience, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse also offers full two-player multiplayer support, allowing for co-operative gameplay through the different missions that are found in the single player experience. For those who would rather go head-to-head, there is also the Danger Room mode available for play, which allows you to participate in several versus events that include King of the Hill, Brawl and Last Man Standing. Its a solid lineup of multiplayer affair that does aid in providing a more enjoyable and interesting experience.
Cinematic detail in X-Men Legends II is of a satisfying quality, offering a pleasing mixture of good texture detail and quality lighting effects. Characters animate in a realistic fashion, with a range of different facial effects to further enhance character appearance. In-game visuals take on a much more comic book appearance, which is passed through to both the characters and environments. Although the in-game visuals do offer some pleasing style and simplicity, some blurry environment areas and often poor character detail is certainly disappointing. Great voice acting helps to cover the often ordinary in-game visuals.
In the end, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse heavily relies on your interest in the classic comic book super heroes in order to maintain your interest in the game from start to finish. Fans of the original will likely find plenty to enjoy with Raven Softwares sequel, as will true fans of the mutant freaks. Unfortunately, those who have little or moderate interest in the X-Men will be hard pressed to have any enjoyment with this latest title, as it fails to introduce any major new gameplay elements that set it apart from other RPGs and keep the interest high throughout the entire experience.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.