X-Men Legends II - Rise of Apocalypse

Review

posted 11/18/2005 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PSP
There is no doubt that certain genres are getting a lot of play on the PSP.  If you're a fan of racers and action games then Sony has you covered, but things aren't as rosy for those who gravitate towards role-playing games.  Thankfully Activision has a few superheroes that are ready to save the day.  It might not be the turn-based RPG some have been longing for, but X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse should satisfy just about anybody who is craving an exciting adventure. 

Before we get too far into this review perhaps you should know a little about my background with the X-Men.  I'm not your traditional X-Men fan, I've never actually read any of the comic books and have really only seen the first two movies.  I've seen the various cartoons they've had in the past, but I'm not the type of person you would want to ask if you needed to know something about this comic series.  In a lot of ways I'm nothing more than a passing fan, I enjoy what I see but do not seek this stuff out.  But I do know a good game when I see it, and X-Men Legends 2 is one heck of a good game.

Despite not knowing much about the mythos of the X-Men I do know one thing, Professor X leads the good guys and Magneto fronts those who oppose the X-Men (and everything they stand for).  So even I was intrigued when I realized that for this game both the good and bad sides were teaming up to fight something much bigger and stronger.

The idea of having the good guys team up with the bad guys is not only a fun one, but it actually serves to create some fun dialogue between the characters.  It also allows you to create a large variety of teams, something that ultimately helps to keep the game fresh as you go through its lengthy story.  These two teams obviously don't like each other, so working together can be volatile at times.  But it’s the constant bickering, funny insults, and name calling that keeps this otherwise simple story going.

That's not to say the story is bad, it's just not as fleshed out as most role-playing games you run across.  The plot involves the two groups of mutants teaming up to take on the extremely powerful Apocalypse and his (wait for it) four horsemen.  These extra powerful mutants are ready to destroy just about everything the X-Men love, from the jungles of Genosha to their base/mansion to an entire city (sorry, New York City).  It's up both the X-Men and the Brotherhood to destroy these horsemen and fight the ultimate baddie.

To do this you select a team of four characters to go off on this dangerous adventure.  Since you're not limited to only good guys you end up being able to mix and match a wide assortment of interesting characters, each with their own strengths and mutant abilities.  Obviously the game features the most popular characters, like Wolverine and Gambit, but it also has a number of characters that don't get the same kind of play.  You can choose from such characters as Bishop, Iceman, Juggernaut, Nightcrawler, Scarlet Witch, Storm, Sunfire, and Toad, just to name a few.  It's worth mentioning that this PSP version features four additional characters not found in the console versions, including a personal favorite of mine, Cable.

After you've chosen your team it's time to get out there and kick some butt.  X-Men Legends 2 is an action-RPG, with the emphasis squarely on "action."  Even though you have four characters, you only have to control them one at a time.  As you run around fighting whatever gets in your way your backup team will follow suit and aid in your quest.  Thankfully the three guys fighting alongside you are pretty smart; they do a good job of healing themselves, fighting other enemies, and just about anything else you could want from them.  The good news is that if you don't like how they act you can always tweak them to your liking … or simply switch to another character and do the fighting for them.

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