The game also paces the levels of the characters that you don’t use. So if you’re exclusively using Wolverine through the first half of the game but want to switch to Colossus later on in the game, you won’t have to worry about him being behind the curve level wise. The downside of this is, that if you don’t use a character until later in the game, you’re going to be spending some quality time allocating points and equipping them.
You can break the character types into three main catgories: short range (Wolverine), heavy short range (Beast), and ranged attackers (Storm). You can play around with this dynamic a bit by playing with the individual characteristics of the characters but you’ll want a range of types in your team. The difference between the heavy short range characters and the regular ones is that the heavies can pick up other character and heavier items (yes, you can relive the Cannonball special with Wolverine and Colossus). You’ll need a good mix of types as some of the bad guys you’ll face in the game are resistant to certain types of powers. For instance, you don’t want Wolverine taking on characters that are resistant to physical attacks. You’ll want him to bypass those guys and hit the electrical resistant enemies while you have Storm or Jean Gray take out the ones that Wolverine skipped. It’s a nice mix and something you’ll have to keep an eye on as you progress through the game.
The powers themselves are excellent and spot on. In addition to melee skills, each character has two combat skills (one that does a lot of damage to one enemy and one that does a moderate amount to more than two enemies), a buff power (that enhances damage and defense), and an extreme power. Also, characters have slots to up their damage dealt in melee attacks (Iceman can add frost damage to his punches and kicks), increased energy and health, and some other interesting powers (such as Wolverine’s mutant Cop-out errr…healing factor). A neat twist in the game is that you can combine the powers of two X-men if you time the attacks right. For instance, you can have Iceman freeze an attacker and then have Storm zap them with a lightening bolt. You get the normal damage for the attack plus a bonus for the combo.
Your characters earn their extreme powers at Level 15 and each character has their own attack. Wolverine will attack multiple enemies in a room, while Storm will unleash a huge storm on everyone in the room. In order to launch an Extreme attack, you have to collect extreme points which are earned by finding them in crates or by executing combination attacks. Initially, you can only have one extreme attack at a time queued up but as you progress you will earn more slots up to a maximum of five attacks at a time. The Extreme attacks aren’t nearly as powerful as they sound but if you need to hit a lot of things in the room at one time it’s a good way to do it.
Level-wise, you get to explore everything from the Mutants home base Mansion, to the Weapon-X facility. In order to keep with the comic book thematic, the designers went for a cell-shaded look for the characters. Initially, it’s a little strange because the rest of the world is rendered in the traditional way which makes the characters stand out. I played the game in high definition through my X2VGA and I thought the game and characters looked great but I know that Charlie felt a lot of characters looked alike and that there were a few rough edges to them. The models don’t seem to have individual digits but it’s really only noticeable in some of the cut scenes.
Page 2 of 4