X-Men: Next Dimension

Review

posted 11/14/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
A couple of years back Capcom released an excellent fighting game called X-Men: Children of the Atom. By injecting the Marvel franchise with a heavy dosage of Street Fighter, they made a highly successful 2D fighting game that eventually spawned a sequel. Recently, Activision acquired the rights to make games based on some of Marvel’s most prominent franchises including the X-Men series and went on to release a 2D fighter titled X-Men Mutant Academy. While it received mixed reviews, it apparently sold well enough to spawn a sequel that went on to garner some more mixed results. Now the third entry steps up to the plate in the form of X-Men Next Dimension and not surprisingly, it too arrives with mixed results.

The character selection is huge as nearly every single character in the X-Men franchise is represented. Mainstays like Cyclops, Wolverine and Storm are here as well as less notable characters such as Forge and Phoenix. Instead of just throwing the gamer into a boring single player experience against the AI, Activision instead opted to go with a story mode that has a structure and purpose. It features some pre-rendered sequences to go along with some top-notch voice acting. It’s not exactly the best thing to ever happen to fighting games but it does give the single player experience a direction and a goal. Oddly enough the main focus is on a character named Forge as opposed to one of the core X-Men, oh well.

You’ve got the usual assortment of modes available at the start, Vs. Arcade and the aforementioned story mode. In this game, two combatants duke it out on X-Men themed battlefields. Battle takes place on 3 planes and the control is very much akin to Tekken. You’ll have two punches, two kicks as well as a counter and throw button as your disposal. There are Street Fighter-esque moves at your disposal such as projectile attacks that require you to input the fireball/quarter-circle motion. Control is pretty bad, however, as it often proves to be far too sluggish to keep up with the action. It’s often difficult to perform moves such as Cyclops’ eye-beam (which requires the fireball motion) because the timing of the game always seems to vary.

Same goes for general combat in the game, large combos can be performed with minimal effort. The game requires very little skill or precision when it comes to inputting commands. If there was ever a game that could fit the bill of the stereotypical button masher then it would have to be Activision’s X-Men Next Generation. Everything just seems to happen on an entirely random basis, combos occur just by pressing every single button at your disposal. To test this out I had my friend’s three year old nephew try his hand at the game and surprise, he was pulling out 5 and 6 hit combos simply by smashing all the buttons on the controller. Most of the combat in the game seems to fall into this trap.
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