Our favorite Marvel mutants are back fighting the forces of
Evil in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. This time around, due to the incredible
threat posed by the titular villain, the X-Men join forces with Magneto and his
Brotherhood of Mutants for some serious hack-n-slash action-RPG superhero
goodness. And there’s quite a bit of
goodness packed into this latest outing by Activision.
While things have been polished up a bit, Raven Software
hasn’t really changed things much since the original X-Men legends. Players still control a team of 4 mutants as
they chew their way through jungles, ancient temples, and devastated
cityscapes. In single-player mode, the
player directly controls one of the heroes while the other 3 remain under the
control of a fairly competent AI. A
quick press of the D-pad allows players to instantly change mutants, making it
quite simple to switch back-and-forth between the various characters for that
precision application of mutant powers. And
while the controls are quite simple in their layout, combat is actually fairly
complex for an action-RPG. Various kicks
and punches can be strung together to make special attacks, such as trip
attacks and uppercuts. Special attacks
and powers are hot-keyed to the D-pad, ready to be unleashed when combined with
a shoulder-button. And even with each
character fielding up to a dozen powers apiece, it’s still quite simple to swap
out the hot-keyed powers on the fly. Overall,
combat runs fast and furious, which is the perfect feel for the Marvel
Not only does the game play well, it looks good, too. Using 3D cel-shaded graphics to great effect,
the X-Men and their enemies really capture that comic-book feel. Watching the mutant powers splash and explode
about the screen is quite enjoyable. The
camera work is decent, but it does suffer from the usual hang-ups of the
occasional odd angle or too-close zoom.
The sound isn’t as good as the graphics, but it’s not lagging too far
behind. My biggest gripe with the
technical side of things was the lengthy load times in between, well, just
about everything. Since the game
essentially takes place in a series of modern-day “dungeons”, moving from area
to area via teleporters or X-traction points can bring everything to a halt for
10-20 seconds. Even opening up the game
menu snarles everything for a few moments longer than necessary.
Minor quibbles aside, fielding a team of X-Men and
Brotherhood agents is a complete blast.
Players initially have 16 playable characters to choose from, with many
of the old favorites making their appearance.
Players can play through the entire game using only one single team, or
they may choose to swap out characters and mix-and-match on a
mission-by-mission basis. Characters can
even be swapped out in the field via the X-traction points. Certain teams just work together better than
others, so assembling the correct combination of characters can give an added
team bonus, such as increased damage or resistances.
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