my thoughts on whatever I may be thinking about and choosing to share

On the surface, this game seems like a great idea: cobble together a game extremely similar to X-Men Legends II except instead of restricting the roster of heroes and villains to traditional X-Men/Brotherhood-types, throw in the kitchen sink of Marvel paragons and ne'er-do-wells. And it's actually a terrific idea; the execution, however, falls rather short of its goals.

The plot of this game, that Doctor Doom has cobbled together a temporary alliance of supervillains to help him steal the power of Odin and conquer the universe, is both labyrinthine and rather generic. It's the sort of thing you'd expect from a game based on Marvel Comics, which has always won rather handily the battle between itself and DC for having the most crazy and weird stuff going on in standard books. If you think I'm saying this as some kind of DC fanboy, look up any article on a major or minor Marvel character (Spider-Man, Deadpool, Elektra, take your pick) on Wikipedia. If your head hasn't exploded like a hapless character in Scanners by the time you get to the end, you can say I'm wrong. Let's just say the game takes you to the following places: the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, Stark Tower, Mandarin's Palace, Murderworld, Valhalla, a Shi'ar spacecraft, a Skrull world, and Mephisto's Realm, among others.

So the variety of locales is great and the characters seem true to their comic-book counterparts. Where this game starts falling down is in the gameplay. In Raven's original game (well, the one that made it to PCs), X-Men Legends II, each member of your four-hero team could equip gear and modify powers as (s)he levelled up. There was a large chest that travelled with you from HQ to HQ where you could store extra gear your team couldn't carry. In addition, there were "store" characters from whom you could buy equipment and sell excess gear. While MUA adds the neat feature of allowing the player to create his/her own "dream team" of Marvel heroes with its own name and prestige bonuses, the gear and levelling functions are needlessly dumbed down by having EVERY character defaulted to "auto-equip" and "auto-level" and there's no way to change this global setting in the game's options menu. This seems like a strange concession to console players who may not like to tweak these items and aren't used to doing RPG-style configuration of characters (although this is configuration only in a very limited sense compared to a true RPG). Also, gear chests are gone. If you're carrying too much stuff, your only choice for disposing of items you don't think you'll use is to dump them using the "DEL" key (aka "Sell" button).

Far worse than these gear tweaks is the addition of absurdly-difficult "minigames." These are exercises in Simon-style button-mashing, where you have a very limited time to press the key whose image appears onscreen. These sequences range from three to five or more keypresses and if you miss one in the sequence, you start over. The first time I encountered one of these was fairly early in the game, when I'd defeated a couple of villains attempting a coup d'etat in Atlantis and I had to battle a Kraken. There are four pillars in the arena where your team faces the Kraken, and from each one you must launch your hero onto the Kraken and damage it using the Simon game. I almost quit playing the game when I ran into this. I went back and tried again later and I was able to advance. However, I eventually came to another such delightful "minigame" (there were several between this and the first, but this was the showstopper) where I had to direct Silver Surfer to slip around behind Galactus's head, thereby confusing him into exploding a ball of energy into his own face. Well, I succeeded at this one exactly one out of the four times that are needed to move past this insane boss battle. The thing separating this one from the others is that you have extremely little time between when the glyph representing the correct key appears onscreen and when you have to press said key. Frankly, my brain must not be wired to do this, because this sort of thing just feels like a cheap way of getting extra difficulty out of a game. I find the "mini-bosses who are immune to all damage until you use a certain combo to attack them" to be almost as tedious, and that's actually a holdover from X-Men Legends II.

So after getting through about 90% of the game, according to the FAQs I've seen, I'm stuck on the Skrull homeworld because my hand-eye coordination isn't fast enough for me to press a sequence of keys in rapid succession. Maybe I'm one in a million people who have this problem, but it reeks of crappy game design to me. It could just be that I suck at "timed sequences" in games. I got about five minutes into Ultimate Spider-Man because I ran into a difficult "chase sequence" with the Human Torch of the sort that I hated in the original Spider-Man game, which was, frankly, a fantastic game except for these aggravating chase sequences where you watch as the villain/rival in question gradually slips ahead of you until you've lost the game and have to start over from the beginning of the sequence. There's no way to skip those just as there's no way to skip the Simon games in MUA. It's too bad because the rest of this game is sufficiently fun and there's a lot of geek-factor enjoyment from being able to control the available heroes that I'd really like to recommend it. But I can't recommend it at this point to anyone who doesn't have the superhuman reflexes of someone like Deadpool or Daredevil or Spider-Man.


Comments
on Jun 28, 2008
me and a friend play this game on the pc, as soon as you use wolverine, you can pretty much get very very far into the game.
I never played X men legends 2, but i would love to for the PC. I don't know if i can still buy it anymore.
on Jun 30, 2008

elias,

Check eBay. I got my copy of X-Men Legends II on sale at Target a year or so ago. Target is a great place to find PC games on clearance for absurdly low prices. I've picked up a number of items (GUN, Warhammer 40K: Dark Crusade, NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer, to name a few) as cheap as $5 to $10.

It's true that Wolverine is a pretty potent tank character, but even he can't help you with the Simon games.

on Jun 30, 2008
@warreni

thanks for the info about Target.

As for Wolverine, you have to try him out during co-op mode. When your friend and all other characters dies, and your wolverine is the only one that is still breathing with healing abilities, you will hear your friends keep encouraging you to "shit, man, don't die, don't die". It was hilarious when me and a friend played it.
on Jun 30, 2008
If I remember correctly from playing this on the X360, a character with better agility (like Spider-Man) has more time to push the button on the Simon games. If you haven't tried that yet to get past the Skrulls, give it a shot.
on Jul 01, 2008

Piznit


If I remember correctly from playing this on the X360, a character with better agility (like Spider-Man) has more time to push the button on the Simon games. If you haven't tried that yet to get past the Skrulls, give it a shot.


Piznit,


I would try this, but on the Skrull homeworld, the game is scripted such that you have to use Silver Surfer (maybe the X360 version is different?). Thanks for the tip, though.

 

Meta
Views
» 1213
Comments
» 5
Category
Sponsored Links