Cert: 16
Platform: PS3, XBox 360, Wii
Genre: Fighting / Beat-Em-Up

Watch The Trailer

Developed by Silicon Knights X-men Destiny puts you in the role of one of 3 new mutants thrown into a war between mutants and an anti-mutant faction called the Purifiers. Professor X has just been killed and a new push for peace has begun between humans and mutants, but everything falls apart when the Brotherhood of Mutants attack a peace rally. Purifiers start rounding up mutants and throwing them into underground cells and you're off on a mission to rescue your fellow mutants and figure out who was behind the attack.

Your choice of characters are Grant Alexander, a naive college freshman, Adrian Luca, the son of a Purifier raised to hate mutants, or Aimi Yoshida, a Japanese girl sent to America by her parents for reasons never really properly explained. Their voice acting ranges from passable for Adrian and Grant, to laughably bad for Aimi. This girl has lived in Japan her entire life, but speaks English like Japan and San Francisco are the same place in the X-men universe. There's a decent number of canon X-men and on the whole their voice acting is pretty good - Magneto did sound a bit strange but Gambit's Creole ramblings are great.

After picking a character you choose 1 from 3 sets of powers: Energy Projection (Lightning Balls), Shadow Matter (Heightened Reflexes and creating weapons from thin air) or Density Control (A rocky outer coating to your skin and slower but brutal attacks). Things start off slow combat-wise with just 2 attacks but as you wade through Purifiers you gain experience points to spend on unlocking combo abilities to add new and more damaging attacks. There's also the X-genes, extra abilities linked to one mutant that you can use to buff your attacks, speed, special attacks or health. If you manage to collect the 3 X-genes and the costume of a single mutant then you unlock another special power but that's so hit and miss I wouldn't be relying on it. In two play throughs I managed to unlock only one and though each of the 3 X-genes were useful on their own, the special power the suit gave was nothing great.

Graphics are bit clunky, zoomed out they’re not terrible, but they’d look more at home in a previous generation game. There only appears to be one character model for each type of Purifier though so get used to beating up the same 7 guys over and over again. Zoom in and it all goes horribly wrong  - some of mutants are just plain bad, they all have bizarrely stiff facial expressions and wobble back and forth for no obvious reason.

With X-men comic writer Mike Carey being hyped as part of the writing staff there were hopes for a decent, or at least authentic story to this game. While it might be authentic the story certainly isn't good, and paper thin when it's even there. X-men good, Purifiers bad, Brotherhood somewhere in the middle. The game stops periodically to let you talk to one of the canon mutants but you'll learn nothing important from them except the missions they offer you. Some missions force you to make a choice between X-men and Brotherhood but since regardless of what side you choose the missions is “go over there and kill X purifiers”, the only choice you have is what kind of faction points you get. And on top of all that I've done several play throughs of this game and I still couldn't tell you what faction points actually do.

The story's pacing is awful as well. The whole game is at best 6 hours long and that's with quite a lot of messing around. There's 2 hours of the prologue, 20 minutes of a second act, and then the game spends 3 and a bit hours on fake endings, plot twists that don't go anywhere and giant robots. There's been claims that the developers ran out of money and just shipped what they had and it really feels like that's what happened here.

All in all, this is just a terribly marketed game. It's being sold as an action-RPG and it's really bad at it, there's no story and no reason to care about your character. But as a mindless piece of 6 hour beat em up fun it's a decent showing.

Rent or Buy: Rent
Graphics: 2
Gameplay: 3
Replay: 2
Average: 2

Review by: Tony O'Hare