X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber
Platform: XBox 360
Developer: Raven Software
Release Date: May 1, 2009
As much as I hate to go all cliche on you guys, it feels like this has to be mentioned every single time you’re dealing with a movie-related video game: they just never seem to work. With video games based on movies, and with movies based on video games, on most occasions, you will find yourself disappointed. On some rare occasions, however, you do find one that works out, and this is the case for X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Keep in mind, this Wolverine game was in-development for quite a while by Raven Software, so while a good chunk of it inherited many components of the movie of the same name, the rest of the game follows a line that Raven had previously set. This along with the fact that the game runs a good 10-12 hours allowed the developers to make a movie-based game while still remaining as faithful as possible to this beloved character.
The game is set up in a sort of flashback style. The first level sees you running through the jungle after your helicopter goes down. After certain points throughout the game, you’ll find yourself back in the jungle again while recollecting what happened then. Surrounding the various jungle level flashbacks, you’ll find yourself escaping the Alkali lake facility, inside of a Cybernetics lab, outside Alkali lake, and many other locations. One of the cool features of the game is Wolverine’s ferel senses. With these senses, if you’re ever stuck or curious, you can turn them on and catch a scent on which direction you need to go, see objects that are of importance or are dangerous, and also which things in a location you can use against enemies.
Along the way, you find all sorts of crazy people, soldiers, creatures, machines, and bosses. You’ll learn basic combat moves to start, and as you progress you will find upgrades and skill points that you can put toward making yourself bigger, stronger, and much more deadly. Some of the enemies will be tough to beat without a certain move or attack, so knowing them all and not just button-mashing will help out big time. Combat with certain lower-level enemies will seem tedious as times, but again, if you learn all of Wolverine’s slick moves, you’re able to find creative ways of dispatching them. This is helped by all kinds of interactive elements within the game such as trees, statues, forklifts, and many other things that you can impale enemies on; something that’s helpful when you’re looking at a large number of difficult baddies to deal with. In terms of boss fights, it takes a while to get to the good stuff, but it’s worth it. Toward the end you’ll get to throw down with Blob, you’ll take part in an epic battle with a Sentinel, another rather epic battle with Gambit which spans a whole level, and then of course your little spats with Victor Creed and Weapon XI.
The combat and cut scenes are one of the major positives in X-Men Origins: Wolverine due to their level of violence. The very opening cinematic is so bloody-gory fun, it sets the tone for what becomes an ultra-violent game, and a dream-come-true for Wolverine fans who have been simply dying to see the mutant take on his true, dark form. Even after hours of violent deaths, I would find myself surprised or sickly amused with a new death that’s introduced. And let us not forget Wolverine himself: a mutant known for his regeneration abilities. Throughout the game, you will be riddled with bullets; slapped with explosives; buzzed by lasers; and even impaled on occasion. With all of these things, you will see the damage on your body, whether it’s just bullet-wounds, or even half of your torso or face blown off to reveal your adamantium skeleton underneath! Yes, it’s as gruesome as it sounds, and yes, if you watch it afterward, you will slowly see your wounds heal themselves. That was a very cool addition to the game that won major points in my book.
The game has some hidden goodies and extras along the way as well. There’s little figurines hidden all along the game which unlock the ability to fight a classic version Wolverine (such as the iconic blue and yellow suit look), and if you beat him, you obtain the option of using that look. The developers even added a little humor along the ride: I found the hatch from Lost, and a sword from World of Warcraft, both of which give you amusing achievements.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn’t the best game ever made, and it may not be for everyone, but the great thing is that it doesn’t TRY to be the best game ever…it embraces the type of game that it is and does a great job. It has been compared way too many times, but I have to follow suit as it’s the best example: this game is very reminiscent to God of War. The style of gameplay, the combat, the environment styles — they all work in a similar fashion. If you’re into that kind of game, then Wolverine is right up your alley. If you like to run along and face endless hordes of enemies and test your combat and combination skills, this is definitely for you. Hell, if you’re even just curious, it’s worth picking up and taking for a spin! Oh, and I can’t even begin to explain how much better these games are when you get the actual actors from the movie to voice the game. I know you can find similar voices that work well, but the familiarity goes a long way.
Most importantly, this is a game for the Wolverine fans. Finally, you have a form of entertainment that shows the dark, violent side of the character that you very rarely get a piece of in motion pictures.
Go forth and unleash your furies, and let your blades drip red with the blood of those who stand in your way.