Reviewed: May 4, 2009
Released: May 1, 2009
Snikt! That is the sound of a very angry person that is about to impale, dismember, or disembowel you in oh about three seconds. I give you Wolverine, the coolest badass to grace screen, both the silver screen and the one sitting in my living room.
Activision, the leader in the superhero videogame genre, and Raven Software team up to deliver a true to character Wolverine. The gloves come off in shreds as Wolverine fights his way through one of the bloodiest titles I have ever played. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition, aptly titled as it is far bloodier and features some language than I never thought possible at first.
The game takes several cues from the movie of the same name. Though I must say that the while the movie was good, the videogame is a lot better. I had so much fun slicing through one baddie after another that I completed the game in less than two days. I’m also sure that I could fill an Olympic sized swimming pool with the blood that I spilled.
The storyline of X-Men Origins: Wolverine follows a non-linear path that contains flashbacks of the events leading up to the Adamantium procedure. Showcased in the flashbacks is Logan’s adventure involving the special team headed by William Stryker. The introduction to all these fine “soldiers” was better in the film, but you get to meet them throughout the game, including someone that I didn’t expect to see.
Players can choose two different methods to play this bloodbath. You can either choose to go with the keyboard and mouse or you can use an Xbox 360 controller (or some other compatible gamepad). Of the two a gamepad is the easier way to play, at least for me. The keyboard controls can be a little tricky to use but they are doable, but it’s easy to see this game was designed for a gamepad.
Combat consists of light and heavy attacks that can be strung together to unleash some much-vented anger on anyone that gets in your way. There are several different types of enemies ranging from half cyborgs with shields to machete wielding jungle men, to government GHOST soldiers that can go invisible.
While you might think that this newest addition to the X-Men franchise is a simple button-masher, like past titles to carry the name, you would be mistaken. Given the various number of enemies that the title contains it takes a bit of strategy to target the greater threats first and decide how you approach each enemy. One the same note while there are several enemies types available to fight they do became repetitive after four or more hours.
Amidst the small human sized fights are some truly epic battles. On the small side there are the W.E.N.D.I.G.O. prototypes and Leviathan (fire golems). There are the major boss fights including Deadpool and Victor Creed. But perhaps my favorite battle is the one against Gambit, which was truly one of the better fights I’ve ever had a chance to play in a video game. I’ve played several good boss battles over the years but fighting on top of a neon casino sign with nothing but a small catwalk underneath was really cool. The true epic fight in X-Men Origins: Wolverine is with the towering Sentinel though. I sat there before the fight going “no way” and as soon as the fight started I felt very humble.
Despite X-Men Origins: Wolverine being a fairly straightforward hack ‘n slasher, there is the underlying character stat improvement system. This is where you can upgrade your rage, claw damage, and other assets to your attack repertoire. This is a nice feature as the enemies grow increasingly numerous as the title goes on. Along the way you will also collect Mutagens that will allow you to customize Wolverine to your own liking and play style.
There are also several hidden collectables such as dog tags and a few Easter Eggs such as a particular hatch, a birthday cake and a WoW reference. While none of my actions garner me any achievements finding the Easter eggs was rewarding enough. Contained throughout various levels are hidden Wolverine statues that will unlock three bonus challenges that pit you up against three different versions of Logan from the Marvel Universe. If you are successful in each challenge you unlock that costume to use.
Graphically, X-Men Origins: Wolverine ranges from the simply amazing to fairly average. Perhaps it was the obvious deadline to get this game out in time of the movie, but for the most part Raven did an impressive job. There were several memorable kill animations and the real time healing was just amazing. The level of detail contained in every layer of skin, muscle, bone and organs was just unbelievable. I found myself purposely hitting explosive objects in a cleared room just to watch the healing happen.
I also like the attention to details as far as Wolverine interacting with the world such as claw marks in the walls and objects that I happened to come in contact with while decapitating some random bad guy. I do agree with my colleague about the white shirt that magically shows back up after every cut scene for the most part. But somehow that jacket stays intact while he’s wearing it. I also had a few graphical glitches here and there, but not in the Gambit scenario that has apparently been plaguing a lot of people.
The cutscenes are also a very major highlight of X-Men Origins: Wolverine as I have not seen that level of violence in a FMV since well… it’s been a while put it that way. This is the unabashed Wolverine that we know and deserve. It much more violent than the movie, so even if you let your kids see Wolverine in theaters, this game might not be the instant crossover purchase for younger gamers. For the record again, this game isn’t a Saturday morning cartoon and it deserves every bit of that “M” rating. Parents be warned.
The sound effects of X-Men Origins: Wolverine are quite frankly, awesome. Every bloodletting slice of Logan’s claws into human and mutant alike is satisfying and the metal on metal effects is very good. The rest of the sound effects from the enemy forces are believable and is complemented by a good voice cast. The music keeps with the classic X-Men themes that we are used to, which is nice. The environmental ambience is also a big plus especially in the African jungle. I also have to complement Raven on the bits of fan fare via the work logs spread through out the adventure.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine has a lot to offer to players. It took me nearly a half a day’s time to get through it and you bet I’ll be going back for at least a couple more servings of diced bad guys. The combat is satisfying and the story is intriguing. The character enhancement system and strategy needed are a nice touch and adds move depth to what could have been another hack n’ slash. The unlockable bonus challenges are a trip and a half to say the least, but very cool. The PC version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition retails for around $40 dollars at most retailers and has some surprisingly modest system requirements, but the game does scale in quality the more power you throw at it.
To put things very simply, X-Men Origins: Wolverine –Uncaged Edition is the best X-Men title that I have ever laid my hands on. Fans wanted a true to character Wolverine and Raven gives us (yes myself included) what we deserve. Will the “M” rating alienate the majority of the franchises younger audience? It’s possible but there are the other less graphical versions on the other systems out there.
If you are like me and I’m sure there are a lot of you, then seek out the Uncaged Edition versions. I like the new Wolverine through the good and the bad. The game is not perfect but it’s a very good start. I recommend X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition for the PC to anyone wanting to take a walk on the wild side. Step aside Saturday morning cartoons, there’s a new Wolverine in town and he’s not happy.