X-Men Origins: Wolverine • Page 2

Should we call you rubbish, Weapon X?

The bad thing about it - and the bad thing about the game in general - is that you have to do it so, so often. Raven works harder to encourage you to diversify as you progress, but there's only so much the enemy variation can do in the context of such relentless, thoughtlessly dense and overlong level design. For example, the second phase of the Alkali escape, post-adamantium, is nearly half an hour of constant fighting over snow-covered, identikit hills and frozen lakes. I had killed 1000 enemies by the time I made it out of there, the game informed me. Most of them fell the same way, and without much rest in between, in environments that all looked the same.

To try and alleviate this some more, Raven goes for an RPG-lite levelling system that funds a non-linear skill tree, enhancing various strengths across your repertoire, but with enemy strength and volume scaling upwards accordingly, the implications are practically non-existent. Mutagens, too - vaguely hidden status buffs you can affix to one of three unlockable mutagen slots - are difficult to appreciate.

The non-fighting bits do a better job, but only relatively. There's quasi-Tomb Raider platforming, and push-the-crate, flick-the-switch and move-the-power-core puzzling, but it's incredibly basic stuff. There are various hidden extras, too, like action figures, glowing bodies with XP-boosting dog tags, and Doom III-style laptop audio recordings, but exploration would be a strong word for the act of locating them: they're generally in-line, or through the one door that doesn't lead onto the arena you're obviously going to do battle in next. Some of the cut-scenes are quite stylish, but they're mostly events from the film (judging by the Wikipedia entry anyway - I haven't seen it!) re-clothed and relocated, like Kayla's speech about the moon.

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The frame-rate on the PS3 version (reviewed) dips so often you wonder if it's preparing something special for you. It isn't. The regular pauses for "streaming" messages seem to defeat the point too.

The game's perhaps best summed up by the mini-bosses, and the way they're utilised. There's Wendigo, and a rocky Leviathan, and quick-time-event helicopters, and the other mutants. Wendigo and the Leviathan are the same thing: dodge one of two or three telegraphed attacks and then lunge onto their weak spot and slash away a dozen times before leaping clear to avoid being grabbed. Repeat four or five times. Victor Creed, to pick the first mutant battle, can be dealt with by repeated lunges followed by backward dodge-rolls to re-sight the lunge. He gets three full health bars the first time, each with no hint of the next.

On paper, there should be lots of options. In practice, there aren't. The little tactical variety available to you is quickly overwhelmed and forgotten by sheer and exhausting, if not nauseating repetition. And it's worse for you - I had the added incentive of getting to the end, at which point I could write it up. You have no excuse: the story's tissue-paper thin, the progression system's anonymous, and any sense of spectacle in the environments is ravenously devoured by the greed of their duration.

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I haven't seen the film, but I adore Liev Shreiber. That is all.

The sad thing is that this is actually quite a good film-to-game transition compared to most. There's no multiplayer, and negligible replay value (you'll get enough repetition out of the game anyway), but the combat is empowering and canonically appropriate, and the regenerative health system and checkpointing is sufficiently forgiving that you should have no trouble playing through it without recourse to purple words. Had Raven managed to gather the one good idea and the few half-decent ones here together over a shorter course, and made more of an effort to mix things up, I might actually have liked it.

As it goes, I'm almost grateful they didn't. X-Men Origins: Wolverine may be unapologetically violent, but it's also unapologetically repetitive, and it's the one apology that needs to be made. Over and over again, please. So if you're reading this in 2015, and you're just now in a position to buy it, don't. You've got better things to do. After all, you're probably a mutant yourself by now. Go stab something.

5 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net scoring policy X-Men Origins: Wolverine Tom Bramwell Should we call you rubbish, Weapon X? 2009-05-01T00:00:00+01:00 5 10

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