X-Men: Destiny • Page 2

Sleeping mutie.

I haven't the foggiest why mutants' genetics and clothing are strewn about San Francisco, but it quickly becomes apparent that X-Men: Destiny isn't concerned with immersion or logic. It feels more like a modern successor to arcade beat-'em-ups like Turtles in Time, only with lots more customisation.

On that level, X-Men: Destiny is good fun in spite of itself. It doesn't have the tightest controls, enemy AI is all but non-existent and battles are incredibly repetitive, with most of the game locking you in an area until you kill a set number of foes.

Yet there's a certain charm to accessing new powers and slaughtering bad guys in fresh ways. Abilities are doled out with such regularity that you likely won't stick with the same loadout for long and rearranging various mutant modifiers gives the combat just enough flexibility to remain engaging throughout the game's scant, seven-hour campaign.

Beyond that, X-Men: Destiny does an exceptional job of forcing players to try different arrangements on subsequent play-throughs. At a few key instances, you're given binary choices between new attack powers. You can never have both, since they occupy the same controller inputs, and the options change based on which core power you picked at the beginning.

To further ensure that no two play-throughs are ever alike, the x-genes that you find are entirely randomised: you might discover Toad's defensive x-gene during a boss fight only to get a 'game over' and have it be replaced with Iceman's offensive modifier on the next run. I don't think it's possible to collect every x-gene in a single play-through, and varying the order in which you acquire them encourages repeat players to grow accustomed to new options.

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I can't look at this guy without getting severe douche chills.

There are other, non-combat choices to be made as well, but these are underwhelming. Each character has their own back-story, though it hardly influences the proceedings. Most decisions come down to whether you'd like to align yourself with the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Mutants. This affects the story somewhat, but has disappointingly little consequence overall. It's also questionable when the first optional Brotherhood mission has you take out a gang of Purifiers to save mutant hostages, which is exactly the type of thing the X-Men just commended you for doing.

X-Men: Destiny is a terrible game in most ways. It's an ugly, stupid title that's shoddily constructed. And yet, it gets the most important thing right: crafting your own mutant works due to finely tuned balancing, and tough choices coupled with haphazard item acquisition ensure that the focus is squarely on that.

Those expecting a well told, immersive X-Men experience will shudder at its chunky character designs, shabby presentation and stilted dialogue, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy myself with it.

Unlike movies, it's rare that games are so bad they're good. The rubbish ones are usually so unplayable that they're not worth plodding through. X-Men: Destiny is the exception that gets just enough right to be fun, while being sloppy enough elsewhere to be good for a laugh. It's the best kind of disaster.

5 /10

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About the author

Jeffrey Matulef

Jeffrey Matulef

Contributor  |  mrdurandpierre

Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

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