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X-Men: Legends
game: X-Men: Legends
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
date posted: 12:00 AM Thu May 27th, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Thu May 27th, 2004

By Eric Bodrero

Let me start by saying how blown away I was at this year's E3! The music, the lights, the people (read: booth babes), the noise, the activity, the freebies, and most importantly, the games! Sure, the hardware is always cool, but gamers know it's always about the games, and there were plenty of them to get our dirty little hands on. One of the first games I experienced was none other than X-men Legends by Ravensoft. This awesome little action/RPG will be one hot commodity once released. Wait a minute. Did I just say RPG? You better believe it! An X-men RPG the likes of Baldur's Gate! And boy oh boy does it look amazing. Now I'll admit, I knew next to nothing about X-men Legends going into E3, but all that changed once I had a chance to talk to one of Raven Software's and X-men Legends programmers, Dan Vondrak.

The first thing I noticed when I saw Dan playing this sweet chunk of digital joy was that he was actually controlling four different player at once! By far the most unique feature of X-men legends is the four player, real-time switching?, said Dan Vondrak.

Holy crap! Real time switching? This is X-men, and I'm switching players on the fly in real time? Believe it. While playing your main character, the other three follow you and fight right along side of you. I know what your thinking. Big deal, right? I can switch players in a lot of games, you say to yourself. Yeah, but have you ever switched from playing Wolverine to Nightcrawler on the fly, then suddenly teleport Nightcrawler through a wall while holding onto Wolverine, then do a combo between Nightcrawler and Wolverine to absolutely crush a giant sentinal? I didn't think so.

In X-men Legends, you start with six different X-men to play with, and eventually end up with a whopping fifteen, including Wolverine, Colossus, Cyclops, Storm, Beast, Nightcrawler, Phoenix, Gambit, Magma, Iceman, and several others. You unlock different X-men according to the dialog you choose. Each player is fully upgradeable via xtraction? points. Xtraction points are like your mana. You can purchase different items with these points to upgrade your X-men with. Very nice.

Each character starts the game with one superpower, then gradually gains more as they are unlocked throughout the game, and each player has one Xtreme version of their superpower as well, which enables the character to do massive damage. X-men also have standard, upgradeable stats and passive skills as well like Leadership and Critical Strike, like in any standard RPG. However, in X-men it's extremely cool because, for example, in a player like Colossus, who is already very powerful, you can designate a few extra points in speed. So what you end up with is a very speedy Colossus who can destroy just about anybody. Now we're kicking some tail!

So, how does the game look and play? Like crystal. Honestly, you graphics hounds have nothing to fear. Throughout all of the chaos and mayhem going on in the game, I never once experienced a single hiccup or slowdown whatsoever. The cut scenes, such as the one I witnessed which introduced Blob and saw him grabbing hold of some enemy soldiers and tossing them like rag dolls, are of superior quality and very well done. Every model, including enemies, was animated fluidly and smoothly. Superpowers must have been using a tremendous amount of graphical prowess, and for awhile my vocabulary was restricted to things like ooh? and aah? and wow? and nice!?

As an added bonus, the story in X-men Legends is being written by Joe Casey, who helps write the X-men comic books. This was music to my ears, and at that point I was sure this game was going to be something special. This is sure to please any X-men fan.

I was especially delighted to here Dan talking about the length of the game. Expect 20-25 hours of playing time at least?. At this point I could hardly contain my giddiness, and I truly must have looked and sounded like a giant nerd. But hey, I'm comfortable with it.

The sound is incredible, from laser blasts to superpowers, and from menu navigation to the music. All dialog is spoken voice-over with subtitles. I didn't get a chance to hear very much of it, but with such stars as Ed Asner, Lou Diamond Phillips and Patrick Stewart at the reigns, it should be nothing short of fantastic.

This game looks and sounds unbelievably polished already. Everything from the 100 levels, including a tutorial level to help get you started, twenty bosses, including Juggernaut, Magneto and Blob, four player co-op (no live though), superior voice-over, upgradeable characters, real-time switching on the fly, and at least twenty-five hours of gameplay, X-men Legends looks, sounds, and feels like a sure-fire hit. And with four or five more months to go before its release, it can only get better. Look for X-men Legends sometime this fall on all platforms.