X-Men Legends (GameCube) Review

By Mark Sedge 16.10.2004

Review for X-Men Legends on GameCube

Going on previous X-Men titles, Legends was always going to have a hard time to change the wind. Average beat 'em ups weren't supposed to work with X-Men, but RPGs?! You must be joking, surely? Nope. In a complete turnabout, Activision has put a substantial amount of time and effort into injecting a franchise with new life. Does it give us the ultra mutant goodness we want or do we merely get flashing blinks? Read on to find out...

Rather than focusing on one on one fights and stealth, Legends centres around the team aspect that made the X-Men great in the first place, allowing players to take control of their favourite heroes. The idea is sound; you can have four X-Men on the team with their unique powers, strengths and weaknesses and this introduces a tactical element.

Having a real-time combat system in an RPG is fine, but you need to get it right. The combos are there, subtle differences between character's attacks are there and by combining these with your mutant powers, you can do some inventive and enjoyable fighting, but it sometimes feels forced. More often than not, you'll be accompanied by a team of either CPU or human controlled characters, which is where problems start. The AI (throughout the game, not just your allies) is questionable at first, but then you realize that they tend to act like 2-bit cows asked to run a government. They'll get in your way, in the way of your attacks and get themselves killed trying to attack enemies without you either being able to do anything or not even being able to command them.

Screenshot for X-Men Legends on GameCube

Things in co-op are a bit better: the challenge is higher and more engaging; you can pull off better combos and even get tactics involved if you have more than 2 people playing (get your sibling to be your decoy! Excellent!). Unfortunately, the game doesn't fully take advantage of the co-op setting in the main game, there's no puzzles, or at least none requiring a days meditation and you can't split up and tackle a large level separately for example, instead having to cope with waiting for the second player to catch up after getting caught on stairs. The design of the game is also quite linear and limited at times, which is slightly disappointing considering that the game is about adapting and customisation, but otherwise it pulls off, but only just.

Looking into the engine pushing the game, it feels a bit sluggish. The loading times are frequent, but thankfully not too long, but it still feels like the GameCube is being held back somewhat. The frame-rate drops considerably when there are about five enemies on the screen and the graphics, while in the same style of the comic books, are a bit lacking when it comes to the characters (you need to see these guys in conversation, it's like the Thunderbirds, where the person talking jiggles about spontaneously) and the textures and range of colours start to irritate after a while. Sometimes it feels levels are blurred and obscured, while some others look quite decent. Across the board, they are satisfactory (at least the camera behaves itself), but by no means excellent.

The game's finest hour is its sound quality throughout. The music suits the levels perfectly, rising and changing during heated battles and there are some good themes. The voice acting is superb; there are a few famous faces behind the characters (both from Star Trek, including Captain Picard himself, Patrick Stewart!), giving them each a unique identity that can be recognised, and they're all clear and stay faithful to both the cartoons and the comics, and are really enjoyable to listen to, from Wolverine's dry sense of humour to Iceman's constant flirting. All in all, this game is excellent for your X-Men nut, with tons of secrets, such as comics, character bios and a story made for the fans. We just wish that there was more to the game itself.

Screenshot for X-Men Legends on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

While not being a disaster, Legends can start grinding nerves because of its numerous flaws and oversights, which is a pity because working as a team from a gameplay perspective, especially in co-op, is an intuitive idea. Hopefully the next time will see an improvement in the way it is executed.

Developer

Raven

Publisher

Activision

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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