Raven Software returns after pressing hard at work on yet another Marvel game based loosely upon the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie.
The game literally throws you into the action – from a helicopter into the jungle. In typical Marvel fashion, things only get from bad to worse as you are attacked by "jungle soldiers" from all directions while you engaged in frantic button-mashing to determine what to do.
The cut scenes are extremely detailed, beautifully rendered and gory, although Wolverine kinda looks a bit like Michael Jackson on steroids, minus the freaky face mask.
There is something satisfying about cutting the limbs off a militant and watching him writher in pain after they tried – and failed – to pepper you with bullets just moments ago. Maybe it's just me.
Special moves activate depending on the combination of buttons pressed, which allows for some fancy matrix-esque finishing scenes. Enemies can be sliced, diced, thrown, slammed, stabbed and impaled. Those attracted to morbidity can experiment with decapitation by plucking pilots from airborne helicopters and lifting them into the rotors. Oh so morbidly awesome! One can start to see why this game got a strong violence rating.
While Wolverine was granted immortality in the movies, such an ability would make the game too easy. Instead, enemies can kill him by blasting away his flesh to expose vital organs. The sound of Wolverine's heartbeat gets louder and faster as damage is sustained to the exposed organs, indicating that you're closer to pushing daisies than you'd like to be.
But taking a quick moment to run around in circles during battle will allow Wolverine to recover health. While standing still, you can control the camera angle and zoom in to see Wolverine's flesh grow back as his regenerative mutant powers get to work.
There is a skill system which allows character customisation with a multitude of attack and defensive abilities. There are too many to list here, but as with most games that offer this much variety, you won't end up using them all. Most players will simply perfect a few skills and use them repeatedly to finish the game.
Wolverine learns new skills by killing enemies, however you'll likely be too busy fighting to stay alive to notice until after you're done clearing out goons. Luckily skill combos are displayed in the "game tips" menu.
Controls are simple and intuitive with a basic scheme for movement and attacking, however you'll likely find yourself ignoring the skills requiring obscure button combinations and sticking with the bare essential attacks. Still, you'll occasionally bust out a tricky skill and be left revelling in you accidental awesomeness.
If feeling confused or lost in the game, you can always use a handy skill called "feral senses" which guides you in the right direction to your next objective. Unfortunately, there are points in the game where you are stripped of your mutant abilities, leaving you thinking twice before walking anywhere.
The game runs smoothly at 720p, but after such a spectacular introduction, it is unfortunate that the in-game graphics just don't match up to quality of the cinematic cut scenes. There seems to be a lack of anti-aliasing in the surrounding environment, making the shrubs seem jagged and pixelated. On the bright side, you can leave claw marks over rocks and walls. There is also no installation required.
The game also features automatic checkpoint saves, without confirmation interruptions.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine provides solid game play, decent graphics and music which maintains the fast pace of the game going. The game supplies pounds and pounds of good old fashion ultra-violence with over-the-top super aggressive finishing moves on bosses, which is really quite fitting for a cigar smoking character that just oozes manliness from every pore of his body.
Wolverine proves to be another great game from the Marvel line-up, providing many hours of entertainment and challenges which would keep beat-em-up fans and possibly RPG fans happy.
To keep the perfectionists (or masochists) happy, there are trophies to collect and a check-list of things to do, prolonging the life of the game. A few notable ones are - "What I Do best" (Kill 2000 enemies) - "Drop Dead" (Killed 10 enemies by throwing them off high areas) - "Shotgun Epic Fail" (Killed 25 Ghosts with their own weapon, my personal favourite)
A final note - needs more Deadpool!