In today’s world it always seems that people are only seeking the best of the best when it comes to video games. Of course this makes sense – I don’t know anyone that wants to purposely spend their hard earned money on a bad game – but at the same time many gamers miss out, especially when they hang onto the words of a reviewer (oh the irony!) or the utter simplicity of a MetaCritic score.
However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Sometimes a negative review can point you in the right direction. For me this is how the discovery of X-Men Destiny came about, and how even a very flawed game can feel more rewarding than the latest AAA masterpiece. Needless to say Destiny has its problems – some of them being more than obvious – but even as Angry Joe outlined them in his video review on YouTube the game still seemed like something I should check out despite his final six out of ten score. A six out of ten you say? Isn’t that the video game equivalent of the kiss of death? To some yes, but that’s not how I operate. That said, I can safely say I agree with Joe’s final analysis and that the game deserves a look from interested parties.
The combat in X-Men Destiny can be compared to the combat of other, more popular and polished games. You can unlock new skills through experience/items like Devil May Cry and God of War, but in general the game and its look seems to take a page from Dynasty Warriors. For some of those reading such a comparison is probably an ill-conceived introduction considering the semi-brainless nature of that series combat. This pretty much holds true for Destiny where the combat is so repetitive that it is almost akin to the two-dimensional brawlers on the original Nintendo like the arcade style Ninja Turtles games. Such an uncanny similarity and reflection is probably what kept me interested yet to most it will probably be the game’s biggest vice.
The rather simplistic nature of combat is what eventually turns the game’s second biggest problem into a virtue. With a campaign only lasting a mere five to six hours X-Men Destiny clearly can’t justify its initial retail price of sixty dollars since the gameplay is incapable of supporting a longer game. This doesn’t really excuse the shortsightedness on the part of the game’s developers but at least there isn’t an insane amount of padding. Additionally, I often find it nice to have a few shorter games on hand as I don’t always want to open a huge can of worms every time I play a game.
Still, the part of the game that really won me over was the presentation of the characters. I’m not really the biggest fan of the X-Men (okay, I really did like X-Men Evolution back in the day) so I’m not the best judge of character per say but I feel Activision did treat these well-established characters with the right amount of respect. There are some parts that stretch even comic book-like reality (I can’t really see a newly discovered mutant taking on a Sentinel one-on-one) but I was pretty pleased with the general direction of the story as it was enough to keep me interested.
So despite all the negative reviews I read on this game - after playing it – I’m glad I picked up X-Men Destiny. In some odd way it contains a dumb kind of fun that is easy to pick up and play. Again, I couldn’t imagine paying anywhere near full price for this title but at today’s used prices it’s sins can be somewhat forgiven and proves a game doesn’t need to be a masterpiece to be part of a gamer’s collection.