A lot of games these days strive to give the player the element of choice (or at least the illusion of it), be it in an attempt to create an elaborate and deep storyline, or simply for the sake of replay value; X-Men: Destiny, however, grants the player the worst choice of all – a meaningless one. This super-powered action title isn’t much more than a boring, generic beat-‘em-up where the player’s actions have little to no impact on the world around them, or the storyline. X-Men: Destiny proves without a doubt that cool superpowers are simply not enough to create an engaging and fun experience.
It’s a bad time to be a mutant. Professor Xavier is dead, and the X-Men are fighting a losing battle against both the Brotherhood and a new group of mutant haters called the Purifiers. In an attempt to win over public opinion, the X-Men team up with the MRD (Mutant Response Division) and conduct a peace rally in the memory of Charles Xavier. When the rally is attacked by an unknown force, the main character’s latent mutant powers manifest themselves in a moment of mortal danger. Both the identity of main character and its powers are determined by the player. First you must choose between three different characters, each with its own uninteresting and irrelevant back-story, and then decide between three different powers that will allow said character to bash into submission the waves and waves of enemies the game will throw at it from that point on.
Which power to choose is probably the most important choice in the game, as each power is built around a different play style. Density control is slow but powerful and precise, shadow matter is faster with a wider range, and energy projection is for those who prefer to attack from afar. They may at first feel a bit similar to each other, but each power evolves in a different way, offering some much needed variety in this otherwise very monotonous game. Too bad you can’t say the same about the other choices the player faces in X-Men: Destiny. For example, it’s possible to choose helping the Brotherhood every single time and still be welcomed by X-Men, or keep making X-Men choices and still face off against Wolverine. Apart from giving slightly different variations of the same mission, the choices you make are absolutely meaningless and have no impact of the plot or the events in the game.
Although the different mutant powers are fun to try out and explore, they still can’t break the monotony of the combat. Defeating the swarms of mutant-haters that come charging mindlessly at your character is a simple matter of mashing the same button over and over again, regardless of the superpower you’ve chosen. To make things even easier, each new power can be upgraded to deal more devastating blows or add an area of effect, reducing the combat to a mere chore even on the hardest difficulty. There is some occasional variety in enemy types in the form of a flamethrower-wielding brute, or a small mech, but they too become as predictable and as easy to defeat as their lesser counterparts. Boss fights are no different; most of them fall into the dodge-then-hit routine, and even the bigger ones are just a matter of memorizing a very simple pattern. This takes all the fun out of many of the fights against famous mutants, and completely diminishes any sense of accomplishment the player might feel after defeating them.
Your main character can also be customized with special suits and X-Genes you collect during the game, or earn in special challenge arenas. The genes fall into three categories: offensive, defensive and utility genes. Each gene acts like a power-enhancer and grants the character a new ability or bonus. Offensive genes usually grant added damage to each strike, while defensive ones add extra armor. Equip all three genes of the same mutant and wear the matching suit, and you can trigger X-Mode. For example, if you collect all of Iceman’s genes and suit, your character’s body will turn to solid ice, offering more protection and the ability to instantly freeze enemies. Each mutant has its own X-Mode, so experimenting different combinations can be fun until you find the one that works for you. Unfortunately, the reason the main character can use other mutants powers is never explained in the game, and instead of a strong and well defined identity, your character just feels like a mishmash of other, more interesting mutants.
If the boring combat and lackluster plot is not enough to deter you, it is worth mentioning that X-Men: Destiny is one ugly game. Everything about the graphics looks outdated, be it the blurry textures or the simple, under-detailed character models. The environments themselves aren’t much better, and while more detailed then the characters, they are still boring and uninspired, leaving you breezing through them without paying them much attention. The voice acting does support some better talents, and all characters are well voiced and are nice to listen to, even if the dialog is shallow and does little to immerse the player in the experience. All in all X-Men: Destiny is such a disappointing game that even fans of the Marvel comics won’t find any reasons to try it. If you’re seeking a way to shut down your brain for five or six hours, then that’s something the game can help you with, but there are many better ways to do so than waste your time on a game that’s destined for failure.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.