X-Men: The Official Game PS2 Review

If you want to slice some enemies up with Wolverine’s sharp claws, teleport and bamboozle your foes with Nightcrawler or surf across a path of ice with Iceman then this is the right game for you. On the other hand if you were hoping to fire bright optic blasts with Cyclops or send thousands of deadly volts through your enemies with Storm then you are sadly out of luck (well, sort of).

Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Iceman are the only playable characters, a paltry three X-Men does seem a rather small number, although at least some effort has been put into the game to make things fun and each character is worlds apart from one another, assuring that a identity crisis doesn’t cause uproar amongst the legion of fans. Sometimes you are given AI assistance from other X-Men and are even given a little control over them for some instances, raining down lightning bolts using Storm for example whilst controlling Wolverine.

Wolverine is the first character to take centre stage in the game, and you’ll soon learn that old school enemy bashing with very little depth to speak of is the order of the day. Sending enemies flying with Wolverine’s claws is certainly good fun, and this certainly accentuates these sections, as does getting angrier with every blow thrown or exchanged resulting in an explosion of rage, which turns into speedier and more powerful attacks. When we took control of Nightcrawler and Iceman though, Wolverine’s sections suddenly took a bit of a dive.

Nightcrawler is the German guy who can teleport and make his prey rather dizzy in the process, and this has been successfully translated to the game. The blue-skinned mutant is slickly animated and traversing the levels is a joy as his signature teleportation ability regularly comes into play. Teleporting behind unsuspecting enemies and across gaps is as enjoyable and as effortless as it should be. Much credit must go to the development team for assuring that the game allows anyone to reach for their controller and subsequently become a superhero without having to be loaded to bursting point with gaming knowledge.

Finally there’s Iceman whose levels are very different again. Surfing across ice at speed and avoiding obstacles is another enjoyable gameplay dynamic, that is occasionally frustrating thanks to the rather low number of checkpoints. Iceman and Nightcrawler are certainly the most interesting heroes, whilst Wolverine is enjoyable enough to play, he just seems a little ordinary in comparison to the disappearing Nightcrawler and the subzero surfing Iceman.

The plot of the game is staged between the two sequels to the first movie, and noteworthy is that the game doesn’t use any FMV sequences, settling instead for some rather underwhelming and dated stills. More importantly, you’ll find out exactly why Nightcrawler is absent from the newest movie.

If you decide to stick with it there is some extras to unearth upon seeking out pick-ups scattered across the games levels, which unlock bonus stages and extra character costumes in turn. It’s an admirable attempt to extend the longevity for what is a pretty short game, but most will probably find something better to play once the story mode is done and dusted, as it’s certainly not the greatest title on the shelves by a country mile.

As said throughout this review, the game does offer a lot of fun, but it does feel a little soulless and empty at the same time, and like it was always designed as a quick cash-in to accompany the latest movie. It’s not all barebones, but it’s certainly lacking a spark that could have lifted it above all that we have mentioned, as we feel it’s a game that could be easily forgotten and drowned in the sea of superior products.