Shrouded in low review scores, we're taking on Silicon Knights interpretation of the X-Men to see if the majority rules.
Becoming “the voice of reason” you will be zapped into an alternative take on the conventional Uncanny X-Men. In this world Professor X is no more. Killed by a powerful robot hybrid character named Bastion, the world falls divided into another mutant/human war. On the human side we have a group called the Purifiers who are trying to exterminate the mutants with force. However, the bandaged X-Men and the Brotherhood put aside their differences to joining forces and fight back against this common foe. Since you are fighting the same antagonists, Silcon Knights boasted feature of choice comes with limited results aside from playing a few select missions. There are truly no consequence to picking either the X-Men or the Brotherhood. Choosing Magneto (Brotherhood) or Cyclops (X-Men) is nothing more than a smoke-and-mirrors appearing as free will. Foiled, "Destiny" will still satisfy comic-book fans who simply crave more X-Men. The tale has its moments that is best when you meet up with other super-heroes. If anything, X-Men: Destiny is conceptually fresh, which is worth something.
After the opening cinematic you will be put on the spot to pick the mutant who will full fill his/her destiny. The three choices are the mutant loathing Adrian Luca who seeks revenge for his father's murder. A “Purifier” Adrian is a soldier fighting for the pure-blooded humans. Grant Alexander is the classic jock character who is clueless when it comes to the mutant/human conflict, only wanting to play pro football. Aimi Yoshida (from Fuji, Japan) is probably the most interesting character. Aimi was smuggled out Japan by her mutant parents before her family was rounded up and incarcerated in the new mutant camps. Frightened and exasperated Aimi looks for some guidance in a world filled with madness.
Adrian was my first pick, mainly because his character sounded the most complex. Playing a mutant hater is odd direction and one that I haven't explored before. For all the slack the narrative is receiving it has its moments, even if it's not totally exploited. Silicon has a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to pausing the action in mid-chaos, however it is just a shame that the engine under the hood is extremely dated.
Electing your characters powers is one patch of “choice” that works. Introduced through pop-up screens you will need to pick from an assorted bunch of powers. For a quick look at a few of the powers, I'll skim over the first three choices. “Density Control” - the ability to control the density of one's body mass. Used to render the body indestructible or influence a part of the body into an obsidian state. Super-human stamina is also a side affect letting you endure attacks from large groups. “Energy Protection” is the power to project blasts with your hands acting like conduits for this raw energy. Laser hands, ya, its fun. “Shadow Matter” - the facility to command unseen dark matter around your body. With this you can craft indestructible blades out of nowhere, which also boosts one's reflexes, speed and attacking precision. These powers might not be as clearly defined as the pre-made cast of mutants, but its good to feel apart of creating your own super-powers.
Secondary, you have X-Genes and suits (a very lame attempt at suits) that power you up in different ways. The X-Genes are basically copies of other mutant genes incorporated into your chapter, of this 3 can be equipped. For examples you can have heavier hits with the Juggernaut gene. Absorb energy with the Cyclops gene, or even gain an extra bar of heath thanks to the one-and-only Wolverine gene. It's an interesting concept, although no explanation is given why your character has the ability to use this wide range of powers. Additionally you can upgrade your core power(s) with XP earned from battle. The entire system is basic, sadly, not much imagination was used here.
Behind the diluted impression left by the narrative is a standard beat em' up affair. Silicon doesn't nothing spectacular to make X-Men: Destiny stand out. The combat is repetitive and dull, lacking any innovation to stack up to other games. This follows suit with the level design that is your standard run of the mill droll. Really, you've played this game before, it just had a different coat of paint. The more I played X-Men: Destiny the more it reminded me of “Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects” another excellent concept that never reached its full potential because of the engines inaccuracies.
A shining light in all this dull design is the inclusion of several Marvel Comic characters that either pose as your friend or foe. Enveloped into the mix are known characters like Iceman, Toad, Quicksilver, Emma Frost, Mystique and Nightcrawler, along with some less known mutants like Forge, Pixie and Pyro. The Marvel licence really saves this project from being a total throwaway. Based on the core beat em' up combat, it would have been a complete failure. Having a collective group of mutants like the one in “Destiny” might be enough for some Marvel die-hards, but you likely won't be overly impressed on their direction with the licence.
I wish it wasn't true, but X-Men: Destiny is a dud. A great licence with a good/experienced writer has been wasted with some uninspiring combat and a smoke-and-mirror feature set. It's been awhile since we have recommended you skip a X-Men game, but in X-Men: Destinys' case, it is for the best. There are better Marvel/X-Men games on the market, so save some bucks and look for a Ultimate Alliance or two.
Similar Games: Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (7) | Marvel Ultimate Alliance (8)