Turmoil has erupted and the mutants find themselves in another battle for survival. In this alternative reality take on the classic X-Men franchise, Silicon Knights test their "Destiny" as future X-men storytellers.

It’s an alternate timeline in the X-men universe and Professor Xavier has been killed by the mutant hating cyborg Bastion. Turmoil has erupted in mutant/human relations and a group of highly armed mutant haters called the Purifiers have arisen out of the ashes of said chaos with one goal, to cleanse the world of mutants forever. The purifiers are indiscriminate with their hatred of mutants and do not care if they part of the X-Men, Brotherhood or simply a mutant civilian. To them, the only good mutant is a dead one.

In an attempt at peace, the remaining X-Men have teamed up with the government to hold a peace rally. During the speech, seemingly out of nowhere the crowd is mysteriously attacked by the purifiers and as a result, San Francisco has been turned into a warzone and left in ruin and fear. Since Magneto’s absence from the public eye after Professor X’s demise, many believe that he is responsible for the attack.

At this time, three civilians experience an awakening of new mutant powers. Your goal is to choose one of these new mutants to help fulfill their mutant “Destiny”. Will you choose the side of the X-Men and forge for a peaceful future for all humans and mutants, or will you choose to side with Magneto’s Brotherhood and strive for mutant supremacy over the human race.

Choose Your Destiny
Developed by Silicon Knights, X-Men Destiny is the newest addition to the X-Men game franchise. On paper, the story line sounds like a great opportunity to expand the franchise into a new direction with the introduction of three new mutants with newly acquired powers. “Destiny” promises to be an action game with RPG elements where you choose the path of your character and how the story will develop based the choices presented to you on your journey.

After the opening sequence, you are left to choose between one of the three new mutants.

  • Adrian Luca – The son of a mutant hater who wants revenge for his father’s death. Ironically enough, after the attack, he has come to realize that he has gained mutant powers of his own leading to internal conflict.
  • Grant Alexander – A jock with dreams of athletic glory, who recently decided to take mutant growth hormone in order to give him an advantage on the field. His dreams of stardom have now been replaced with newly acquired mutant powers.
  • Ami Yoshida - a seemingly normal teenager, who’s mutant parents smuggled her out of Japan on a ship to protect her from being thrown into a mutant concentration camp. She arrives in San Francisco in the middle of the attack on the rally. After the attack, she realizes she now has powers of her own.

After selecting your mutant, you are then given 3 choices to base your new mutant power on. They are, Density Control, Energy Projection and Shadow Matter. Throughout the game, you can further develop and build these skills, but to be honest, it’s a lackluster attempt at introducing some RPG elements. One interesting inclusion though is the introduction of X-Genes. When you meet other mutants along the way (which there are plenty), you have the opportunity to collect their X-Genes. Although it’s never quite explained as to where these genes come from or how exactly they help to meld your powers with another mutants, still they are an interesting element that is unfortunately underutilized. If you collect all X-Genes of a specific type, you can unlock the suite of that mutant. This way instead of having to collect more X-Genes to use that mutated power, you can use it throughout the game as long as you give that power time to re-generate.

Once you have made your choices, and actually start your battles, you quickly come to realize that choice and destiny are merely an illusion, and the gameplay itself pretty much linear. The environment is not open and you find yourself running into invisible barriers constantly. Realistically you are merely going from point A to point B led by glowing X’s to guide your way. It’s here where you find that the game is nothing more that a button mashing fighter.

The Recipe: Walk, Fight, Talk, Fight, Climb
The gameplay itself is quite repetitive and can be summed up as; walk this way, fight some purifiers, talk to another mutant, fight some more purifiers, climb a wall, repeat.

When you meet another mutant you are given several choices to converse with, but the choices mean nothing to the way the game plays out, and what you choose or don’t choose will not affect any part of the actual game itself other than simply being conversation about the storyline. In fact I found that it did not matter what character you choose, the conversations are all the same.

This illusion of choice is an ongoing theme throughout the game whether that be your choice of hero and power, or even the many conversations you will have with other mutants. These conversations could have been a great feature of the game if your only your choice actually affected the game’s outcome and branched off into different paths.

Another disappointment was the fact that it really doesn’t matter whether you choose to align yourself with the X-Men or the Brotherhood, the game still plays out the same with little or no variance. What happened to Destiny and choice?

The Silicon Wayback Machine
The introduction cinematic sets the game off to a terrible start that it never fully recovers from. The poorly drawn cell based frames that I imagine were the designers attempt at making the story feel like a comic book are more like story boards for an unfinished product. During this sequence, everything is stationary other than the panels sliding in and out, and the mouths of the characters who are speaking moving erratically (ala old school 70’s cartoons). Ironically enough, during the games 3D cinematic sequences, the characters are animated, but their mouths are not.

Seriously, 'X-Men: Destiny' looks like it should have been released 10 years ago (even for the Wii title) Not only are the graphics blocky and dated, but the games engine struggles with frame rates constantly. This is all mixed up with a horrible camera system, a deal breaker for any game and this one is no exception. All too many times you find yourself half inside a supposedly solid object or have an obstructed view of your character making it difficult to maneuver properly. This can be corrected using the D-pad, but it’s annoying and not something you should have to deal with in 2011. This is especially irritating during the all too common sequences where you have to leap and move from ledge to ledge in order to proceed to the next area. For some strange reason, the developers chose to use change the perspective which takes you right out of the game and makes it difficult to judge direction properly. I found these jumping sequences very frustrating.

Although the production as a whole is one big, fat negative, I found the voice acting and plot is where the game actually does shine. The whole "Destiny" storyline is quite immersive and could easily be turned into its own comic spin-off or cartoon mini-series. However, that's hardly enough good to out weight the bad.

The concept of Destiny really is original, and should have made for a great game, but instead we are left with a final product that feels unfinished and rushed to completion with many sacrifices made along the way. You might expect this from a budget title, but not a $50 licensed game from a well known developer. All in all, X-Men Destiny left me asking myself Y-Man, why did you release the game in this state.

  • Good concept and storyline
  • Long list of mutant cameos. You would be hard pressed to miss your favourite
  • X-Gene concept is an interesting concept
  • Horrible cell animation in the introduction sequence is strangely reminiscent of watching Space Ghost
  • Very linear gameplay for a game was largely designed to incorporate decision making as an essential element
  • Graphics are very blocky with inconsistent frame rates
  • Poor camera control sees your character obstructed or worst yet stuck half inside of solid objects
  • Low re-playability
Quote: "The concept of Destiny really is original, and should have made for a great game, but instead we are left with a final product that feels unfinished and rushed to completion with many sacrifices made along the way."
Reviewed by Jim Holiko | 11.04.11

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X-Men Destiny

Silicon Knights

October '11