Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 10.31.05
Following the successful formula from Raven Software's X-Men
Legends, the team returns to the franchise bringing us it's much anticipated
sequel. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. This time it's more Marvel
action as the X-Men team up with the Brotherhood to fight, the big, the bad,
the blue, Apocalypse.
If you are new to the X-Men Legends games they play like a top down, 3rd
person, dungeon crawler. It's heavy on the action with a statistic building RPG aspect. Imagine Marvel characters in place of dwarfs, demons and dragons. The gameplay remains the same from the first game which runs as smooth as before. I'm glad Raven didn't overhaul the game system from Legends one because it worked so well. From the controls to the levels design and mission objectives X-Men Legends II (XML2) is pretty much the same game with different characters and plot.
X-Men Legends 2 will eat up about 25 to 30 hours of your time which could be considered light for an RPG, but you have to remember it an action game first and they took out a lot of typical RPG elements like long dialog sequences, random encounters, and running around trying to finding items and opening doors. Well, the last one still
happens a while, but never does X-Men Legends II feel tedious or boring.
If you are not into the X-Men I'm sure you would still enjoy this game, but
if you are a fan it's all the better. They have a great cast of characters that are mostly opened up from the beginning, minus three. The 16 playable characters in X-Men Legends II are the strong Colossus, Wolverine, Rouge and Juggernaut, the elemental based Sunfire, Ice-Man and Storm. Mindfully powerful Scarlet Witch, Jean Grey, Magneto and the agility and all purposed Night Crawler, Toad, Cyclops and Bishop. With all these characters it's hard to get bored, even if you only use a few constantly it good to have choices. I think in this area the developer should have forced you to use some
characters for certain levels just so it feels like more than filler. Unfortunately there are no forced missions where you have to infiltrate with so and so, or escape with a certain team. We really didn't need some of these guys on the cast and they gave you too much all at once. Who likes Toad anyways?! All the characters don't return from Legends one, but we have more characters compared to last game. Strangely Mystique is featured in the game but you don't get to play here and really I can't see a reason why, same as Emma Frost and Angel are just supporting characters used in plot lines. I'm not complaining because I love the new additions, but let's shake it up a bit.
X-Men Legends II is an easy affair to go through which can be half the fun. The X-Men should be powerful and stronger then the common foe, but it slides on the too easy side. I played through the whole game and never died once on Normal . Even against the very last boss the game was a breeze and seemed a little too easy. To amp up the difficulty you would have to put it on hard, and it's still a walkthrough then try the game using one or two characters. It's hard enough to finish most games these days and when some developers make it ridiculous hard it's not so bad to have an easy one once and a while.
You can also play through the game with a friend or online which adds a little more to XML2. The challenge mode is still around too so you can fun fighting all the
characters from the game major, minor, good or bad against each other including the boss characters. This mode is fun to see who would win if you pit say Lady Deathstrike against Wolverine one on one. Although it can get a little old quick, I think there is enough here to have a bunch of quick matches.
Overall this game is a success and the gameplay is left unchanged from the first one. It's really brilliant to throw the marvel universe over a game which normally would be a Dungeons and Dragons affair. It's easy, but fun and the gameplay is liquid smooth.
Graphics & Sound
XML2 carries over with the same fabulous graphics engine from the first game and gives us more cleaver dungeons with some excellent lighting and level paths. Too bad it's not a little more free-roam, but it works this way. Graphically the game is divided into two parts; Realalistic cut scenes that look amazing with half/cel shaded in game action. By this I mean the characters are cartoonish with that big black outline, but the environment and items look more realistic. I think it's the merger of all these items
that make XML2 work. It's not the most advanced game, but it doesn't have to be. The have plenty of spice with the mutant powers and do a reasonable job recreating all the characters. Up close they get a little blocky, but overall you won't be complaining.
The sound area could be touched up a bit mainly because the voice over work is so spotty. Sometimes you will get character dialog from your team but mostly you just listen to the other people talk and then read your text. If they are going to go through will half the dinner we might as well get the full plate. Besides this everything works well and the explosions and power spells are nicely done. The audio from the cut-scenes comes in a little quiet, but that's just a minor gripe. In the sound department I would like to see things stepped up a bit more then this would be the complete package.
Last year X-Men Legends was the runner up for most mojo of the year mainly because it was awesome to play the marvel characters in a "good game". This time around it's not as fresh but it's still awesome. Apocalypse is one of the most classic villains that the X-Men had to face and I'm glad they used this storyline. It's also sweet because there is enough characters to satisfy most fans and you can spend as little or as much time as you want with each one. Its mojo filled comic book gaming bliss for X-Men fans.
X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse keeps up with the original and gives gamers more of the same marvel experience. Teaming up the X-Men with the Brotherhood gives the player lots of choices while wrapping in the game around one of the best X-Men storylines of Apocalypse and his horesemen is awesome. If you haven't played an X-Men Legends game grab this one up you won't be disappointed.
Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 9. Final: 8/10