Video game renditions of comic book worlds tend to not get the sort of attention they deserve. Unfortunately, X-Men Destiny doesn’t veer from that performance. This game is not without its worthy moments, and I am very happy I was able to suffer through the ugly parts to appreciate the good ones. Nothing about this game was amazing, but many aspects felt very fresh and those aspects gave the due credit to the comic book universe properly.
The game begins with an introduction that heralds the death of the X-Men initiator Professor Xavier by the hand of Bastion, who was a robot assassin from the future sent to end the war between mutants and humans. Cyclops has done all he can to maintain the X-Men mentality that Xavier established for equality between humans and mutants while Magneto and the rest of the rebel mutants, or the Brotherhood, are using violence to gain rule over humanity.
The protagonist of this game is an unfamiliar mutant named Aimi, a Chinese girl who was sent by her father to America for a better life. The relationship between her and her father is minimal, and it only highlights itself when Aimi needs motivation through the story.
Moving through the story in the beginning is fairly easy, and equally rewarding with the vast amount of mutants you meet early on, including Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Pixie, and Emma Frost, as well as a plot that seems to indicate Magneto as the prime antagonist in the potential assassination of the human peace advocate Luis Reyes. As is expected, the plot never gets much deeper than that until the end.
The shining moments of this game are ones which I would have liked to see better framed into a different game: faction differentiation and the development of powers. First, the faction separation between the X-Men and the Brotherhood is very well delivered by all of the appropriately chosen voice actors, and the motivations of both parties are always clear, apart from a standout or two. Second, the development of powers was very unique, though inconsistently sensible to the contexts. As could be expected from a mutant with inexperience with powers, many powers would surface in the thick of combat, but the only issue to be found was the ability to choose the powers that surfaced. The first option set was contextually appropriate, giving the player the option to choose between two different defensive skills. The rest, however, seemed to be unexplored options to deliver more powers to the player.
The bipolar combat to this game made me the most frustrated. Maintaining character motion while in a combo tended to be difficult. The saving grace for fighting the hordes of idiotic minions was being able to fight with and against well designed mutants from both the X-Men and the Brotherhood. Most of all, fighting anything with a health bar will usually have a period of immunity from damage. Having that on top of combo directional difficulties makes for hard boss fights even though the game difficulty isn’t hard at all.
Speaking of boss fights, those were quite frustrating as well. Early on in the game, the boss fights are simple as expected, but the fights become so scripted and overbearing that prior knowledge is required to beat some of them; I would be steamrolled my first try on some bosses, and then defeat them my second attempt because I knew what they were going to do. One of the only good and challenging boss fights is the final one, which I can hope is another motivation for the reader to attempt and finish this game.
Overall, X-Men Destiny is a worthy rent and definitely worth the time of anyone who likes X-Men, anyone who enjoys trophy hunting, or even anyone who likes games in which Nolan North voices (the voice of Cyclops, by the way). A few standout features cannot justify the purchase of X-Men Destiny, but it is definitely a worthy rent and a fairly easy platinum.