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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Raven

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

May 1, 2009

 

 

- Wolverine has never been so bad-assed

- Very responsive controls

- One-on-one Wolverine fights are tons of fun

 

 

- Bugs and camera issues that appear with regularity paint the game as not being quite done

 

 

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition

Score: 7.5 / 10

 

Growing up in the Great White North and with Canadian superheroes being thin on the ground, I glommed on to Wolverine as a default hero.  As I kid, I knew nothing about Wolverine except that he traced his origins to Canada, was practically unstoppable, and had these wicked claws that could pretty much slice up anything.  And he smoked cigars.

 

x-men origins wolverine          x-men origins wolverine

 

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition does an awesome job of conveying the raw, animalistic fury of the titular character.  Highlighted by slow-mo effects, body parts fly, enemies are impaled, viscera splatters, and Wolverine can practically bounce from enemy to enemy, chaining attacks in incredible displays of gore against ever-increasing numbers of enemies. (The M-rating was truly earned.)  The range of motion and display of power is phenomenal and though on the face of it

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the action is very repetitive I couldn’t write it off as such because there are so many ways to hack through the opposition.

 

From the extra comic book costumes to the way Wolverine’s healing factor kicks in to fill in large chunks of flesh to the “feral effect” that helps identify impale points and where you should be going, developer Raven has also done a great job with the Wolverine

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character, modeled after and voiced by Hugh Jackman in this case.  The amount of effort thrown into getting the character looking and sounding right was obviously considerable.  Because Raven has largely abandoned quicktime events – you’ll still have to mash buttons occasionally to turn cranks, pry open doors, etc. – you’ll actually get a chance to just watch things happen rather than anticipating an on-screen cue so you don’t die an instant death.

 

I also really liked the fact that the extra costumes weren’t just handed to me.  Once you’ve tracked down the appropriate icons in the game, you need to fight that version of Wolverine to gain access to the costume.  The costumes don’t provide any combat bonuses – that’s the job of the Skills and Mutagens – they’re just fun to wear.

 

x-men origins wolverine          x-men origins wolverine

 

These things together make it a moot point that the story didn’t make hardly any sense to me.  Presented in a series of flashbacks and flashforwards, there’s a feeling of, “None of this matters, let me cut some dudes up!”  The story felt more like an excuse to make some interesting, and decidedly linear, environments that have a few elementary environmental puzzles thrown in so it’s not just all mayhem.  As far as I was concerned, the story parts could have been skipped altogether.

 

Where Wolverine Uncaged falters the most is the occasionally erratic camera work and game-stopping bugs.  The game-stopping bugs are largely amusing because the autosave checkpoints are relatively close together so when the bugs do come up, it’s not a long slog to get back to where it happened and continue.  The camera is easily righted but it can be very distracting during heavy fighting to suddenly be viewing the battle through the floor.

 

All told, X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition is a very playable and satisfying action game.  While the appeal to Wolverine, X-Men and superhero comic books is obvious, the action and combat elements are fun enough and visceral enough that anyone looking for an action game should check this one.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(May 21, 2009)

 

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