X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review (PS3)
This movie-to-game adaptation is one of the better ones, but it has it's own set of gameplay issues that keep it from becoming a good title on its own.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is an action game that is based on the film of the same name. The game release coincided with the release of the film on May 1, 2009 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, and Wii. The game was developed primarily by Raven Software, who used Unreal engine technology to develop the game, and Activision published it. Now, to get something settled right off the start – this is easily one of the better movie-to-game adaptations you will play on the current generation of platforms. While on its own merits it may not stand up to action game standards, it is non-the-less a fun action romp with plenty, for fans of the movie and fans of the genre, to do. While some folks were not very happy with how the movie turned out, especially because of a low age rating, the game definitely more than makes up for it with a strong Mature rating, which it definitely earns with cutscenes alone.
Being “based on” something always means that the story has to end the same way, no matter what the studio’s creative aspirations are. In case of movie adaptations, this usually means two things: let the player pretty much replay the whole movie with extra scenes and special effects, or throw in your own filler story that only connects to the movie at certain points. The game opted to go for the latter – which is a good idea in theory, but here it’s a little overdone and stretched thin. Basically, if you have not seen the movie, do not bother trying to understand what is happening in the game. The story is extremely poorly told, constantly jumping between the plot of the movie and the made-up plot of the game. Having seen the movie (twice actually), even I had troubles understanding the new parts of the story being told. You get to replay a couple of boss fights that are directly from the movie, and these are actually very cool and well-done. However, the rest of the game’s story is focused on things that were only mentioned briefly during the movie. You spend most of the game in the jungle (as you remember it) and in a robot factory (in the present). The story keeps switching between these two locations for the majority of the game, and it gets rather repetitive after a while. Repetitiveness of locations and story is a major flaw of the game. For example, one boss fight which lasts just a few minutes in the film takes up probably 40 minutes of “chase” style gameplay here. It gets quite tedious and boring, and worst of all predictable because you know you will eventually win and continue the story. The final boss (the same as the movie) likewise feels overly tedious. What was an epic and exciting battle to watch on the big screen becomes a repetitive button mash which lasts another 30 minutes and a few boss stages. I don’t want to go into the plot any further, because it risks spoiling the movie as well. It’s definitely recommended to see the movie before you plan on trying the game.
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