First Impressions: Just ?Marvel? at it's potential.
Tisk, Tisk. As a long time fan of the X-Men comic books and subsequent entertainment items they have since spawned, it's been sort of sad to see the franchise fail so miserably in the videogame market. However, the holder of the property, Activision, is once again looking to change that. Instead of going the tried and failed route of a sub-typical fighter (Next Dimension) or adventure title (Wolverine's Revenge), developer Raven Software is looking to take the infamous mutants into the fan favorite RPG genre with X-Men: Legends.
Responsible for such PC hits as the Soldier of Fortune series, Star Trek Elite Force, and the Jedi Knight series, Raven Soft has proved itself to be a worthy developer - once again giving fans reason to get excited about the potential for a quality X-title. Legends is changing things up a bit by taking the characters that are based from the reinvented X-Men found in the Ultimate X-Men (first released in 2000), rather than the characters we have come to know and love for the past four decades. Comic book fans should be aware of Marvel's highly successful Ultimate brand, which started with Spider-Man, and more than likely will welcome the change. While those unfamiliar with Ultimate X-Men will find that a lot of their favorite characters have slightly different backstories (such as the fact that Logan is a former assassin who was part of Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants) and personalities, but for the most part they stick pretty closely to the already established characters.
Speaking of characters, Raven Soft won't let you down when it comes to selection - with over 15 playable, including Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, and Marvel Girl, fans will have a hard time choosing from them while putting together their team of four. The game will take place from a top down perspective, similar to that found in the Baldur's Gate titles, as you guide you four heroes through each action-packed level. Along the way you'll get to use your characters' mutant powers in tandem to take down the like of the Morlocks, Juggernaut, the Sentinels, and many others. Of course, powers and special attacks will be unique to each characters - for instance, Wolvie's will involve his retractable adamantium claws, Cyclops' will take advantage of his optic blast beams, and Iceman will put his freezing abilities to a bone chilling test. Furthermore, certain characters will have to ability to team up with another for incredible assist-based attacks. So thus far it seems as if the gameplay potential is quite high, and like in any good role-playing title, you'll be able to level-up your characters with new abilities and combos with experience points you'll earn throughout the adventure.
Visually, X-Men: Legends is shaping up quite nicely. Sharp, smooth animations are the norm, and a somewhat cel-shaded look should please comic book fans, as well as fans of the technique in general. Character models are naturally based closely off of their comic counterparts and impressive special attacks finish off the overall impressive presentation.