Final Glimpse: BAMFing its way to consoles everywhere this May.
Here we go again. Yet another movie tie-in game with yet another franchise that's been hit or miss on the consoles, but X-Men: The Official Movie Game (and let's hope to high heaven their marketing people can come up with a better title than that before release) promises to be a little more than a direct-to-videogame interpretation of the latest (and some believe last) installment of the popular comic book movie series.
First off, let's look at the game's pedigree. Two writers, both intimately familiar with the X-Men universe, have put the storyline together: comic book maven Chris Claremont and co-scriptwriter for the second and third X-Men movies Zack Penn. They've concocted a game script which doesn't rehash or spoil the plot of the upcoming movie. So if you're out to buy this game because it will show you what goes on in the film, don't bother. This is an entirely new story that will fill in the gap between the second and third films. Think of it as X-Men 2.5, and it will set up some of the events that will occur in the new movie. Also, it will apparently explain the mystery of why Nightcrawler isn't around for X-Men 3.
The game will begin where the second movie ends, at Alkali Lake. Players will lead one of three beloved X-Men characters: Wolverine, Iceman, and Nightcrawler as they progress through the story that will eventually lead into the plot for the third movie. It's obvious why they chose these three characters: out of the entire roster of Dr. Xavier's Gifted, they have the coolest powers. Who wouldn't want claws that can cut through things like butter, the ability to teleport, or throw ice spikes at enemies? Iceman's inclusion serves a double purpose: as a rookie member of the team, he has his own unique background going into the game. He'll be shown struggling with his powers and trying to fit in with the rest of the X-Men.
Unlike some other huge franchise games, where you're given a list of characters, but they all have the exact same powers under their rendered skins, each character in the game will have their own strengths and weaknesses. Instead of having each mutant power open up by progressing through the game (similar to X-Men Legends), all of their abilities will be available to you from the get-go. Naturally, there will be stealth missions where Nightcrawler's teleporting abilities will be needed, melee missions where Wolverine's brute strength and adamantium claws will defeat anything in his way, and speed levels where Iceman's swift ice slide riding will come in handy. Remember that Hypnos Entertainment is the company behind two movie-tie-in Lord of the Rings games: The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Those games also featured a roster of characters with unique abilities, which really made for an enjoyable playing experience (and encouraged tons of replay too). This is something to look forward to with the new X-Men game.
In addition to the unique abilities of each character, players will also be given the option of upgrading the characters' stats, making the game almost RPG-ish in feel. Each successfully completed mission will open up chances to use the Mutant Evolution System. These mutations are customizable enhancements to a character's health, power, etc., which will also give each level much needed replayability. Think that last mission was too hard? Upgrade and try again! You'll have 28 missions to get through, which means lots of opportunity to test each mutant's power. For the first time in an X-Men videogame, players will be able to immerse themselves in recognizable areas made famous in the films. The missions will span multiple environments, many of which (like Alkali Lake and the Statue of Liberty) have appeared in the movies. What I'm personally looking forward to the most is the chance to control Kurt Wagner. Imagine being able to lurk in the shadows until it's time to attack, then BAMFing out of harm's reach. It sounds a little like giving Sam Fisher a pocket teleportation machine (or fuzzy blue skin and a tail). He'd be impossible to catch.