X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition
key review info
- Game: X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Uncaged Edition
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: N/a
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Hollywood is seemingly on a roll with comic book adaptations since we've seen quite a lot of them recently, Batman, Ironman and Watchmen included. Even though Wolverine was the main character in all the X-Men films made until now, his success has finally resulted in a solo-movie treatment, in the form of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
As is the current trend, a video game adaptation was quickly created by the team at Raven Software and published by Activision, just in time for the theatrical release of the blockbuster movie. Wolverine appeared in other games but, sadly, none of them managed to do him any justice, as they treated him like a very docile super hero. Now, the Canadian mutant is back and it seems that he has sharpened his claws as this game promises to deliver a truly bloody experience. Is Wolverine actually the best at what he does as he himself often claims? Read on to see our full review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition.
Our main character, although he seems like a pretty simple guy who has a no-nonsense attitude, is actually one of the most complex super heroes in all the Marvel comics universe. While the graphic novels have managed to paint a pretty accurate picture of where he came from, what he had gone through and where he is now and will be in the future, the task of translating that into a movie and into a game is nothing short of gargantuan.
For a lot of gamers who are mildly familiar with the Canadian mutant, this game will seem quite confusing, as it jumps from the future to the past to the present and everywhere in between. Only those who have actually read up on the history of this character can make sense out of the intricate story that is told in the game.
I can't really tell you a lot of things about it since it will spoil some of the big twists in Wolverine's life, but one thing is for sure – it will provide a pretty good motivation for you to slice and dice your enemies in the many settings of the game, and it will also drop some info for those of you curious to know more about the origins of the mutant.
X-Men Origins keeps the gameplay formula quite simple, staying true to the recipe of almost all modern hack-and-slash adventure games like Devil May Cry or God of War. Wolverine has his claws, which can be used in some of the most gory ways to dispose of his enemies through some maneuvers that will leave you stunned with awe and with fear at the same time.
You basically fight bad guys on a variety of settings, from an African jungle to a research facility, while going through a mountain complex or an Alaskan forest. Sprinkle in some encounters with a few bigger monsters and some of the enemies you might already know, like Sabertooth or Gambit, and in essence this is the everything you have to do.
Sadly though, if the team at Raven Software had kept it to that minimum, showcasing that Wolverine was actually the best at what he did, then this game would have been much more enjoyable. However, they didn't, and they threw in some truly unnecessary puzzles and challenges similar to Tomb Raider. Sometimes you actually feel that you are playing as a burlier Lara Croft armed with claws and wearing a blue and yellow spandex suit. Even though the picture may seem very attractive, the tasks that you will need to fulfill are very annoying at times, as you will turn cranks, time your jumps and explore every nook and cranny in order to find your way through some maze-like levels.
In terms of enemies, the game offers some mixed results; while the normal, cannon (or in this case claw) fodder is pretty diverse, managing to mix regular soldiers with those who possess stealth devices or shields, the bigger sub-bosses are extremely poor in types. You will actually fight a Leviathan, which is a lava monster, and a Wendingo, which is a mutated human, for too many times in order for their appearance to be sort of a challenge, especially when you figure out that all you have to do is jump on their backs and start slashing away at their head.
Luckily, for all these repetitive fights, the game does offer some interesting moments, even in the normal brawls you will get into with regular soldiers. If you manage specific combos, then the action slows down and you can admire, in a matrix-style spin around your victim, your gory handy- or in this case clawy-work. Also, some events, where Wolverine takes on helicopters (!), you will get a chance to take the pilot out of his seat and introduce his head to the spinning blades of the machine, all in a very bloody manner.
The combos are quite varied and, with the added RPG-ish elements of equipping mutagens and upgrading Wolverine's skills, you will have a lot of control on your overall experience and on how you will level up, with the maximum being level 40.
Besides the normal gameplay though, the team at Raven decided to offer some interesting twists and Easter eggs, in order to make the players explore every piece of the game. I found all three hidden surprises, consisting of a Lost-style hatch, Arthas' Frostmourne sword and a cake, similar to the one in Valve's Portal video game. Besides these, and much more easy to collect, are figures of Wolverine, which allow you to enter a bonus mode where you will fight another Wolverine in order to unlock costumes that he wore in the comics.
The whole concept of X-Men Origins: Wolverine should really be applauded, as it is set out to offer one of the most intricate and complex stories belonging to a comic book character. Even though it will certainly seem complex to average gamers and extremely repetitive in terms of gameplay, the whole effort on the part of the team at Raven Software should be appreciated. It might not be the game a character like Wolverine deserves, but it is one he certainly needs.
He is shown in his very bloody fame, chopping, slicing and dicing his enemies, really showcasing why he is called Wolverine and why he is the best at what he does. The story is quite tragic, but in the end Wolverine's essence is offered to the gamer. He did a lot of good and bad things, which makes him sit on an almost equal footing as another famous comic book character, but from a rival company, Batman.
Graphics and Audio
Visual-wise, the game looks quite solid, with the most interesting highlight being the fact that you can actually see how Wolverine's regeneration power kicks in and he grows back his missing skin, flesh or tissue. This mechanic is something that Logan definitely needed, as his mutant healing ability has been gravely underrated in other games that featured him.
The levels are quite polished and very detailed, making your overall experience in this game a very interesting one. Sadly though, you can clearly see the fact that the game was rushed in order to make the deadline set by the movie's launch, as you will encounter quite a few glitches in terms of graphics, from floating bodies to missing textures or awkward jumps and clipping issues.
In terms of sound, Wolverine presents itself quite well, with the main aspect being the voice acting of Hugh Jackman giving the character more depth and personality. Wolverine's classic “Bub” expressions are also present, showing a lot more attitude and making the fact that you are playing with him that much more pleasant for true fans.
The taunts of the enemies are relatively varied but, by the ending chapters of the game, you will get bored with them. The monsters sound almost the same but the rival mutants, like Sabertooth or Gambit, are more fleshed out in terms of voices.
It's hard to give out a final verdict on it. I'm a huge Wolverine fan and for the first time I feel like this game really gave the character the attention he needed and knew what aspects to breathe life into and what to leave alone. For die-hard fans, this is a quite memorable experience, albeit a bit annoying during the jumping puzzles and the Tomb Raider challenges.
For those who don't know much about the Canadian mutant, but who are fans of hack-and-slash games, this provides a pretty gory method of wasting your time until titles such as Bayonetta or God of War III appear at the end of this year, even though the story may seem very confusing.
Either way, for a game based on a movie based on a comic book, X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition is truly one of the best examples that you can make good games and time them with movie releases.