With X-Men: Apocalypse on the way (and unfortunately coming down the road with some so-so reviews), it feels like a good time to dig up a few X-Men games to play around with for the next week or two.
As some of the most timeless and consistently popular superheroes, the X-Men have actually had a more prolific history in gaming than most any other team or grouping of characters from Marvel, DC, or anyone else. Stretching all the way back to the arcade machines of the late-’80s and early-’90s, the X-Men have pretty much always been around in fighting, RPG, and dungeon crawler gaming. That’s kind of cool, really, but it’s also resulted in the image of X-Men gaming being somewhat stuck in the past. Some of the old arcade games were awesome, but they’re also pretty hard to track down these days.
If you’re in an X-Men frame of mind with the new film coming out so soon, however, I’ve taken the liberty of lining up a few fun X-Men games that are a lot more accessible. Enjoy!
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Released in 2009 for major consoles, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the oldest game on this list, but you can still find its “uncaged edition” here for Xbox 360. Naturally by now it’s a lot cheaper than your average console game, but it packs the same punch as a full-priced $50 or $60 release. A lot of people overlooked this game because the movie it was based on was, well, pretty bad. But those who played it loved it. This game was designed on Unreal Engine, so for 2009 it had pretty terrific graphics. But more importantly it was overflowing with awesome action and brutality befitting of (arguably) Marvel’s most violent hero. Little details like watching Wolverine’s wounds heal in real time and enjoying the voice acting of Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, and Will.I.Am. didn’t hurt either.
Developed by the now bankrupt Canadian company Silicon Knights, X-Men: Destiny was an action RPG for the Nintendo DS, Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360. Frankly, it wasn’t a great game. It was weighed down by a clumsy storyline and repetitive, simplistic combat. However, it did look nice, and if you’re looking for a console X-Men RPG it’s still your best option. The game gave you the option of joining either Professor X’s X-Men or Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants, and from that starting point your decisions impacted your path through the story. Again, the experience won’t wow you, but it’s not bad if you like the characters.
This one’s also been around for a while, though it may be about the most accessible game on the list given that it’s hosted at a number of casino sites online — some offering real money gaming, others not. And yes, it’s just a slot machine game, but this description of its special features and character inclusions should reveal that it’s actually quite a lot of fun. For instance, a high number of character images and some special “Heroes vs. Villains” bonuses make it a little more than your average arcade slot game. Really, it’s nice, passive X-Men entertainment for the casual gamer.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate Of Two Worlds
I may be cheating a little bit including a Marvel vs. Capcom game, given that there are characters from other superhero comics and game franchises included throughout this series. Nevertheless, as you can see in this review for the Xbox 360 version of the game, this was a really successful title. As such it might be the best brawler to include X-Men among modern games. Specifically the game had Deadpool, Magneto, Wolverine, Storm, Phoenix (or Jean Grey), X-23, and Sentinel involved as playable characters, and they’re all a blast.
Uncanny X-Men: Days Of Future Past
I’ve saved this one for last because in my opinion it’s the best X-Men game out there today. Easily accessible as a mobile app, Uncanny X-Men: Days Of Future Past is a 2D side-scrolling adventure that feels like an old arcade experience perfectly updated for modern gamers. It proves that 2D can still be beautiful even in an action game, and its take on the popular “Days of Future Past” storyline (similar, but not identical, to the plot of the recent film X-Men: Days Of Future Past) is compelling. You get to control one of a handful of popular X-Men in a quest to prevent a senator’s assassination in the past, and thus alter a present in which sentinels are destroying the world. It’s just about a flawless mobile gaming experience.
[Thanks to author Paul Knudson for providing this original and exclusive piece for The PractitioNERD]