Destiny is different to a degree through; in introduces three entirely new characters to the struggle between mankind and Homo Superior, and proposes a darker take on what's usually a series tinged with the hope of peaceful co-existence.
For one, spearhead of the movement, Professor Xavier, is dead, the game opening on a ceremony in his honour. As expected the peaceful eulogy crumbles quickly as Magneto and his Brotherhood attack the service, as do the Purifiers, a human group intent on mutant eradication.
It nicely sets up the three-way struggle that defines the game, though sadly it deals less with conflicting ideology and more with who you can hit. Still, there's a degree of player choice embedded throughout this action-RPG, even though its heavily favours the former rather than latter.
Its into this conflict that the powers of one mutant suddenly manifest to protect themselves from injury, the game letting you select between three individuals, each an X-gene equivalent of the stock RPG classes, to play and progress as.
There's the very young Aimi, on the run from a Japanese mutant internment camp in San Francisco, college graduate Grant who dreams of becoming a professional footballer, or Adrien, a conflicted youth who's father was killed by mutants and wages an internal struggle in accepting his new-found powers.
Silicon Knights has attempted to grind these personalities through the classic X-wheel, so they'd appeal to fans of particular personality types - X-23, Colossus and the like - but it's only Adrien that feels fleshed out with any interesting character defect. The straight-jawed jock and Japanese school-girl not removed far from their particular stereotypes to interest.
But either way, the power and ability options on offer are the same for all three, character choice only effecting the background story. You choose one of three combat skills, offering a mixture of strong and light attacks which can be chained into combo attacks and expanded on with upgrades.
There's also collectable X-genes or costumes of famous figures in the X-Universe throughout the game, which can applied to four ability slots, which will affect your respective abilities further. So the Wolverine suit will grant you a slow regenerative ability, or Avalanche's will let you stun opponents.
Then there's also three extra mutant powers, such as a protective - and self-healing - shell or an energy beam that can be charged during the fight. The evolving combat options make this feel more of an arcade fighter than a straight-forward RPG.
So equipped, we plunge into the conflict. Levels are straightforwardly designed and its impossible to get lost. We're constantly confronted with masses of opponents to beat up, waves of foes breaking on our swinging fists or flying kicks. Sadly while numbers are large they're not diverse - enemy groups clothed in the same outfits and masks.
Often we're fighting with either X-Men or Brotherhood supporters to the side of us. Throughout the game decisions must be made on which group to choose, leading up to the obvious concluding siding between Cyclops or Magneto, is is far less exciting than it sounds.
Except for a great opening scene the graphics don‘t show off any cutting edge of technology. Especially an issue given the packed market the game's coming out in, with the bar raised ever-higher due to the comparison. Audio is completely unspectacular, pushing you in one particular club brawl to find the exit to escape the generic beats pulsing through your speakers.
X-Men: Destiny has a lot of decent ideas that have been implemented only half-heartedly, such as the climbing sections that attempt fast-paced parkour but are just a bore, and the ability to wield only certain specified objects in the world. It also can't factor the illusion of player choice. Character backgrounds and decisions ultimate matter little come the end, and there are several boss fights where the same guy shows up three times in a row with only minimal changes to their attacks.
Nevertheless, I must admit that I found it hard to put the pad down. The dull button-bashing gameplay with huge masses of opponents proved enjoyable and despite the diversity of moves on a third-person adventure level design, control always felt sharp. But the biggest fault is the game's length. After half a day the campaign was completed, as well as half of the "New Game +" on the highest difficulty level I tackled straight after.
Looking at upcoming comic titles like Batman: Arkham City or even Spider-Man: Edge of Time, it is likely X-Men: Destiny will have a difficult time finding its target audience.
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