X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Uncaged edition (PS3, Xbox 360)

Posted on May 16, 2009 by


If you don’t know who Wolverine is, with his razor-sharp Adamantium claws, gruff attitude and bright yellow costume, chances are you’ve been living in a cave for the last forty years. But for the sake of the uninitiated, and because it makes sense, let’s start with an introduction to what this is all about.

James Hewlett, the boy would one day become Wolverine, was born in the late 1800’s, in a wealthy American family. Violence ensues, and he runs away, and proceeds to spend the best of his life having improbable adventures across the globe.

Yeah, I really can’t be bothered to write out the whole character history. Have you seen the Wikipedia article? Its three miles long.

Suffice it to say things are simpler in the movie continuity, in which this game is set. Taking place some years before the first X-men movie (That’s the good one), the game explains how Wolvie got recruited into team X, alongside Sabertooth (His brother. Yeah…) the Blob (Why?) two guys no one’s ever heard of, and Wade Wilson (Deadpool in name only). Now, I say it explains this, but in fact, it doesn’t. The game doesn’t really explain anything. It doesn’t tell you why you spend half the game in a flashback to Africa trying to take a silver rock (This is apparently meant to be Adamantium, which comes from a meteor) or why you can’t go five minutes without slaughtering fifty bad guys.

Normally, I love the slaughtering thing. It taps into my deep-seated sociopathic tendencies that would otherwise be exercised by gunning down people on the street. But this game not only makes slicing people into little pieces with razor-sharp claws repetitive, it makes it dull, simple and sometimes quite frustrating. This game makes no bones about what it is; a hack n’ slash in the purist sense. What puzzles it has are laughably simple, and feel tacked on, as if someone said ‘all this fighting goes on a bit, maybe we should try to break it up?’.

It doesn’t actually help that for once, the game developers have worked out how to make Wolverine’s healing ability work in a game. He can heal pretty much any injury (Although he apparently can’t swim or fall more than fifty feet, except in cutscenes) and this makes it pretty much impossible to lose the game.

Now, besides barely having any story, being ridiculously easy and often repetitive, I have to grudgingly admit that this game is often fun. It’s the most visceral, bloodily violent game I’ve ever played. You can expect to see limbs flying, a lot of blood everywhere, and people being pushed into helicopter blades.

The game doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it doesn’t try to explain any of what’s going on. The formula basically consists of ‘here is wolverine, and over there are some bad guys. Have fun’. It will put you up against hordes of mooks, elite mooks, super powered mooks, and the occasional heavy (Four of them at once, at one point. Possibly the most difficult fight in the game) and opposed to the usual ‘mooks, boss, mooks, boss’ method of other linear platform games, you can go for hours only seeing various mooks, and then get three boss fights in a row.

Boss fights are huge amounts of fun, not only because they add much needed variety, but they also put you up against people who actually have a chance against an insane five-foot Canadian. (As played by a six foot Australian) With highlights including Gambit, Deadpool (In name only) and Sabertooth.

It does fill in some continuity issues, like who Nightcrawler’s parents are (Mystique and John Wraith) and who came up with the sentinels (Bolivar Trask, who turns up in a ‘days of the future past’ bonus cutscene after the game). And it alludes to Magneto having also been a prisoner of Alkali lake (One the earlier weapon programs?)

There’s maybe ten hours of gameplay here, if you take it slow, explore and slice every mook into spaghetti hoops. It’s the best x-men since Mutant academy 2 on the PSX, but that’s like saying Spider-man Web of Shadows was the best Spider-man game since the second movie tie-in, it really shouldn’t be that hard to do. If you’re a fan of the general marvel universe, you’ll find lots of things to interest you in this game, but if you’ve only seen the movie, much of the game might not make much sense to you. There’s a demo on the Playstation store and Xbox live, I recommend trying that first. If you enjoy it, get the game. It’s pretty much that, but more so. If not, then you probably shouldn’t.

Posted in: Games