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Graphics : 7.0

The game is cell-shaded, a technique that is becoming popular with certain genres of games, especially games going for the comic-book feel. Naturally, X-Men Legends features such a style. During combat (85% of the game at least), these graphics work. There is enough detail to give the game a credible appearance and the graphics are crisp. Each character is rather distinct and the environment is easy to navigate because of the well-defined objects and structure of the level.

Once the in-game cutscenes appear, however, the cell-shaded flaws are all too clear. Every single character has a set of mitts for hands, and the lines are too thick. The game no longer looks crisp but rather appears to be blocky. Thankfully, there aren't too many of these cutscenes and the graphics are still decent for a game like this. Overall, they deliver on one level but fail to meet or exceed expectations like every other aspect of this game.

Sound : 7.5

The audio in Legends, like the graphics, is adequate in some areas but lacks in others. The sound effects come to mind immediately. They are well done for the most part, though some get repetitive. I suppose this is to be expected in a game where you make sounds so often. They are, however, well suited to the task that triggers them and are synched in perfect time with the action.

The voice acting is excellent for about every other character. Many of the X-Men do not quite sound themselves (Cyclops especially comes to mind) while others seem to be taken straight from the movie. These inconsistencies take more away from the game than faulty AI or camera angles because the characters are always making little quips during battle if not speaking liberally in dialogs. The dialogs themselves sound like ones from a comic book and advance the plot rather well.

Both sound and graphics could use improvement should Legends 2 become a reality. I'm sure that Activision will ensure the voice acting is more on target and work to improve the graphics in some way, shape, or form. While I don't see a departure from the cell-shaded style, I suppose little things can be done to give characters more detail in close-up shots. Compared to the gameplay though, these things are almost trivial.

The game's enormous size merits recognition: it took me 23 hours to complete, and I like to think that I have at least average video gaming skills. Some people I know who have played this game have reported over 25 hours. One friend of mine needed 30 hours to exhaust the story mode of Legends. The gigantic levels make for a long and challenging game that will hold you captive most of the way. Throw in a few extra distractions such as the Danger Room and combative/versus multiplayer and this game will entertain for quite some time.

The difficulty is just right for most people, though inexperienced players might be met with frustration until they get the hang of the quick pace of Legends. The save points are a little too far away in my opinion, and I often found myself replaying a long part of a level a couple times since there were no places to save inbetween. The game does a good job of accommodating for the learning curve, providing tutorials for beginners and challenges for experts in the Danger Room. The enemies get much tougher as the game progresses, and the average gamer will be challenged quite often but rarely overwhelmed. The end boss fight was a little easy for me and most of the people I know who played this, but the boss battles in general do not disappoint. The difficulty is, for the most part, well-done.

While the Story Mode does not necessitate a second helping, the fact that friends can join you on the quest gives an incentive to play it through again with them. Even if that isn't the case, the urge for my brother and me to simply play a level or two came up here and there, and the game is still an occasional treat despite its completed status. Therefore, it scores well in the category of Replayability.

Overall Score ( not an average ) : 8.5

Great gameplay makes this game a winner; however, arduous loading times and other slight difficulties make this game one that can be improved upon significantly. In my 23 hours, I was rarely bored with the game except when levels were loading. I enjoyed the homage to everything X-Men and was delighted to play as many of my old heroes and heroines. I sincerely hope that a similar staff is put in charge of a Fantastic Four video game; I have no doubt they can accurately create a game both innovative and independent from the comic that satisfies both hardcore and casual fans.

X-Men Legends is a truly effective superhero game that successfully integrates elements not only of X-Men comics but also of multiple genres of video games. From the very start, the gamer is intensely immerged in this epic comic book that comes alive. Bombarded with movies, characters, a plot, and most importantly, action that is extremely representative of Marvel's vision, I can do nothing but recommend this game not only to lovers of the genre or of X-Men, but every gamer interested in a fulfilling and fresh experience rife with excitement.



Page 1: Gameplay

- Doom (28 Nov, 2004)


Scores
Gameplay
9.0
Graphics
7.0
Sound
7.5
Replay Value
9.0
Overall Score
8.5



Developer
Raven Software
Publisher
Activision
Origin
U.S.
Genre
RPG
Players
1-4
Features
Multiplayer
Peripherals
Dual Shock 2
8MB Memory Card
Multitap
Release Date
North America
September 21st, 2004
Europe
October 22nd, 2004
Sections





More screenshots of X-Men Legends



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