Reviewed: October 18, 2011
Released: September 27, 2011
X-Men Destiny, unlike the X-Men themselves, deserves to be feared and hated. With graphics that, nods to polygonal graphics aside, would have looked bad on the Super Nintendo, tedious gameplay without any of the power-customizing fun of the console releases, minimalistic sound, and controls that manage to be both confusing and sparse at the same time, X Men Destiny has absolutely nothing to recommend it, unless you've committed a terrible crime and are looking for a way to punish yourself.|
You play as a man whose mutant powers awaken at the very beginning of the game, allowing you to choose between a silly-looking punch and a terrible energy blast. From then on, you unlock new powers and modifications to your existing ones when you collect enough, or at moral choices between the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. The combat, though, is the most basic button mashing you'll find this side of 1998. Three hit combos, without much to mix them up, are the order of the day. In a particularly stunning feat of poor gameplay flow, you're given a power that tells you to charge up your basic attack to use it before the ability to charge attacks is unlocked, giving the impression that the game is actually broken, rather than merely terribly designed.
Whether you're fighting Purifiers or Sentinels, it all comes down to basically the same thing. It's sort of a shame that isn't more to mix things up or add variety, anything to make you feel super, but instead, X-Men Destiny drags its feet and hardly picks up at all. It's hard to imagine that a game based on the comic book series that invented the Fastball Special could have such a lack of variety in combat, but this one manages it.
The graphics are muddy, without much to recommend them, and the sound mercifully minimalistic. The cutscenes are a respite, with still illustrated images reminiscent of the comics. They might be the high point of the game, if only because they show some degree of craft and care that the rest of the game lacks. Still, many of the characters are off-model, only recognizable by means of their costumes, which makes for a game that feels like a cheap knockoff.
All told, X-Men Destiny is both a damn shame and a massive waste of potential. The superhero is the modern myth, big and loud and over the top, with powers at beyond mortal ability, and any chance to step into their shoes should be exhilarating. Instead, X-Men Destiny manages to render the superhero bland. It fails to excite in any way, without even the interesting systems of its console incarnations. Avoid it at all costs.