[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/xmenlegends/cover.jpg[/floatleft]Very rarely has a franchise such as the X-Men been featured in so many games in such a wide variety of genres. Capcom has featured the X-Men in a myriad of different fighting games for which the crew of mutants is best known. The few action games featuring the team have been mediocre, and [i]X-Men Legends[/i] is here to end that negative reputation. [i]X-Men Legends[/i] takes the foundation that previous action adventure games have set and builds a palace on top of it.
[i]Legends[/i] is a fast-paced action RPG that features a smooth graphics engine and a well-told story. Couple that with a massive lineup of playable characters, and you have a rock-solid game for any X-Men fan.
Much of the story takes place from the perspective of a new addition to the team named Magma. Magma was first introduced as a new character in New Mutants #8. Activision and Raven Software took the liberty of reworking the story a bit so it would fit into a more linear plot for the game. You begin the game as Wolverine and you have to rescue Magma from the Magneto-led group, the Brotherhood of Mutants. Of course, one thing leads to another and eventually you are not just battling over Magma, but battling to save the world.
[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/xmenlegends/ss11_thumb.jpg[/floatright][i]Legends[/i] is an action RPG, which means it has all the aspects of a fast-paced hack-and-slash mixed in with some mild elements of RPG. The RPG stats you can build up are the standard ones such as attack and defense. No complex d20 system here. As you level your character up, you can also learn new special moves and equip new abilities and items. There is enough here to satisfy an avid RPGer, but it is simple enough for newcomers to the genre to not feel overwhelmed. Fans of games such as [i]Kingdom Hearts[/i] will feel right at home with the RPG system.
The large cast of X-Men you can play in [i]Legends[/i] lends itself to a somewhat chaotic system of switching characters during battle. At any give time, you will have four characters in your party, unless you are on a solo mission. The D-pad changes the character of which you are currently in control. The characters you are not actively using are controlled by AI, and you can tailor their AI actions in the same place you equip stat points. As you play through the levels, you will come to save points that allow you to swap out characters. On occasion, you will come to areas of a level that may be easier if a certain character is in your party, so you will want to switch it up and equip characters who have a power similar to the environment. For example, Iceman should be part of your party while in outdoor snow levels. There are shortcuts that will save time if you do this, but not having Iceman-or having him die-will still allow you to complete the level.
One nice thing about [i]Legends[/i] is that experience is earned for the whole party and not just individual characters. This keeps one or two of your party members from achieving very high levels while your supporting party is very weak. Your entire team should level up at about the same pace. You can equip stats points for characters after you add them to your party at a save point or before any level.
[i]Legends[/i] sports a A