Monday, November 22, 2004

X-Men: Legends Xcellent!

I finished up X-Men: Legends for the PS2 (PlayStation 2) this weekend. Took me a little over 31 hours to get through. I've gotta say, this is a very good X-Men RPG adaptation! The game mechanics are a little strange in that it's a live-action RPG game, sort of like Starcraft with a 4-character team and the usual RPG elements (levelling, skills, stat points, equipment). Still, it suits things and works rather well.

I'm a BIG X-Men fan. Even as the X-Men have expanded their ranks over the past 40-some-odd years, my favorite group is the original 5 (Cyclops, Marvel Girl/Jean Grey, Angel/Archangel, Iceman and Beast). In Legends, you eventually have your choice of 14 X-Men (maybe 15, I had one character unselectable though that may have been a placeholder for Professor X, who is only playable for brief durations in the game) from whom to form a 4-character team. Those available are: Cyclops, Phoenix (Jean Grey), Iceman, Beast, Wolverine, Jubilee, Gambit, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Magma, Colossus, Emma Frost, and Storm. As you progress through the game, more and more of the characters become playable, as you encounter them. Also, unplayed characters level up as your played ones do, albeit not as fast. I found the unplayed ones to lag behind 1-2 levels.

Each character has at least 3 useable attack skills you can power up as you level. The brawlers have a single, powerful, 1-hit attack and a lesser-powerful, multiple-hit attack. The non-brawlers have various other skills, e.g. Storm can cast lightning and make whirlwinds or Jean Grey can use telekinesis or a point-blank, area-effect (pbae) psionic spell that stuns and damages targets in her vicinity. Every character also has an Extreme ability that you can unlock starting at level 15. Basically, it's a powerful attack that requires special "ammunition" (if you will). Also, every character has a timed buff ability. E.g. Wolverine can temporarily increase his movement speed and stats. Some of these abilities can affect the rest of the party. For example, Cyclops' one increases the Strike and Agility (stats) of the party wqhen you get it to a high enough level.

Enough explanation. My favorite and end-game team was Jean Grey, Wolverine, Iceman and Cyclops. Jean kicked so much ass it's insane. Her pbae attack, once other skills of hers that increase its damage were maxed, was simply devastating. Plus, her timed skill was a damage reduction that affected the whole party (-50 at the highest level). Simply put, she was the cornerstone of my team. Wolverine is the best brawler. He regenerates health and had the highest Strike and Agility of all the characters. Plus his single strong attack was really quite strong. Iceman had a self-damaged reduction timed skill (-50) plus a self-damage increasing skill that added 80-100 ice damage to his melee attacks. His timed skill also increased the party's punch damage by 25-31 energy damage. Lastly, Cyclops was the leader. His leadership skill increased the efficacy of the team's combos and his optic blasts were not insignificant. Plus, his timed skill ended up bumping the party's strike and agility by 14 points each for 32 seconds. Rather nice.

The game was very linear and there was no chance of getting lost or not knowing where to go. I also found the characters to be at the appropriate level for the areas they were in. Nothing was very hard. The worst part was when uncontrolled team members would fall off ledges or such, something you really can't help or control.

All in all, a very fun game! I highly recommend it to anyone who likes the X-Men and action-based RPGs. I can't wait for the next one!