X-Men: Mutant Academy Hands-On

We got our hands on a close to complete build of X-Men: Mutant Academy at E3 and are pleased to reveal the game has come a long way.

Activision has visited our office several times with this title, and each time it's really not that better than the last. Each build we've received featured only Wolverine and Cyclops, with only one level, and to be brutally honest, the fighting wasn't all that great. But seeing this game again at E3 changed my opinion somewhat.

The version shown at E3 featured all the fighters, all the moves, all the levels, and had some significant changes to the combo and super systems. I was amazed that this is the same game we'd seen just a few short months ago.

The super system is completely changed. Now you've got three different types of supers, each with its own power-bar at the bottom of the screen that fill depending on how you're fighting. If you've got a full bar of one type of super and want to use another type, using a few button presses you can transfer that energy into the super bar that you want. Additionally, your most powerful super requires you to fill the bar, then pound the X button rapidly to activate the bar - then you'll have to execute whatever button press activates that super. The payoff is well worth it, though, as most of your most powerful supers look really amazing and take tons of health from your opponent. Also, unlike the previous versions of the game, all of the game's super's require more complex button presses and aren't simply "R1".

The fighting system has been refined. There was a serious problem with how much damage some of the moves in the preview build did, but it's all been balanced out now. You no longer have to hit someone four hundred times to win the match.

The new characters were pretty cool, but I really wished the characters in the game weren't so focused on who's in the movie. I would have much rather seen a Havoc or a Longshot or a Juggernaut or a Shadow King or a Mister Sinister than Toad. Mystique is cool, but Sabertooth looks pretty weak.

The bottom line is X-Men Mutant Academy has come a long way since I last saw it. While it's not as solid as say, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, it appears to be a fairly good little fighter.

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