X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse Review
Even if you're only a passing fan of the comic book series, and even if you've already played the first game to death, you'll have a lot of fun with X-Men Legends II.
- Great cast of playable characters from the Brotherhood and the X-Men
- Makes excellent use of the extensive X-Men mythology
- Almost fully destructible environments
- Good music and voice acting
- Tons of extras to unlock.
- Sound effects are a bit weak
- Awkward interface
- Frequent load times.
A good game plays by a set of clearly defined rules; a great game gives you plenty of clever opportunities to break those rules. X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse breaks the rules by letting you create an unlikely mutant dream team of heroes and villains from a cast of characters that includes the legendary X-Men as well as Magneto’s sinister band, the Brotherhood. In most respects, the game doesn’t differ much from the first title in the series; but the novelty of teaming up the good guys and bad guys to go after the really bad guys is enough to make this game enjoyable in its own right.
The story in X-Men Legends II kicks off with a great rendered cutscene that shows Magneto, Mystique, and Sabertooth teaming up with Wolverine, Cyclops, and Storm to free the enslaved Professor Xavier. Even if you’re only a passing fan, you know that Magneto and Professor X aren’t exactly best friends anymore. However, the Brotherhood and the X-Men are forced to set aside their differences in order to focus their collective attention on the newest (oldest) bad guy in town, Apocalypse. Actually, to call Apocalypse a threat is an understatement--he’s one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel universe. The game picks up shortly after Apocalypse has all but destroyed the mutant haven known as Genosha. Eventually, Apocalypse kidnaps four mutants, and with the help of the crackpot geneticist Mr. Sinister, he plans to extract the mutants' powers and use them to make himself even more powerful. One of the kidnapped mutants happens to be Magneto's son, Quicksilver. As you can imagine, that really pisses Magneto off, so he sets out to defeat Apocalypse. And thus begins a tale filled with all the dramatic twists, turns, treachery, and triumph you'd expect from a comic book story.
The game is divided into five acts, which conveniently translates to a fight with one of the Horsemen of Apocalypse in each act, with the big guy waiting for you at the end. Of course, there are all kinds of minibosses and goons for you to fight as well, and the game draws deeply from the extensive X-Men mythos that Marvel has woven together over the past 40 years. Whereas the first X-Men Legends game focused on a single character, this one focuses on the relationship between Brotherhood and X-Men. In fact, Magma--the character introduced in the first game--doesn't even show up here at all. You probably won't miss her too much though, since you have access to 15 playable characters from the beginning of the game, with three secret characters to unlock later. If you're playing the PC version of the game, you'll get Pyro and Sabertooth right from the start as well. In all the versions you'll see familiar faces like Wolverine, Magneto, Gambit, and Juggernaut, and slightly less-well-known characters like Toad, Bishop, and Sunfire.
In addition to the playable characters, there are a ton of recognizable heroes and villains who make appearances as enemies or nonplayable characters. One of the best parts of X-Men Legends II is the way you can mix and match Brotherhood and X-Men characters to achieve a powerful--if unlikely--team of characters. With 15 characters, there are plenty of different combinations to try out. If that isn't enough for you, you can also unlock dozens of different skins in the game. Some of the skins look ridiculous, but that pretty much comes with the territory when you're a superhero.
In addition to the game's look and power combinations, the assorted characters will elicit different reactions from nonplayable characters. You'll often have to speak with Forge to purchase items, and if you're controlling a Brotherhood character when you speak to him, Forge will be much less friendly than if you approach as one of the X-Men. These character interactions don't affect gameplay at all, and there are only a couple of canned reactions from each character--but this makes for some great back-and-forth between the two teams.
The gameplay in X-Men Legends II is the same as in the previous game. You control a party of four characters, though you can only directly control one character at a time. But you can easily switch characters on the fly with the press of a button, and you'll often need to do so, because some of the puzzles in the game require the specific abilities of a certain mutant. You might need Iceman to put out a fire, or Magneto to generate a metal bridge across a gap, for example. For the most part, though, you just run around various levels, beating the crap out of bad guys and collecting items and experience. This time around, all of the item drops are random, which makes the collection aspect of the game much more interesting. As you gain experience, your characters will level up and become stronger, and they will learn new skills. You can allocate all the experience and skill points manually if you want, or you can set an option to have the points automatically distributed as you earn them.
Each character has several different skills based on their mutant powers. There are melee, boost, projectile, traps, and more. Each character can also learn a couple of super skills, which not only look really cool, but are also extremely powerful. Cyclops has a super beam attack that can hit multiple targets; Wolverine has a spinning radial attack that does heavy damage; and Magneto has a metal attack in which he crushes everything in sight by manipulating the metal objects in the environment. For the most part, you don't actually need to use these skills to beat the game--but they make it a lot quicker and easier to deal with hordes of enemies. And some of the boss fights in this game are truly epic; they just wouldn’t be as entertaining without an all-out clash of mutant powers.
- Player Reviews: 77
- Game Universe:
- X-Men: Mutant Academy (PS, GBC),
- X-Men: Mutant Wars (GBC),
- X-Men: Next Dimension (GC, PS2, XBOX),
- X2: Wolverine's Revenge (PS2, GC, XBOX, PC, GBA),
- X-Men Legends (PS2, XBOX, GC, NGE),
- X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (XBOX, PS2, GC, PSP, PC, MOBILE, NGE),
- X-Men vs. Street Fighter (PS, SAT, ARC),
- X-Men: Children of the Atom (PC, PS, SAT, ARC),
- Spider-Man / X-Men (GB, GG, SNES),
- X-Men (GEN, GG, AND)
- Offline Modes:
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
4 Players Online