Comic-Con 2011: X-Men Destiny Hands-On Preview
Accessibility and player choice collide in this upcoming X-Men title from Silicon Knights.
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The first thing you'll need to keep in mind about X-Men Destiny is that you won't be playing as the most famous of mutants. Nope, you're not going to be tearing people apart with Wolverine, nor will you be taking down enemies using Beast's overwhelming powers of science and math. In this game, you start as a green recruit and use a little help from friends to get your journey rolling.
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But first you have to make a choice, and that's which character you assume control over. The game begins by giving you a selection of a small handful of characters, each with its own unique background and powers. In this battle of mutant oppression, you want to make sure to really stack the odds in your favor, so needless to say we decided to play as the 15-year-old schoolgirl named Aimi. By contrast, we could have chosen the college football player Grant, but if you're a mutant, shouldn't you be good enough to go straight to the NFL? Come on.
Destiny plays like an accessible beat-'em-up with some overarching role-playing elements to add extra substance to the action. We managed to tear our way through the demolished streets of San Francisco with ease, thanks to the game's fairly simple control scheme, which used two face buttons to mix up Aimi's light and heavy electrical attacks. It's a very easy game to pick up and play, but there are a number of flourishes that add some flair to the action. Our favorites were the times when a text prompt on the screen told us there was one enemy left to take down; we then shattered the text prompt with a ground pound, along with the enemy. Yes, you can destroy both enemies and interface text with the same attack. Pretty cool.
Along your journey, you'll encounter a number of more well-known X-Men to help you out. In this brief 15-minute demo, we ran into a roster of mutants that included Quicksilver, Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Toad. You can chat with these mutants using a role-playing-game-like dialogue menu to add some extra context to the backstory, and even choose which X-Men you keep at your side during the game's overall journey. Combine that with the ability to choose which X-gene powers you unlock during the journey, and you get a sense of how developer Silicon Knights is looking to add some player choice to this relatively accessible action game.
In the end, we had a fun little romp through X-Men journey, but this demo was a brief one that didn't allow us to spend much time inside the gameworld. Naturally, the big question left with this particular game is how much depth you'll be able to mine out of the game's relatively simple control scheme, and how much of an impact your choices have over the events of the game. It's certainly an interesting approach to the X-Men license, which alone leaves us eager to see how this title turns out.