Games based on super heroes have not been what I would call the best made games to hit the consoles, mainly because they never been able to translate that into a fantastic video game. Games with super heroes like Superman and Batman have struggled in the past, which is surprising as they are such celebrated super heroes. Well now we come to a more successful super hero game that is back for a second slash at it in X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse for the Playstation 2. So does this game manage to make for an even better X-Men experience? Read our full review to find out!
One of the things I remember specifically saying when reviewing the previous X-Men Legends game was that you have to be patient with the game, because it is not one that will jump out at you and suck you right in from the get go. X-Men Legends was a game that steadily grows on you, and before you knew it, you were hooked and missed the next few weeks of work/school. Well before I get into the review, let me once again reiterate the fact that this is a game that at first glance doesn’t look like anything special, but if given time there is much more to the story.
The story in X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse is not all that out of ordinary for the series, as it basically revolves around what we have come to expect from an X-Men game. Basically the game starts off with Magneto and crew going through a high security military base when he meets up with some of the gang from X-Men and basically the two join forces to try and save the world. That is of course a pretty brief summary but I must admit that I did expect a little more from the story. However, with that being said, the game still manages to gain some steam later on and helps keep it interesting.
One of the reasons why you have to give this game some time is because it takes a different style action approach then most of us are used to. You go around most of the levels in a four player team (four of the characters) in an isometric viewpoint much like in Baldur’s Gate. X-Men Legends II allows you to switch through your four characters quite easily by just clicking the arrow on the pad you will be able to easily switch between your four characters on screen. So depending on how you like playing these style of games you will get a lot more variety from being able to play as so many different characters.
The actual gameplay, to be honest, is not all that different from the previous game. It only has some smaller updates that only true fans of last year’s game are really going to see. For example, the computer AI has become much more intelligent this time around, and therefore the game becomes much more challenging, especially at later levels. Some other gameplay tweaks have been made, like being able to play as Magneto and other characters that are normally part of the bad team, which is actually a pretty neat experience. Overall though the single player portion of the game is nowhere near as exciting as last year’s game, it still has enough good stuff in it to make it enjoyable nonetheless.
The real draw to X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse is the multiplayer, which is really some extensive support for the Playstation 2. There is much more depth to the multiplayer portion of the game, and it seems to run at such a smoother pace then the previous game. X-Men Legends II plays much better online then it did last year, and the overall gameplay is still smooth and solid but nowhere near as revolutionary as it was last year. The game is still very deep in combat and has a lot of variety but there isn’t enough new in this game compared to last years game to sit back and say wow.
One of the neatest features of X-Men Legends II was the great visual style, which used a very unique comic book cel shading style that worked perfectly for that game. Well now in Legends II you will find that the developers did even more to the visual style and really made a fantastic looking game with even more detail and even greater comic book style presentation.
The one big difference I think most people will see right away is the great detail that has gone into all of the different character models in the game. When I look at the characters you can see that so much work has gone into make each character just stand out and the detail is truly a remarkable feat. One of the problems last year was the environments, which began to look sort of repetitive after a while. Overall though the presentation of this game is fantastic and has plenty of great qualities that make it stand out in my mind.
X-Men Legends II is one of those titles that probably could have used some added features to really help put this game to an elite category. With that being said, both online and offline gameplay was very engaging, and I found myself very pleased with what the game had to offer. The combat is very easy to get the hang of, and being able to play co-op throughout the campaign was also a great experience. The only problem I really had with this game was that it seems like the developers didn’t try to bring any new or exciting features to the game but instead just kept it pretty much at what it was with some of the smaller things being fixed along the way.
Even if X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse is not the most improved game this year, it still does enough right to warrant another high score. X-Men Legends II still has the same great team combat system and has enough variety and complexity in which you will find yourself really diving head first into a very enjoyable game. If you enjoyed the previous X-Men Legends game, then X-Men Legends II will not disappoint, just don’t expect a totally new experience.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.