X-Men: The Official Game

Positioned as part of a new breed of movie-based vidgames that complement their bigscreen counterparts, Activision's "X-Men" aims to fill in story gaps between "X2" and "X-Men: The Last Stand." But in practice "X-Men" is so unsatisfying that it's likely to remind gamers why licenses have traditionally resulted in the worst vidgames.

Positioned as part of a new breed of movie-based vidgames that complement their bigscreen counterparts, Activision’s “X-Men: The Official Game” aims to fill in story gaps between “X2” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” But in practice “X-Men” is so unsatisfying that it’s likely to remind gamers why licenses have traditionally resulted in the worst vidgames.

Players alternate between Iceman, Nightcrawler and Wolverine. Given that a large part of the appeal of the X-Men has always been the large and diverse team, that’s a disappointment, particularly since Activision’s two “X-Men Legends” games have so effectively integrated the comics’ big cast.

Iceman is the only character it’s any fun to play, as his movement mimics a flight simulation game. Playing as Wolverine and Nightcrawler turns into repetitive button-mashing fights once you master the latter’s teleportation ability.

In all cases, levels consist of simple goals in confined spaces with no opportunity to explore or control your own destiny, as has become standard on most top shelf games.

Tech credits are sub-par across the board. Graphics on Xbox 360 were worse than some Xbox games. Voice acting from pic’s stars and sound-alikes was noticeably bad.

Worst of all are the game’s cut scenes, in which frozen 2-d characters bounce around a landscape like early episodes of “South Park.” It’s unclear whether developer Z-Axis unsuccessfully tried to mimic a comicbook or didn’t have the resources for animated cut scenes, but the result is laughably bad.

X-Men: The Official Game

Production: An Activision presentation of a game developed by Z-Axix for GameCube, PC, Playstation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360. Reviewed on Xbox 360.

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