5/29 – X-Men Legends

Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Back in 2004, licensed games were almost universally looked down upon. Games based on movies or TV shows just weren’t looked at fondly and while they occasionally sold well, it wasn’t often by gamers looking for their next long-term game. This was the environment in which X-Men Legends made its debut on the Gamecube, Playstation 2 and Xbox.

X-Men Legends came out a year after X2: X-Men United hit theaters but it is not based on that or any other film. It isn’t even really based on the X-Men comics. Instead, X-Men Legends follows its own, original storyline about a mutant named Allison Crestmere, a teenage girl who has just discovered her mutant abilities to control volcanic activity. After being kidnapped by the GRSO, a government agency made to study mutants, AND the Brotherhood of Mutants, Allison is rescued by the X-Men who she joins to help the cause and stop several X-Men villains wreaking havoc across the globe.

X-Men Legends plays as a top-down action game with a focus on multiplayer gameplay. Each mission has players choose four mutants to make up their team. Each mutant can be controlled by either a human player or an AI, meaning up to four players can play cooperatively through the campaign. As they defeat enemies and make their way through missions, mutants gain experience points and level up. Players can then allocate points into various stats, such as Body or Focus, as well as unique abilities for each mutant. For example, Cyclops has active abilities that use his laser vision on enemies as well as passive abilities such as leadership which give a bonus in XP to everyone on the team while he’s in play. One thing that makes X-Men Legends unique from other similar games is the use of cooperative attacks, where mutants can combine their powers together to make special attacks. For example, Storm can combine her lightning with Wolverine’s claw attacks to use Electric Claw.

X-Men Legends was well received when it released. The cel-shaded graphics were praised as they gave the game a comic book feel. The wide range of mutants, with 15 playable characters, made the game fun to replay with different teams and abilities. The AI was often criticised, however, and critics recommended playing with friends as single-player could become repetitive. X-Men Legends sold well and received a port on the short-lived N-Gage a few months later. X-Men Legends would receive a sequel, Rise of Apocalypse, and would also go on to inspire the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series which is still going to this day.

Thank you so much for listening to the show! Hey, do you love indie games? Have you heard of this whole #loveindies thing? I’m thinking Video Game of the Day should get in on that. Let us know some of your favorite indie games over on twitter @vg_oftheday. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day.

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