|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Griptonite Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 1, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
When we said this game is tough, we meant it. In normal mode, enemies are a handful right out of the starting gate. There's also a very large variety of enemies, with varying attacks that will force you to think on your feet. The game often uses a sort of tier system when engaging enemies. Upon entering a given room, you'll usually fight three waves of bad guys, each wave tougher than the last. About midway through the story, enemies become essentially the equivalent of mini-bosses, and with groups of them on you at once, this latest X-Men outing is no cakewalk.
Things get hairy fast in Origins, so if you're someone who gets easily frustrated by a challenge, you may want to take a pass on this game. Nevertheless, Wolverine has all the assets he needs to get through every fight, and the game never felt cheap. There are five levels of difficulty, though it's hard to imagine anyone completing anything past "hard." The first of the unlockable difficulties is called "feral," and though it's the same story mode as before, your health is constantly dropping. You must collect dog tags in order to maintain Wolvie's health, and it's a difficulty mode for extreme players only. What's past that, only the truly fearless will ever know.
On the production front, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is another polished package by Griptonite Games. They seem to have utilized the same graphics engine used to create Spider-man: Web of Shadows, and it's a look and visual quality that works amazingly well on DS. The character model for Wolverine isn't quite as clean and detailed as we would have hoped, but enemies look great and there's a tons of variety. More importantly, the animations are smooth as butter, another shared quality with Web of Shadows. The backgrounds are greatly detailed with crisp textures, though you'll be running through a lot of the same environments.
The soundtrack here is enjoyable as well. The music sits in the background elevating the excitement, and sound effects fit nicely alongside the clashing of claws to face. When Wolverine clings to walls, you'll hear the slashing of metal; when he deals enemies a fatal blow, they'll bellow in pain as they stumble back into oblivion. Everything from the lightning-fast animation, to the primal howls of an enraged Wolverine will get you primed for this button-mashing rampage of a game.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is no last-minute cash-in on a movie license. It's not as deep or interesting as Spider-man: Web of Shadows, but it's another respectable showing from the very talented artisans at Griptonite Games. Origins is definitely repetitive, with gameplay that is as tough as can be, but it's also almost a perfect setting for this once-niche anti-hero. As an action adventure, the game is merely decent. As a straight-up rage-fest, it doesn't get much better than this on DS.
CCC Freelance Writer