Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition

Published on May 15th, 2009

Last week I received a copy of the new Wolverine game. I’ve spent the entire week playing it, beating it, and forming an expert opinion of it so that I can direct our faithful readers as to whether or not they should play this game. It’s hard work being me. I’ll be upfront about this though, I haven’t seen the new Wolverine movie. After hearing lackluster things about it, I decided to spend my $10 on a hooker instead. Hooker?! I hardly know her!

You start off playing Wolverine in what’s called the “not too distant future” but is the present in the game. But then you’re taken to a flashback of three years ago in the jungles of Africa, and then after that you are brought back to the present, which isn’t the same present as before, but rather like two months before that “not too distant future.” Which, keep in mind, is the present. Confused? Good, because that’s exactly how I felt too.

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Despite that odd time-line of events, this doesn’t really do much in the way of criticism for the overall game. If you asked me what I would want in a game about Wolverine I would say that the most important thing is to convey the feeling of being Wolverine. In the comics Wolverine is one of the fastest and deadliest in the Marvel Universe. He leaps from one enemy to another, eviscerating them in a flash, and ignoring any harm to himself. Well, I can happily tell you that Raven Software absolutely nailed this aspect of Wolverine. The combat is extremely satisfying in a way that there are at least three points during the game where you’ll go, “holy crap that was awesome!”

The story for the game is pretty weak though. From what I can tell it loosely follows the movie story, in the sense that Wolverine is trying to track down Sabretooth because Sabretooth killed his girl. But the game goes from that, to flashbacks of a mission Wolverine was on three years ago in Africa with Colonel Stryker, Sabretooth, Raven Darkholme (Mystique), Wade Wilson (Deadpool), and some others. The flashbacks seem to be used to introduce characters that Wolverine runs into again three years down the road. Another frustration I had with the game was, and I counted, five different bugs throughout it that made me have to restart the game. I’ve maybe had to reset a game twice at the most during play due to bugs, but five is unheard of (for me anyway).

The game also implements a kind of cool, if slightly unuseful, upgrade system for Wolverine’s powers. Each time he levels up, you can spend points to make him take more damage, have more rage, do more damage, etc. There’s also powerups you can find in the game that let you do more specific things like faster health regeneration or gaining experience faster. It’s not that these upgrade systems feel tacked on, it just feels like they aren’t needed or add anything to the game-play experience.

Overall, this is not just an absolute must-play for Marvel fans, but for all gamers. It’s one of the most violently pleasing games I’ve played in a long, long time and reminds me of the game Conan, which I thought was an extremely underrated and overlooked game for the 360 and PS3. The graphics are good, the game-play is fun, and because of all the different moves and fatal blows you can land, you’ll be experimenting with all the different types of ways you can kill people, much like the 2005 game The Punisher. Most importantly though, this is exactly what a Wolverine game should feel like. Especially when you consider that you can unlock Wolverine’s blue and yellow, brown and black, and even the rarely seen X-Force spandex outfit to play through the game in. At times you’ll lose yourself in the game and feel like you are playing through a Wolverine comic where you are just kicking all kinds of ass.

My message to Raven Software is this: keep going. There is plenty to improve on in this game to make a Wolverine video game franchise that people will keep wanting to play for years. Chief among those improvements is breaking away from the atrocious universe the movie is set in and returning to Marvel 616. You remember that place right? That’s the place where DEADPOOL DOESN’T HAVE HIS MOUTH SEWN SHUT.

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Props

  • Feels exactly like a Wolverine game
  • Combat system and combos are fun and awesome
  • Super violent and graphic
  • Hilarious easter eggs

Knocks

  • Weak story
  • Game-halting bugs
  • Frustrating platforming elements
  • The entire Gambit level is waaaaaay too long

Final Score – 7 out of 10

Butner Brimberry
Butner@comicimpact.com