Life, fate, power, destiny; in this new Marvel game, you're in control of it all. When we spoke to Activision Producer Doug Heder at E3 2011, X-Men: Destiny was still in hands-off mode, and we watched as members of the development team showed off the beat 'em up combat and various power sets. At Comic-Con International: San Diego 2011, however, we got to suit up as one of these three new mutants and wreak a little havoc of our own.
The demo kicked off at the very beginning of the game. A rally is being held in San Francisco, CA, the current home of the X-Men. Alongside the Mayor, Cyclops is unveiling a statue meant to commemorate a new era of co-operation between humans and mutants. Unfortunately, some rogue mutants of the Brotherhood and some fundamentalist humans of the Purifiers have other plans for the rally, both launching attacks on their respective others.
As one of the three brand-new playable mutants, you're then thrown right into the action. I chose Adrian Luca (voiced by Friday Night Lights' Scott Porter, interestingly enough, since Grant the football player is voiced by Milo Ventimiglia), who seems to be the most interesting of the three by far. You see, Luca is actually a Purifier himself, not to mention the son of their leader. So when he jumps into the fray, instinctively using his mutant powers to save people from collapsing buildings, his fellow Purifiers instantly turn on him, and you must take some of them down.
In addition to choosing a character, you also choose a basic power type (all three are open regardless of the character, but they all seem generally "tuned" to a specific character's body type and origin; they'll manifest slightly differently in other characters). Mine, Shadow Matter, allowed for teleportation and bladed weaponry. Using these abilities was easy, with standard attacks building up some large area affect hits that could take out entire groups of enemies. Standard attacks is truly the right word for it, as they are pretty standard. You run through using a series of fast and strong attacks to build up combos and take out the goons. It's pretty fun, though, seeing the flashy attacks build up on the uniquely drawn characters. The bigger fun comes in, however, when the guest stars start showing up; an event that happens quite early on. From these encounters, you start getting the X-Gene power ups; these allow you to tweak your abilities. A Quicksilver gene lets you attack faster, a Juggernaut gene makes you harder to knock down or hurt. Some will more greatly affect your powers, as well, adding electricity or other effects to your initial powers. With several characters from both the X-Men and Brotherhood, each having 4 of these X-Genes to collect, it offers a fun customization aspect to the game. If the pace keeps up from the initial level we played, then there will be a lot of that to do.
We did get to preview a little bit of the conversation system; it's similar in a fashion to that of Dragon Age: Origins; unfortunately it was quite loud in the background and we couldn't exactly hear the responses. It will be interesting to see how the conversation aspects play out in such an action-heavy game; if they don't go deep enough, it could look like it's just tacked on. If it is in fact just tacked on, it will end up alienating the RPG gamers they're trying to bring in.
There's obviously a whole lot of game that we haven't seen yet, as we only had about 10-15 minutes with the game. Still, it's intriguing, and we're excited to see what's in store on September 27, 2011 when the game ships.
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