NYCC '09 - X-Men Origins: Wolverine Game Hands-On

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Game Hands-On

Before New York Comic-con officially kicked off Friday, Newsarama was invited to a special press event for some private hands-on time with the upcoming movie game X-Men Origins: Wolverine. To label it as just a movie game, however, turned out to be a gross injustice. This third-person action game looks to stand tall amongst the greats, and is doing things with Wolverine most comic fans have only dreamt about.

Wolverine spins and slashes into some enemies.

After a brief developer walkthrough in which my palette was whet to the point of nearly literal drooling, the Xbox 360 Controller was put into my hands. I got to play through a large portion of the first level of the game, and was the only player who got to play against (and kick the butt of, if I don’t say so myself) the first mini-boss of the game.

I started off with the dodging missiles whilst diving headfirst out a helicopter, and got full control of Wolverine in a jungle. The vicious beauty of the game is readily apparent from the beginning. In my first three kills, I cut off 3 arms, a leg, and a head. Every slash wields real results, with blood gushing everywhere and limbs flying. At this point, it’s implied the claws are “merely” bone claws, but they’re still sharp and strong enough to pick up thugs by, and for everything from the aforementioned limb cutting to decapitation.

Shortly into the level I unlocked the first advanced move, the sounds-just-like-it-is “lunge.” With this, Wolverine can leap about halfway across the screen to attack a targeted victim. There is an impressive thud if you just leave it alone, but if you time a Y or B button press right, you get a much more exciting kill at the end of the lunge. Soon, I found pieces of environment that added to the killing prowess. Spikes sticking up out of the ground, swords being held by statues, and helicopter blades can all be used to kill enemies in fun and inventive ways. At one point, I had three dead bodies stacked onto one spike. Helicopter mini-games are all real time, no quick time events here. You bash the windshield, dodge bullets, and eventually pull the pilot out and up into the spinning blades.

Advanced enemies in the first level are natural progressions of the main set, infused with powers and more endurance. Combos are carried out in the well established format action gamers are used to thanks to series like Devil May Cry and God of War, and when you start to unlock your power, you instantly see Raven’s hand in the game: Hold a shoulder button as a modifier, then press a face button, similarly to their X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance games. It has become the common modifier, and it flows very well with the high pace of the game.

I was told that I was the first and only journalist that got to play through to the first mini-boss. Now, “mini” is a relative term here, as the boss is a gigantic stone and fire monster, several times larger than Wolverine. The behemoth charges, slams, and throws rocks at Wolverine, constantly facing you, as you desperately try to get behind it. If you do, and time it right, you get the satisfaction of repeatedly stabbing it in the joints. Jump away fast enough, though, or Wolvie gets severely burnt. With the real-time destruction and regeneration of his skin, muscle, and organ layers, the burns look very real, and Logan looks like he’s in pain. You can be actively fighting, and as long as you’re not actively taking damage, you’ll heal, with muscles growing back over bones, and skin eventually plugging holes completely. After a few rounds of this lunge and stab technique, the boss went down, at which point I was told he was just a mini-boss and we were only partially through this first mission.

What are claws for other than stabbing a guy, lifting him over your head, and throwing him at another guy? What are claws for other than stabbing a guy, lifting him over your head, and throwing him at another guy?

The number one thing I saw and experience here was sheer, unadulterated joy while playing. Both while playing myself and while watching others, there’s a constant stream of “Holy crap!” and “OHHHH” and even just constant laughter at how utterly vicious the action is. The variety of kills seems nearly endless as well. In over an hour of combined watch/play time, I was still discovering new ways to tear enemies apart, providing more laughter and shouts. This is Wolverine, through and through, and every single second was fun. This is a game I can’t wait to play more of. In fact, come May, there likely won’t be anything else in my system for quite some time.

There is plenty more information about the upcoming game in our one-on-one interview coming early next week, including more information about boss battles, what comic book writer is involved in the extra story beats,  and several unlockable costumes. This is a great looking Wolverine game definitely made by Wolverine fans for Wolverine fans.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine The Game is due out in May for all current platforms; the version previewed here will be available for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC

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