X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse Review

Developer: Raven Software Publisher: Activision
Release Date: September 20, 2005 Also On: GCN, PC, PS2 and Xbox

For those who don’t know, X-Men Legends was released last year, and it was pretty highly taken. I mean, why not? It featured characters from one of Marvel comics’ top comic lines. So could a game that was already almost perfect be beaten by its successor? Simply put, the answer is yes.

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I really don’t know where to begin, this game is so good. It’s sort of a mixture of X-Men-meets-Gauntlet, but with a real story. From the start of the game, you’re immediately thrown into the fight, alongside the Brotherhood. Unlike XML1, there really is no taking it slow, unless you’re playing on easy mode. Not when the first level is only a few minutes long, and the second level contains various enemies of various difficulties. You either re-learn what was what in XML1, you pick up the skills, or you die. Simple as that, especially given the fact that nearly every boss fight is unique, and requires actual thinking and strategy, something that was missing from the first game.

At least this time around, you don’t have your A.I. allies increasing the difficulty, as they leave you alone because they all jumped over an edge to their death, in their forever attempt to worship the Lemmings. This time around, your allies are smarter about where they walk. They’re smart enough to not get killed by enemies so easy, making battles less stressful. Speaking of battles, as in any RPG, the more you fight, the stronger you get. Just like with XML1, with every experience level you gain, you have the opportunity to increase your stats as you see fit, and learn new skills. This time, the experience is a bit deeper. Not only do you learn their basic skills that they had in XML1, as well as a few new nifty abilities, but now, there are more passive skills that increase individual character stats, or some that increase the effectiveness of certain abilities, or all abilities of a certain type, not in the cheesy way that the first game did.

The story is equally as great as the gameplay. And why shouldn’t it be? It features Apocalypse, a villain that is favorite to a lot of X-fans (including myself). And not only that, but the story manages to blend it’s own unique story, with the Age of Apocalypse (an alternate reality where Xavier was killed in the past, and Apocalypse now reigns as leader), going so far as to even add the AoA costumes as extras to add to the realism of the story. The music, which is probably one of the better soundtracks in a superhero game, compliments the story and environments nicely, giving extra feel to where you’re at, or what you may be doing.

The only problems I really had with the game is that all but 3 characters are unlocked from the get go, the characters you do unlock are obtained at the very end of the game, and 2 of them don’t take much effort to get. There also aren’t many places for you to actually level yourself up. Not that the game is uber hard or anything, but it’d be nice to be able to pick up new skills and upgrades a bit easier. Which is fine, considering that the game isn’t all that hard the first time around (yes, that’s a gripe also). Either way, this game was a lot better than the first, and that says a lot.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.8
Written by RockNRoll Review Guide

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