X-Men Origins: Wolverine will give you new insight into how much damage indestructible, razor-sharp claws can do to a human body. This is a game that revels in gore, with decapitations, eviscerations, and mutilations drenching the screen in blood. It may be derivative, a cakewalk, and at times buggy, but the sheer visceral impact of the over-the-top violence in X-Men Origins is enough to make it a fun action game, as well as one of the better movie tie-ins released recently.
It helps that the violence in X-Men Origins: Wolverine is backed up by decent gameplay, and though it doesn’t bring anything new to the third-person action genre, it’s still solid and satisfying at most times. You play as the titular Marvel mutant, with the game’s muddled storyline mimicking and expanding on events in the movie of the same name. Along the way, you take Wolverine through the jungles of Africa, the hidden Weapon X base at Alkali Lake, the interior (and exterior) of a massive casino, and more. You have to take on groups of increasingly aggressive and dangerous enemies, solve not-too-taxing environmental puzzles, as well as go up against several guest boss villains from the Marvel universe. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t do a great job of introducing these nefarious individuals–such as the Blob and Gambit–and often throws them in with little explanation of why Wolverine needs to beat on them in the first place.
Your weapons of choice for dispatching these villains are Wolverine’s claws, and even though the game’s jumping timeline means that you’ll be playing as both pre- and post-adamantium Logan, the claws retain their indestructible ability to slice through practically anything throughout the game. You have light and heavy attacks that you can string together to perform various combos, and also an extremely useful lunge that lets you launch Wolverine at enemies from a distance. These button-based combos are easy to pull off, and get gradually more intricate as you unlock more. As Wolverine gains levels, new combos open up, as well as four different fury attacks, which are supermoves that require you to build up your rage meter before unleashing. These four attacks can be upgraded as Wolverine gains experience, giving the game a very basic character-customization element.
Although spamming the same combos can prove useful early in the game, you won’t be able to get away with mindless mashing for too long. The game does a good job of forcing you to change your tactics, sending at you a wide variety of enemy types that require different attacks and combos to dispatch. For example, though the lunge may work on low-level enemies, tougher foes and midlevel bosses will simply swat you out of the air. With a bit of practice, all of Wolverine’s moves can be chained seamlessly, making you feel extremely powerful as the mutant unleashes his rage on groups of enemies.