An enjoyable addition to your combat options is the lunge. You target an opponent using [RB] then lunge using [LB]. This sends you leaping toward your opponent and your claws plunging into their chest. It's satisfying. It's also a mechanic that comes in useful for certain sections of the game where you'll be leaping from one vehicle to another, dismembering folk as you go, or just clearing big gaps.
You also get feral senses to make use of. Switch them on and everything turns bright and funky. The direction you're meant to be heading in will be highlighted (though this doesn't always work) while enemies and elements of the environment you can use will be highlighted. It's not dissimilar from Flow Vision in Mirror's Edge
, and comes in handy for tracking baddies and spotting chaps that have some sort of digital camo gear on.
On top of that, to further increase the intricacies of combat, you get to level up. You earn XP through kills and finding dogtags on certain soldiers, getting skill points to add to categories such as 'claws' and 'healing'. You'll also come across mutagens that you can equip to do things like lower the cool-down time before your healing factor kicks in.
The thing that really got to me about the whole game, though, is the fact that the combat just doesn't feel that satisfying. In a game where ripping enemies apart is the whole point, that's an undeniable problem. It's not that the combat is inexcusably broken, it's just... I wanted fighting using Wolverine to be utterly cool. I wanted to walk away from the console popping my imaginary claws and mentally slashing at unassuming, innocent bystanders. I wanted to look at the screen with a great big grin on my face, impressed at the incredibly slick move I'd just pulled off.
That didn't happen.
Instead, I just found myself often feeling mildly frustrated at fighting endless waves of the same enemy type and having the same tired big enemy battles. If I ever have to fight another big monster-type that charges me, throws something at me then leaves itself open so I can lunge at it and stab my claws into its neck I'll... well, I'll probably have a sulk.
There are a few environment-based puzzles thrown in there to break up the brawling. They're fine ? serviceable, if unremarkable. That's really all I have to say about them...
The game is also a bit disappointing on the graphics front. I'm far from a graphics whore, but I baulked at some of the problems. I stumbled across glitch after glitch, leaving me to occasionally stare at the screen in dumb befuddlement. The cutscenes froze and stalled, for one. At one point the dialogue kept looping, so I found myself listening to the word 'fuck' ? a word that wasn't meant
to be in the scene's dialogue ? repeatedly while the game righted itself. The cutscenes also, bizarrely, have a habit of switching from the crisp HD of the main game to a rather blurry standard definition.
The glitches weren't restricted to the cutscenes, either. I wandered past many a floating corpse as I hacked my way through the levels.
Another issue is the way characters interact with the environment. They'll float, objects will disappear and walking through solid elements of the environment isn't always a problem.
It's a shame, because the game isn't ugly. The African levels in particular are pleasing to behold ? just so long as you're not looking too closely. The faults just jar, making the game look unfinished.
SPOnG Score: 68%
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not an abominable game, but it falls far short of its promise. The fighting mechanics are solid and offer a fair amount of depth, but manage to fall short of exciting. Similarly, the graphics and presentation look like they could have done with just a few more months to iron out some of the kinks. It's not utterly terrible, but it's definitely a missed opportunity.