X-MEN - Next Dimension
Review of X-MEN - Next Dimension
X-Men: Next Dimension starts out with a brief history of the X-Men and the Mutants in an almost movie like fashion. If you have no idea of what the X-Men are about, it may be worth while to sit through this to get a little background..... those who know the story line, may wish to skip it, but the intro is worth watching at least once…good quality. The storyline takes place during the Operation: Zero Tolerance phase of the X-Men. Once into the game, there are a few different modes that you can go to. First up is Practice Mode, which I recommend for those new to the fighting game genre. You can hone your skills against any number of villains. A neat trick is to set the opponent as a dummy. In this mode, they will not throw a punch or kick.... sort of like a punching bag.... you can get a serious kick out of beating the snot out of some of these characters. While in Practice mode, you can choose many different backgrounds to battle in. Construction sites, forests, mountains (my favorite) since you can grab your opponent and throw them over the cliff (the game features multi-tiered levels).
The next mode is Versus mode....2-Player, which is just your basic fight against your buddy.... rather beat him up on the screen than in real life.... pick who you want to fight with. Arcade mode is fine, where you battle a total of 10 opponents, each getting tougher as you move along. Survival mode is exactly that, SURVIVAL of the Fittest. You battle a never-ending line of enemies. Try to stay alive against these guys as long as possible. Each time you smackem around and win, you get some extra health...... but be careful, as in arcade mode, they get tougher as the game goes on. Wouldnt be much fun if they got easier now would it?
The big selling point of the game is the Story mode, which features the return of Bastion, who is hell-bent on wiping out the Mutants. Players begin playing as Forge. Each one has their own special abilities so depending on your mood that particular day, you may want to be Juggernaut and just pound your opponent with swing after swing of his massive arms and squishem like the mutant bugs that they are with his feet or choose to be someone like Wolverine and flip and sky to just irritate your opponent by hitting them and, whoops, jumping to the other side of him and hitting him again before he can turn around.
After beating your first two opponents in Story mode, you come back and meet Dr. Charles Xavier and off you go to meet stiffer competition. It is here that gamers will be faced with selecting another character to use from a screen of six. At this next step you are in a blank somewhat sterile room
(which reminded me of the Enterprise Halodeck) for your next match.... after you begin.... whoosh..... you are now fighting your opponent in the desert. Then all of a sudden you are back in the sterile room again.
I think that you should start out in Practice mode then try the Arcade or Survival mode before moving on to the Story mode. The game plays rather smoothly and in a logical manner. There was very fluid movement of the characters and the damage that they inflict on their surroundings becomes part of the game. So if you throw your opponent on top of a car, the car will remain damaged (it will also explode causing addition damage to your opponent).
Character controls are nice, tight and responsive. Triangle and Square are for punches, “X” and “O” are for kicks. Of course, each character has a plethora of special attacks at their command. The easiest way to learn these moves is to go into the Practice and select the characters move list. All of the buttons needed to pull of these attacks are clearly identified. Players can also gain access to a characters move list from the Story or Arcade mode by pressing the Start button at any time and selecting Moves. Characters can also grab opponents and use counters. Finally there is the Power Transfer attack. Unlike the earlier X-Men games, the Transfer is no done automatically when the bar is filled. This definitely made pulling off this attack much easier.
Graphically, X-Men: Next Dimension is no slouch. The character models are nice and large and extremely well detailed. I thought the animation, especially for a few of the larger players, was a little stiff at times, but not so bad as to detract from the gameplay in any significant way.
The backgrounds are quite complex and feature a lot of stuff going on while your character is fighting, rats scurrying across the floor, trains cruising by in a subway, etc.). There is also a good deal of interactivity with the backgrounds. Cars explode when hit, floors crack and break apart, etc. Thankfully this all occurs without any slowdown, no matter how busy things get. All of this is accompanied with nice special effects. I particularly liked the Matrix style “freeze / panning” attack that Betsy pulls off and the screen warping that occurs with Magneto’s powerful attack. The game is also anti-aliased so there isn’t any “jaggies” and shimmering is kept to a minimum.
Patrick Stewart returns as the voice of Dr. Charles Xavier. Of course this is a good thing as he keeps the Story mode progresses quite articulately.
The music is a mix of orchestrated themes and power riffs and does the job in properly getting the adrenalin pumping, but it isn’t so overwhelming as to detract from the game. Some of the scores are quite memorable though such as the opening theme. There are also specific tracks played for each location level, some of which kick ass and others that just stay the course…but thankfully there is not a clunker to be found. Truly, the soundtrack is rock-solid.
The Mutants each have their own grunts, groans and canned phrases that they spit out during battle. The voice acting is well done, but I didn’t think that all of the characters matched their voice perfectly. Some of the references spouted out will be instantly recognizable to X-Men fans, while other are merely taunts to get the opponent riled up. The special effect sounds are fitting with nice explosions, thuds, etc.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'X-MEN - Next Dimension' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Bill Gibbs © Absolute PlayStation
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