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X-Men Origins: Wolverine - hands-on

The X-Men have a pretty great roster of characters, but Wolverine (a.k.a. Logan, a.k.a. James Howlett, a.k.a. Weapon X, a.k.a. Patch... we could go on) would win any popularity poll hands down. What's at the root of Wolvie's favored fan status? It's as simple as his characterization: he's a badass individual with unbreakable claws that can cut through anything, which are mainly used on bad guys. We tested out this principle digitally in our recent hands-on with a build of Wolverine Uncaged, based on the movie of the same name.

In the first stage we played, Wolvie and his pals invaded some bad guy warehouse. Only the warehouse was an Aztec-ish ancient city. When the stage began with us free-falling from our attacked helicopter and landing claws-first on some creep with an AK-47, we knew things wouldn’t go well for these guys. As we got accustomed to Wolvie’s basic attacks, the blood and limbs started to fly.

Just as bluntly straightforward as his portrayal, Wolverine’s assault on the villains is simple: he has claws, therefore he stabs (and cuts, and rends and… we could go on). Not only can we hack up people normally, but there are the requisite badass combos that are easy to pull off and slightly tougher timing-based moves for the most cinematic kills.

Next, we were introduced to Logan’s ability to lunge at an enemy, claws first as always. You can pull it off as long as your target is within range. It’s a good way to start or finish a combo. And Logan jumping at something claws first is as iconic a pose as the hero possesses. It was nice to hear from a representative of the developer that they took into consideration specific comic poses and moments like those when bringing him to life.

Later in the demo, we saw how the devs wanted to make it more filmic by giving the player control during moments that might have been non-playable in most games. The first time we saw this, Logan jumped onto the front of a helicopter and was about to punch the window. We didn’t press any buttons, assuming this would play out on its own. Then the pilot shot him in the face and Wolverine nearly fell off. When a similar situation rolled around later, we knew we had to be a bit more active.

On top of all these satisfying moments of extreme violence, the demo was filled with nice, small touches throughout. From Logan’s dramatically and grossly illustrated regenerative powers, to him pushing a Jeep with his claws in the back of it instead of his palms and even the environment being filled with pointy objects upon which to impale people. You know which pointy objects those are thanks to his “feral sense,” a filter you can place over the screen which will highlight context sensitive areas and which way you need to go.

Though for spoiler-related reasons the plot was kept pretty secret from us, it seems to follow the film pretty well with some helpful asides in filling out the timeline of Wolverine before and after the film. And though we wait for said film and it’s early May release, we feel even more excited for the simultaneous release of its game. This is one movie game that looks destined to miss the suck train.

Feb 12, 2009