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Claws Out- X-Men Origins: Wolverine Reviewed

X-Men Origins: Wolverine for the Xbox 360. Developed by Raven Software, Publisher: Activision

The game based on a movie license is the habitual bane of our industry. These titles are often developed under rushed production cycles, intended to be released alongside a corresponding feature film. Designed to take advantage of a preexisting advertizing blitz- they are frequently buggy, simplistic and graphically incompetent. Perhaps their worst offense is that they usually fail to capture the power of the source material, as Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk have recently illustrated. Fortunately, the developers of X-Men Origins: Wolverine were already well into the development cycle of a Wolverine title, when production of the eponymous film started. Subsequently, the game isn’t perfect, but it is a gratifying diversion that should thrill fans of both the comic and recent blockbuster. We could only hope more games designed around film properties were as enjoyable as this one.

As the title opens, our protagonist is aboard a helicopter traveling over a lush African jungle. An RPG explodes against the side of the transport sending Wolverine hurtling to the ground below.  After a brief freefall, the game displays a slow motion sequence of our hero poised over an angry rebel. He uses his adamantium claws to disembowel the foe, and the player is given control of Wolverine. At this point, the game’s pacing becomes apparent; X-Men Origins moves at a speed and velocity reminiscent of the title character. For the few hours hour, we were carving opponents at a delightfully breakneck pace, only slowed by the intermittent boss encounter.

Whereas we expected the game to offer the same sanitized combat as the PG-13 film, we applaud developer Raven’s decision to give gamers a mature-rated interpretation of Wolverine. While the title rarely lingers in gratuitous gore, X-Men Origins offers quick splashes of blood and body parts to convey the power and fury of the main character. It’s intensely exhilarating to see the damage inflicted by Wolverine’s claws, and the title would have felt anemic without the visceral display of carnage.

The game uses the Unreal 3 engine to render its battles and butchery, generally to great effect. The game’s initial jungles recall the lush foliage of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, while its later levels set in the rainy drenched streets of the French Quarter are without peer. Seeing the main character’s body and internal organs mend themselves was a powerful visualization reminder of the power of the superhero’s power. Sadly, the framerate can become a bit choppy at times, as the game struggled to depict the physicality of the on-screen action.

Building upon the game’s powerful action, the developers included an involved system to level up Wolverine. The rate of health replenishment, special attacks, and claw damage can all be augmented, adding a bit of depth to the title. The gamer also has the ability to alter the protagonist’s Mutagens; which also amplifies the amount of damage issue Wolverine can issue or take.  Since both systems have the same end result, they could have been simplified into one customization screen.

Increasing Wolverine’s physical attributes would have been unnecessary is the game’s combat wasn’t enjoyable. Fortunately, it’s intensely gratifying, and incorporates a few elements that will likely be recycled in future brawlers. One of the most satisfying moves involves Wolverine locking onto to a distant foe, and then jumping toward them with his claws outstretched. It’s a simple technique that is persistently compelling and fantastically executed. Both players who prefer involved combinations and button mashers will enjoy the combat system. It’s remarkably designed for the enjoyment of both hardcore gamers and casual X-Men fans.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is exceptional in two respects: it’s an enjoyable game based on a film license that manages to outshine its source material. For those two reasons, fans of the book and film deserve to give the title an extended look; they will likely be captivated by its fiery action and graphical lushness. X-Men Origins manages to convey Wolverine’s sense of strength and fury; for that reason alone, the game is an accomplishment.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. I heard this came out a few week ago, and really haven’t herd much about the game. I didn’t think it was going to be good.

  2. First! Just review the game now? Did Sacred 2 eat up all your time or what?

  3. Why do all Unreal 3 games look the same? This looks like Bourne and 50 Cent to me.

  4. Do enemies really put their arms up like in the bottom pic?

  5. I thought Bourne Identity, while not the best licensed game, was very playable. The managed to make the combat look brutal.

  6. I’m hoping Raven’s upcoming Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 will be as good as this.

  7. Yep, I see the same thing in still picture. When the move it even more observable.

  8. I played for about 45 minutes, and really didn’t notice that.

  9. I never really liked the game that much, it felt like a glorified Gauntlet game to me.

  10. Sounds so much better than the last Wolverine game. That one was pretty crappy.

  11. If you want to talk about rushed licensed games, you have to talk about the Matrix game. What a pile of shit that game was. It would lock up every hour. Anyone remember the car and hacking sections? LOL?

  12. 90% of Superhero games are bad. Thats a proven fact.

  13. Any frustrating parts of the game? I herd double jumping was kind of hard?

  14. Any multiplayer in the game at all? I can see myself waiting for a price drop.

  15. Better than the movie? That’s not saying much?

  16. I’m shocked this isn’t a huge mutant turd.

  17. At least it looks like Hugh Jackman.

  18. Damn, you can see the dirt on the bottom of his shoes in the top picture. Hell yes, I want this.

  19. Finally, a decent movie/comic book game.

  20. Solid review, Deagle.

  21. Rest assured, it is MILES better than the movie.

  22. Wolverine was a retarded movie. I would hope the game was ALOT better.

  23. Good review. I will be buying this one when I get a chance. The lock-on jump sounds cool.

  24. Good, but not $60 good. More like $30 or so.

  25. I thought it was OK, nothing special. Good thing the game turned out better.

  26. Good review, I really liked your take on the gore. I think its great that they released an “M” rated game.

  27. Well after playing the demo I thought it was a good game, but after seeing some reviews I’m starting to doubt.

  28. How come they haven’t made a Hulk game as good as last gens? WHY?

  29. Its good, if you liked the demo, the full game is more of the same.

  30. Is blood thirsty synonymous with “gamer”?

  31. Nope, not all all. Most of my collection is E-Teen rated, and has very little blood.

  32. I’ll get it when it is used.

  33. Bought it today from Amazon. I cant wait to play, the demo was good, but the reviews are pretty favorable.

  34. My friend bought me this from Costco today. Hell yeah.

  35. Yep, I’m about 6 hours in and really like it. Not bad at all.

  36. Games show blood to indicate hitting a target sometime, like in FPSs.

  37. Thats what I was thinking.

  38. Worth a rental it seems. I wish Gamefly wasn’t so slow for me.

  39. I don’t know if that fact, but I do have to agree with your OPINION.

  40. Last Starfighter

    I hear they are making Iron Man 2. Prepare for the pain.

  41. I think Unreal 3 games tend to use the same color schemes and skeletal systems, too.

  42. This is one of the recent movie based games that have actually turned out really good! Wolverine has never been cooler!

  43. The graphic look ok I hope the gameplay is decent.

  44. Thanks for the great review, I definitely plan on picking up this game sometime down the road once it drops a bit in price.

  45. Really considering getting this game. Thanks for the review!

  46. Well, movie bummed me out. This game looks alright.

  47. I loved this game. One of the rare movie games worth playing!

  48. Maybe I should get this game???

  49. It looks fancy, but I will wait on reviews.

  50. Yeah the demo was pretty sweet. The movie was garbage but the demo seemed cool.