X-Men: Destiny has been out on store shelves for a couple of weeks now, so for many of you this comes too late, but in case the New York Comic-Con gets you craving a little mutant-on-mutant violence, Multiple Fahey and his sidekick, Owen, are here to save the day with an untimely Gut Check.
Michael Fahey, Comic Book Nerd: Let me get this straight: You've got three teenage characters, none of which are aware they are mutants. One is a displaced Japanese girl in the country illegally. One is a brainless jock. One is (and this is fun) an anti-mutant demonstrator. They each discover their powers during a moment of great and terrible danger. Five hours later they're going toe-to-toe with the X-Men's greatest foes, with the blessing of Mr. Cautious and Overprotective himself, Scott Summers. They're taking on 20 guys at once, pulling off acrobatic maneuvers, and scaling buildings like they'd been doing it since they were born. What happened to protecting and training? Oh hey, new guys, could you take on that Sentinel robot while we run some errands? That would be great. No.
Michael Fahey, X-Men Fan: What an awesome idea? For years we've been stepping into the roles of the greatest X-Men characters, but not until now have we had the chance to enter their ranks as a completely new character. Unfortunately the game is not quite as exciting as it initially sounded. There are really three playable characters with a choice of three different power sets, which in the grand scheme of things doesn't feel like much of a choice. Appearances by X-Men characters famous and obscure help make up for that a bit, and I love collecting artwork and mutant powers to customize my character further. Unfortunately, with its alternate-continuity storyline and bland player characters I never really felt like I was my own member of the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Evil mutants, and that's what I wanted to feel. No.
Michael Fahey, the Game Reviewer That Played the Game for Twelve Hours: Ugly and sloppy, that was my first impression of X-Men: Destiny and that's my final impression as well, after having played through the same storyline with different characters two and a half times. Why so many? I really wanted to see how each power set would evolve; I'm a bit of a power tree junkie. I only made it two and a half times through because the bland voice acting, predictable story, and lengthy unskippable cut scenes finally drove me insane. There are good ideas here. I enjoyed collecting X-Men costumes and equipping different power modifiers. That was fun. Nearly every other aspect of the game was not. It felt rushed, unfinished, and again, sloppy (if you're going to feature a character with a scarf wrapped around her face, make damn sure her face polys don't pop out of it, ever). I wanted to like this one; it just didn't work out. No.
Owen Good, Who is Not Michael Fahey: I got an hour with this game at Comic-Con back in July, which should be long enough for the game to sink its hooks into me. It didn't. While I understand the need for templatized heroes (I think the available combination is, like, nine, and that involves just three different power sets and three heroes) it all felt very cookie-cutter, and the beat-em-up action came off bland, very unfortunate given the other superhero brawler releasing soon. One hero, the son of the anti-mutant bigot, held promise as an interesting character; the other two were vacuous. With so much releasing that's worth a purchase or a long rental, it's hard for me to see X-Men as more than a weekend fling. No.
The best thing about running a Gut Check this late in the game? Our minds won't change.