X-Men: Destiny, Activision's newest attempt to channel the franchise into beat-em up form, really wants indulge your fantasy of becoming a part of the expansive lore of the comic series. Rather than choosing their favorite heroes and villains from the series, players choose one of three new mutants whose powers you can cultivate and strengthen until they are as powerful as any one of the comic book characters.
While you can't actually take on the role of a Marvel hero, depending on how build your character you can essentially turn them into any mutant whose powers are included in the game. At the beginning of the story, you're asked to choose which of three characters you would like to be, and your root power. The root power seems to be the medium that you use for ass-kicking; whether it's energy projectiles, super strength, etc. As you progress through the game, you get access to the "X-Genes" of different established X-Men characters. Those X-Genes can be applied to modify your special abilities. Adding to your emulation, alternative "fan" costumes can be found throughout the game that are similar to heroes', but not an exact copy. Now, while you can't play as any of your favorite characters, if you modify all of your skills with a single x-gene and use their fan costume, your character goes into X-Mode, and gain extra powers that make you even more like your source of inspiration.
In the demo Activision showed today, I watched someone play as a version of Aime, a female japanese character, who had energy shooting powers. With the x-gene of super-speedy villain Quicksilver across the board and the matching fan outfit on, she gained the same super speed power as Quicksilver himself. Running circles around a lumbering boss, wearing that costume, if you looked at her at just the right angle...
This seems like a lot of work doesn't it?
Activision says that primary theme of X-Men Destiny is choice; you get to choose your character, you get to choose their powers, you get to choose whether to align with the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Mutants. It's an understandable direction for the series to take - They want to put you in the world of the X-Men without pigeonholing you into a pre-made character. They've ignored one essential problem, though. By leaving out the option to play as fan-favorites like Wolverine, Gambit and Juggernaut, they've essentially removed what many player would choose to do, given their druthers.
X-Men Destiny will start letting make all of these choices this fall. If you want to check out the trailer below.