The thing I always noticed about Wolverine in the comics is, he’s running around waving these massive adamantium claws, and he never seemed to cut people all that much. I mean seriously, I can’t peel a potato without removing the tip of my thumb (true story, thank God for my mutant healing factor). You’d expect panels with him in it to be constantly awash with blood. But it’s like swordfights in movies. Everything is disappointingly hygienic.
This not the case in X-Men Origins: Wolverine: The Video Game: Uncaged Edition.
I never really fell in love with Wolverine. I mean, I liked him, but he was like the Snoopy of the X-Men — the minor character who got so popular he took over the whole franchise. I secretly enjoyed it when Magneto would take control of his metal-laced skeleton and crumple him into a little ball, then squeeze the adamantium out of him like squeezing juice out of a lime. How’d’ya like that, bub!
First thing you notice about the game is, yeah, they took seriously the idea that Wolverine’s claws are meant for extracting circulatory fluid from people. They don’t sugar-coat it. You cut a dude, and he squirts, and sometimes his limbs fall off. And as Wolverine, you cut a lot of dudes. (Enough so that it raises inevitable Henchman Psychology questions — like why, as a lowly machete-wielding scrub, would you not bail and find some other line of work? The health benefits cannot be that good.)
The second thing you notice is that it’s a movie-franchise game that doesn’t suck. It hangs together. They took some pride in it. There’s a rich menu of special moves that all chain together in fluid sequences. There’s a nice little RPG-type skill tree where you can acquire and build up new abilities. It’s a complete game.
And it continues the trend — I see this more and more — of picking up details from old games and folding them back into new ones. There’s a lot of God of War here, duh, and you can slot in different mutagens like in BioShock. As in Dead Space, you can bring up a path that shows you where you should be walking (what else are Wolvie’s ‘feral senses’ for?) When you smash things, little power-up ‘rage orbs’ come out of them — for some reason I can’t remember where this comes from, but it’s a very specific steal. (Interestingly, when I smash objects in real life they also emit glowing rage orbs that make me stronger. And they call me crazy.)
And interestingly, the game incorporates the Gears of War-style fast-healing damage system, which makes no real sense in Marcus Fenix’s case, but in Wolverine’s case it actually does, ‘cuz that’s one of his super-powers.
All in all, you’re looking at a visceral but somewhat repetitive combat game experience. Incidentally I have discovered its ideal purpose: venting rage while on the phone with collections agents trying to have errors in your credit score corrected. I got yer collections fee right here, bub. [Hold right trigger and press B button to enter berserk mode … ]