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E3 2005: X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
game: E3 2005: X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
posted by: George Holomshek
publisher: Activision
developer: Raven Software
ESRB rating: RP (Rating Pending)
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon May 30th, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon May 30th, 2005

Click to read.Easily the best X-Men game of all time, the original X-Men Legends finally came through for fans of the series.  While it wasn't perfect, it was still a dream come true, especially as far as dungeon crawlers go.  Now, Activision and Raven Software are teaming up again for X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse.  Picking up right where the original left off, you once again are put in control of the X-Men.  However, when the mutant Apocalypse emerges and makes the world ripe for taking over, it is up to both the X-Men and their enemies, the Brotherhood, to band together to save both mutant and humankind alike.  With more powers, more characters, and online play just to name a few of the improvements, this sequel looks to be even better than the original.

One of the designer's goals when creating this game was to give more variation of powers and eliminate the feeling of having two or more similar mutants.  And with a total of sixteen playable characters, all of which are available from the get-go, it is easy to see how this could be a problem.  First off, having available both X-Men and members of the Brotherhood provides automatic diversity in terms of powers.  The developers also increased the total number of powers in the game by two-fold.  And of course with more powers comes more combos.  Suffice to say, similarity among powers has been greatly alleviated.  Speaking of characters and similarity, another addition to Legends II is a boatload of alternate costumes, many available from the beginning of the game.  Want to play Storm in her old school getup? It's there.  Wolverine in his classic horned mask? Go ahead, knock yourself out.  This relatively minor addition alone should make fans squeal with glee.

Levels were also high on the revamp list.  In Legends II, players will have far more interactive environments to play around in.  While some additions are functional such as floor switches and destructible walls, others are more aesthetic such as barrels that fall over and roll around.  Whichever the case, this is a welcome addition nonetheless.  Levels are also completely replayable throughout the course of the game.  This is an awesome feature for those times when you need to level up some of your weaker party members.  Or, for those of you who are crazy enough, to completely power up every single member of your army of mutants just to say that you did it.  Another great addition is the ability to warp back to HQ whenever you please.  This makes switching out teammates easier and keeps the action flowing.

However, the undoubtedly largest addition to the series is online play for the PC, Xbox, and PS2 versions of the game.  Sorry Cubers, once again we will have to get by with offline, but still remarkable, multiplayer action.  Online story based co-op mode will be an absolute blast, as will the six skirmish modes such as head-to-head?.  To keep things from getting slow and irritating, the game was designed for nonstop action.  No longer will teammates be halted by Hold up.  I need to change my button assignments.? or Wait a minute.  I just leveled and need to apply points.?  You now have the option of making nearly everything in this game automated.  From the instant application of skills after a level-up, to the automatic equipping of better armor as you pick it up, it is clear that multiplayer will be a complete fight-fest.  

Keeping the core of the game intact while adding enough new features to keep this from being more of the same dungeon crawler, Raven and Activision are on track to break yet another X-Men sales record.  If you liked the first X-Men Legends, prepare to drop more cash on this continuation of the series.  And with an estimated 20-25 hours of gameplay, fans can get ready to sink their teeth into another fantastic adventure come this fall.

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