X-men Legends II
Playstation Portable
Reviewed: 11/20/2005


X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse starts off by showing players what looks to be leading up to a classic fight between Magneto’s Brotherhood and the X-Men. The two groups then have a conversation about their newfound, uneasy alliance and move on. This introduces the premise of the game: a new enemy has emerged that is so powerful, he requires the cooperation of the Brotherhood and the X-Men in order to be defeated. Said enemy is named Apocalypse, and he is the most powerful mutant in the world. At 5,000 years old, he’s also one of the first known mutants in history.

While the story is pretty decent, the spotlight is on the gameplay, much like most other Western RPGs. And it plays just like you’d expect it to, with the simple idea of walking around beating up anything that looks evil. This nets the party experience points and items, which one can distribute manually for a highly customized party or just let the CPU do it and get back to smashing things. This is great for widening the game’s appeal to those who love personalizing things in their RPGs as well as casual X-Men fans just looking to enjoy a game with their favorite characters.

What’s most impressive about X-Men Legends II on PSP is how closely it follows the console versions of the game. I had some experience with the GameCube and PS2 versions of this title, and the PSP version is almost exactly the same. All the powers, story bits, sound and graphic detail are there. Plus this version boasts a few more playable characters and missions.

Another very cool thing is the ability to mix and match X-Men and the Brotherhood. Want a party consisting of Gambit, Magneto, Storm, and Toad? Go for it. Feel like switching out Storm and Magneto for Juggernaut and the Scarlet Witch? Feel free. Bishop your kind of guy? Put him in there. Given the high number of characters, the party makeup possiblities are insane.

But all of X-Men Legends II‘s nice graphics, sound (including the voice acted parts), and massive play areas come at a price. The game suffers ridiculous loading times in ridiculous places. The example of loading the game up is perhaps excused, but transferring areas suffering a long loading sequence…and so does menu navigation…and so does pretty much anything. This hinders gameplay an awful lot. You might even find yourself shying away from doing things in the menu simply because you know it will result in sitting there loading.

Screen Shot
Get ready for lots of chaotic action like this.

Playing X-Men Legends II alone is, without a doubt, boring and crappy. As cool as a new mutant power is, not having anyone to show it off to and be like “whoaaaaa” with just isn’t as cool. That’s where the online or Ad Hoc multiplayer comes in. Playing with friends is most definitely the better experience, because even though a single player can program the other party members’ general combat patterns, having more manually controlled heroes gives the advantage. And multiplayer is always the way to go anyway. What can suck though, that this reviewer wasn’t expecting to suck, is the fixed camera. On the console versions of the game, it’s understandable for all heroes to be on the screen at the same time, but I was expecting the PSP version to fix this by only showing each player whichever character s/he is controlling. Nope. It stays the same. With how far away characters can get from each other in some of these huge environments, just seeing where everybody is can be a big problem.

In all, X-Men Legends II is a worthwhile trip for PSP owners looking for a fun RPG to kill the time with. It offers decent customization for the more hard-core variety, while maintaining simple enough action to attract the casual gamers. There are downfalls such as a faulty camera, a s-l-o-w, clunky interface and a few over-acted voices, but the sheer number of playable mutants and well told story ease the pain. Throw in the multiplayer action and Rise of Apocalypse is a good game for small get-togethers too. This is the kind of game you bought a PSP to play.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Very Good
Story Good
Graphics Excellent
Sound/Music Excellent
Replay Value Below Average
The Verdict: 5