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X-Men: Next Dimension
PS2 Staff Review by Michael Brady

With the success of a blockbuster movie and plans for the sequel, fans have been impatiently waiting for more X-Men action to quench their thirsts. Well, grab a jug and get ready to have it filled to the brim, because the most popular superhero team is back on the PS2 system and ready to take fighting games to the next level. That's right fans, the Uncanny X-Men are back with their new fighter thanks to the great developers at Activision! There have been other X-men fighting games that have come out in the past on previous generation systems, but Activision has brought them back to the 128-bit console for us to enjoy. These game plans to be different from other fighters as there are unique aspects that can only be found in X-Men Evolution. This game does not only have a fighters elements to it, there is also a great story line that follows. This story put you in the middle of a humanoids plot to eradicate all mutants. Having been liberated from S.H.I.E.L.D, Bastion has set out to eliminate all of mutant kind with his legion of Prime Sentinels. He holds the one key that will ensure victory, the mutant Forge. You must now take command of the X-Men characters to rescue Forge and bring down the evil Bastion and his legion of Prime Sentinels.

This title is a new addition to the growing popularity of X-men fighting games. We have seen Capcom bring us plenty of X-Men action, but Activision has brought a new look to the series. It is a 3D fighter with depth of next generation fighters alike. The Graphics in this title are definitely next generation, however it does not surpass any fighter that is out on the market today. The character models in this game do look great, they have really captured the traits and detail that we love to see in games that are representative to the comic and cartoon counterparts Just take a look at the Juggernaut as he takes up almost the entire screen, much different from previous titles that have had him only slightly larger than the other X-Men. The graphics are not animated like the cartoon, the developers have decided to use a polygon character models that bring a more realistic look to the famous X-Men characters. This is quite refreshing, as the animated style of presentation has been over done from previous developers like Capcom. The environments have been greatly detailed in terms of the interaction that the characters have with them. Now you are able to break items in the environments by throwing or being thrown into them.

The game play in this title will offer new innovations that are different from the other X-Men games in the past. This year there is the implementation of super meters. Unlike the others in the past, there is a difference. Each character has four levels that they are able to charge up their super meters. Within each level there is a different signature move that is preformed depending on the level that the meter is at. An interesting feature that accompanies the super meter is the ability to transfer the power from one meter to another. This I found to be quite interesting, as this has never been done in other fighting games that have the super meter or special attack meter gauges. Another interesting feature in this title is the flying abilities that certain characters have, you are able to side step and move in 3D motion as you are in the air or on the ground. The controls for the other basic moves are easy to learn and there is a training mode available to practice these moves. The key to becoming victorious in this title is to train with your character and learn all the abilities.

The sound quality in this game will most likely be the cause of lower scores in the overall value in X-Men Evolution. With all the action that is present in this title the sound does not complement it. At times when items were being damaged on the screen the sound does not back it up, and yes this is with the surround sound on. The voice acting in the cinema screens is good, they do reflect the characters personalities.

Overall if you are a fan of the X-Men then this may be the title for you, however if you just want to grab the latest 3D fighter then you may want to rent this, or wait. X-Men Evolution is a good title however it may not gain the respect that it desires from the 3D fighter audience. Even though there have been great leaps in terms of innovations to the series, it still does no sit on par or surpass the fighting games of this genera. Regardless, X-Men Evolution is still a decent buy for the PS2 system.

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