X-Men Legends II is a lengthy and fun adventure that anyone with a PSP and an interest in superheroes or beat-'em-up games will certainly enjoy.
When playing the game single-player, all but one of the members of your party will be artificial intelligence-controlled. It isn't as bad as it sounds, though, because here you can customize the AI by setting parameters for aggressiveness, primary moves, and when to heal. Each character can be programmed individually, so you can have Cyclops and Iceman hang back to use ranged attacks while Wolverine and Juggernaut go in to tear things up. Even with these options, the AI isn't brilliant or anything, but it usually stays out of the way.
Of course, the best way to play X-Men Legends II is cooperatively with a few friends. The PSP version of the game offers four-player co-op play in ad hoc wireless mode, as well as four-player online play. Multiplayer can be a lot of fun as you and your friends combine powers to plow through room after room of enemies. The only problem with co-op play is that the camera is pulled back to keep all players in the frame at the same time. So if you are on opposite sides of the screen, the view will be so far away that you can't really see the action. But if one character gets stuck, you can just hit a button to teleport back to the party. Getting online is quick and easy, as long as you have wireless Internet access. We did notice some lag when playing online, but it seemed to smooth out after playing for a while. The lengthy load times from the console version of the game are just as apparent in the PSP version, and they do tend to break up the flow of the game. This is especially frustrating when playing online, as the game pauses anytime a player accesses the character menu.
X-Men Legends II looks great for a PSP game, and it looks great on the small screen. In terms of detail and variety, it doesn't look like much was lost in the translation from console to handheld. You'll fight in a jungle, a factory, an ancient Egyptian temple, and even on top of a flying dirigible. The environments feel complex and huge, but most of the paths loop back on themselves, so you won't get lost or hit a dead end very often. Plus, there's a mini-map with an arrow to point you to exactly where you need to go. Every stage is filled with all kinds of stuff for you to destroy, from glowing mushrooms and giant boulders, to barrels and furniture. You can also knock down walls and destroy equipment, which really makes the battles feel chaotic and over the top. You can punch enemies through walls, smash rocks over their heads, and basically destroy every single thing in your path. Or you can just pick up enemies and chuck them over the nearest railing to watch them fall to their dooms. It seems simple, but in practice it's undeniably entertaining to watch Juggernaut or Colossus run into a group of bad guys and start tossing them around like rag dolls. Toward the end of the game, the levels do start to feel the same, and the puzzles are never quite complex or challenging. It isn't a major problem, though, since this game is all about combat anyway.
Unfortunately, the PSP version of the game doesn't always run smoothly. The game actually locks up and sputters for a few seconds sometimes when the PSP is reading the UMD. This only happened to us after resuming play after saving a game, and the effect usually didn't last more than 10 or 15 seconds. It is annoying, but thankfully it doesn't happen frequently enough to throw the whole game off. The fixed camera is annoying at times, because it takes a while to adjust if you suddenly change directions. However, the game looks great and runs smoothly most of the time.
The one area where X-Men Legends II could use some cleaning up is in its interface. The menus fill the screen with text that isn't arranged intuitively at all. Checking your stats or equipping new items is much more of a chore than it should be. You probably won't want to spend much time in the menus anyway, because they take a long time to load. You actually have to look at a load screen if you want to check the status of your party, and then you have to look at another load screen to get back to the action. It's especially annoying, because in a game like this, you want to be able to tweak stats or equip items quickly and easily.
The sound in X-Men Legends II is quite good for a PSP game, but it isn't particularly remarkable. The music is your average orchestral score that doesn't get stuck in your head or anything, but it sits nicely in the background and kicks into high gear when the tension is up. The voice acting is completely intact, and it sounds perfectly campy, although some of the characters sound a bit silly. Professor Xavier is excellently voiced by Patrick Stewart, but Rogue sounds a bit too much like Dolly Parton, and Juggernaut sounds like a dirty imitation of Wolfman Jack.
Overall, X-Men Legends II is a lengthy and fun adventure that anyone with a PSP and an interest in superheroes or beat-'em-up games will certainly enjoy. It doesn't do anything new or groundbreaking in terms of gameplay mechanics, but the cast of characters and the story are more than enough to make it worth playing. The game takes about 20 hours to finish, but when you do, you can play it again on a different difficulty setting. Better yet, you can try playing through with a new combination of characters to see which combos work best. If you played any of the console versions of X-Men Legends II, you might want to pass on this since it's essentially the exact same game. However, if you're interested in the game and haven't played another version yet, the PSP is as good a platform as any to enjoy it on.
Editor's note 11/08/05: Our original review incorrectly stated that this version of the game was missing some sound effects that were found in the console versions of the game. GameSpot regrets the error.
- Player Reviews: 116
- Game Universe:
- X-Men: Mutant Academy (PS, GBC),
- X-Men: Mutant Wars (GBC),
- X-Men: Next Dimension (GC, PS2, XBOX),
- X2: Wolverine's Revenge (PS2, GC, XBOX, PC, GBA),
- X-Men Legends (PS2, XBOX, GC, NGE),
- X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (XBOX, PS2, GC, PSP, PC, MOBILE, NGE),
- X-Men vs. Street Fighter (PS, SAT, ARC),
- X-Men: Children of the Atom (PC, PS, SAT, ARC),
- Spider-Man / X-Men (GB, GG, SNES),
- X-Men (GEN, GG, AND)
- Offline Modes:
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
4 Players Online