Released as a companion to the just-released movie, X-Xen Origins Wolverine on PS3 (also on 360, PC, Wii, DS, PC) looks great, is gory button-mashing fun and a decent action-adventure that reminds me a bit of Prince Of Persia.
It traces the clawed anti-hero's origins from his escape of the Weapon X facility to the Team X African jungle mission although not all the characters are in strict keeping with the way they were portrayed in the comics.
The game from Activision / Raven software has high production values and movie fans will be thrilled it uses Hugh Jackman for Wolverine's vocal casting. But it's definitely not for the squeamish.
The tag accompanying the R18 rating that this game 'contains violence' isn't kidding. There's mindless killing aplenty and a lot of it - as you'd expect in a Wolverine tale - with loads of messy action including dismemberment and maiming. Games don't come more visceral and bloody than this.
The puzzles (shifting vehicles, finding power cells) are quickly forgettable but the combat is an endless claw slash gore fest and let's be honest, that's what will attract Wolverine fans.
It's easy to play, with the two buttons for the basic combat (there are more combos and moves as you progress) plus another button to grapple and jump foe to foe. To up the aggression stakes, you can also toss your enemies off bridges or impale them onto a spikes and swords. If that's not bloodthirsty enough, watch as people's heads get chopped off with helicopter blades. Ouch.
With successful combat, you get experience points or tokens and upgrades include 'rage points' when you can go really nuts but beware that the enemies are quite smart and get tougher as you play through the game. As you can imagine, you take a lot of punishment yourself but thankfully it's hard to die and health regenerates quickly.
'Feral Vision' mode lets you in on where to go and what you might find and the upgradeable Mutagens and skills make for an engaging gameplay experience.
Powered by Unreal Engine 3, the landscapes, especially the lush jungles, are visually impressive with rich colours and textures, as well as fluid game motion and camera dynamics.
Gaming titles based on movies are not usually this successful or this long (expect around 14 hours). The story is apparently loosely following the movie -which I have yet to see - but is secondary to the endless blood-spattering action. That action remains true to the spirit of the Wolverine character and is unashamedly all good fun.
MadGamer rating: 9 / 10