Wolverine — the mutant hero of comics, novels, TV shows and movies — has knives in his hands. Knives in his hands. If you think nobody’s getting seriously cut up when he starts slashing around with those things, you are sorely mistaken. The incredibly long-titled X-Men Origins: Wolverine — Uncaged Edition is a video game that finally shows us what it would be like to be a virtually indestructible, metal-clawed killing machine.
Now it’s worth pointing out that Wolverine has starred in many video games before this one. He’s done everything from platforming to fighting Capcom characters. But this is the first time someone’s actually put two and two together and realized that there was maximum bloodshed to be had if only Wolverine was treated seriously. And this game is oh, so very serious.
From what I understand, work was afoot on Wolverine (as we’ll call it for brevity’s sake) before the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie rolled around. So the game has one foot in the usually lackluster movie-game arena and half in that of a proper game. The character models are based on their movie counterparts and Wolverine is voiced by Hugh Jackman, which is nice, but you get some of the goofier story elements from the film mixed in with what becomes a somewhat uncomfortable retcon of familiar comic book continuity.
Story issues aside — and to be fair, it’s more like a “greatest hits” of the movie than a generic movie tie-in — there’s the bloody gameplay. And it is bloody. That’s the selling point of Wolverine: leaping into the middle of a group of hopelessly outclassed normal-human bad guys and carving them literally limb from limb as the pixelated gore flies. In this game Wolverine is ripping off heads, impaling people on spikes and generally meting out chaos as we always imagined he could if the censors at Marvel Comics weren’t so busy keeping him family-friendly.
I wish I could tell you there were many layers to the game but there really aren’t. In flashbacks and current-day settings Wolverine goes from jungle to high-tech facility to snowy mountainside killing people. That’s the whole purpose of the game. Along the way you get to see some pretty cool effects as Wolverine shows damage in realtime and also heals rapidly as per his mutant ability. Thanks to a quirk of the game, he also has the ability to regenerate his shredded shirts, but that’s a minor complaint.
If Wolverine consists entirely of a long strings of one-sided battles punctuated by relatively straightforward boss fights, is the game worth getting? Well, if you’re a fan of Wolverine and gore, then by all means seek out a copy. There’s something cathartic about being able to tear bad guys into shreds, shrug off wounds from automatic weapons fire and crash helicopters by tearing them apart in mid-air. These are the sorts of experiences only video games can deliver. Certainly I’d rather play the game than suffer through the movie.
Yes, Wolverine can get repetitive, particularly as Wolverine powers up and is able to take out his normal-human prey with one tap of a button, but it takes a while for that sameness to kick in. Meanwhile you’re able to enjoy ripping people apart, and that’s pretty much why the game exists.