Comics are all the rage these days. It's a breath of fresh air to see a hobby I've grown up around turn into a booming business cross-bred with movies, cartoons, TV shows, and yes – videogames. The important thing to note is that comic based games are actually good these days, and X-Men Legends 2 is no exception.
Coming off the success of the first Legends, the new Rise of Apocalypse jumps straight into a struggle between the legendary Apocalypse himself and X-Men arch nemesis Magneto; after much loss over Genosha, Magneto calls on aid of the X-Men. This unlikely alliance maintains only because both Magneto's Brotherhood and the X-Men know what's at stake. If Apocalypse has his way the world will be devoid of homo sapiens and left to a "survival of the fittest" atmosphere for all mutants.
What this means to you and me is a lot of dungeon crawling, leveling, RPG elements, and such Gauntlet-esque epic battles that made the original Legends such a hit. You and up to three other friends can join into the mayhem that is, well, just that - total mayhem. Four superheroes (or villains) up against hundreds and hundreds of monsters, mercenaries, other super powered forces and ultimately – Apocalypse himself.
All the backburner stuff is handled in a Dungeons & Dragons-style fashion. Leveling up is done through massive acts of violence and acquiring new skills are handled completely by you. Pick and choose which stats to increase, what attacks to have and how strong they are, and even equip your team to give that extra needed boost. This freedom is only limited by a tiered skill set; some skills won't be open until you reach a high enough level, or have other skills under your belt. So even though all your characters have skills and attributes unique to them, there's still a world of customization and variety available to let your creative nerdiness flow.
The meat and potatoes gameplay is the aforementioned mayhem. Each Act in the game starts you off at a central hub and quickly throws your heroes into mission after mission. It usually boils down to finding people, saving people, defeating the bad guys or protecting areas. Which typically involves hurting bad guys – a lot. There's not much more to the formula than this; sure, there are normal moves, skills, special attacks, combos, team combos and even "Xtreme" attacks that usually clear the field or provide huge power ups…but button mashing is button mashing, no matter how fancy it gets. Although for those who dig button mashers, like myself, fancy button mashers are the best.
If you ever get bored, there's always all the cool nerdy extras as well. Comic covers, production art, and sketches can be found. The Trivia Computer tests just how well you know the X-Men mythos. Then there are Danger Room missions that can improve your members even further and even hidden characters and costumes to unlock. Goodies galore in Legends 2, even when you get tired of beating the mutation out of your foes.
So what you have to do is ask yourself – do you like button mashers? Do you like X-Men? Is the first X-Men Legends a shining jewel in your collection? If you say yes to any of these, there's no reason to leave Legends 2 out of your life. And if you have friends just as nerdy as you, all the more reason to pick up this instantly fun and undoubtedly deep game.