Get It Right: Go Simple With The X-Men
Those of you old enough to remember filling arcade cabinets with machines probably have at least a handful of games that you couldn’t stop playing. For some, it was all about getting the high score on Ms. Pac-Man or Galaga while other flocked to the competitive nature of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. But for me? It was all about the beat-’em-ups, particularly those in the comic book realm. While Punisher remains a classic and close to my heart, I have especially fond memories of playing the X-Men arcade game for hours on end. It’s with that in mind that I have to ask: Why haven’t we seen another game like that starring Professor X and his crew of mutants?
In addition to recently thinking about the arcade game, I have not been able to get the awful taste of X-Men: Destiny out of my mouth since playing it three years ago. It was just an absolute mess of a video game that should have never left the developer’s studios, which is actually something that Kotaku covered in depth in this article. For those unfamiliar with it, though, X-Men: Destiny attempted to fall into the category of action-centric role-playing games, which would have been fine had it been executed properly. Instead, we were left with button-mashing madness that wasn’t even reminiscent of what can make button-mashing games fun. It really just tried to do too much.
Maybe, then, the best thing potential X-Men game developers can do is keep it simple. What’s funny is that there have been well-crafted X-Men games in the past few years, just not on a console! As seen here, slot developer Playtech was able to successfully integrate scenes and imagery from the first X-Men film to create a unique and fun take on an otherwise sterile gaming experience. It’s simple, sure, but that’s kind of the point of slot-styled game, right? Of course—but it’s that simplicity that needs to carry over to full-fledged console versions of titles based on the classic Marvel franchise.
Stop trying to give us over-the-top games where the graphics and appearance are top priority. The focus needs to be on what made those aforementioned classic games so memorable: the gameplay. Ditch the nonsense and go for something straightforward. Then, and only then, can developers even attempt to try a more complicated approach. After all, retro games have had a hell of a year, what with Shovel Knight recently winning Best Indie Game at the Game Awards, per this tweet from Nintendo.
Why can’t we just get something like this year’s X-Men mobile game, Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past, on a console? I can’t even imagine how quickly it would get eaten up by people with some money to spare on Nintendo’s eShop, the Playstation Network, or Xbox Live. It’s a shame that the best X-Men game around is only available on your smartphone but hey, at least we have that, right? Superman fans, on the other hand…
*This is a guest post written by Paul Donegan. Paul is an avid gamer and freelance blogger. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out in his local comic book shop or rewatching episodes of The Wire.*