X-Men: Next Dimension Review

Joe Dodson
X-Men: Next Dimension Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • N/A

Publisher

  • N/A

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • GameCube
  • PS2
  • Xbox

rating

You say you want an evolution…

Compared to the PS2, the Gamecube has few choices for the classic fighting game

fan.Until Soul Calibur 2 comes out, we’re left with Bloody

Roar
, Godzilla or the Capcom

games.

Now

Gamecube owners have one more option in X-Men: Next Dimension. Developed

by Paradox and published by Activision, Next Dimension is a decent 3D

fighter that borrows elements from lots of fighting games; Mortal Kombat

comes to mind first, but there is definitely a dash of Capcom and a sprinkle

of Tekken in this X-brew.

The primary way to play is Story Mode, which moves in terms of episodes. Each

episode is preceded by a cut-scene which unfurls a bit of story, leading into

a screen in which you are either told which mutant you will be fighting with

or what mutants you can choose from. Once you make your choice you’ll be faced

by three or four opponents (with mini-cut scenes in between some of these battles,

too), and then it’s on to the next episode.

In giving you different mutants to choose from at the beginning of each episode,

the Story Mode demands proficiency with several different mutants, and essentially

forces you to have a diverse experience. So no, you can’t play as Wolverine

every time, sucka.

The story itself follows the dastardly machinations of Bastion, whose head

was rescued from prison by some of his Prime Sentinels, who differ from typical

Sentinels in that they look more like normal people…at 9 feet, 700 pounds.

After putting himself back together somehow (how does one go about building

one’s own hands?), Bastion kidnaps Forge, hacks into his mind, and starts making

badass upgrades to his Sentinels for the purpose of destroying all mutant-kind.

Frankly, I never liked the Sentinel episodes. The Sentinels have no personality

and the racism against mutantsmuticide plots always seemed a little intellectually

bankrupt, sensationally political, and not as imaginatively inspiring as threats

like the Phalanx or Magneto.

Also, the obligatory Sentinel fights are hard. You’re only given 50 seconds

to kill the male Sentinel, which isn’t much time, and even if you’re winning

when time runs out, you still lose. And for Sentinels that can look like normal

people, the Prime Sentinels look a lot like normal Sentinels. This plot

would present a good opportunity for some wacky Sentinel skins (Mailman, Grandma,

Sentinels in drag?), yet there are none. Lame.

The rest of the modes are ubiquitous to fighting games including Time Attack

and Survival modes, as well as Arcade Mode (just one match after the other),

a Versus Mode and a Practice Mode (much like the Practice Mode in Tekken,

but not quite as good). The GameCube version also includes a Team Battle Mode,

in which you and three of your friends can all duke it out at once. However,

thanks to the essentially 2D nature of the game and lack of dynamic camera work,

this mode isn’t as exciting as it could be.

Next Dimension features interactive environments, objects that can be

used as projectiles by some characters, and opportunities to knock characters

off buildings, into cars, etc. However, most of this only serves to enhance

the drama; identifying usable projectiles isn’t very intuitive, and the damage

inflicted by knocking someone off a building is surprisingly negligible.

The

play mechanics in Next Dimension are decent, but a little cumbersome.

The combo system isn’t very intricate – you can usually get by if you simply

tap one button repeatedly – and the players are extremely unbalanced. Some characters

are geared for furious aggression, and if these characters get you in a corner,

the match is over. A simple Counter system helps, unless you’re actually being

hit (which you probably are since you can be attacked while lying on the ground),

in which case you’re toast.

The poor balance extends to the character design. Magneto should be able to

dominate Beast, as should The Phoenix be able to crush Toad. A point system

like the one found in the Capcom Vs SNK series

would have made this possible. In my opinion, Magneto should be a Shin Akuma-type

character, whereas here he’s one of the weakest characters in the game. For

Magneto to be vanquished by any less than three X-Men (other than Professor

X, who is not a playable character), any X-Men fan will tell you, is a crime.

The in-game graphics are surprisingly good with large character models, decent

animation and a good framerate. The GC version looks a little sharper than the

PS2 version. However,

the character design is hit and miss. Take Gambit, for example. He looks terrible.

As opposed to looking smooth and confident, he looks creepy and sort of crippled.

The cut-scene graphics aren’t that sharp either, but overall, the game looks

good.

However, the character design is hit and miss. Take Gambit, for example, who

looks creepy and sort of crippled. The cut-scene graphics aren’t that sharp

either, but overall, the game looks fine.

Next Dimension sounds good, too, with some suitably dramatic background

music and passable hit effects. However, the voice samples for each of the characters

aren’t diverse enough, and the voice acting itself suggests a lack of touch

with the identities of the characters, except for Patrick Stewart, who narrates

Story Mode as Professor X. Rock!

X-Men: Next Dimension could have been a much better game than it is.

Simple controls and decent graphics help, but the limited gameplay makes Next

Dimension
a rental rather than a buy.



REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating5
A story!
Interactive levels
Decent gameplay
But not nearly complex enough
Poor character balance
Not very X-citing