NOTE: ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON COMICBOOKMOVIE.COM 07/25/2013
To but it bluntly, X-Men Origins: Wolverine on the PSP is not very good, but I do have to give credit to both developer Griptonite and publisher Activision. In Griptonite’s case, they developed not one, but two different versions of this IP and hammered out two completely different experiences. I give credit to Activision for not shoehorning one of the other versions on the handheld only to not have it work. Now, the game didn’t turn out good, but I’ll give credit where it’s due.
Origins on the PSP ties itself the loosest to the source material it’s based on compared to the versions on other platforms. The game uses a narrative framing device where Wolverine is in the Alkali Lake facility trying to eliminate the memories of his past that are haunting him. Each of the games levels are taken from the personal files of William Stryker, and show missions that Wolverine was running while working for Team X. It’s an interesting way to tell the story, as it allows the game to go places the other versions couldn’t, the only problem is that this also makes the game feel terribly disjointed without any real narrative flow.
Though it differs from all the other versions, the PSP version of Origins tries its best to emulate a character action game similar to the home console versions on the Wii/PS2 and PS3/Xbox 360. You have strong and fierce attacks, as well as a block and dodge roll. The combat itself feels loose and unsatisfying and it seemingly takes forever to take down some of the larger foes. The lunge mechanic that was a selling point in the Uncaged edition makes an appearance here, but it’s ineffective in most fights. You have to wait for the “O” option to appear over an enemies head to initiate the lunge, and it’s much easier to simply run in for the kill while taking damage.
Unlike the console versions, there is no upgrade mechanic or moves to unlock, so you’re stuck with the same moves from start to finish. Your stats are like health and damage are upgraded as the game goes on but you’re not in control of your character development like some of the better versions. Each level has additional sub-objectives that you can choose to complete or ignore, but the only real reward you’ll receive is concept art and videos.
On top of the oddly structured levels and loose mechanics, Origins is a terribly repetitive game as well. There’s not really and puzzles or platforming challenges to speak of, you just run from one room to the next mindlessly slashing through foes until you move on to the next checkpoint until the game is over.
Games like God of War: Chains of Olympus proved that character action style games could be handled on the PSP, but X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not even close to that game in quality. I admire Activision for giving PSP owners there own Wolverine game to play as opposed to sloppy port, but even though it is an original game, it’s not a very good one.