MediaWise® is the movement for everyone who cares about kids. It explains what media are doing to our children and youth and what we can do about it. MediaWise is an initiative of the National Institute on Media and the Family, a non-profit organization. MediaWise
KidScore® Game Reviews
Tools and Resources
MediaWise Columns
Facts and Tips
Research and Reports
Video Game Reviews
Movie Reviews
Email this page
MediaWise Online
X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse

The Basics:
Platform: XBox
Developer: Activision
Price: $49.99
ESRB rating: T-Teen

Summary: Play 16 of the most popular X-Men characters in this "Marvelous" action/role-playing game.

Note: Parents can feel safe letting their pre-teens/teens play this game. Although comic-book style action abounds, there is little blood and gore, and minor profanity is pretty much restricted to a few cut scenes. Commercialism may be a concern, as the game promotes the Marvel comics. Parents should also be aware that this game is online enabled.

Families who do play this game may want to talk about the way the game is integrated with other Marvel products. Why do you think developers introduce un-lockable content such as comic book covers? Does playing the game add to your interest in purchasing the comics or watching the movies?

Further Breakdown:

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Best for ages: 11+
Playability: Good. Camera angles sometimes make the game harder to play.
Graphics: Good. Cell shading is distinctive and adds to the comic-book affect.
Entertainment value: Very Good. Quite a few single-player missions, great multiplayer action.
Educational value: Minimal.
Reading Level: 7+
KidScore Rating

Ages 3-7: Red
Ages 8-12: Yellow
Ages 13-17: Green
Fear: Green
Illegal/Harmful: Green
Language: Yellow
Nudity: Green
Sex: Green

Comic book super-heroes are big business these days, and X-MEN LEGENDS 2: RISE OF APOCALYPSE offers fans something to cheer about. Despite a fair amount of violence, LEGENDS 2 offers a great balance between strategy and action-all the while staying true to its comic book roots.

Players familiar with the X-men franchise will be happy to see many of their favorite mutants, from Magneto to Wolverine, ready to battle it out. However, in a twist from the traditional X-Men versus Brotherhood storyline, a new evil forces an uneasy alliance between the two factions. The diabolical Apocalypse is determined to create a new super-mutant race, and he, along with his minions, have overrun Genosha, The Brotherhood's refuge. In desperation, Magneto frees Professor Xavier from prison and offers a temporary truce to take on this new threat. Xavier accepts, and players are given the option of using both X-Men and Brotherhood characters to defeat Apocalypse.

There is a lot to like in the game. For one, the game offers a lot of flexibility for players who want a more strategic Role-Playing-Game experience and those who want more constant action. At any time, players can let the computer determine the best distribution of equipment and skill points, or they can take control and spend hours strategizing the exact combination of upgrades they desire. Secondly, Legends 2 offers an impressive selection of multi-player options. It's a lot of fun to partner up either with someone on the same machine, or through X-Box Live (Microsoft's online service for the X-Box). Players can take each other on in skirmishes, or can play cooperatively through any of the single-player campaign levels.

Comic-book action does abound, but since the fighting takes place in the third person, the violence seems less visceral. You won't find much blood or many corpses-instead bodies tend to "melt" away and vanish. There are a few minor explicates used. For example, the opening cut scene has Wolverine giving another mutant the middle "finger" - although since it is Wolverine it ends up being the middle claw. Perhaps a greater concern is that there is some inherent commercialism. The game obviously promotes the movies and the comics. In fact, during the game players can find comic books, which then allows them to view different Marvel comic book artwork.

Ultimately, Legends 2 is a great game for fans of the X-Men series or comic book fans in general. With plenty of characters to choose from, a good storyline and great multi-player options, the game provides hours of entertainment.

Jeremy GieskeJeremy Gieske has been an avid game player since the days of the Apple II+ and Karateka. Recently, however, his interests have developed beyond simply playing the games, but also trying to understand the historical, social and cultural impacts of video games. He recently acquired his Masters degree with distinction from the University of Salford in Manchester, England, where he conducted research on videogames. Jeremy has a background in design and marketing, and has worked with several Internet and publishing companies. Recently, he has written articles for DIGA-the Digital Game Archive and has worked with the Computerspiele museum in Berlin, Germany.
©2005 National Institute on Media and the Family.