Real Talk By: Cmack The Don
Now I realize that summer movie season is dead and gone, however we have to consider that there’s a few comic book properties rearing their heads in the coming months before summer, and that when summer does arrive in 2011, the comic book movie genre will be dropping loads on all the non-comic movies like they were prisoners in the back of a police cruiser during a porn-star riot. There’s lots of other heroes cued up for big releases, but we won’t be seeing word from Marvel’s two biggest names in cinemas for while; that being Spider-Man and Wolverine.*
The last time we saw Logan on screen we were greeted with a movie that was derivative from the comics and didn’t match the quality, fun, or even the violence of the other X-Men movies. It even completely dropped a 20th Century Fox-gift wrapped deuce on a certain mercenary assassin character and made Sabretooth look like he purchased a grooming kit from one of those mail-order infomercials. But we did get one wonderful thing from the movie, an unexpected gem: Wolverine: Origins The Game. The Wolverine Game was incredible, a Logan fan’s dream come true. It’s opening cinematic would’ve been worth the ticket price alone, but then they had to go and throw in a great game as well. Not only was it violent and brutal unlike the movie, it’s story was more finely crafted and the visuals and fight scenes were more ambitious. I still remember playing that first African mission where you see a cut-scene of Logan impaling a man on a .50cal machine gun and then firing it with his body still on the damn thing thinking: Why was this not in the movie?
The Wolverine Game garnered lots of fans and approval alike, with many people dubbing it possibly the greatest movie tie-in title of all time. Since Logan always comes back, let’s think about what could be added in a deeper cut into this series.
Comic Book Plotlines
I know I just said all that mess about the tie-ins, and I completely realize that this is wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be awesome if they just put the game into development now and used comic stories? I think that the game companies underestimate how much fans of comics would like to see their favorite stories put into other forms, games being no exception. Arkham Asylum also proved that a non-movie Batman would be the way to go, with comic continuity respected and presented in a great way. Arkham made ass loads of money, so that proves that quality and the right source material sells just as well as manufactured excitement and bullshit advertising hype.
Even though the next Wolverine game probably won’t come out til after the next movie, I’m just thinking of incorporating some of the great comic book stories throughout the game’s length; like maybe sort of like Shattered Dimensions in the sense that many of Wolverine’s adventures could be represented in this, not just one continuous tale. Think of playing a stage in World War 2, then cutting to Madripoor in the 1920’s. Then another stage in early 1900’s Japan and then later on the far-future of the Days of The Future Past. Logan’s time in Vietnam could be explored, and maybe even a stage where he’s a part of the X-Men but solo from the rest of the team at that moment.
Or they could go with a number of other stories for a full game. There’s stories such as Not Dead Yet, where an old assassin rival from Logan’s past sets up traps around the world to lure him in. There’s Enemy of The State, where Wolverine is mind-controlled by the evil HYDRA to slay super-heroes (This would allow for many character cameo bossfights). Really, there’s many other stories or at least concepts from the comics that you could feature in the game. In all I think it would benefit from being set in the fantastic world of Marvel Comics, as opposed to one influenced by the movies.
Wolverne is all about destroying gobs and gobs of poor saps who thought they could take him, but people often forget that he’s actually extremely quiet and stealthy as well. Remember, Wolverine is hunter, a predator. Wolverine is shown in the comics as capable of sneaking up on a deer, which can sense vibrations in the earth, as well as Daredevil, who has super-senses. The idea of silently slicing guards to bits with awesome kill animations from the shadows as Wolverine mumbles a snickering remark about them “getting the point” and then lighting up a cigar really brings a smile to my face. The key would be not making them tacked-on portions that only exist for something else to do in the game, but rather really fun and enjoyable sections that allowed you to kill your targets in really fun and interesting ways.
There were some great environmental methods of killing enemies in Wolverine: Origins The Game, but sometimes the methods could get repetitive and there were sometimes a bit too set up (really, that tree branch just happens to be that sharp?). On another note in terms of the environment, Wolverine’s claws could damage every surface in the game. That was a cool feature, but let’s take it a step further. Remember, Wolverine’s claws are covered in Adamantium, the strongest metal in existence. Sharpened, it can cut through anything. Anything. I’m picturing you being able to completely dice apart walls, cut down support pillars, cut ropes of hanging objects to kill opponents, and so much more. I know it would probably be hell to program, but just imagine a Wolverine game where the claws actually functioned they way his claws really would, being able to effortlessly cut any object to shreds. The only way to block off Logan from areas would be with traps or force-fields (making the programmers get creative? Oh noooooooo!!!!).
Going from the last suggestion, I’m imaging Logan being able to wall-stab anything a climb pretty much anywhere, which he should be able to do at any time with any surface. This would be cool because he could then stab his claws in the ceiling, hang, and then land and kill everyone.
Even More Varied Combat
About the combat, I’m saying make it like a buffet plate of food, take away nothing but just add more and more. The combat was the absolute best part about the last game, with many possibilities and choices from the system. I just want even more out of the game. Wolverine is the ultimate combatant and ultimate soldier with hundreds of years of experience in making bodies go cold. Let’s add in weapons other than claws. For example, Wolverine has battled many Japanese opponents in duals of honor with Katana. Even though he could choose his claws, in those cases he fights honorably and goes with the sword, so put that in somewhere. Let’s not forget that there was a large chunk of his life that he didn’t know he had the claws, during World War 2 for example. In those times he just used conventional weapons and his naturally increased strength and physicality to mangle his enemies, not his natural weapons.
But away from ways to fight differently, let’s talk about the actual claw-work itself. I think that a “Critical Hit” mode would be cool, making it so that there would be split-second chances where Logan could get in one-clean slice and end the fight right then and then, otherwise having to engage in a long battle. Think of the quick, instant knockouts of Fight Night (just blood everywhere). The key would be precision. It would be cool if you could get less Critical opportunities the higher the difficulty got, and you could make sensing criticals and getting a larger window of time for them something you could level up with skill points.
Other than that, the first game had great execution/fatality moves. There were a lot, so just make more throughout the game. Be able to unlock new ones and make it so that you can play the game multiple times and still see a kill animation that you’ve never encountered. The creators should really make some cold-blooded, devastating, sick stuff here, you should be able to inflict all kinds of disgusting carnage on the enemies and possibly even have certain special ones to choose from if you put in a more advanced combination (Mortal Kombat style).
All in all, if they upped the fluidity and brutality of the first, they’d already be part of the way to making a better combat system.
More Game Modes/Unlockables
The first game had the excellent use of the comic book costumes, which should certainly make a comeback. This time, add in possibly unlockable characters (I’m thinking Sabretooth, Deadpool here) as well more costumes and more things to do. What they really need for replay value are challenge rooms a la Arkham Asylum, and certainly different game modes. There were challenge rooms downloadable in the first game, however I’m thinking more of an endless Survival Mode, where swarms of enemies and bosses would keep coming at you. In the current Wolverine comics, Wolverine is in hell and being tortured by fighting every last poor soul he ever sent there. I’m thinking of using that for Survival, with Wolverine in an ever-changing arena surrounded by demons and enemies countlessly clawing and destroying them, all while Satan himself looks on with entertainment. I suppose to change the scenery a bit and give options you could go with a more standard Danger Room approach as well, but definitely keep the Hell angle no matter what, that’s just asking to be put in a game.
Really, the Wolverine Game was amazing with a lot of thought and great ideas in it. I’m saying take nothing from that game and just add much more, and go bigger and better with it. More stages, more varying locales, more iconic Wolverine characters (imagine a battle with Omega Red on the Origins engine!!!!!), all of it. Just keep that little bitch Daken away from this one. Save him for target practice in the next Punisher game.
*Note: The IMDB website claims that the next Wolverine movie is due out in 2011, but seeing as it won’t start filming until March of that year, I doubt that it will see release then.