When you are dealing with the mutant world of the X-Men, political issues will always come to the forefront of storytelling for them. The characters of Charles Xavier and Magneto have always been characterized as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X respectfully. They were created during a time of civil unrest in America and when introduced to the two factions of the X-Men and The Brotherhood of Mutants, there is usually a neutral character coming to terms with their new mutant powers and gets to see both sides of the spectrum with mankind's take on homo superior and the mutant response. After the story begins to develop, it comes down the neutral character choosing what side they fall on. When Silicon Knights announced that they were creating an X-Men game that dealt with choice, I was interested. However, when finally delving into it, X-Men Destiny made me feel that I wasn't really making a really important choice as a new mutant.
Silicon Knights does give us three different characters with three distinct intros. You have Aimi, the girl who comes from mutant parents. Adrian, the son of a mutant hater whose prejudice was passed down from father to son like it was gospel and Grant, the truly neutral character from the start who cares nothing about the mutant/human conflict. The three intros do give all sides of the spectrum on the mutant agenda and have some interesting tidbits sprinkled throughout the game such as Adrian talking to his dead father and hearing his hate speech in his head.
Yet beyond these tidbits, the storyline doesn't really bring the destiny out in your character. I did three playthroughs; using all characters; and the storyline really doesn't veer off on tangents when you start to pick sides. I remember at one choice, I decided to pick the X-Men decision and got to talk to Cyclops. However when I was in the same scenario and picked the Brotherhood decision, I still had to talk to Cyclops. I was hoping for a difference in story with each choice I made going into different camps, yet all I got were pretty much the same battles with mobs of Purifiers and the same boss battles throughout all gameplays. At one point, I had to "fight" different mutants, but had to do the same operations during each boss fight.
Gameplay wise, using the three core mutant powers makes for really spastic combat. The fighting comes off as fast and driven by fury. You are placed in rooms as waves of enemies come at you and you are tasked to keep spamming the attack buttons until all the enemies are gone. There really isn't too much depth with the combat here. It is simply just a button masher. As you gain more experience, you can drain your experience points into your powers to increase things like durations or damage for certain attacks. At certain story points, you are given a choice between two new powers to unlock; however, the way the combat is in the game, I really just wanted to pick the power that functioned like an AOE spell since I was always getting swarmed by enemies.
Along with these core powers there are also X-Genes to collect that can be equipped to augments powers. These X-Genes correspond to X-Men and Brotherhood mutants and give an additional edge to combat and movement such as gaining Northstar's ability to fly or extra health thanks to Avalanche's defensive X-Gene. There are an impressive number of X-Genes to collect and it makes for customizing your character even further.
When you are not fighting waves of Purifiers, you can also talk to the Mutants you are fighting alongside. There are the staple mutants such as Cyclops, Gambit and Magneto in the story, but I was impressed that the writers decided to give important plot points of the game to mutants such as Pixie and the Murlock; Caliban. However, there is once again not a lot of difference with them regarding the factions you are choosing. It does sometimes lock and unlock certain side missions such as destroying containers or defeating opponents in a certain amount of time, but other than that, they are quite indifferent to the choices you make. It makes it seem they don't really care what you have to say as a character. There was at least one part of the game where each of my characters said the exact same thing to a character regardless of which side I was on and they in turn said the same thing to me.
X-Men Destiny was suppose to give the player the feeling of being a new mutant with a harrowing choice ahead of them to side with the peace-keeping X-Men or fight for mutant superiority as part of The Brotherhood of Mutants. Yet your choices don't really change the story and combat isn't deep at all. The game was set up to choose a mutant's destiny, but it seems their destiny was out of my hands.