X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Content review for this game:
Pertaining to the ESRB rating.

Content sum up: Although there's relatively mild language and light suggestive themes for an "M" rated game, blood and gore is on par with games like Ninja Gaiden 2 and Gears of War 2 (some ways worse; nothing can be disabled, like in the latter listed). And while the gore and violence retain an over-the-top and arcade-like quality; with brutal combat, frequent scenes of gore (like the nearly vomit-inducing opening), detailed dismemberment, and buckets of blood, it is far more extreme than the movie it's based on, and in no way appropriate for younger teens. So, I recommend this game for ages 17+.

Blood and gore: The blood spurts in thick, red (certain enemies spurt gooey green or blue blood, robots spark, fire types spurt magma) and heavy amounts when Wolverine or an enemy is hit (which, when Wolverine attacks, causes enemies to eject blood in streaming patterns, following the trail of his claws). Blood does linger, splatters onto walls, floors and on-screen when he attacks enemies close to the camera, and there is static blood splattered on walls and floors. Wolverine himself is in a constant state of disrepair, and when attacked, his shirt begins to peel off, along with flesh, revealing a detailed view of tattered flesh, internal organs, muscle tissue, spine and rib cage; all of which then gradually regenerate before your eyes—this process is also seen in brief cutscenes after he's had a big fall or sustained a major injury. Bodies do linger, and there are some decomposed—undetailed—corpses impaled on spears and lying about jungle levels; and in a secret facility level, there are several bloodied, gauze-wrapped corpses on slanted operating tables, with surgical instruments impaled all over their body, some are fully covered in bloodied blankets.

Additionally, Wolverine will frequently dismember enemies from the head, arms, legs, and waist, as their limbs fly off with a squish, lying in detail, along with their bodies' bloody stumps about the battlefield. He'll impale enemies in the same areas, with the discarded bodies showing visible lacerations on the skin from his claws—and if they're dispatched with exploding barrels, their nearly skinned torso will be all that remains. Wolverine can use various objects in the environment to kill enemies, by tossing and impaling them into nearby tree limbs and spikes, or flinging them into whirring fans; all of which end with a squish, crunch, plenty of blood splatter, and gory effect. Lastly, he can perform a variety of finishing moves, which—depending on the victim—has him lopping off arms and legs, knocking or breaking off their heads with his foot or claws in detailed slow-motion (even sneak attacks entail him ripping off heads), and after he mounts helicopters, Wolverine will pull out the pilot, then lift his head into the blades, beheading him and staining the blades with blood—you'll often see some form of the above in brief cutscenes. There is no option to turn blood off.

Specific scenes of blood & gore:

  • The main menu's title has heavy amounts of thick blood splattered from behind.
  • The opening CG cutscene shows a ruined industrial landscape and then pans to an exterior pipe with a fresh bloodstain. It switches to a shot of a dead and fully helmeted, armored soldier (all enemies in this scene are garbed the same way), lying upside down on a low wall heavily stained with his blood. It soon switches again, this time to a wide-shot revealing two dead, bloodied enemy bodies, the first propped on the same wall, and the last's legs visibly hanging from a wall in the distance—both the men and surrounding area are covered in heavy amounts of blood. While it continues to focus on this wide-shot, a dying soldier abruptly falls into the foreground as Wolverine drops him, with the man's blood running lightly down his mouth and dripping onto the ground. You then see as Wolverine holds another soldier above his head with one arm and proceeds to impale him repeatedly in the torso with his claws, causing heavy amounts of blood to spurt out and splatter onto the area, as you hear the appropriate bone crunching and squishing sounds; the also bloodied Wolverine then finishes him off by slamming him to the ground with one claw—which drips with blood before retraction. It switches to another area, showing as enemy soldiers search for him in a ruined building. One of them hears something behind the drywall, crouches down to the spot, and leans in to listen; as soon as his head touches the drywall, Wolverine (who is indeed on the other side) jams his clawed hand into the wall and fully impales the (helmeted) soldier from one temple to the other (resulting in heavy blood splatter and crunching/squishing sounds), with his bloodied claws sticking from the other side. He then quickly pulls them out and breaks through the wall with his body, dashes to the next unlucky target and plunges his claws through the man's stomach, with a view of his claws protruding from the other side as heavy amounts of blood spurt and spray from the wound. He pulls his claws out and starts to repeatedly impale the man through his torso with both claws in a rapid motion, as it switches to multiple angles, with crunching/squishing sounds and blood spurting heavily from his torso. A soldier then rushes Wolverine and drops him with a shotgun (falling with his back toward the camera), and shoots him again while he's down. However, it then shows as Wolverine slowly gets up, affording a clear view of the soldier through a gapping hole in Wolverine's lower torso, showing his ribs, flesh and pulsing organs as the wound slowly seals up. Wolverine hits the gun out of the soldier's arm and quickly impales him through the throat, causing heavy blood splatter and squishing sounds, flipping the man to the ground and breaking his neck with a leg kick (an audible crunch included). Another group of soldiers open fire, as Wolverine flees for cover and leans onto a wall (staining it with blood) to catch his breath, clutching his bloodied torso, which soon heals. After he quickly recovers, he rushes out toward them, lunges at the first soldier with his claws, impales him through the shoulder, turns and impales another in the chest (his claws protrude from the other side), and then plunges both claws into the last soldier's chest, lifting and skewering his torso into a rod protruding from a low, ruined concrete wall—giving a detailed view of his bloodied and impaled body. The scene fades out as it focuses on one side of Wolverine's skinned face, revealing his Adamantium laced skull—it slowly heals.
  • After leaping hundreds of feet from a helicopter, Wolverine lands on an enemy below, causing a crater on impact as a large cloud of blood envelopes both men, splattering about the area and heavily wounding Wolverine in the process; the majority of skin on his upper torso has been ripped away, revealing his muscle tissue, rib cage and internal organs, which then gradually begin to regenerate.
  • Wolverine jumps onto a moving speed boat, grabs a soldier and skewers him on the end of a turret, resulting in a squish, crunch and heavy blood spurting from the gaping wound. He then flips over the turret and dispatches the operator with more bloody results, and violently breaks another man's leg with a loud crunch.
  • As Wolverine jumps off of the last scene's speedboat, a large group of enemy soldiers surround him. Before he can start the fight, his brother Victor jumps at a soldier from behind (viewed from the soldier's front), as you see him violently rip the soldier's arms off (from the shoulders, with the appropriate squish and crunch) in detailed slow-mo, as heavy amounts of blood squirt and pour from the stumps and dismembered arms. Wolverine proceeds to slash at a few more soldiers, with bloody results, and impales his claws in another soldier's throat with a squish and heavy blood splatter, while they finish off those that remain.
  • About halfway through a certain level, set in a secret facility, is a large, human torso severed from the waist and hung by its arms with chains from the ceiling; its spine and entrails hang out in detail, and blood is pooled heavily on the floor.
  • After waking from a machine that restores his regenerative abilities (which both his hands are strapped into), Wolverine forces his hand out of a cuff and slashes at an approaching soldier's torso, causing heavy blood to spurt—the remaining men open fire, as Wolverine collapses, one hand still bound. A soldier, thinking he's dead, approaches the body and asks the other to take a picture; Wolverine then wakes up, abruptly places his fist under the soldier's chin, and ejects his claws through the enemy's skull with a crunch, squish, and heavy blood splatter.
  • As Wolverine and a young mutant girl try to escape the facility, enemy soldiers open fire; Wolverine quickly crouches, shielding her with his back, which causes him to fill with holes, as his flesh strips away and his blood splatters heavily.
  • After falling from an exploding tower, Wolverine's head bashes into a large rock, staining it with his blood as it splatters out of the gaping wound—he then heals.
  • Wolverine lifts and impales a W.E.N.D.I.G.O. Prototype (a giant, mutated human with humped back and grotesque, twisted flesh) into a protruding tree stump, with an appropriate squish and heavy blood splatter. However, as it lies with the stump still skewered through it, seemingly lifeless, it grabs at Wolverine. You break free—in gameplay—and then violently pull its head off, with gory results.
  • Wolverine lunges onto an enemy soldier's snowmobile and then slices open his throat with a squish, as blood squirts in heavy amounts from the soldier's neck.
  • After he disables and crashes a main villain's helicopter, Wolverine approaches the villain's pinned-in body, exchanges a few words and then plunges his clawed fist into the enemy's heart (with a squish and heavy blood splatter) and begins to repeatedly turn, causing the villain to cough up more blood from his mouth.
  • Wolverine reaches a villain, Trask, who then proceeds to holds him at gunpoint. He dares Trask to shoot, which he does, as Wolverine quickly lops off the man's hand in the process—with a crunch/squish—giving a detailed view of the stump and severed hand (protruding bones, muscle tissue visible) as both ends spurt heavy blood. It gives a shot of the severed hand on the ground—still twitching, protruding bone visible, and its blood splattered on the floor; Wolverine picks it up and you later see him use the appendage to open a hand-print locked door.
  • At one point, Wolverine is impaled on a spike, and you have to pull him off (in gameplay) as you see his blood gush heavily, hear squishing and his screams.
  • A brief cutscene shows an enemy mutant shove a long spear into a panicked and retreating rival soldier's torso, causing blood to spurt heavily from the wound.
  • A flashback cutscene (CG) shows as Wolverine, concealed in the jungle foliage, order a main character, Wraith, to start a raid on a band of enemy soldiers. He proceeds to do so, teleporting behind his first target, stabbing him in the back with a crunch and causing moderate blood splatter. He teleports again, and then impales two soldiers at the same time with knives to the back of their throats; you see the knives pierce through and hear the squish/crunch, as their wounds spurt heavy blood and stain the surrounding area—he violently pulls the knives out, leaving a trail of blood in their wake, and abruptly breaks the last soldier's neck with his bare hands. The scene cuts to Victor, as he rushes into a hut and begins to shoot multiple men point-blank, knocking the last to the ground and slashing in a frenzy with his claws (seen from his waist on up; the man's body isn't shown), as you see the enemy soldier's blood splatter on-screen and stain (the smiling) Victor's clothes, arms and claws. It then shows as Wade (another member of their team) uses one of his (two) swords to impale an enemy soldier through the chest, bloodying both men's clothes and splattering onto a nearby wall. Wade moves onto the next, using both of his swords to slash at the soldier from behind, slashes open his neck, in detail (with a squish and heavy blood splatter), and tosses his free sword at a retreating enemy's back; the man falls with it fully impaled, his blood staining his clothes and the ground. It finally cuts to Wolverine, as he dodges an enemy machete, impaling the man through the throat with his claws (viewed from the back, affording a view of the protruding claws), as he spills heavy amounts of blood. The now bloodied Wolverine then knocks another enemy to the ground, plunges his claws into the soldier's chest (with bloody results), and begins to attack his next target, but stops, seeing it's only a child. It then shows as the team corners an unarmed civilian for info, but he refuses. Wolverine senses he's telling the truth and sets him free; but as he runs for freedom, Wade shoots him in the back, prompting Wolverine to punch the offending Wade in the nose; his blood then visibly smear around that area.
  • Wolverine lunges out of a high window with Victor, lands on him below, and then begins to headbutt him and beat him in the face, causing heavy blood splatter.
  • The last boss, Deadpool, has a bizarre appearance, including his mouth, which is grotesquely sealed over with his skin. And when Wolverine gives the final blow, he slices Deadpool's head off, in slow-motion, with a detailed shot of his stump and severed head as they spurt heavy blood—what remains falls into a deep pit.
  • (CG) Striker, a main villain, comes from nowhere and abruptly shoots Silverfox (Wolverine's ex-girlfriend) in the chest and then Wolverine in the head, causing his flesh and blood to fly, staining their clothes and the ground—it then fades as you see the detailed, gaping wound start to close up and gradually regenerate.
  • The last (CG) cutscene leaves off where the game's opening ended; Wolverine awakes, both hands chained and shackled to a ruined pillar. His captor, a main villain, Trask, shows himself and begins to converse with Wolverine; it ends as Wolverine fills with rage and then forces himself free of one of the tightly fitted shackles, giving a very detailed view of his flesh ripping off from the wrist up; you see the skin begin to shed, with muscle tissue and ligaments visible, blood gushing out. Once freed, he pulls an enemy soldier in with his chains and sticks him through the chest—with bloody results—and then lunges towards the next, plunging his claws into the soldier's (fully helmeted) eye area and impales him through with a squish, causing heavy blood splatter as he pulls them out.

Intense violence: The game's story is based on the movie of the same name, and as such, it loosely follows most of the movie's story in a brief manner, with in-game and CG cutscenes portraying Wolverine's dealings with William Striker, Team X (including his half-brother Victor Creed) and the Weapon X program, which ultimately gives him his Adamantium-enforced bones and the iconic metal claws. The remaining narrative involves the game's original side-story, following Wolverine's involvement with Raven Darkholme, a mutant undercover as an government agent, and Dr. Bolivar Trask, an evil scientist who creates the giant, robotic "Sentinels"; their sole purpose, to destroy mutants—which Wolverine will have to face—all the while it switches to and from the movie's story, in addition to his past, present and future...

The base gameplay consists of fighting waves of enemies with Wolverine's varied and violent clawed combat moves, and his Feral Senses to spot instant kill objects (spikes, tree branches, etc.), as well as platform and puzzle objects. You'll then perform (often timed) puzzles (rotate cranks or—later in—place power cells to open locked doors and activate lifts, or first retrieve and replace missing cranks or power cells; move blocks onto switches to open doors; place shields in the way of turrets to pass; use movable teleport pads to navigate later areas, etc.) and complete platforming portions (jump gaps; scale certain walls with your claws; slide down zip-lines; shimmy across ledges and wires; climb rope and ladders; balance across long, narrow beams; move objects to reach higher ledges; dodge spike and crushing wall traps in jungle levels, etc.) to continue onto the next area. Wolverine will also gain skill points and experience each time he kills an enemy, ultimately resulting in a level up, allowing you to allocate the skill points to boost his health, strength and your Rage meter's (bash random objects to collect Rage orbs and fill its meter) Fury power's longevity.

Wolverine combats a wide variety of enemies, from jungle mutants: Machete soldiers (with guns and elite types with dual machetes), mini-boss level Champions (machete equipped, bodies imbued with fire), Masters (with machetes and the power to summon clones), Hunters (spear equipped statues that come to life), Shifters (glowing entities that teleport about, trapping you in triangle force fields), and Leviathans (giant golems made of rock, held together with magma). To Commandos (with guns and elite types with dual blades), Grenadiers (with grenade launchers) and the mini-boss level Ghosts (with powerful shotguns and stealth camo), Goliaths (with body shields and a hulking arm), and W.E.N.D.G.O. Prototypes (former humans, now giant monsters). And finally Enforcers (armed with shotguns), Enforcer Droids (close-quarter melee robots), mini-boss level Predator Units (multi-legged droids that attack with said legs, laser beams and missiles), Mark 1 Prototypes (giant robots; strike with missiles and melee moves) and Assassins (multi-armed mutants with dual spears)—you will be fighting them with your Adamantium claws and, in turn, the environment.

Although it retains an over-the-top, arcade-like feel, the combat system is mercilessly brutal and extremely violent, as Wolverine uses his indestructible claws to slash away at the enemy, lunging dozens of feet onto and then pinning them to the ground, as he repeatedly plunges his claws into their head and chest. He'll perform Fury moves—like Beserker (giving him enhanced speed and strength) and Claw Spin, Drill, and Cyclone (long, devastating spin moves with his claws)—use charged Heavy (finishing) Attacks to rip enemies in half from the waist; slash off their heads as he slices them from top to bottom; break their heads off with a kick of his foot, or smash them head-first into the ground for the same effect; tear their arm off and beat them with it; impale them with their own weapons; or force their shotguns under their chins, blowing their heads off—all in close-up slow-motion. And he will use environmental objects, like exploding barrels to blow them to pieces; stick their heads in electrical boxes; bash their heads in with toolbox lids; toss them in cement mixers; and impale their bodies on statues, protruding tree branches and ground-imbedded spikes.

When hit by Wolverine's vicious attacks, the enemy will grunt, scream and then fall in contorted positions, often gurgling as they violently twitch, choke, gag, and rock back and forth before death; if injured, human enemies drag themselves backward on one arm, as they fire your way, then begging for their lives—until you finish them off, that is. As for offense, enemies will surround you from all directions, and in great number, as long-range types fire your way (like Grenadiers; deflect their shots with the right timing or die quickly), melee types attack close-up, and shielded types will knock you into the air (sometimes impaling you on objects, forcing you to pull yourself off)—and all this often happens simultaneously. Stronger mini-boss enemies only make matters worse, mixing with the lesser later on, as Machete Champions set aflame from within, hoping to spread a little on you; Machete Masters spawn an endless amount of clones if not stopped; Shifters teleport left/right, trapping you in force fields while they then bash away; and invisible Ghost soldiers abruptly stop your offensive lunges with quick bursts from their shotguns—enemies never hold back.

There are a few suspenseful and tense boss battles with giant mutants, robots and the overwhelmingly mammoth Sentinel, and action sequences ranging from dodging rapid helicopter fire in slow-motion as explosions go off around you; to side-stepping deadly turrets (that kill in one hit); dashing from incoming water in a long tunnel by jumping from enemy truck to truck; and lunging onto airborne copters as you take them out, diving from one to the next (watch your head). And although Wolverine can eventually be "killed" after major damage exposes his vital organs, and for the fact that you are relentlessly hunted by the enemy, you're still the hunter; with complete regeneration, brute strength, indestructible bones and Feral Senses—which detects the invisible and sees through smoke-screens—Wolverine is virtually unstoppable (remember, he can take a helicopter out with his bare hands...or claws)—you never truly feel the victim, and enemies are effectively, even at their strongest, claw fodder.

The cutscenes contain plenty of fantastical explosions; Wolverine slashes away at the enemy throughout; Victor is seen kicking off Wolverine's bone claws with a crunch as he screams in pain; there are a couple of character deaths; and Victor violently slaps down Wolverine's ex-girlfriend, Silverfox, briefly near the end. As for age, although it has relatively mild language and light suggestive themes for an "M" rated game, the blood and gore is on par with games like the very bloody Ninja Gaiden II and Gears of War 2 (and in some ways worse; you can't disable anything, like in the latter listed). And while the gore and violence retain an over-the-top and arcade-like quality; with brutal combat, frequent scenes of gore (like the nearly vomit-inducing opening—which is not for weaker stomachs), detailed dismemberment, and buckets of blood, it is far more extreme than the movie its based on, and is in no way appropriate for younger teens—it's simply more suited to older teens and adults.

Language: There are (including the optional "Worklog" audio messages) over a dozen uses of hell, under a dozen uses of sh*t, d*mn, a**, p*ss and God, and three or under uses of SoB, bastard, b*tch and God d*mn. Other than the main script, human enemy, Weapon X soldiers will infrequently say, "Lets kill this son of a b*tch", "I've gotta get the hell outta here!", "Bastard won't die!", "Sh*t!", "Sh*t! We can't stop him!", "D*mn it!", and "What the hell are you?!" There is no option to turn language off.

Mild suggestive themes: (The ESRB didn't mention this in their rating, although it is mild) While an enemy watches through a sniper scope, Wolverine gives the finger with his middle claw, as it quickly cuts away; the "Shifter" enemy are glowing blue entities shaped in the female form, and although they are covered in a sort of jumpsuit, they appear semi-nude—the overall shape of their behind and breasts are visible; a female character, Raven Darkholm, wears a scant, skintight leather outfit; Raven and Wraith are seen flirting in an obvious manner—it's briefly mentioned that she's pregnant with his child; and a later level has you scale past two giant bronze statues, which are in female form and garbed in scant, greek-style robes draped like curtains, leaving both their sides fully exposed and revealing moderate cleavage.

Content review posted: 07/11/09

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