Chances are that the more you like the X-Men, the less you'll like this game.
X-Men: The Official Game is meant to be a bridge leading from the second film to the third. Instead, the plot completely neuters the second film and has very little to do with the third film, and it's matched with thin gameplay and weak cut-scenes. If it were possible to care about the story in this game, you might consider much of what's said below to be "spoiler material".
The cinema scenes are the player's first clue that this is going to be a mostly terrible experience. The sequences are nothing more than still storyboard art with voice-overs and sometimes the artwork blurs or slides around in a laughable attempt to make it look animated. It's awkward to listen to Patrick Stewart give his lines with a motionless image of his face staring at you, and it really gives the impression that some producer should be over your shoulder saying, "this is the direction we want to go for in the final product". Oh, but wait, this is the final product.
Gameplay is split into three distinct types, focusing on the playable characters: Iceman, Wolverine, and Nightcrawler. Iceman is always riding on his Ice Slide, and his stages are similar to a Star Fox game, with both free-roaming and corridor levels - although the corridor levels tend to be more race-oriented. Wolverine's levels are the very definition of repetitive hack-n-slash and take up the bulk of the game (or at least it feels like it). Meanwhile, Nightcrawler's levels are more objective-based, making you look for series of switches and giving you the opportunity to use Nightcrawler's teleporting talents in battle. The characters practically have separate games to work through, but the plot and mostly linear level progression keep you switching from one to the next to keep things from becoming unbearably stale. Usually though, the gameplay isn't what makes you want to kick and scream, it's the ridiculous situations these characters are constantly put in.
Let's start with Iceman's flying levels. You can accelerate, slow down, and do quick turns just as you would in many other flight games. Iceman attacks his targets with an ice beam that shoots out like a frosty laser, and he has a move called Hailstorm, which basically looks like he's throwing a snowball. As mentioned before, some of Iceman's levels consist of simply racing to a goal before time runs out, taking out enemies and dodging traps along the way, while other stages have you circling an area, continually taking out targets. Iceman is the only character whose levels actually get more interesting as the game goes along, with the first couple easily being the worst.
In one early stage, Pyro is engaged in this preposterous attack on a nuclear power plant because it's made out of Adamantium and Magneto wants metal to build weapons. Iceman comes in to stop Pyro as you'd expect, but you never directly attack him. Your goal is simply to put out his fires and stop his firebirds. Once you put out a set of fires, of course Pyro just lights more fires, but after doing this several times, "Mission Complete" suddenly appears. Huh?
All right, Wolverine's next. These stages are like playing X-Men Legends, but without cool power-ups, special moves, or enemy variety. In other words, you're simply hitting enemies – the same enemies – over and over again. There are a handful of combos which kind of masquerade as variety until you learn that each of the five or so enemy designs requires you to use a specific attack to get in a hit. Guy with the cattle prod needs to be hit with a jump attack. Guy blocking can be hit with a vertical slash, etc., etc. It's really nothing more than a test of your mental stamina. Are you capable of doing the same thing over and over again until all the enemies are gone or will you just stop caring and let them overwhelm you? I'm serious. Some of these levels consist of ONE ROOM that just constantly respawns enemies with no end in sight, until you finally see "Mission Complete".
For Wolverine's ridiculous plot situation, you get to fight Lady Deathstrike, not once, but twice. That's right, the same Lady Deathstrike who had her body pumped full of liquid Adamantium until it oozed out her eyes in the second movie has "miraculously survived". The first time you meet her, she somehow kidnaps Storm and shoves her in a box. Since Storm is claustrophobic, she wigs out, creates this massive vortex, and you fight Lady Deathstrike in the eye of the storm. The best part though, is that when you meet Deathstrike again later in the game, she has the exact same easy-to-fool attack patterns (make her lunge, then counterattack). There's just no hurricane the second time.
And since Wolverine's stages are so bad, here's a bonus. Wolverine's claws can slash through: park benches, wooden bedroom dressers, pipes, steel cages, rocks, concrete walls, and force fields. What can't they slash through? A fence that Sabretooth hops over in the beginning of the game. You actually have to walk around the Statue of Liberty to get to him, and he's just standing there waiting for you anyway.
Overall, Nightcrawler is the best of them, although towards the end, Iceman's stages tend to be stronger. Nightcrawler's teleporting ability is satisfying in battle since you can specifically teleport in front of or behind enemies. The boss battle against Multiple Man is probably the highlight of the game, as he'll create clones to surround you, giving you just a split second to teleport behind him and continue your assault. However, in other situations, teleporting is more hit-or-miss. There is always this blue cursor that shows where Nightcrawler can teleport to, and this feature really looks like it belongs on the Wii and could benefit from that controller's pointer functions. You never have direct control of the cursor, but instead you have to move Nightcrawler back and forth or shift the camera until that blue dot is sitting where you want to go.
While there are several goofy plot situations (run back to protect Colossus?), the biggest oversight with Nightcrawler again involves his abilities. Rather than dematerializing and reconfiguring when he teleports, Nightcrawler essentially turns into an invisible bubble that floats from one point to the next, and at times he can actually be damaged en route! His Shadow Aura, which you'd guess would introduce some form of stealth gameplay, really isn't effective at all. Enemies can still see you and attack even though you're perfectly still and out of the way. So what purpose does Nightcrawler's Shadow Aura serve? Well it heals you, of course. That's right, Wolverine isn't the only character with a healing ability in this game; Iceman and Nightcrawler can heal too.
Finally, anyone interested in seeing what happens between the two movies would be better off thinking that nothing happened. The plot basically goes out of its way to negate the finale of X2 entirely. That's right, Jean Grey died for nothing – well, maybe to save the X-Men, but Stryker, his son, and Lady Deathstrike have all survived. Not to mention that the Weapon X facility at Alkali Lake shows not even the slightest sign of flood damage. Even more fun is that the game repeats the scene from X2 in which missiles home in on the Blackbird and the only way to shake them is for Storm to use her powers (but this time it's lightning instead of tornadoes).
Overall, X-Men: The Official Game is just barely worth a rental. There are some fun moments with Nightcrawler and Iceman, for sure, but Wolverine is a complete headache. On top of that, the thinly-covered inconsistencies with the plot and characters will drive just about any X-Men fan to rage.