Review by Vascroft

Reviewed: 10/26/04

RPG fans beware

Mega Man X: Command Mission is one of the newest Mega Man games as well as Capcom's first _true_ attempt at putting Mega Man into an RPG universe. The very thought of the two elements together (Mega Man + RPG = Awesome!) had my mouth watering and my hands trembling as I picked it up off the shelves. Little did I know what I was in for...

First of all, we'll start with the graphics as that seems to be the norm around here. The graphics in MM X: CM were of the cel-shaded style. This style is generally used to give the characters more of cartoon look to them. It has been used in games such as Dark Cloud 2 and more recently Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. First of all in MM X: CM this worked to the artists advantage and made the characters more familiar to those that had played the 2D Mega Man games of the past. Unfortunately the cel-shading appeared slightly outdated when put next to many of its peers. Character animations were satisfactory with nothing amazing to mention. I especially liked the out-of-battle travel animations, which usually consisted of dashing about while your scarf flashed Shinobi style behind you. Where the characters were satisfactory, the enviroments were just plain awful. There were many good ideas for locations, but they all mainly consisted of the same corridors stretching on and on in many different directions. This was fine in a 2D world, but in complete 3D it just feels lacking.

The sound effects were much the same as they were in other Mega Man games. Some nostalgic sounds include X's blaster and 'siren' for the Boss Battles. The rest of the sounds were functional and I really couldn't complain. Musically I found it to be satisfactory, with no pieces that stood out much more than others. There were a few pieces that sounded suspiciously like remixes from previous MM games, but I never checked to be sure. Voice acting was were the game started to sag. While many of the voices were passable enough in emotion and many fit their respective characters, the actors had been given awful scripts. If I had been asked to read such drivel I would have refused or at least ad-libbed to where it made sense.

The storyline was so simple that I guessed almost every plot change WAAYYY in advance. Other than places were I couldn't understand what the characters were saying that is. At one point an NPC you just met dies for no reason whatsoever and the rest of the characters spend the next couple of missions lamenting it. For an RPG the story didn't even make it to Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest in my opinion. For a Mega Man game it wasn't even on par with some of the other games in the series. Usually side-scrollers don't require a very complicated story because the gameplay is so engaging, but when Capcom switched it over to RPG it seems they forgot this fact.

Finally we have the gameplay. There are ten missions in total and you play each as X, dashing through one basic location for each mission to obtain finally defeat the boss. Fight, dash, fight, dash, load new room, fight, dash, load new room, dash, load new room. That's right, the only reason the game took any time at all was because of loading times which I thought were simply awful for the seeming lack of detail in most rooms. In between loading the battles come relatively close together as well, almost fustratingly so at some points. On the other hand the battles themselves are relatively easy to begin with and never grow harder than the medium difficulty level. You are provided with so many different ways to power-up in battle that it seems impossible to be defeated, the only exception being the boss battles. Each character can use a special power that basically drains all your energy and requires you get your energy to a certain level. In addition your character can transform into a more powerful form for a certain number of turns per battle. On the simpler side of battle in addtion to your main weapon you are able to equip a number of different sub-weapons, all with different attack powers and status effects. You can use up to two of them in battle, providing you have enough energy to do so. Energy is refilled every turn, so it is sometimes wiser to save for stronger attacks by simply using your main weapon. At a certain point you gain the ability to do a final attack using all three characters if you can manage to take off more than 80% of an enemies health in a single hit. The final attack is no more than you mashing different buttons while your characters massacre the helpless enemy in a dizzying display of overkill. Nice to look at, but not especially that helpful. Exp and zenny (money) are gained at seemingly extremely high rates, but levels do remain relatively balanced throughout the game. To heal you use the Sub Tanks from X's previous games and I never had any problems through the bonuses you seem to recieve after every battle. There were a couple other smaller features such as character-switching during battles and differently equiped weapons showing up in battle that were so commonplace now in RPG's that they seemed not worth mentioning, but for Capcom were still a step-up.

A nice attempt that had a lot of pontential. Too bad that it didn't own up to it's title's legacy; I was really looking forward to this one. If you still want to give it a try: a definite rental.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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