Mega Man X: Command Mission User Review
You see, I love orange juice, and I love milk. Not only do I enjoy the taste, but I feel good about myself for drinking them. Both are delicious on their own, but can you imagine combining the two in a glass? Blech!
This title, released on PS2 and Gamecube, is much the same way as an orange juice/1% milk smoothie. Mega Man's action adventure style of play is a wonderfully tasty concoction that both carries a large sense of nostalgia and epic awesomeness. Heck, when I was 7, I even got my mom to make me a Mega Man costume for Halloween! The series isn't chalk full of perfect 10's or anything, but they are enjoyed by thousands of people with each and every release. I know not everyone likes orange juice, but not everyone likes RPG's either. And that's exactly what this title is... a Mega Man X version of the RPG. And as much as I love smoothies, I have 'mixed' feelings about this title.
The story is your typical Mega Man story. You start off with an initial mission that inevitably jump starts the overall story. What is more entertaining about this game's story to other Mega Man stories, is the introduction of a large cast of allies never before met in other titles. These characters add a lot to the story, and make for a more entertaining RPG.
The visuals are a pleasant mix of anime and sci-fi artistry through cel-shading. Everything moves fairly smoothly, and the textures have good detail, but there isn't a tremendous amount of creativity in level design. Mind you, the levels are appropriate for the design, but each 'level' or chapter has a design theme and seems to consistently repeat itself for the remainder of the chapter. There are inconsistencies in character design from other Mega Man X titles, but for the most part, it's not a bad visual game.
The gameplay is difficult to pin down. Battles are a traditional turn-based system with 3 of your characters lined up to battle in random encounters. It actually works pretty well, for the most part, and with a new cast of characters besides X, Zero, and Axel, this title even has it's own little version of classes. You have a healer, specials (elemental damaging specialist like a mage), damage dealers, and even a tank for taking damage. This allows for lots of customization and strategical action.
The biggest flaw to the gameplay, however, is the sharp changes in battle difficulty. Since there isn't really any exploration or returning to towns, it's difficult to go out on a leveling-up spree. In normal Mega Man titles, while it's true that most anything can hurt you fairly substantially, you could potentially go a whole level without taking any damage whatsoever. Since this is an rpg, you can't dodge attacks beyond your evasion rate, and damage is hard to recover from. I remember thinking that those little guys with hard-hats should not be putting my life at risk. But in this title, they do. Be prepared to deal with a lot of game-overs.
Boss battles are extremely difficult. With proper preparation, you should be able to fare alright, but it will always prove to be a huge challenge. Especially since it feels like enemies become exponentially stronger while you seem to advance at a much more linear rate. I eventually stopped playing. I got quite far into the game (about 25-30 hours), but felt like it had become too difficult to continue. I guess it's fair to say that the designers had a great concept, but weren't familiar enough with RPG's. To be honest, though, it's a good strong effort with a sound base for a battle system. Regular battles just take way too long, and it can get especially tedious.
The sound is ok, I suppose. It's actually not that fantastic. Music is rather bland but catchy (the melody and counter melodies found in the first Mega Man X were very well written, if you ever got the chance to analyze them). The voice acting is a big hit and miss. Some characters are appropriately voiced, while others are just plain annoying. None of them deliver great performances. The sound effects in battle aren't very realistic sounding ones. If you didn't see the special effect, you might be confused by some of the sound effects as to what they could possibly be.
Control is fairly simple to use. When out of battle, you can dash true MMX style, but there's no jumping or agility. Both staples of the series. Mega Man feels heavy and like a big clunky robot, and not the wonderfully fluid masterpiece of Dr. Thomas Light. In battle, you have time to enter commands since time is not of the essence.
Replay value isn't the greatest. Battles take WAY too long to complete. It takes so long, that you won't want to play it again just because of the frustration. Similarly, this game is only swallow-able in small doses. It's actually a pretty decent title, but it's not something you'll feel good enough about to continually come back to it time and time again.
Still though, the smoothie isn't awful. As long as you prepare it with the right conditions, (such as semi-frozen), it's downable and perhaps even enjoyable. However, if you drink too much of it in one go, you might get brain freeze. Really, it's worth a try. If you manage to find it used in a game-stop, I bet it's dirt cheap, and I would definitely recommend giving it a shot if you're an RPG fan. It's a pretty unique RPG experience, and it does decent. Basically, it's worth a solid rent or bargain bin purchase when you're bored with what you have.
I doubt anyone could be 100% happy with this title, but it's hard to hate.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.