Thursday, January 3, 2008

Megaman ZX Advent Part 1

Game Completion: 70% or more

My brother wrote about Phoenix Wright, so I guess I will talk a bit about another game we got our hands on this last Christmas: Megaman ZX Advent.

I have been a fan of the Megaman series since I played Megaman 2 and 3 back in my preschool and kindergarten days, so I guess it would be no surprise that I like this game. After all, it is one more iteration of a tried and true formula. It continues a lot of the progress in story-telling and gameplay freedom that started in the Megaman Zero series, and has a good mix of platforming challenges and fun battles.

One of the most important elements of this game is the way it finally brings the classic gimmick of the Megaman series, copying the weapons of bosses that you defeat, to its ultimate conclusion. Now, you can transform into the bosses and use their powers freely. It is something that makes sense for the Megaman ZX series and works well in this game.

One thing I like about the implementation of the A-Trans system in this game is the way that the 8 Pseudoroid forms are each designed with different types of terrain and situations in mind, and the 5 alternate Megaman forms are all well-built for many kinds of combat. The Pseudoroid Argoyle is great for flat terrain, and lets you grab certain items, while the Pseudoroid Rospark is great on hanging vines and cables, and the Pseudoroid Buckfire is good at open terrain and climbing wide columns. Each Pseudoroid form you acquire is more than just a new weapon, it is a new way to explore the game. Certainly, there are many imbalances in the usefulness of any particular form, but that is more a side-effect of the large number of forms compared to the number of challenges to overcome, and isn't really a sign of poor game balance. However, I do think that some forms could have been made more useful in combat, or at least more viable combat forms should have been made available to the player earlier in the game.

Another important innovation of this game is that now, unlike previous Megaman games, all the special weapons of every form are based on a single energy gauge, which is constantly regenerating. A major issue of previous Megaman games was the way most boss weapons had little benefit despite a limited umber of uses, resulting in them not being used very often. Also, collecting items to recharge those boss weapon gauges could be confusing when you had eight or more gauges. This single unified special weapon gauge is a nice improvement.

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