Mega Man X5 Review

MMX5 Title

 

Title: Mega Man X5
Developer: Capcom
Game Type: PlayStation Classic
Download: 344 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download, Direct Download
EU Availability: Currently Unavailable

Mega Man is an old, classic franchise that has seen a lot in its time.  Although there may not be many games in the future for everyone’s favorite blue-armored reploid, there is a lot to be played in the past.  Looking in the past, Mega Man isn’t a single franchise, but many.  There have been several franchises within Mega Man.  There is the Mega Man series, as well as the X, Legends, Battle Network, Zero, and others, each with their own kind of storyline and style of gameplay behind them.

If you take a look at the fans, the majority regards the Mega Man X series as the best of all of them.  This is due to the characters featured, like Sigma and Zero.  This is also because of how the difficulty of the games come into play, with most of the games being quite challenging, even for a Mega Man game.  While there are some games in the series that are less regarded than others, the X series spanned 9 games, across multiple platforms.

With this month celebrates the inclusion of two games of this legendary series onto the PlayStation Network.  As of last week, both Mega Man X4 and its sequel are available for play on the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita.  Although it is not as regarded as highly as its predecessor by the fans, here is our official review of Mega Man X5.

Story

MMX5 Story

The story of Mega Man X5 showcases the return of the maverick known as Sigma, set on spreading chaos throughout the world and causing trouble for the Maverick Hunters, whom hunt down and apprehend robotic reploids that have gone insane, or “Maverick”.  As their arch-enemy returns, Maverick Hunters Zero and Mega Man X mobilize to put a stop to him, unaware that there is a plan in motion to completely immobilize the Maverick Hunters and to bring a space station down to Earth to wipe out all known civilization.

As with its predecessor, there are two storyline choices you can go through.  At the beginning of the game, you can choose to play as either Mega Man X or Zero, though both of them lead towards similar endings and you can play as either character regardless, being able to switch and choose between the two whenever you go into each stage and mission.

The story of Mega Man X5 definitely is more story-oriented than the previous games in the series.  There is new story shown after you complete nearly every stage, each with more messes for X and Zero to clean up, from fending off the falling space station to having a Maverick infiltrating Hunter Base to attack them.  It is a very busy story, and almost seems too busy at times.

Gameplay

MMX5 Game 1

As with the previous games of the series, Mega Man X5 is a 2D platformer and action game.  You will be spending the majority of your time in 2D stages , progressing towards a boss.  This is like previous games, where you are fighting off enemies, navigating traps, and finding equipment capsules as well as hidden items to help you as you play through the game.  Mega Man X5 does change a few things up to the formula, even from X4.

As we mentioned in the story section, you can choose to play as either Mega Man X or Zero when you start the game.  While these choices do lead to the same ending, overall, but there are a few scenes that it changes.  There are also other things you can do in the game that can affect the story.  So, if you play the game as Zero twice, it won’t necessarily lead to the same ending, depending on how things go as you play through certain parts of the game.

Parts are a big part of what is new to this game.  As you play through and defeat bosses, you will gain their abilities and use ability weaknesses to easily bypass other bosses.  This is in the form of special weapon enhancements you obtain can give you various effects.  They could allow faster recovery time or another effect.  Unlike normal power-ups, you have to equip these to use them.  Some can only be used by one of the two characters, while others can be used by both.

The other notable differences and additions to X5 are seen inside the stages, themselves.  There are a few new things you’re able to do.  For example, you can crouch down to avoid low-level attacks, actually useful in the very first boss of the game.  The other two enhancements in levels are the Wire-grapples and the Z Buster.  As you play through levels, you will find wires and you can bran and move along these with your grapple.  And lastly, Zero will be able to use the Z Saber along with his own version of Mega Man’s buster weapon, the Z Buster.  He also, by default, retains a couple abilities he had from X4, which don’t require defeating a boss to obtain.

MMX5 Game 2

The last addition is one part of the game that fans frowned upon.  The Tutorial and the difficulty.  In Mega Man X4, the game just drops you into a level and you go at it.  There are traps, enemies, ladders, drops and more, but the game lets you learn them on your own.  That was part of the difficulty.  X5, however, has a tutorial system that alerts you whenever something like this happens.  The game stops and warns you about everything, from ladders to pits.  The fact that the game holds your hand through these sequences was frowned upon by the fans.

The other part of the difficulty is the bosses, themselves.  I played X5 right after replaying X4, and there is a noticeable difference between fighting the bosses.  Tutorials aside, the stages offer a fair amount of difficulty to the point of memorizing parts of the stages.  However, the boss fights are considerably simpler.  The damage you do the damage is much higher than the damage you did to bosses in X4, making every boss fight shorter.  I also found that nearly every boss fight of the game I did not have to repeat.  The bosses are fairly predictable.  The game is fun, but it’s much easier.

As far as time goes, X5 lasts about the same length as X4.  Despite being able to use both characters at the same time, you still will need to play through the game at least twice to be able to see all of the different story scenarios.  As such, it should take between 5 and 10 hours to finish the game to see all of those segments.

Controls

The control scheme of Mega Man X5 isn’t that much different from X4.  Most of the controls are the same throughout both games, though a couple things have some things added to them, depending on the character you’re using.  As well as with X4, it is not advised to use the touch screen for any of the controls.  X5 is a fast-paced game, so keeping the controls on the buttons will be the most convenient experience.

Moving through the menu and moving characters around is done with the D-Pad.  The Left and Right Analogs will not be used in the game, though you can map controls to them with the emulator settings.  You will be using most of the other buttons in the game, other than those two Analog Sticks.  The face buttons will mostly be used for combat.  The X button is used for jumping and the Circle is used for dashing (which I map to R).  The Square Button is used for the main weapon (The X Buster or Z Saber), and the Triangle button is used for the Z Buster or Mega Man X’s special weapons.

The shoulder buttons are used as well.  By default, they are used for switching weapons with Mega Man X.   There is also another button that the R2 button used, which is for the Mega Weapon you get further in the game.  You can map this to an unused button or the touch screen, though this can also be used with a normal special weapon command if you equip them.

The control scheme isn’t too hard to learn, but there is a lot to do there and you may need to use the touch screen for part of it.

Presentation

MMX5 Pres

The visuals of Mega Man X5 are the same as its predecessor.  The 2D visuals have movement in the background and have a bit of depth to them.  This almost gives them a 3D look to them, but they’re still 2D.  The game looks good on the Vita’s screen, but you can definitely see some imperfections in each character model, like Zero’s helmet and some of the effects from the special abilities.

The game also plays well, offering low load times and easy transitions between areas.  Unlike X4, X5 doesn’t have two segments to every mission.  You just go from one area to the next, seamlessly.  This is an improvement.  One thing to note, though, is that there is what seems like slowdown in one of the stages.  At first, I believed this to be a technical issue, but it was actually made to be that way.  The level is around gravity and time, so the slowdown effect is part of the stage and was meant to be that way in the game.

Overall

Despite the heavy criticism from the fans, Mega Man X5 is a solid game that improves a good bit on the formula that X4 had laid out for the PS1 games.  In the critics’ defense, the lower difficulty and the constant interruptions from the tutorial can be quite annoying.  If you can look past those, though, you will find a fun game for challenge-hunters and Mega Man fans alike.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates Mega Man X5 an 8/10

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