Title: Mega Man ZX Advent
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: Nintendo DS
I’ve really been on a Mega Man kick lately. Well, lately really means ever since I played and reviewed Mega Man ZX a couple days ago. I really got into and loved ZX and wanted to go for its sequel right away. Any fan of the Mega Man Zero series can easily see why, given how the ZX series, although it’s own series, essentially serves as a successor to the Zero series.
Not to beat around the bush with this intro, we should get onto the review in question. Here is my retro review of the final game of the ZX series, Mega Man ZX Advent!
Some years after the events of Mega Man ZX, a group of mercenaries known as “The Hunters” are sent on a mission by a company called Legion to track down and recover a new Biometal that was discovered. In the chaos of the mission, the main character (Grey or Ashe, though Ashe is more ‘canon’ compared to the first game) comes in contact with the biometal and bonds with it.
Soon after, she is thrown into a battle between other people whom have bonded with Biometals as well as being sent on missions to prevent the revival of Biometal Model W, once thought to have been stopped, on the typical Mega Man timeline against a villain out to destroy the world.
The story of ZX Advent is really more of the series taking on its own form. ZX had heavy ties to the Zero series, while Advent branches out further and makes a storyline that is more unique and not relying upon ties with past series of the Mega Man franchise. I wouldn’t call it better or worse than ZX, as it has an interesting story and main character, though I personally like ZX better because of the heavy ties with the Zero series.
Much like its predecessor, Advent is a 2D action game with light open-world elements. The main difference here is that there are much fewer elements of there being an open-world environment than the original ZX. From a gameplay standpoint, though, it is identical to the first game.
The first thing I should go over is how exploration differs. In ZX, you were constantly exploring a huge open-world map, discovering different types of doors and paths and discovering new paths upon getting card keys. This returns in Advent, but not nearly as immense. There are a couple doors you need card keys for, but there really isn’t much exploration to be done. Many missions teleport you directly to the mission location and only a few require you to search and find locations.
The biggest gameplay enhancement, however, is Model A’s “Copy” ability. In many previous Mega Man games, you gained a new special weapon upon defeating a boss and in ZX, you gained a new Biometal. In ZX Advent, however, defeating a boss allows you to copy their DNA and transform into that boss. Not only do you gain the ability to use one of their skills, but you gain access to a fully-controllable form of that boss, no matter how small or gigantic the boss is. This gives you over a dozen different transformations and fighting styles rather than the 5 from ZX.
Missions take you through side-scrolling environments, as Mega Man fans are familiar with and there is a lot of combat to be done, leading up to a boss or two. If you’ve played ZX, you know exactly what you’re doing. Although there are a lot more transformations, combat is pretty much the same as it always was.
One thing I want to say about the game, itself, is the difficulty. Compared to ZX, Advent feels like it’s constantly holding your hand, to an intense level. There are tutorials for literally every power you get, basic level movement, and characters even automatically point you directly where to go, removing any sense of exploration and discovery. There’s nothing wrong with tutorials in games, but this game is like tutorial overload. Tied with the overall simple boss patterns to learn, it just feels like a cakewalk, even compared to ZX’s Easy Mode.
The last thing I should say is length. Unlike ZX, Advent is not an incredibly long game. My first trek through Advent took me about 4-5 hours, compared to 8-10 hours for the original game. It is only half the length, but at the same time, it’s not really a bad amount of length. Considering how quickly-paced Advent is with more focus on action and less on exploration, it’d be difficult to keep that amount of pacing going for a 10-hour journey.
Controlling this is mostly like the previous game. The main exception is that Advent finally went to use the Nintendo DS touch screen for a few functions. Most of these functions are for toggling between the map and available transformations as well as special abilities for some forms, like a radar on the touch screen to show you where things are in a pitch-black room.
The control scheme is the same as before. Circle Pad/D-Pad to move and the L/R triggers for Sub-weapons and Overdrive. A is used for dashing and B for jumping. X is for transforming and Y is for primary weapons. As before, this is also 100% customizable, so you can set it up however you want.
Although there are some nice enhancements to Advent, like moving backgrounds, it still suffers from the same flaw from ZX. It is still using a GBA graphics engine, so some bosses still have jagged edges around them and the animated scenes still look pixelated.
The one thing they did improve on here is voice-acting. Not only is there English Voice-Acting in the animated scenes, but there is voice-acting in over half of all of the scenes in the game. Every major scene is voiced, which is a pretty large step up from what they’d done before.
Performance is just like ZX, so there’s nothing to complain about. Load times are short, frame-rate is smooth, and it all in all just runs really nicely.
Mega Man ZX Advent improved the ZX formula and formed its own story. Although I wouldn’t call it superior to the original with the same visual problems and holding your hand far too much, it’s still a fun Mega Man game that series and handheld fans should give a go.