31 December 2016

Random Reviews Chapter-15: Ex-Zero (Megaman ZX)



So, I recently finished Megaman ZX and I felt it was quite different from the Zero Series. Why am I comparing it with Zero, which was different from other Megaman games itself? Because ZX comes after Zero in the timeline. Also, the Megaman Zero Series is my favorite Megaman series after Battle Network. Let's Begin.
Let's start with the music. The music in this game isn't really bad but it is forgettable. However there are some really good tracks in there. The music of Area B, Area J and the Slither Inc. building are among these grate soundtracks.

The stages in this game are connected unlike most Megaman games and this is both a good thing and a bad thing. Though having connected stages can enhance things like immersion and sense of adventure, it can get tiring passing over the same section over and over again. Luckily, the stages aren't that complexly connected and it's not that easy to get lost like in Metroid games. The stages themselves, however are a lot easier, platforming wise. Though I liked it, I'm sure hard-core Megaman fans will get a little disappointed if they were expecting difficult platforming.

Another thing that really surprised me was the ability to choose a protagonist in pretty much the same way as pokémon except you don't get to name them. It seemed a little unexpected for a Megaman game but it's a welcome change in my opinion.

This game introduces Bio-Metals. Sentient floating head like things which the player uses to change forms. Each form offers different advantages and abilities. But I found myself relying mostly on HX and ZX forms. So I have to say they aren't exactly balanced perfectly. But they are balanced and you'll be needing all of them at one point or the other.

Now the main problem I have with this game is how it flows and how ZX plays and looks, if that makes sense. Near the beginning of the game, you get the Model X as your default model and the game-play is pretty much exactly like the SNES Megaman X games minus the elevated difficulty in terms of platforming. It takes a while to get used to it, as with every game in existence. But then, Giro dies and you get his bio-metal, model Z. The two bio-metals work together and create Model ZX.

Now Model ZX, in terms of story, is basically a fusion between X and Zero. You'd expect something like this to be an extreme badass what with Zero in his games being exceptionally strong and X being X. But what do you get? You get something that looks very very similar to Zero and who plays like him too. Hell, if the Zero games are anything to go by, ZX is actually WEAKER than Zero. ZX loses the shield from the Zero games and the variable 4th weapon. Instead, you're stuck with just the blaster and the Z-Sabre. I could excuse this lack of power for the sake of making the game challenging but they didn't even do any major design changes. In fact, ZX looks so much like Zero, that I mistook him for a slightly re-designed version of him. The only time I realized the difference was when I fought the optional boss, Omega/ Old Zero. And after that, it made even less sense to me.

Back to the flow of the game, it took some time for you to get used to Model X. And now you play with what you're SUPPOSED to be playing with. Model ZX, which plays like Zero. I can forgive a game if it takes some time to get used to it's mechanics. But when you're forced to get used to it TWICE, it's just stupid and annoying.

This isn't my only problem with the game's flow. In fact, that's the smallest problem. This game has a very weird difficulty curve. The bosses aren't too hard and if you have 2 sub-tanks and an energy tank (which aren't that hard to get), most of the bosses become pathetically easy. I love video games but I'm not too good at them. When even I was able to kill 80% of the bosses in my first try, it says something about difficulty. Now, I already mentioned that I liked the lowered difficulty, but that's not why I'm bringing it up. The difficulty curve pulls a huge spike right at the end of the game. The final boss, Model W, isn't that hard compared to other final bosses. But the problem is, compared to all the easy bosses, this guy is like a unpleasant surprise. You aren't prepared for something of this difficulty in something this easy. I've fought harder bosses and final bosses in other games but at least the whole game prepared me for what I'm in for. And to top it off, there is an easy way to beat him.

This boss has 2 forms. The 2nd form can be divided into 3 phases based on his attack patterns. The tornado special move of Model HX is pretty OP. You wait for this boss to reach the 3rd phase and then you unleash this move on his weak spot. If you're aim is good enough, he should go down in 3-4 hits. Likewise, there's also a similar gimmick to his 2nd phase too which involves using a spinning move by jumping and attacking with the up button held down while attacking. I haven't played many Megaman games besides Battle Network but I don't remember any final boss being this gimmicky. Problem is, once this otherwise difficult boss fight becomes a piece of cake after using these gimmicks, I was left wondering if this was really okay or was it some kind of exploit or unfair way to win. Needless to say, they pay-off wasn't that good.

So what do I think of this game overall? It's good game. If you want an easy version of Megaman, this is the game for you. It has a lot of fun moments. And in the end, the most important thing in a game is how fun it is. I'd recommend it to you if you're like me who isn't exactly a fan of the series but likes to play Megaman games occasionally.

I rate this: 65/100

Thanks for reading!

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