Monday, August 25, 2014

Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X (PlayStation Portable) Review

Everyone has played a Mega Man game. It doesn't matter who you are. This is one of the most prolific franchises around, even if Capcom has almost ignored it to extinction lately. Sure, most of the games are ridiculously copy and paste similar but that didn't make most of them any less enjoyable. While everyone has played a Mega Man game, I'll go ahead and freely admit that this is the first one I actually finished. The weird name hides the fact that this is a remake of Mega Man X, but it is.

I don't know why but I always loved that box art. It also has that weird trend of the 90s where they just arbitrarily add bullets coming out of a gun that's in the picture. Does that make any sense? He's just jumping and shooting at the ground....sort of..chest bumping the air.. Some advertising dick got the artwork and just went "well... airbrush some bullets on it," then he shook his head in dismay and punched his secretary.

Anyway, Mega Man X is probably the Mega Man game I've spent the most time with (probably Mega Man Xtreme 2, really) so it seemed like a pretty logical purchase when I came across it. I'll say that I haven't played the original version of X in some time, but the PSP version feels a bit slower. Maybe it's just my memory, but I remember X being a relatively quickly paced game. Being slower doesn't harm the game in any way, but it takes the excitement down a notch.

The other thing that I have mixed feelings about is the graphics. They're re-done in 3D, completely replacing the sprite art of the SNES version.

There's nothing wrong with the graphics at all. They accurately recreate thede4 sprite art and manage to maintain a very similar art style, I guess I just prefer the sprite art. The 3D art appears a bit more cartoon-y in some way, which I think is the turn-off for me. It's ignorable for the SNES art because everything had a cartoony style, but Mega Man X managed to be a more serious looking game.

Having said that this was the first Mega Man game I actually finished (aside from Battle Network, which doesn't really count), I was surprised at the difficulty curve. The first robot master you decide to beat is an absolute bitch, but once you've beaten him and got his weapon the game gets considerably easier since you have a weapon that one boss will have a weakness to. Each level seems to get easier as you collect power-ups and other upgrades.

Once you've finished the game you can replay it as Sigma, X's nemesis. This is...not so fun. It's a very different play style, but it just doesn't seem to work out so well. I get that it's meant to be more challenging and very different, but Sigma just doesn't seem to fit into the game. It's not enough of an incentive to do a replay while overcoming the difficulty that the difference brings.

The difference probably wouldn't be as glaring if it weren't for how good the level design is. Usually there's a level or area of a game that is just horrible and annoying enough that it has the potential to kill replays. There's not really any part of Mega Man X that I would think of that way. All of the levels have the same fair challenge that you can learn how to overcome by replaying. There's nothing particularly standout about any of the levels, but they all work incredibly well.

The storyline is a bit more fleshed out in this version and.. there's voice acting. It sucks.

Overall, this is an excellent game. It can be had on the cheap, and it's worth it.

The Score: 9/10

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