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Mega Man Zero 4 (2005) review
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by markbass69

Yeah, this is the one where I gotta bow out. This is where I guess they wanted to just make Mega Man X9 and not in a good way. Gone are the Guardians for no reason, gone is the the unique MMZ structure in lieu of the classic "pick one of eight animal-based robots to fight from a menu" (there is a middle stage like usual, but it just happens after beating four robot masters), the hub has finally reached the point where it's completely superfluous. The elemental chips are gone (not technically, but for all intents and purposes), which was a needed change, but it's not replaced with anything. EX Skills are back, which is cool, but you just... get them from beating bosses. Armor system is still there, but it's hidden by a cryptic, convoluted, grindy crafting system. Why even have them as unlocks at that point? Shield Boomerang is gone entirely and there's no variation of the rod, instead replaced by the Knuckle.

And what's in its place? A convoluted crafting system. A cyber elf overhaul that reintroduced grinding and made cyber elves - something introduced before Zero back in the very first game - feel like a pointless afterthought and remove any upgrades or sense of progression. Having to go five feet to the right just to upgrade your elves or craft items at all. A reliance on hanging from wires, something not really designed particularly well, as a gimmick in nearly every stage. Zero Knuckle had potential but fails to impress past the intro stage. Secrets are hidden behind the Zero Knuckle or a dumb weather system that is literally a checkbox before starting each mission. Every level has to have a gimmick now and more often than not, they're not good. Anti-gravity sections in the magnet mines, timer in the water stage, constant damage in the sun stage, vines to pull with the Zero Knuckle in the jungle(?) stage. You end up tanking damage now instead of being able to avoid or plan. Mini-bosses in each stage that not only repeat content, but also tank damage like crazy. Bosses can be interesting, if a bit on the easier side, but some (that effing magnet stage in particular) are just a pain in the ass. Of all the things to keep, they still kept the ranking system, though.

It's fine if you want another MMX game to bang your head against the wall as you memorize the stages, I guess, but this lost almost everything that made MMZ unique.