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Mega Man ZX review
by markbass69

There's a solid Mega Man Zero game buried in here, but it has a lot of its own problems. The lore is a smart extension of the MMZ series, the bosses are designed really well, and the use of the Guardians from MMZ1 is really cool, but it can feel underutilized and underwhelming. The moment-to-moment plot is pretty banal and juvenile, the bosses-as-characters are boring retreads of the past dozen or so Mega Man games, the low drop rate adds back some of the same grinding from MMZ1, and bosses can feel a bit damage-tanky (unless you figure out their weak point, which brings back some of the ranking from MMZ that's just more padding). Abilities from new forms are a cool addition and a good spin on the elemental chip thing, but the lack of in-game explanation on how to actually USE them is sorely missing. The final boss rush and then two-stage final boss fight of the last stage is just a drag and it's amazing any person had the willpower to finish this on original hardware, let alone the Legacy Collection. Makes me want to start ZX Advent in easy mode just to get it over with because you can't change difficulty in the middle of the game.

A lot of discussion of this game is that it's a Metroidvania and I don't see it. The overworld continues the same interconnectedness of MMZ1, but bigger. Makes sense: sequels usually are bigger and better. But they just do nothing with it. You get all kinds of upgrades in this game in the form of biometals - basically just taking on the form of different characters from MMZ1: X, Zero, and then the four Guardians - but nothing changes when you get new forms. Your saber from Zero doesn't open new areas, your extra air dash and hovering from Harpuia doesn't open new areas, your ability to swim as Leviathan doesn't open new areas, your ability to break certain walls as Fefnir doesn't open new areas, and hanging from ceilings as Phantom doesn't open new areas. Yeah, they give you new ways to traverse levels, which is cool in honestly kind of a Sonic the Hedgehog way, but that they don't recontextualize the world like the classic Metroidvania structure is really dropping the ball. Add on the terrible area names and absolute cry for help that is that map as well as the very transparently fetch quest nature of the side quests and it really drives home how the overworld is just there for padding rather than game design.