Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mega Man ZX Advent (DS) Review

This may seem like a strange classic review to put up. There's not a Mega Man game for the DS or any other platform for that matter in sight for the near future. The reason is that this is a game that my brother is finally getting into and enjoying. Do we share the same opinion on the game? Let's find out with Mega Man ZX Advent for the DS.

Double the Mega, Double the Man

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Capcom's most industrious little mascot returns to the DS, marking his fourth appearance on Nintendo's dual-screened system (six if you count all three Mega Man Star Force titles). The newest Mega Man game is Mega Man ZX Advent, the sequel to the Metroid-styled Mega Man action of the original Mega Man ZX. Now many have shunned the blue bomber for recent rehashes of the once good Mega Man Battle Network series and the essential rehash with new characters that was Mega Man Star Force. However, Mega Man ZX Advent is one Mega Man title that old fans of the series and new ones alike should not let slip past.

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This is the first boss of both Ashe and Grey--
simply at different locations.

You select from two initial characters, a boy who wakes up from a capsule in a mysterious lab in Grey, and a girl searching for that elusive booty (no, not that kind of booty) in Ashe. Both characters never meet, and they mostly play through the same levels except for their introductory stage. However, each one has a different story that players need to follow both in order to see both of their endings and the reward that comes with that. With Grey you will learn why he awoke from a capsule in a desolate lab and what his true identity is, while with Ashe you'll discover the secret of her origin. There's three modes of play so any level of Maverick and Pseudoroid hunter can complete the game as easy or as difficult as they choose. Beginners will have players hardly breaking a sweat against enemies while the unlockable Expert difficultty has enemies and bosses with more attacks, more damage on Grey or Ashe, and more defense for baddies.

There's a whole line of Mega Men competing in the "game of destiny" in order to see who will be the ultimate Mega Man, wielding the power of the omnipotent Model W. Grey/Ashe gets accompanied by a wise-talking Biometal named Model A which transforms your hero into one of the many Mega Men competing to either save the world or destroy it (most corrupted Mega Men are the latter). Of course, there's still bosses to battle that are simply Pseudoroids causing trouble like a flaming horse named Buckfire, a flowery foe named Rospark, and a bot with the feminine touch in Queenbee. The secret of Model A is that after one of the many bosses are defeated, Model A can take their form-- a nod to the original Mega Man where after defeating a boss, Mega copied their weapon. There's fifteen forms in all, and all have their uses. Buckfire can kick through breakable blocks, Rospark can scale up, down, and across iron pipes, Model H can dash upwards, Model P can chuck kunai blades at foes via the touch screen, and that's just four forms. Each form has its own special attack, normal attack, dash attack, and super attack. The only problem with all of these forms is that you'll constantly be switching through them either by selecting a form on the touch screen or cycling through them with X or the pause menu.

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Buckfire can scale walls and melt ice cubes.

Mega Man ZX Advent isn't set up like your typical old-school Mega Man game. There's missions to complete like the Mega Man Zero line of games, and there's journeying to each location like in Mega Man ZX or the game that spawned the idea, Metroid. However, the map system is much better than the eyesore that was ZX. You seldom have to wonder what place goes where like you do with the original. Almost all of the different areas are located just off the main hub-- Hunter's Base. Transervers not only save your progress, but they're also great for jetting around the world in a jiffy, provided you've activated a warp point for a small fee of energy crystals (it's free in Beginner).

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Model H treks through the fiery gauntlet.

Aspiring players will not only desire to finish the game by taking care of all of the story missions, but they'll also want to help everyone they can by taking care of all of the mission requests. These range from putting out fires to finding someone's lost canary. Completed missions net players with energy crystals (the currency of Advent) among other awards. There's also a wide array of well-hidden gems to find as well such as subtanks, life ups, biometal upgrades, and secret disks to be scavenged throughout the many levels of Advent. By collecting all 24 boss medals by beating a boss in a certain way from only using one form's attack on a boss to surviving two minutes against a boss and then destroying it, you'll earn an incredibly cool "small" reward. You'll have to earn that one, folks.

From gameplay to presentation, Mega Man ZX Advent looks very much like a Game Boy Advance game. It feels stuck in that graphical boundary. Sure, there are beautiful anime cutscenes sprinkled throughout the game, but the 2-D sprites and backgrounds could stand to step up. We're not on the GBA anymore, Inticreates. Nonetheless, what there is of the graphics is still pretty good, but the backgrounds and sprites could stand to have the definition that they couldn't have on GBA. Thankfully though, Advent features full voice-acting from the bosses to the main characters and adversaries. There's a lot of dialogue that can either be skipped, listened to, and/or read. Unfortunately, some of it is very hit-or-miss, especially the grating Model A.

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Two against one? I like these odds.

So what do you have when you take all of this and put it together? You have a very entertaining and action-packed sequel to the original Mega Man ZX. Mega Man veterans will most likely fall in love with ZX Advent, and newcomers will find a difficulty that's right for them. There's numerous forms for either Ashe or Grey to take, two stories to play through, three difficulties, unlockables in the form of minigames and other surprises, and voice acting and anime cutscenes to boot. While the presentation could stand to step even further into the DS' technology, what is there is still adequate and neither hampers or exhilarates the experience. Mega Man ZX Advent is one of the best Mega Man games since Zero 3 which came out several years ago. This title will remind you why you fell in love with Mega Man all over again.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.5/10] - Great. Mega Man ZX Advent thankfully takes a different route from its Star Force cousin, and what follows is an incredibly addictive game that no fan of the 2-D action genre will want to miss.

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