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Developer:
Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: Playstation 2 and GameCube
Release Date: September 21 2004

by Tony Ames




When I heard that an RPG of Capcomís outstandingly long-running Mega Man X series was coming, I didnít know what to make of it. Iíve had a mixed history with Capcom RPGs, but taking an icon and turning it into an RPG has produced amazing results (see any of the 4 RPGs about everyoneís favorite plumber). My cautious optimism paid offóMega Man X: Command Mission has its share of flaws, but it has more pick up and play value than anything Iíve played this year.


The biggest surprise from Mega Man X: Command Mission was on the visual front. While the liberal use of mechanical people was a given, seeing that they were cel-shaded certainly wasnít on the list of expectations. More surprising is how well this works for the game. The more vibrant color cel-shading gives the game a life that would otherwise have been lacking, especially given the drab dungeon design.


The same canít be said of the audio, though. The music, being generous, is uninspired, amounting to some low-tempo techno to compliment the futuristic nature of the setting. The voice acting is in the same boat; while the voices fit the characters well, the inflection and emotion are all over the place, making it hard to stay in the story.


Not that you necessarily want to. The situation is quite simple: X and Zero, the greatest of Maverick Hunters (A Maverick is an android which has rejected human authority, typically setting out to cause chaos), are sent to investigate an abandoned research facility. There they discover Epsilon, their long-time nemesis, is active again. However, they become separated, and X must recruit allies to both find Zero and defeat Epsilon.


For the most part, the game uses the story to provide cohesion for its 10 chapters and let you know youíre on-track. Yet, it also pulls out major melodrama, which makes one wonder why an android like X would be built so emotional, as well as what exactly Capcom was aiming for with the story.


It doesnít matter though, because Mega Man X: Command Mission is a blast to play. Building off a battle system similar to Xenosaga: Episode 1's, characters have three basic attacks: one for their main armament, and two sub-weapons, which have effects ranging from additional damage to stealing items. While these weapons are quite useful, they also consume Weapon Energy, a resource you generate each round. However, using it all can be detrimental, because it also fuels another command, Attack Trigger. Attack Triggers are special attacks which are almost entirely based on how much Weapon Energy you feed them, generally doing far more damage than anything else at full power, and are excellent tools for tough fights. Finally, each character has their Hyper Mode, which causes them to equip special armor which dramatically improves their stats, and in many cases gives them better attacks. Of course, Hyper Mode is only usable for a limited time between breaks, so it must be used wisely. All this combines to make an absolute buffet of attack options, though how often you need them is questionable, given the general easiness of the game.


Difficulty isnít the only thing the game lacks, though. Being an exceptionally linear game, thereís relatively little in the way of extras, though if you were fond of killing things there are some costly armors to shoot for. Even then, though, the game can easily be finished in less than 15 hoursóthe first non-handheld game since the Playstation era I can say that about. Itís really too bad the game lacks here, too, because itís fun enough to really justify a wide range of optional battles.


Still, donít let all the faults get in the way of picking this game up. It cannot be emphasized enough how much fun can be had with this game, even if, at the end of the day, it is a bit of fluff.


Final Grade- 83%




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