Rockman X Command Mission (Mega Man X Command Mission)

Plays like a better RPG than Mega Man Legends


The Lowdown

Pros: A solid RPG designed for fans of the "X" series.
Cons: Not enough character customization, story or battle tactics to please people looking for a standard RPG.

Purchase at Play-Asia
Rockman X Command Mission (known as Mega Man X Command Mission in regions outside of Japan) is Capcom's latest Mega Man spin off. Instead of making an action RPG game, like the Mega Man legends series, Rockman X Command Mission is a traditional turn based RPG. The story takes place sometime after the events of Mega Man X7. X and Zero are investigating a group of rebel Maverick robots. Although there is a story, it isn't great, but it is something that followers of Capcom's X series will appreciate.

Capcom designed Rockman X Command Mission as much like a traditional RPG they could without losing the style of the X series. When you are walking around your are placed within a complete 3D environment to interact with. Although, you can't do what you would expect to do in a X title. No jumping, firing or doing anything else except run around and speed dash. Speed dashing is used not only to get from place to place, but to break crystals which contain items and Zenny (the game's currency). Between running around from here and there you have random enemy encounters. You'll see familiar enemies like Mettons (those short construction guys that have a yellow hat) and those big robots with two giant spiked balls from X7. The battles in Rockman X Command Mission are turn based, but remain action packed. Each time it reaches your turn in battle you'll recover weapon energy. When it's your turn to attack you can use your standard attack, like X's X-Buster or slash away with Zero's Z-Saber. You can also use your sub weapons for the cost of a little bit of your weapon energy. The sub weapons are kind of like two extra rotating abilities. You can equip sub weapons that shoot enemies for extra damage or equip some that charges up your next character's attack. The variation of different sub weapons allows you to make a custom character. You don't always want to use your sub weapons because if you have your weapon energy over 50% you can use the action trigger to pull off a devastating attack. X's action move is his classic charge shot, once you enable this you hold down the circle button to transfer stored weapons energy in your attack. The charge shot ability not only gives extra damage, but it can hit all the enemies on the screen. Zero's action trigger is similar to Zell's (from FF8) limit break move where you have to input button combinations to do more attacks. Some of the combinations for Zero should be familiar to most gamers like the hadouken and shoryuken combos. One of the new characters, Spider, has an action command move that deals out five cards. Players need to make the best poker hand to do the most damage.

Using your action command meter drains your weapon energy and also puts your character out of commission for a whole turn. If the battle is really not looking in your favor you can bring any of the three characters you're controlling into hyper mode. Hyper mode gives the Maverick Hunters extra abilities, increased damage and a spiffy new look. When X goes into hyper mode he turns to a metallic yellow color and deals damage by smacking enemies with a claw gun. Spider's hyper mode makes him invisible to enemy attacks. Using hyper mode at the right time is one of the game's major strategies, since you can only use it a couple times within a mission.

Outside of battles, which is a large portion of the gameplay, the game is broken down into different missions. Each mission has the inevitable goal of fighting against an animal robot. Unlike the X action games you can't choose which robot or mission you want. Instead you progress through the story and the game by beating mission after mission. There are ten missions overall. Each mission takes about an hour or so to complete so the game isn't any longer than any other Mega Man X game out there. In that short amount of time you'll get to have five characters under your control. Of course X, Zero and dual pistol wielder Axl will all be playable. I briefly mentioned Spider, a magician robot and there is one other robot you'll meet. You can customize these five characters by changing their weapons, sub weapons and force parts. Force parts are kind of like "relics" or "accessories" in the Final Fantasy games. Force parts can do a number of things such as increase statistics like accuracy or strength or they can also increase your life points. Equipping different sub weapons and force parts are it for character customization. There are no class changes or ability points to use in the game. In some ways this makes Rockman X Command Mission feel like an RPG for beginners.

Like Mega Man X7, Rockman X Command Mission continues using cel-shaded graphics. The technique of cel-shading and the art direction gives the robots an anime style to them. Capcom added in some cool effects like a red cape that appears when X runs around and good looking hyper transformations. Although these effects are marginal because Rockman X Command Mission doesn't stand up to the same graphical level as other PS2 or Gamecube titles. Instead Command Mission suffers from bland backgrounds and below par looking characters. Capcom uses standard jazzy beats over techno tracks to round off the sound in the game. There are voiceovers that are used during the cut scenes, which are a nice touch. For the most part the voiceovers are pretty good.

People looking for a solid 40 hour dungeon romp will probably be disappointed in Rockman X Command Mission. Not only is the game short, but it plays like an RPG for beginners. Gamers that are expecting a more traditional action game will also be let down. While there is action in battling, it isn't the same faced paced action you would expect in a Mega Man title. Rockman X Command Mission stands on the thin line of being somewhere between the two. In that respect it is a unique and fun game if you give it a chance and take it for what it is. At least Capcom is trying new things with the X series, instead of just releasing the same side scrolling shooters over again.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 4

All of the game's text, menus and voiceovers are in Japanese. Fortunately, the most important things in the game like the menus and items are written in katakana. So if you can read katakana you can play through most of the game and just miss out on the story.

US Bound?

A US release of Mega Man X Command Mission is due on September 21, 2004. The Japanese release does contain a hidden demo of Mega Man X8, whether this is going to be included in the US version is TBA.

Overall

Even though it may be a little short Rockman X Command Mission is an enjoyable play through and a game that can move more people in the RPG genre.