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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.