Nothing has changed since X, but not much was good to begin with.
Thirteen years ago, Mega Man was in quite a dilemma. But fortunately, he got right out of it with Mega Man X, a fresh platformer that did away with the cutesy look and gave him an gruff, techno feel. It was a nice change from the 8 bit escapades of his youth. Two years later, he has a sequel TO a sequel, and he’s gotten so very stale so very quickly. Seeing as how this game has almost nothing to give over it's earlier installments, it's sad seeing this series decline.
Of course, the gameplay is the greatest flaw. You control Mega Man X, who seems like a teenage version of the Mega Man we know and love. You blast and run, sometimes trying to make that long jump. The tiny tidbits are still here, waiting for you to find them, but it’s just the same stuff as the last game. Of course, your main goal is to defeat all the Mavericks, who are just the same recycled, clichéd Mega Man bosses that we’ve already seen done. But the monotony is broken up periodically with some new minibosses, but they really seem to have no purpose other than hinder your progress. It’s not like they need to, considering the horrible difficulty of the game. And don’t give this game credit by saying it’s the AI or the level design, because really it’s just the fact that Capcom doesn’t want to let up in this game. The best example one can present is the final boss battle. You’re expected to deal little damage to an easy to miss area of damage on a giant warmech that can launch a barrage of mines (that float) and missiles, and then they expect you to climb a vertical hallway avoiding lava that has the potential to kill you easily due to the little amount of health you managed to salvage from the battle. There is no checkpoint in between any of this. And of course, you have the option of playing as Zero, but he’s just a sluggish clone of Mega Man, only in this game to cater to the fan boys who wish they could play as him. And once you get past the harsh learning curve, you can complete this game in just a few sittings. Mega Man X3 also tries to offer some cliché Dystopian future where the reploids (fancy name for robots) rebel against the humans, but it really seems tacked on to and just doesn’t fit in with the “run, jump, gun” gameplay of the series.
The graphics aren’t any better because they really didn’t change much from the previous game. You’ll see what are basically the same enemies being blasted by the same sprite you saw in the previous installments. Where they seemed fresh and kickass in Mega Man X, here the graphics just show how lazy Capcom has gotten with their games. Sure, there are some nice vector graphics sprinkled throughout the adventure, but they’ve been done before and the smoke and mirrors no longer fool us.
The music just makes the whole experience that much more of a chore than a fun experience. The music isn’t exactly something you want to listen to. Each theme will slowly grind away at you, making you want to turn it off. Well guess what, you can only do that at the title screen, a feature that you’ll wish was implemented into a pause menu in game or something like that.
There really is no reason for this game to exist other than to cash in on an established fan base. If you ARE part of this fan base, this might be an enjoyable story for you. But if you’re just the average consumer looking for a decent platformer or a gamer who wishes to try out a new series to broaden your horizons, pass this one over, as there are better games out there than this cash cow rehash.
*originally posted July 17th, 2006