|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 23, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by D'Marcus Beatty
There are no video game characters this side of Mario that can claim as much visibility as Mega Man. As popular as Master Chief is, he has only been in three titles. Mega Man's starring roles are beginning to become innumerable, although it isn't necessarily him in the games that feature his name. The latest of these titles, Mega Man ZX Advent, brings a lot of the old school feel that made Mega Man so popular and packages it on the DS, making the old familiar formula feel fresh and new.
Mega Man ZX Advent allows you to follow the path of one of two characters. Grey is the male protagonist, who is an amnesiac who awakens into peril. Ashe is the female protagonist who is hunting "booty", as she likes to remind the player constantly during the first few minutes of play. In a reversal of the normal gender roles, Grey's attacks are faster but less powerful than Ashe's stronger, slower shots. This alone drastically alters the feel of the game depending on who you choose to play with. Besides the gameplay, your protagonist choice alters the story's beginning, changing how the character encounters their Biometal for the first time and giving different individual motivations, but other than that, the story pretty much plays out the same way whether you choose Ashe or Grey. With either option, your character becomes a Hunter in search of precious Biometals. The story, while primarily told using the in-game engine, occasionally uses a beautiful animated anime cutscenes that make your characters larger than life and infuse a momentary increase in the story's interest level. Otherwise, there isn't much to be gained by paying attention to the story beyond a backdrop for the game's conflict.
The game plays like most of the Mega Man titles that preceded it with a touch of Metroid-like exploration thrown in. Instead of simply procuring defeated enemies' powers like previous Mega Man games, your character gains the ability to completely morph into the fallen foe. In doing this, you adapt to the new forms' speed, handling, attributes, and abilities, and these abilities give you access to newer areas. For example, defeating one of your enemies gives you the ability to climb on plant vines, which allows you to progress further than you would be able to if you didn't have that power. The use of this method of progression makes the game feel open but the game is deceptively linear, as you have to follow a set path to complete the game, although it isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The different forms all offer different advantages and drawbacks as well as different attacks that correspond to their affinity. One boss is only accessible underwater and cannot be attacked from above, while another has a drill-jump attack but moves slowly. Experimenting with the different forms is a major part of the game's fun and, if done liberally, can lead you to the numerous secrets and hidden areas that the game boasts.
ZX Advent also has RPG like areas that allow you to converse and interact with people in between missions, getting the chance to participate in minigames, learn information, or have meaningless conversation with NPCs. These areas provide a nice break from the maddeningly frustrating action areas.