Mega Man ZX: Advent

boyward - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: Nintendo DS
Produced by: Capcom
Price Range: $21-30
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Children (Older)
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 & up)

     Reviewed By: Phil Rownd (boyward)
     STAFF REVIEWER

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Genre: Action
Christian Rating: 4 of 5 (good)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 4 of 5 (barely present)
Adult Content: 5 of 5 (none)

 

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Mega Man games tend to rehash the same ideas over and over, year after year. Last year’s Mega Man ZX was supposed to be a significant step forward for the action-platforming series, dropping players into a vast Metroid/Castlevania-like world of interconnected and unlockable areas. Unfortunately, Mega Man ZX had one glaring flaw that ruined the experience for many frustrated gamers. ZX stuck us with a completely broken and useless map system that gave us no sense of where we actually were, forcing us to wander aimlessly for hours trying to find where we were supposed to go next. But that was last year. This latest refinement of the series, Mega Man ZX: Advent, is everything ZX should have been. Advent fixes the map system while also adding full voice acting, a super soundtrack and, perhaps most significantly, the ability to completely transform into the bosses themselves. The finished product feels more polished and fun than any portable Mega Man game to date.

You’ll begin by choosing to play as one of two characters: a male reploid named Grey, or a human girl named Ashe. The storyline for each character is a little bit different and will show you a different set of animated cutscenes, but whether you play as Grey or Ashe your task is to protect the earth from threats of war or chaos caused by a maniac named Prometheus. But never mind the story. It’s just an excuse for battling bad guys and gaining their powers for yourself.

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Previous Mega Man games allowed the player to absorb the powers of defeated bosses, but Advent allows players to completely transform into the boss itself. Each new boss form has about 8 unique abilities, and each of the 14 boss forms feels and moves differently from the rest. One is a thorny plant who can swing across suspended vines, one is a robo-deer who can head-butt his way through ceilings and floors, and so on. It’s fun to try out all the new forms, and since the levels are set up to test your new abilities, you’ll get plenty of experience switching back and forth between forms. All of this transformation is accomplished easily through the DS touch screen. Veteran gamers who think the Mega Man games are all carbon copies of each other really ought to give Advent a try. There’s enough new content here to justify the purchase of the game, and the ability to transform fixes one of my major complaints about the series: Mega Man’s inability to shoot straight up. Though Mega Man still can’t seem to do it, you need only transform into a boss who can.

Advent’s 2D animation is terrific, and the detailed environments are pleasant to look at. At key points in the storyline Advent throws full-motion anime cutscenes onto the screen and those look as good as anything we’ve seen on DS. I’ve heard some complaints about the quality of the voice acting (the dialogue is fully voiced this time around), but it didn’t bother me any. I suppose I was enjoying the fantastic techno soundtrack too much to notice.

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VIOLENCE
Robotic enemies explode and disintegrate under gunfire. Most of these are mindless drones, but when the bosses die they cry out their last words and you may feel some remorse for taking them out.

LANGUAGE
Words like “heck”, “dang”, and “shoot” are as bad as it gets. Perhaps more upsetting is the constant barrage of insults and threats exchanged between the characters.

SPIRITUAL CONTENT
Sentient beings called Biometal are said to take hold of the human spirit, but this so-called “Mega-Merging” is not so much a spiritual ability as it is technological. Mega-Merging what turns an ordinary human into a Mega Man. Enemy bosses threaten to “rip your soul out” and “sacrifice you” and we do in fact watch as the souls of human beings are sucked into a Biometal. But perhaps that’s not “spiritual content” as much as it is science fiction.

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Since the objectionable content is held to a minimum, the main consideration will be Advent’s punishing difficulty. Mega Man games have always been challenging, and even on the Beginner difficulty Advent can be frustrating. Checkpoints are generously sprinkled throughout the levels, but that’s a small consolation when you find yourself stuck on the same boss for a long time before you finally defeat him. Mega Man games are not made for casual gamers who like to breeze through a mission in a matter of minutes. But for gamers who are willing to spend time learning the boss patterns and layouts of the levels, Mega Man ZX: Advent is probably the best handheld Mega Man game currently available, even beating out the Mega Man Zero games and the PSP editions of Maverick Hunter X and Powered-Up. More than a rehash, Advent proves that small steps between Mega Man games can be giant leaps for the series as a whole.

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Year of Release — 2007

 




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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