Classics 4


Horizon Zero Dawn

A little worse on the gameplay axis than I remembered, but still acceptable, and the story is just fantastic and absolutely worth it (especially for the grounded storytelling, world building, and a few key characters). A big word of warning; If you play this on PC there is about a 50/50 chance you will have regular and frequent crashes, so be warned.
Total Story Score: +39
Total Gameplay Score: +2
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 4 Days // 42 Hours
Time Reviewed: 01-29-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Graphics fidelity on terrain and general gorgeousness
  2. Lighting usage and especially usage of the color red
  3. Foreshadowing is absolutely everywhere, with tons of hints and tidbits of what’s going on and why
  4. Atmosphere in the roaming, exploring sections is excellent and does a good job of selling the post apocalypse ‘reclaimed’ world
  5. Visual variety and style of the three tribes is quite excellent and distinct; between clothing and armor, tools and equipment, and infrastructure and architecture
  6. Second positive for the aforementioned
  7. Ashley Burch is a great actress in general but she does a fantastic job with Alloy in this one
  8. Rost was only present temporarily but he was quite well done as a character while he was there
  9. The world building is just absolutely engaging and fascinating. I don’t have a better way to describe it except to say that I absolutely adore the world that was built; The world that was and the world that is and the connections between the two
  10. World building / Carja (former marauders and slavers who now, by consequence, have a multicultural setup they’re trying to shuffle into an economic superpower rather than a military one, and their natural ‘castle’ allowing for force projection and multiplication)
  11. World building / Past (garbage patch, endangered dolphins, destroying cities to fight the swarms, guaranteed citizenship)
  12. Teersa is surprisingly well done of a character; Reasonable, but also interesting in how adaptive she is
  13. Honor The Fallen, the mourning quest is actually quite heart-rending and touching in showcasing how people deal with their grief, as well as being very well voice acted and strong in its individuals and, as a final bonus, it showcases the shifting politics of the Carja away from the marauding force they used to be
  14. Cauldrons are fascinating in almost every way. Visually impressive, perfectly logical in-lore, fascinating in their implications and usage
  15. The Faro Automated Solutions level. Oh my good God, Faro Automated Solutions. They reveal just enough that we can piece together the broad strokes of what happened and it is beautifully horrifying
  16. Grave-Hoard, the reality of Enduring Victory, and the General Herres’s reaction to the situation… legitimately tear-wrenching, even knowing it was coming
  17. Erend is a decent bro character and, as per usual for the archetype, bro characters rock
  18. Sylens is honestly my favorite character in the entire game. He’s mostly honest in that he just avoids unnecessary information, cares but mostly for his own sake, doesn’t put up with much but will if he has to, and is just generally fascinating, helped by…
  19. Lance Reddick, Sylens’ voice actor, is just fantastic here as he always is
  20. Avad is a surprisingly well portrayed ‘good king’, someone who wants to improve things and actively is working to and realizes that sudden change won’t work (indeed, the slow pace of change he’s already doing was already enough to lead to civil war)
  21. Deep Secrets of the Earth, and the final reveal of what Project Zero Dawn really is
  22. The reality and research of the surprisingly mundane, grounded, down-to-earth solution that Project Zero Dawn really was
  23. Honestly one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen in fiction is in that schooling area…
  24. …the idea of people being trapped, inches and visible, from their future and paradise while they languish under the care of low level bots that are designed to handle children
  25. And one final plus for one final reveal; The Crime of Ted Faro
  26. Ted Faro is a surprisingly interesting and fascinating character for how monstrously flawed and culpable he is
  27. The Outro is pretty cool. Those who come together based on your quests, the final communication between Sobeck and GAIA, the fact that Elisabet made her way home and died there… and Sylens’ final scene
  28. The story is, astonishingly, quite grounded and the nature of how logical and thought-out and believable it is absolutely adds to my enjoyment
  29. Frozen Wilds: Suddenly good facial and body language animation
  30. Frozen Wilds: Gildun is an astonishingly good character for being only in one (side!) quest
  31. Frozen Wilds: Supporting cast and side quests are substantially better in the DLC than in the base game (the trio, Ourea, Aratak, Burgrend)
  32. Frozen Wilds: The additional layers of CYAN and her relevance to GAIA, and HEPHAESTUS and the… utterly horrible nature of it
  33. Frozen Wilds: Noticeably improved voice acting from the vanilla game in general, most notably in the side characters
  34. The Babylon 5 Effect is real in this one, as my second playthrough really showed
  35. A whooole lot of Background Lore, mostly in the pads but it’s there
  36. Great Camerawork for most of the cutscenes
  37. Lots of Consequence Storytelling as the stakes are slowly raised and we reveal more of what’s going on
  38. Good Doodad utilization, mostly in the wilds
  39. Good Internal Continuity
  40. The Intro has several issues with it, but it does enough right that it adds to the overall positive
  41. Good Music Direction, almost entirely for the ‘ruins of the past world’ scenes
  42. A second positive for that fantastic Plot
  43. Good Story Sequencing
  44. And some really good Storyboarding
  45. There’s several Themes here (Human nature, owning up to responsibility, and the tragedy of ignorance) and they’re all good

Story Negatives:

  1. The scenes towards the end of the Proving just… sort of fail
  2. While the main plot is actually awesome, several of its specific story beats are so legitimately predictable and badly executed that they detract from the otherwise excellent storytelling
  3. The death of Ersa is, honestly, not particularly interesting and only succeeds at all because of Erand. It’s even worse because of the failed potential in her surviving while still having Erand take her place
  4. Several of the less developed characters are cliches to the point of being reductive to the narrative, which is mirrored by the weird Hollywoodization surrounding their events
  5. Actively bad lip synching and animation in most cutscenes, made all the weirder by the good animation and lip synching in others (caused by framerate issues, fixed by capping at 30fps)
  6. Actively bad animation in most cutscenes, especially in facial motion (bizarre ‘locked expressions’ for example)

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Good autosave, with lots of checkpoints and rarely screwing it up
  2. HUD (visibility, lootable objects, etc.)
  3. Arena design (Sawtooth fight) in the Intro (tutorialization and presentation of both mechanical and group fight types)
  4. Fast travel is the good type; find it, unlock it, do it from wherever, however…
  5. Enemy style and design (lots of types and fun enemies to fight)
  6. Enemy attack patterns and variety (they charge, attack with hind quarters, and hesitate, exposing weak points… etc.)
  7. Good combat kit. Knockdown, stealth hits, arrow types, traps, etc.
  8. Several legitimately well designed arenas for encounters
  9. And several legitimately well designed boss encounters (first Deathbringer is wounded, fighting a Frostclaw with the shield canceller, etc.)
  10. Good New Game + is, as always, a plus
  11. Good Animations on enemies to help you know how to deal with them
  12. Good Pacing of gameplay sequences
  13. Good Visual Continuity to help you figure out where you are and where to go
  14. Visual Distinction is quite good, despite the bloom problems, mostly in the color usage and HUD

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Severe crash issues
  2. Severe repeated crash issues
  3. Absolutely insane, unplayable, ridiculous levels of constant nonstop aggravating ripping my hair out crashes
  4. Dialogue depth of field
  5. Fast travel irritation in requiring rations that are either time consuming to come by (defeating the point) or require grinding to bypass
  6. Cauldrons are generally disinteresting gameplay wise, and actively bad at times, being jumping puzzles with only a singular path to success even when it otherwise makes no sense
  7. Climbing is honestly kind of bad. You can only climb on very specific things and the controls have issues understanding that when you hit up you want to go up
  8. Related to climbing but there’s just a sort of jank and difficulty in getting the game to do what you want it to. Very Assassin’s Creedy
  9. HUD issues (entirely too easy to miss certain things, such as logs, either in the lack of color distinction or otherwise too limited visibility)
  10. Frankly the Outro is disappointing, which is (as I’ve often said) unacceptable. A boring hold the line followed by a normal race through the burning city followed by just another Deathbringer fight
  11. Aggregate: The tutorialization of several aspects of the intro is badly done, most notably the ‘fighting humans’ tutorial // Alloy occasionally just… talks to herself entirely too frequently and too much which actively gets irritating (such as telling me how to defeat a boss after I’ve already started doing it)
  12. A second negative for honestly the entire Outro being not only lackluster, but actively boring

Nier Automata

A bit heavy on the philosophy and the depression but ultimately a very well crafted AA production with a lot of care and quality on display. Highly recommend if you haven’t had a chance to play it.
Total Story Score: +17
Total Gameplay Score: +13
Cheats: No
*COFFEE*
Total Play Time: 4 Days // 31 Hours
Time Reviewed: 02-11-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Babylon 5 Effect with 2B, among other things. Emotions are forbidden!
  2. The Intro does a lot of quick and efficient establishing of setup, characters, and general theme
  3. General cool factor
  4. Voice acting is quite good
  5. World building via 9S slowly piecing things together, and 2B’s reactions to it
  6. World building via machine village and…
  7. …Pascal is easily the best character in the game
  8. The intro to Route B is honestly probably the most heart warming and heart rending scene in the entire game
  9. Romeos and Juliets. Pisseth off! Hahaha
  10. Side quests have some great stuff and some good character moments
  11. Surprisingly well designed tie into Drakengard and wonderful background lore dump about Project Gestalt
  12. The build up and moment of tragedy for Pascal, the machine village, and the kids…
  13. As much as I don’t like him, 9S is exceptionally well presented, especially in his excellent voice actor
  14. The Terminals thinking themselves to death, rot in hell you bastards
  15. The bots, particularly 042, are surprisingly awesome for how ‘flat’ they are
  16. The final credits sequence is a great showcasing of one of the game’s central themes about choosing what life means for yourself regardless of tangibles and accepting one another’s help, as well as giving it yourself in sacrificing your save to them
  17. Good Animation usage for cutscenes
  18. A second positive for Babylon 5 Effect cuz… there’s a lot of it and it’s very interesting the second time through
  19. Background Lore all over the place
  20. That Foreshadowing, wow
  21. Good Localization
  22. Good usage of Music Direction to augment just about every scene
  23. Great Outro… uh, all of them
  24. Lovely Visual Storytelling

Story Negatives:

  1. Some weird moments of artificial drama around ‘dying’ when they have the backups and they KNOW that, which ties into the overall problem of ‘overly dramatic’ness’ in several cutscenes
  2. Adam and Eve honestly just irritate me for all of their screen time
  3. The sitcom plot point of misinformation in Route C is sitcom’y
  4. The Pascal chain is severely hampered by the completely artificial choice at the end which completely makes the entire arc smash into a wall and fall flat on its face
  5. Aggregate: The cutscenes that are different and those that aren’t are so inconsistent in Route B that you end up having to watch everything for fear of missing things, leading to a lot of repetition // 9S is a fairly typical anime protag, but doesn’t have anything that really adds to him or pulls him up from being deliberately annoying
  6. There’s several long sections of Padding narratively, especially in Route B
  7. Issues with Visual Continuity, as the zones don’t really connect properly to each other

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Music! THIS CANNOT CONTINUE
  2. Yoshi drums with regards to songs (notably boss songs and hacking sections)
  3. Weapon variety and…
  4. …comboing weapon attacks together
  5. Bullet hell / Shmup format is well designed with the 3D format
  6. The Intro quickly and expertly establishes its bullet hell nature, both major combat modes, and includes a nice big impressive boss
  7. The Simone fight is visually impressive, fun, and enjoyable
  8. Dark Colossus fight is awesome and fun
  9. Cheat chips
  10. Customization of chips and pods for general kit
  11. Circuit fusing as alternate leveling
  12. 9S’s sections of hacking alongside 2B during the end of Route B
  13. Swap section between 9S and 2B as they fight the last two pods
  14. Good new game plus, as always, is a plus
  15. NG+ Chapter Select
  16. 9S’s final boss fight is, as it should be, unique (the hacking A2’s OS which makes the actual player’s menu screen)
  17. The final credits sequence
  18. Aggregate: Pop ups informing about reaching chip cap // The fact that chip setup is default across playables meaning no constantly swapping irritation
  19. Good Graphics fidelity throughout
  20. Between chips and acquisition thereof, there’s a good smooth Power Progression Curve
  21. Good, smooth Save System

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. No save during intro mission, aka bad checkpointing
  2. PC Port issues: Mouse controls are actively awful in addition to being objectively wrong, along with general M&K issues, keybinding issues, cutscenes having the wrong framerate
  3. Lazy difficulty, aka health and damage
  4. The backtracking in general
  5. The map is honestly actively bad
  6. Aggregate: It’s so easy to lose who’s who in several sections since 9S and 2B look near identical at a distance and in the middle of a firefight // Route B has a little bit too much repetition from Route A in it
  7. That Overworld design is… not great. Far too many sections of difficulty in just getting around, nevermind a total lack of any flow or design to it
  8. A fairly large amount of Walkthroughitis

Divinity Original Sin 2

While suffering several substantial issues which make the game drag a bit (animations, inventory management, and a lot of ‘filler’ content) this is still the best CRPG I’ve ever played, and one of the best RPGs in general. Absolutely hugely recommend for anyone interested at all.
Total Story Score: +26
Total Gameplay Score: +31
Cheats: No
*Sushi*
Total Play Time: 7 Days // 60 Hours
Time Reviewed: 02-19-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Origins intro ‘videos’, well done in animation, music, and voice acting
  2. Doodad placement
  3. Elves and the cannibalism memory thing is just absolutely fascinating and a great way to design a species
  4. The random NPCs and their little stories on Fort Joy
  5. The effort put into humanizing most of the characters, even little side ones (and Magisters)
  6. Visually impressive and generally gorgeous
  7. Voice acting
  8. Voice direction
  9. Side quests and characters
  10. The hangings, and three families which sheltered Sourcerers, all really help add to the theme and vibe of the magister oppression
  11. The usage of recently deceased as a storytelling tool
  12. The impish pocket realm, and Xantessa
  13. Sebille. She starts out violent and brutal (literally threatens to kill the PC at their first meeting) and has a great, emotional arc and is wonderfully voice acted, getting across the impact of it all
  14. The Doctor’s realm and the brilliant, Jaws-esque presentation thereof
  15. Lohse. Brilliant voice acting, a great arc of the embittered girl who desperately tries to work against those manipulating her, and concludes very satisfyingly
  16. The Doctor is arguably the best villain in the game, with one notable exception, being suitably terrifying not by virtue of being some big doom, but by his machinations and manipulations and how many pots he has his fingers in
  17. The game knows how to present horror very well. Aesthetically, presentation…
  18. …and in the concepts and ideas that make this setting as messed up and terrifying as it really is
  19. Humor! The game manages to make me laugh to this day
  20. Red Prince. He, along with Sebille, have the most complete arcs and he’s a surprisingly well fleshed out character; an aristocrat who isn’t snobbish or rude, and in fact tries to espouse to being better than he is while constantly worrying over his worth, and ultimately a good and loyal friend
  21. The Seven. Personalized mass genocide
  22. Properly built up foreshadowing to the Seven
  23. The endings, epilogues, and slides are reasonably well done
  24. Aggregate: Beast. While he doesn’t really show up until the end game, he is still an intriguing character in his connection to the Queen and the dwarven plot // Fane is, of course, the central character and doesn’t really get the development he deserves, his plight is well portrayed whenever the game manages to focus on it // Ifan has some amusing and delightful reactions to the very, very, very final scenes with Lucien
  25. Aggregate: Cows quest // Turtle in love // Poor shark // Iris // Princess Fire Slug and the Red Prince interactions // Item flavor text
  26. The second time through is very different knowing everything, with lots of Babylon 5 Effect on display
  27. Good Background Lore present everywhere
  28. Second positive for Doodad usage
  29. Game does a lot of good with Internal Continuity
  30. Virtually every area has good Visual Storytelling
  31. Easily the best World Building in the franchise

Story Negatives:

  1. The sudden and frankly out of nowhere death of Siva is honestly a weird mis-step in the story and feels forced, especially since there’s nothing you can do about it at all (other than eat her afterwards)
  2. Isbeil bullcrap. A minor villain very far into the game totally GM Helicopter’s the situation in order to force a trap that, by total plot armor, doesn’t kill us when it should, and it’s all for no good effect
  3. Most of the endings honestly feel a bit half baked compared to the main two, and the slanting of the presentation actually diminishes the enjoyment thereof
  4. While I like the dialogue in this game, the Banter of most random and town NPCs gets really repetitive really fast
  5. As usual for this type of game, not being able to bring the whole party (without a mod, that is) actively hurts the narrative

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Co-op
  2. Proper campaign co-op
  3. Actual built in mechanics to support and aid co-op
  4. Surprising number of well designed options
  5. Ease of saving and multitude of auto and quick save slots
  6. A second positive for ability to save in mid combat, mid conversation, and quickly and efficiently load
  7. GM mode!
  8. Arena mode!
  9. Mod support
  10. Full proper mod support
  11. Proper difficulty options (manually crafted encounters with different skills and AI on hard)
  12. Character creation and customization is quite good, especially for custom characters
  13. The movable terrain gimmick and its usage
  14. Alternate options for helping with dialogue that don’t just involve a charisma or persuasion check
  15. AP action economy
  16. AP movement alottance, HUD for how much what costs, showcasing exact pathfinding, mouseovers showing relevant info
  17. A very excellent tutorial section, which is fully optional, and quickly and easily introduces you to all the basics of interaction, terrain, puzzle, encounters, and dialogue
  18. Fort Joy has many, many different paths of progression through it (NINE separate exits we counted just on this playthrough)
  19. Variety of dialogue options to allow flavor of characterization in player choice
  20. Second dialogue options positive
  21. HUD information is generally good throughout. Exact information on tooltips, indicators of who is what in turn order and when a turn ends, etc.
  22. Acknowledgement of order of events in quests
  23. Easy and accessible full, free respec
  24. Gift Bags as optional mutators and modifiers to gameplay and difficulty
  25. The pyramids offer a huge variety of movement options
  26. Clear visual distinction so that despite the busy and lavish decor you can always tell what you’re looking at and what is what
  27. Each individual skill tree has useful skills and utility skills
  28. The fact is, the ridiculous majority of this game is optional content. You can simply bypass whatever you want to (except for a few) and it’s awesome having that freedom
  29. Any build is viable if the right effort is put into it, you really have to try to make a bad build
  30. Puzzle design (Impish pocket realm, final dungeon, etc.)
  31. Many side quests with many paths through them on the island
  32. The final Alexander fight is one of the better (and harder) encounters in the game. It starts as a ‘tactical’ fight against an archer, warrior, mage, and Alexander with lots of positioning, barrels, and options and then the worm spawns which is a straight stat boss (and near immunity to status effects, with high resistance to fire and poison) and challenges you in a totally different way. There’s at least 5 ways I know of to approach the fight and it’s awesome
  33. Multitude of options through Act 2 encounters…
  34. …multitude of options through Act 2 quests…
  35. …the fact that Act 2 is almost entirely optional despite containing the bulk of the quests, meaning the player can choose their path in whatever manner they want
  36. Aggregate: Dialogue log for stuff you’ve missed // Fast travel is the good form but a bit too spread out (find, from everywhere, has a menu and can be used on the map, instant, no cost, quick) // Warning before point of no return
  37. Special mention for the Enemy AI, especially on hard
  38. All Roads Lead To Rome quest design…
  39. …in virtually every quest in the game
  40. Core Combat is, at its base, just plain fun (assuming you’re into turn based combat)
  41. Second positive for manually crafted Encounter design
  42. Enemy Variety is pretty decent
  43. The Leveling is quite smooth and enjoyable, with noticeable increase in power each level
  44. Second positive for the Intro and how much it does right… I think I’ve replayed just the Intro a dozen times
  45. Thanks to the nature of the game, a lot of decent Kit for how to deal with encounters
  46. The Power Progression curve is just as smooth as the leveling curve
  47. Thanks to the multitude of options in playstyle and choices…
  48. …with how you talk, act, and do quests, the game has fantastic Replayability

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. A little bit too easy to accidentally skip or miss the optional party dialogues
  2. Forced restriction between Origin character and Custom character, and related limitations
  3. Accidental mis-clicking issue
  4. Inventory management is honestly just kind of a time wasting pain
  5. Second inventory management negative
  6. Early vendors are almost completely unmarked, making getting skills such a pain
  7. Crashing issues (9 total)
  8. Lack of option to speed up animation in combat which, after a while, really just drags things on
  9. Animation dragging part two
  10. Limited party size which, as usual, is an issue in these types of games
  11. The in-game journal is actively bad, to the point where its effectively useless and is better off being ignored
  12. A combination of the HUD not being super useful in showcasing items across party, the game shotgunning loot at you en masse, the inventory being irritating to sort, and inability to check quest reward items for other party members
  13. A combined issue of an enormous quantity of content to go through which is made substantially worse by an almost total lack of proper direction (hints, guidelines, hubs, or chains)
  14. The Isbeil bullcrap is more GM Helicoptering. The game forces you into a cutscene across the room just to ensure you lose the fight in a cutscene, then saves you in a cutscene entirely so they could set up a not-interesting boss fight which they could have done anyways, better, without the bullcrap in the previous room
  15. Aggregate: Arx flat mandates going through a rather difficult, terrain heavy fight (against an elite and repeated spawns) before being able to access the town // The level scaling has a few balancing issues periodically
  16. Aggregate: The forced ‘screw you’ in the robbery quest in the tavern // Camera issues with some terrain // The specifics of which abilities require Source (and how much) feels a bit wonky in several cases // The burning revenants. They can rez in one turn, have insane movement while in ‘dead’ form, and get back up with refilled fire and cursed fire arrows (with no cooldown)
  17. I should probably mention that the Map is actively bad. It’s hard to tell what you’re really looking at, and lacks any real notes or icons to help you figure out what’s where

Pokemon Black / White

While it still has the usual ‘older Pokemon game problems’, it’s clear a lot of work and effort was put into this one. From plot to themes to characters to encounters to pokemon designs, this game shines and is probably my favorite overall Pokemon game. Big recommend if you haven’t played it.
Total Story Score: +12
Total Gameplay Score: +21
Cheats: Yes (to avoid grind in post-game)
*Sushi*
Total Play Time: 4 Days // 31 Hours
Time Reviewed: 03-30-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Early foreshadowing of Ghetsis, N, and Plasma
  2. Themes (knowledge v. ideals, yin v. yang)
  3. Brush stroke storytelling
  4. Castelia intro, Castelia (set dressing, style, presentation, scale)
  5. Cutscene approach and direction (camera, details, blocking)
  6. The pacing of the game is actually quite good, bothering to weave back and forth between Gyms and the main plot of Plasma smoothly
  7. Bianca and her arc (coming to accept who she is)
  8. Cheren and his arc (deciding what he is and finding his core)
  9. Ghetsis’ overall characterization in absence. What he did with Plasma, the other Sages, the remainder of the Gym Leaders, and worst of all what he did to N for years
  10. Aggregate: N is actually pretty interesting and follows a (brief) arc throughout, only hampered by not seeing enough of him // The final approach to Victory Road (and usage of Yoshi Drums)
  11. Good Doodad usage, mostly in towns
  12. Good Music Direction for a lot of scenes
  13. Great NPC Set Dressing for the cities
  14. One of the only Pokemon games with good World Building

Story Negatives:

  1. Cutscene incompetence
  2. Bit of an empty text problem, with lots of repetition and unnecessary or badly structured dialogue

Gameplay Positives:

  1. There’s a good dynamic of tactics with 6 sized party and 4 moves per (Pokemon Point)
  2. Sprites are actually quite well designed, offering a lot of detail and distinction…
  3. …complimented by the animations, especially of the Pokemon themselves in battle, which keep things lively and interesting
  4. The music is pretty high quality and its usage of Yoshi Drums are on point
  5. The music is probably some of the best music in the series
  6. Decent tutorials in NPCs and design of early areas
  7. Low health music, mid-combat chatter, mid-combat camera
  8. Mid-combat info on moves and pokemon
  9. Gym designs are generally fun, if simple, dungeons
  10. The xp scaling in leveling makes for good availability of catching up brand new pokemon (or ones left languishing in the bank)
  11. QoL Features (save cursor, shortcut, touchpad controls for menuing, quick and smooth menuing, TMs having infinite use, shops upgrade with badges so you can buy anywhere, item re-use in menu, rusting grass, )
  12. General quality of encounter design
  13. Quite a few bosses are designed well, notably the gym leader fights, leading to…
  14. …a surprisingly enjoyable difficulty curve
  15. The Final Four fight gets special mention for the great variety, choose-your-own-order, and challenge of each
  16. The final fights against N and Ghetsis are brilliantly designed and properly challenging final bosses (and even have heals and checkpoints in between!)
  17. Post-game is reasonably meaty, with some fun stuff to do and catch
  18. Great Enemy AI design, a rarity for the series
  19. Pokemon themselves serve as good Alternate Leveling mechanics
  20. As with usual Pokemon games, lots of Build design
  21. A very well designed Difficulty Curve up to the postgame
  22. Second positive for some really well designed manual Encounters
  23. Enemy Variety is nice, as per usual for Pokemon games
  24. Good Fast Travel
  25. Good Kit
  26. Good penalty for failure (lose a big chunk of money and return to last Pokecenter)
  27. The Musicals are fun little side Minigames
  28. The Outro is fantastic, with the Elite 4, build up to N and Ghetsis, and the best designed fights in the game
  29. Very smooth Power Progression Curve
  30. Great Visual Distinction

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Single save slot
  2. Forced, unskippable tutorial
  3. RNG of catch mechanics (Pokemon point)
  4. Walkthroughitis of evolving, finding, catching (Pokemon point)
  5. Unskippable cutscenes
  6. HMs and their usual mandatory nature (Pokemon Point)
  7. Encounter rate, only somewhat mitigated by Repels
  8. Grindiness and leveling issues (the game creates a finite amount of ‘good’ xp in trainers, deliberately lowers the xp gain from infinite sources in terms of wild pokemon, then doesn’t give a good counter to that until the Audino chain later and many, many pokemon require high levels to hit their evolved forms)
  9. In addition to the finite xp pool problem, once you hit post-game everything gets a sudden 10-15 level jump which creates this rather sudden barrier to progressing since the best xp is off those same people who now crush you

Dragon Quest

The classic for a reason, with a very simple plot and simple combat on simple gameplay, but very little of it is bad. Aside from a couple of grind walls and some odd graphics choices (playing the Switch version) the entire experience is quite smooth. Definitely recommend you try it out if you never have.
Total Story Score: +3
Total Gameplay Score: -2
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 7 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-8-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Adventurous tone and feel, helped by the ‘expedition’ gameplay
  2. Aggregate: Dialogue is nicely localized (love the archaic tone) // Occasional bits of mild humor // Playable ‘ending’ (barely) with new dialogue
  3. Surprisingly good Visual Storytelling in several areas, most notably the destroyed town

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Slowly expanding progression, ‘expedition’ gameplay (until the grind wall, your ‘power level’ slowly expands the areas you can reach, which slowly expands the power level, in a nice loop)
  2. Aggregate: Overworld design // Significant increases in power at each level and equipment // Helpful NPCs that give good directions // General convenience features

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Grind curve. The game is actually quite smooth right up until you have to fight the first real boss (the Green Dragon) at which point we had to just stop playing and go grind for over an hour
  2. A second negative for honestly just an aggravating, second grind wall at the last dungeon
  3. Man, that Encounter Rate is just rough
  4. Aaand a second Encounter Rate negative

Innovators and Codifiers: 1

  1. Innovator: Effectively began the JRPG genre

Dragon Quest 2

Do not play this game. While it starts off strong, and has some legitimately cool elements, even this tooled up remastered version has one of the worst Outros I’ve ever seen in gaming. Absolutely do not recommend.
Total Story Score: +3
Total Gameplay Score: -12
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 14 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-9-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. The Intro is reasonably well designed, establishing connection to 1, stakes, characters, and showcasing the seriousness of the situation quite well
  2. The surreal horror of ‘Midenhall’ and the final dungeon is still a pretty neat sequence and one of the better sections of the story
  3. Aggregate: Lovely dialogue localization // DQ Effect is on full display in several towns // External continuity (to 1) // Playable ending, and a nice happy ending to the trilogy

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Good fast travel (unlock as you go, warp from anywhere outside)
  2. The Intro is actually pretty good, with good guided overworld design and naturally locked ‘barriers’ at certain points that open up as you gain new party members, and a clear and defined goal and quest, with reasonable progression and difficulty

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Encounter rate is honestly pretty bad
  2. Encounter rate… is really, really bad
  3. The leveling curve is smooth, but only as a consequence of a nonstop barrage of encounters, which makes the overwhelming majority of the game… honestly quite boring, as you just sort of turn off 80% of your brain to mash through. In short, it has the Trash Problem in spades
  4. The section where you can, randomly, lose a party member with very little hints or clues about how to restore them, and can do so effectively the moment you gain the ship is… not great
  5. The overworld design is actively hostile, and generally not designed (no thought put into guidance past the party members, the ship totally re-arranges the open world aspect without clues to proper order despite clear difficulty path, active annoyance in finding certain areas even in the remake, etc.)
  6. This might be one of the worst Overworlds I’ve seen in gaming, up there with Final Fantasy II (appropriately)
  7. Walkthroughitis (there are several cases of this, where NPCs kind of direct you but not really, and there’s no clear indicator of so many things)
  8. The Road to Rendarak is just awful dungeon design. Close quarter visibility with lots of ‘pick the right choice with no indicators or go back a room’ design (in multiple areas, with multiple styles) on top of being gargantuan, and a maze, and with lots of legitimate looping dead ends (very little treasure too)
  9. The grind wall right at the very end of the game is just bad
  10. The final boss gauntlet is pure bullcrap. It’s a lot of ‘difficult’ bosses in a row quite a ways from the ability to recover, but what really makes it awful is the pure RNG nature of each fight (which means things either go fine or awful), made even worse by the bosses who have Fullheal and can just use it
  11. Outro. The final dungeon is lackluster, with bad music, and the irritating boss rush, right after enduring hell, alongside the Road, and everything about it is awful
  12. Second negative for Boss design
  13. A third negative for some of the worst Encounter Rates in video gaming, often times going no more than three steps before another encounter
  14. A second negative for that entire awful, awful, awful Outro

Innovators and Codifiers: 1

  1. Innovator: Origination of Dragon Quest Effect

Dragon Quest 3

A landmark game I definitely recommend trying if you haven’t, but beware its grind is worse than both previous games combined. Still a hallmark game for many reasons, both in story and in gameplay.
Total Story Score: +8
Total Gameplay Score: -2
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 3 Days // 24 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-13-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Localization is on point and…
  2. …the puns and humor are awesome
  3. Local stories are neat, bite-sized short stories and tie in to the visual variety of each area
  4. The founding of Mr Redburg, the rise of the despot, and the fall into republic are legitimately amusing to go through
  5. The brickwork is quite nice, and adds to the visual storytelling
  6. The Alefgard section and the good usage of external continuity work pretty well, in addition to this being a surprisingly amusing twist
  7. Aggregate: The Intro is reasonably good at establishing the overall tone (mini-adventures, FFIII style) // The pacing of the story isn’t the best but there is a nice cadence to it
  8. Bonus points for usage of External Continuity connecting it to 1 and 2

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. The Tactics concept, and its use in combat (optional too)
  2. The build party members, multi-classing system
  3. Inventory system (sortable bag and tooltips on transfers, as well as stacking and limited combat usage)
  4. Overworld design is legitimately quite good, especially with the inclusion of the map
  5. Staircase leveling as per the standard for the time
  6. Aggregate: Ease of use features // Quicksave // Heal All
  7. Good Fast Travel (even in the underworld!)

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. The total lack of information on Personalities, what they effect, and how much they do
  2. Encounter rate is, as usual, just too high
  3. Second negative for Encounter Rate
  4. And a third negative for absolutely ridiculously high Encounter Rate
  5. Orochi and Boss Troll grindwall
  6. Second grind issue
  7. The Outro… is honestly quite badly designed. The Alefgard sequence should feel like a cool endgame bit, but instead it’s about 20 minutes of content stretched across 4ish hours of grinding just to be able to cross the finish line
  8. The mega grind of post game is legitimately ridiculous
  9. Aggregate: Orochi respawning is such a dick move // Unskippable cutscenes // Trial and error dungeon design // Several moments where the game pretty much expects you to know what to do next

Innovators and Codifiers: 1

  1. Codifier: JRPGs

Drakengard

Certainly an… interesting game. Very unique in its flavor, but one I can’t recommend unless you’re already invested in the series or have the time and curiosity to spend on it.
Total Story Score: -12
Total Gameplay Score: -30
Cheats: Yes (hahaha)
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 11 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-15-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Angelus is surprisingly interesting and awesome despite everything
  2. Ending A is nice, and Ending B is hysterical, Ending D is even funnier
  3. Manah and the Watchers
  4. Aggregate: Weapon lore // Animated chat boxes // Arioch and Leonard’s death scenes

Story Negatives:

  1. Dialogue is just all over the place, and often for the worst
  2. Inuart remains one of the worst narrative points and characters in the game
  3. Pacing issues (the story just sort of… happens, sometimes too quickly, sometimes too slowly, mostly off camera, and almost always told-not-shown)
  4. Did you know you’re evil?! Because you’re evil! You evil evilness!
  5. General character unlikeableness
  6. Cutscene incompetence… there’s a fair bit of it but it gets worst when we get to the point of failing to stop Inuart
  7. Fairy is just… the worst, and in this game that is saying a lot
  8. Aggregate: Voice Acting (probably directing) has issues at times // Ending C is just kind of… off. No build up, no payoff, just sort of there // General nonsense towards the end (admittedly hampered by the localization)
  9. While the Atmosphere and Tone are deliberate, it doesn’t make the general gloom and slog better
  10. The opening Cinematic is good… and is a total bait and switch, having effectively nothing to do with the rest of the game
  11. The game has an almost total lack of Doodad utilization, making every indoor and outdoors area look vast, bland, and boring
  12. Special mention to the Intro being generally all over the place, arguably confusing, and generally bad
  13. Second negative for story Pacing being just… absolutely all over the map
  14. And the pacing is probably bad in part because of the big swaths of Padding
  15. The core Plot is what I’d call actively bad
  16. The near total absence of World Building actively hurts the narrative, as there’s no investment and the world as presented makes no damned sense

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Some of the dragon missions are legitimately fun to play… specifically the ones in the air, not the ground support ones
  2. Chapter select and ability to swap around missions and maps more or less at will
  3. The Mother Beast fight is very creative and even gives the player some moments of respite in the middle of the ‘fight’

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Controls on both ground and air suck
  2. Camera (distance and controls both)
  3. Brickwork is actively bad… repetitive and blurry both
  4. Music direction, especially with the repetition
  5. Render radius is actively awful and detrimental to every ground section
  6. Kit… or total lack thereof
  7. Core combat loop on ground is just one long boring awful slog
  8. Ground combat remains just terrible throughout
  9. Third negative for slog
  10. Super accurate archers who screw you over while on the dragon
  11. Indoor sections. Claustrophobic, samey textures, total lack of doodads or design
  12. Walkthroughitis is pretty bad with regards to the weapons
  13. Visual noise, especially during flying segments
  14. Only one save slot (for some reason)
  15. Grindiness of leveling weapons and the requirements thereof
  16. No mid-mission checkpoints on missions
  17. The Inuart boss fights are disorienting, boring (wait and fire), and bullcrap (especially with the RNG and the timer requirement)
  18. The Manah fight is boring, at best, and bullcrap in phase two (no real methods to dodge and hurts like an absolute truck)
  19. The ground boss fights honestly suck, mostly due to the severe issues with lack of kit and ability
  20. The sound design has issues with balancing and the specific sound FX used, as well as how they are used
  21. General grindy tedium in progression
  22. The top-down sections could have been good… but you’re limited in camera angle, it’s too close, you can only use one weapon, and they feel like pure padding
  23. The mission against the flying babies is pure agony. It’s basically everything wrong with the rest of the game in one mission; One boring enemy type that hits hard and is hard to dodge with no mid mission checkpoints and lasts way too long
  24. The Mother Beast ‘fight’ can go to hell. While I have other issues with it, the negative is deserved purely by two main points; No mid mission checkpoints and one-hit KO (also the final troll note)
  25. The Enemy AI design is braindead stupid
  26. The Camera has absolutely no idea what it’s doing, and half the time you have effectively no camera control
  27. A second negative for that awful, awful Control scheme both on ground and in the sky
  28. No thought whatsoever put into Encounter design
  29. Enemy Variety is… not, as while there are other enemy types…
  30. …most of them only show up in the late or endgame. The overwhelming amount of combat will be against the same three types of dudes
  31. The Intro arguably does its job well… by making it clear how bad this game is.
  32. A second negative for that awful, awful Intro
  33. While we’re at it, the Outro is hard to gauge (given the multiple endings thing) but each ‘final mission’ sucks for their own reasons, and the final few bosses can go to hell

Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines

Play it with cheats. The story is phenomenal and there’s some great stuff, but good lord it falls off the moment you leave Santa Monica and never recovers.
Total Story Score: +27
Total Gameplay Score: -20
Cheats: Yes (duh)
Total Play Time: 3 Days // 24 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-17-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Malkavian path and how it changes up dialogue, adds foreshadowing, and adds backstory and characterization to many individuals
  2. Intro does a whole lot very quickly and efficiently. We learn a lot about LaCroix, his dog, several major NPCs are introduced, we get the barebones of the concept and the initial plothook, and are given our initial investment into things
  3. Dialogue is exceptionally well written
  4. Banter between random NPCs is awesome
  5. The atmosphere of the haunted hotel is quite enjoyable
  6. Therese / Jeanette. It’s easy to see why they’re so memorable; they’re fleshed out, have a good amount of screen time, and are a fascinating look at Malkavians while being one of the earliest major NPCs we interact with
  7. Humor (especially the radio station, oh my God)
  8. Heather is interesting by herself and one of the more fascinating moral quandaries of the game, but also a great insight into Ghoulification and how messed up it is
  9. Bail quest chain
  10. Thin-blood chain
  11. Visual storytelling of LA and atmosphere
  12. Lots of gameplay/story integration
  13. Voice Acting is mostly good, with only a few issues here and there
  14. LaCroix is a wonderful villain, and well characterized throughout
  15. Grout is probably the second best designed Malkavian in the game, and following his descent through the audio logs is awesome
  16. Jack is just kind of awesome throughout, in addition to being well voice acted and well written he’s also consistently the nicest and most legit vampire we meet
  17. Music, when it’s well used, is well used
  18. Beckett is consistently helpful, engaging, and amusing
  19. The big scene with Caine (because it’s totally Caine) is probably the second most well constructed scene in the game narratively. Caine just provides a bouncing wall for all your ideas and paths, and makes clear the choices available (in lore as well as to the character)
  20. The Sarcophagus is just a great plot point; it stirs everything, and was intended to
  21. The LaCroix ending is awesome, hilarious, and perfectly encapsulates the entire game’s central focus; the Sarcophagus and the politics surrounding it
  22. The Strauss and Independent endings are still rather enjoyable, especially in how we see LaCroix brought low
  23. Aggregate: Knox is great for his limited screen time // Nines is a bit irritating but fits into his role of rebel and aggravation quite nicely
  24. Aggregate: Chunk is just precious and amazing and awesome and the best // Samantha is surprisingly engaging for being in only one scene, and doing a really good job of making you take that Masquerade hit just to avoid killing or hurting her
  25. Aggregate: Good supporting cast, including Fat Larry // Velvet Velour is one of the nicer overall vampires, has an interesting past, and clearly wants to try and improve things as best she’s able given the limitations
  26. Lots of good Background Lore
  27. Good External Continuity… like, so much of it
  28. A pretty good amount of Foreshadowing for everything going on
  29. For the most part, the Story Sequencing makes perfect sense and is well constructed
  30. The core Theme of being a pawn while a bone is thrown to the wolves works really well, and the overall work just feels like a vertical slice of VTM in general
  31. Lovely World Building

Story Negatives:

  1. The introduction of Nines cutscene is just irritating, for the usual GM railroading reasons
  2. Mid game pacing is pretty bad, but especially by the time you hit the Sewer (reasons the Sewer sucks listed under Gameplay)
  3. The Ming Xiao ending is lackluster at best, a clear ‘bad ending’, but the thing that pushes it into negative territory is how Cutscene Incompetence it is that we just sort of let that happen
  4. Several long sections of bleh or absent Visual Continuity

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Initial tutorialization is heavy, but necessary for the system and very efficiently gets across all it needs to
  2. Malkavian path and its alteration in playstyle
  3. Nosferatu path and how it changes literally how you play the game
  4. Multiple paths to multiple quests (allowing varying playstyles)
  5. Quicksaves and ease of saving / loading
  6. The Intro has some of the best designed quests in the game, and feels the most overall designed and polished, while allowing for plenty of style and variance
  7. Gameplay/Story Integration all over the place
  8. Santa Monica as hub is actually quite well designed, both in traversal, layout, and density
  9. Aggregate: While many of the bosses in this game outright suck, there are enough that warrent a boss design positive (wereshark, werewolf, and Bach)
  10. In several areas you can tell where you are and where you’re going thanks to decent Visual Continuity

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Literally unplayable without fan patches
  2. Exceptionally buggy, bad launch, hampered by never really being patched up to functional status
  3. Sound mixing issues, and only one volume slider
  4. Combat controls are just… janky and weird and awkward and bad, made worse by…
  5. …the absolute mess that is the third person camera for combat
  6. Enemy AI is braindead
  7. NPC blocking (especially enemies at doors)
  8. Very easy to build yourself into a corner, which is especially true because…
  9. …the late game and endless combat funnels
  10. Some skills are just honestly useless (looking at you Intimidate)
  11. Buff duration and irritation of casting
  12. Easily skippable quests and sections (walkthroughitis)
  13. Getting around Downtown is just kind of a pain
  14. Boss fights in general are actively badly designed (Ming Xiao, the Tzimice, the Tzimice again, the ninth circle dude, and the Sheriff)
  15. Encounter design in general is lacking. Often large numbers of enemies in big open areas with no cover or mechanics
  16. Core Combat. You have attacks, guns, and a handful of abilities that cost too much and last too short… and that’s… it. It is exceptionally simple for how much of it you do
  17. Core Combat mk. 2 (made worse by just how much of it there is from the Sewers onwards)
  18. Stealth is exceptionally binary and is entirely too easy to bypass
  19. Lighting. I get it, it’s night, but it’s legitimately hard to see all the time, which is made worse by…
  20. …the textures, which just make things really hard to see all the damned time
  21. The You Only Die Once A Night quest is pretty badly designed. Two gates, widely spaced from each other, with no run indicator, with no mechanic to see which gate is being hit at the moment, fighting enemies that are ranged focus and have a lot of health
  22. The Sewers. Bad lighting, bad texturing, with samey corridors, with no minimap or map, with one enemy type, with virtually no itemization, entirely focused on combat, with the boss issue, layout lends itself towards getting lost, and a total lack of doodading, and the layout makes no sense in lore, and enforced slow movement, and long empty corridors, and the bullcrap swimming ‘mechanic’, plus the enemy type is specifically designed to get at least one aggravated hit in in an area with little to no healing other than standing around for literally minutes, and then there’s the timing pipe section (plus enemies designed to get the drop on you), the actual boss (which then replicates into trash mobs), and backtracking if you didn’t do it right
  23. Sewers mk. 2
  24. There is just so much wrong with the Sewers, as the above paragraph clearly shows
  25. The Outro really is just awful. It’s not as bad as the Sewers, but that’s not saying much
  26. Total lack of Fast Travel, when it probably should have had some
  27. There is a ‘map’ but it’s actually inaccurate, and generally inaccessible, and only applies to the hub areas
  28. The game hurts its own Replayability by being generally awful from the Sewers section onwards
  29. In multiple areas the lack of good Visual Continuity really hurts navigation
  30. Second negative for Visual Continuity issues

Quest 64

This game… A lot of people meme on it for being bad, but actually digging into it and really analyzing the why was a huge eye opener to me. This game is absolutely awful, and it’s even worse for the fact that it has several good ideas that it implements so badly so consistently. And the worst part is, the first part of the game is as good as it gets; the further into the game you go, the worse it gets, in a linear downward line. Do not recommend.
Total Story Score: -9
Total Gameplay Score: -40
Cheats: Yes (save corruption at end of game)
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 14 Hours
Time Reviewed: 9-15-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

Story Negatives:

  1. Total lack of build up or establishment for the ‘twists’ of Shannon and Mammon
  2. Absolute lack of characterization and only one actual character
  3. A whole, whole lot of events just happen for no rhyme or reason other than the next thing happening
  4. Incredibly repetitive story structure for almost the entire game (enter area, beat boss, keep thing, move on)
  5. The dialogue is disjointed, rushed, and often times approaches nonsensical or self contradictory
  6. The total lack of… anything approaching good writing or presentation of finally finding our dad is even worse than I remembered, with dialogue that’s inconsistent and actively badly written
  7. Absence of presentation which is not just confusing, it actively ruins any scene that might have impact
  8. A second negative for the characterization problem. Too often a boss will literally show up without reference, give you one line that implies an actual story, fight you, die, and never be referenced again
  9. The Outro is just awful on every level. Sudden attempts to attempt to have meaning to the story which fail, scenes which don’t land and don’t connect, no follow through on our dad at all, literally nonsensical dialogue from Shannon, Mammon has zero presence and half his dialogue is just laughter, and the ending title card is both brief and inconsequential

Gameplay Positives:

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Build Yourself Into A Corner: It is aggressively easy to level the wrong things in the wrong order with no real indication until you run into a boss, thanks to the abilities being wildly unbalanced
  2. Second Build Yourself Into A Corner negative
  3. Third Build Your Into A Corner
  4. The difficulty curve is non existent. Trash is just sort of there, either a waste or too easy, and the bosses are all much too hard, which is tied into…
  5. Second difficulty negative
  6. There is entirely too much RNG on almost every aspect of the game
  7. …the power progression curve, which is *wildly* unbalanced to the point where you are either overpowered, barely keeping up, and nothing in between
  8. Save points. There are not many of them, and they are quite spread out
  9. The implementation of the use-it-raise-it leveling system is not a particularly good one, relying on the usual issues but also agility is just… awful, and best leveled by running in a circle for hours
  10. Encounter rate is waaay too high
  11. Second encounter rate negative
  12. Lack of info in game, even at the most basic level of how spells work, how leveling works, etc.
  13. Ease of being turned around, especially in caves
  14. Samey textures and lack of doodads in dungeons makes them not only boring to navigate but actually disorienting
  15. Dungeon ‘design’ (long, linear corridors) is legitimately awful, with absolutely nothing to them in any shape or fashion, compounded by the constant copy-paste of segments of the dungeons
  16. The camera is barely controllable and actively antagonistic towards knowing what you’re doing or where you’re going
  17. Dodging enemy attacks, made all the worse by camera
  18. The music… is… pretty not good
  19. Music implementation (short loops, restart common, very little variety, heavily repetitive)
  20. The AI is very badly designed. Enemies either move towards you (or don’t), and cast their spells randomly at you. That’s it
  21. Lighting is actively bad, especially at night
  22. The lighting problem gets even worse in dungeons, to the point of it being actively difficult to navigate
  23. Inconsistent and actively inaccurate hurtboxes on spells
  24. Severity and slowness of grind. Grind itself is not good but you gain so very little for what you go through
  25. Boss design (no variety or design or build or anything just… an enemy that has a lot of HP and hits hard)
  26. Second negative for boss design being flat, boring, and HP spongey
  27. Buff structure (buffs and debuffs can miss, are regularly dispelled, and last a random duration which can include only 1 round)
  28. The Blue Cave is just… everything wrong with dungeon design in this game magnified. Enemies that are overpowered for this part of the game, long samey corridors which copy paste textures and geometry, it’s very long, very boring, and the only thing that prevents it from being more than one negative is the periodic arrows that help guide you
  29. Baragoon Tunnel is just awful. It deliberately weaves back and forth to further confuse the player, has very narrow corridors the camera barely knows what to do with, and is STUPIDLY dark so you can barely see where you’re going
  30. Memory card requirement, when it’s a unique and unnecessary situation, and requires buying a card just for this one game, and those cards have known battery issues
  31. Encounter design is just not there. Random enemies with one or two abilities they randomly use, and no thought put into them leaves the combat very shallow
  32. The Boil Hole suuucks. It’s the same issues with most of the other dungeons but it is so aggravatingly long and it’s just this one long long long narrow corridor, and as with every dungeon from the Blue Cave onwards the encounters are badly balanced and designed
  33. No warning about hitting the point of no return
  34. Brannoch Castle is awful. The repeated corridor you walk through multiple copies of, excessively over-tuned enemies, a dull song, narrow corridors which screw with the camera
  35. The King Beigis fight is probably the worst actual boss in the game. He sits in an irritating area with spells that hit entirely too hard and the camera has issues dealing with the terrain, and due to everything else in the game, the spell balance, and the boss’s health and damage output, winning or losing sits entirely on pure RNG
  36. Mammon’s World is just the worst dungeon in the game. It has everything wrong with every other dungeon magnified, which is bad in its own right but worse for being a final dungeon, and it’s unique for being the only dungeon to not just copy paste sections of texture of geometry, but actually copy paste entire rooms with no variation
  37. Mammon is a stupidly easy fight pretty much across the board, with only a couple of attacks and many ways to crush him easily
  38. The Intro fails to convey information about how certain mechanics work, doesn’t really give any guidance or indication of how to progress, and it’s fairly easy to build yourself into a corner early on and have issues and die and get into a bit of a death loop. It’s not the worst intro, but it’s not good, and an Intro should be good
  39. Sound design is actively bad. Very few sound effects, no variation for footsteps or different types of damage or even spells
  40. The lack of Respec actively hurts trying out builds and options (even if they were properly balanced) and further hinders the ‘build into a corner’ problem

Mega Man Zero 1

Speaking as a Megaman fan, I do not recommend playing this game. If you insist on playing this game, make sure to play the Collection which adds several QoL features and removes several irritations. While it’s clear some neat ideas and concepts were being tried to vary up the series, it’s also clear they had no idea how to implement them. This was just one big frustrating mess.
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: -2
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 8 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-7-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Visual continuity
  2. Visual storytelling of background
  3. Surprisingly good world building (the old reploid, the repeated plot point of energy)
  4. External continuity (connection to the X series and the Elf Wars)
  5. The Intro does a lot right in a short period of time. It quickly introduces us to the resistance, the copy army, Ciel, and Zero and establishes stakes and style in a proper in media res

Story Negatives:

  1. Dialogue is just not good in general and usually contains a lot of Empty Text

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Core combat of jump and shoot is okay, but the viscerality of the sword is nice
  2. Enemy variety is okay
  3. Spritework is pretty good
  4. Sub tanks and the addition to gameplay (an optional power up that just sits there, forever, and allows you to slowly fill it with excess health which not only rewards you to not get hit, but gives you a recovery mechanic that only ‘costs’ as much as you need, making for granular healing)
  5. Animations are very enjoyable, mostly for Zero but for the units in general
  6. Mission variety, despite its issues, is still good and keeps things interesting
  7. Boss variety is substantially better than the Megaman norm and helps keep things fun
  8. Copy X 1 is probably the best fight in the game, with his varied elements based on who’s abilities he’s using and a nice arena to allow lots of options to bypass and attack
  9. Controls are the Megaman standard of responsive and well designed (and rebindable)
  10. New Game + with added difficulty but keep upgrades and items
  11. Casual Scenario Mode is a decent option for people to experience some of the gameplay, hampered by its limitations (no real specific options and no live toggle)

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Wonky difficulty curve which starts hard and then bounces around weirdly, both for stages and bosses
  2. Camera zoom in. The crunched camera is awful in general; it prevents you from seeing stuff well into when you should, in some cases it literally leads to you being unable to see what’s safe to drop down to, and it discourages rapid movement
  3. Gotcha! There’s a lot of gotcha! stuff going on with the level design in random death traps you essentially can’t see coming
  4. Elf grind is really bad, to the point of almost making them not worth using
  5. The desert level’s irritating boss fight and, much worse, escort mission
  6. The bomb difusal level can just go to hell, and is actively awful and only made bearable by addition of the collection’s checkpoints
  7. The hub and revisit stage music is incredibly short and repetitive, which is bad to begin with but even worse for something you’re encourage to do with regularity
  8. Boss refights are, as usual, lazy padding
  9. Copy X 2 can go to hell. The boss only has three attacks, is very hard to reach with most weapons, is surrounded by a bottomless pit, and (worst of all) the platform you’re on is either deliberately or as a consequence of the above camera issue ‘squished’ so you can’t recover on it
  10. Terrain design is actively hostile to the player
  11. Unskippable cutscenes
  12. Weapon grind. The very idea of having to grind this much on weapons is a bit much
  13. A second negative for that awful final boss fight

Mega Man Zero 2

Speaking as a Megaman fan, play this game. While more standard than the previous entry (unfortunately), it’s far more polished across the board, with better concepts and implementation. It’s also when the story of the Z-ZX series really gets going.
Total Story Score: +7
Total Gameplay Score: +9
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 8 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-8-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Animations actually really help add to the cutscenes this time around
  2. Doodad utilization is, per the Megaman standard, very helpful in setting the tone and flavor, especially of…
  3. …the visual storytelling. While not the same as they did in Zero 1,
  4. Military-style mission structure and added flavor of set up (first four) / consequence (middle two) / pay off (last four)
  5. Between Elpizo’s arc as the tragic nobody-turned-villain and the various Resistance members, there’s some decent characterization to this
  6. Decent and regular foreshadowing for the rest of the series
  7. The Intro isn’t quite as good as the previous one but still very enjoyable, with Zero in his dilapidated state and we actively see why with the infinitely respawning pantheons attacking him as he struggles
  8. Themes. Following through on the past, living up to expectations, being pathetic and striving to be more, all of which are personified in Elpizo and his arc

Story Negatives:

  1. Dialogue continues to be problematic, though it might be a localization issue

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Casual scenario mode is a good option for experiencing the gameplay, hampered by lack of specific options
  2. Music! Finally! Some really good songs, per Megaman standards
  3. Animation is usual well construct
  4. Spritework quite good
  5. Sub tanks and the addition to gameplay (an optional power up that just sits there, forever, and allows you to slowly fill it with excess health which not only rewards you to not get hit, but gives you a recovery mechanic that only ‘costs’ as much as you need, making for granular healing)
  6. Core combat remains the usual Megaman goodness
  7. Enemy variety is pretty decent
  8. Controls and rebinds as per the last game
  9. Mission variety / optional missions remain a good design choice, giving you bonus objectives for score which you can completely ignore
  10. Factory mission (explodable enemies that destroy terrain, few irritations, nice non-linear design)
  11. The variety and options of kit from the cyber elves is good stuff
  12. Burble Hekelot is actually a pretty fun fight, with a lot of moves and a ‘summon adds to empower self’ gimmick
  13. The crystal caves was a fun stage, with a nice take on the spikes gimmick and some actually well thought out jumps
  14. Phoenix Magnion was irritating at first but honestly is a nicely designed fight, built entirely around countering you and what you do
  15. Forms and added kit
  16. Second general level design positive
  17. Decent boss design throughout
  18. Decent New Game +

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Gotcha! It’s back, and it still sucks
  2. The hopping across airships stage is all kinds of awful. It’s blind jumps with moving platforms with shots that interrupt with crunched camera
  3. Unskippable cutscenes
  4. Boss refights
  5. Lack of info in game (specifically the Forms and how to obtain them)
  6. Ninja Gaiden enemies (respawning based on camera, and entirely too close)
  7. Ice physics are the worst I’ve seen, with not only the usual, but the fact that your dash literally doesn’t work right
  8. A second negative for truly awful and regular ice physics (right before spiked pits usually too)
  9. Screen crunch continues to be an issue as it often is for GBA games

Mega Man Zero 3

Massively improved level design and boss fights, new iterative concepts and fun options, and when the story both picks up and hits some great beats. If you’ve already gotten past the first two, absolutely play this one.
Total Story Score: +9
Total Gameplay Score: +16
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 9 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-12-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Andrew! He’s wholesome, awesome, and as usual good world building
  2. The W.R. Factory stage is absolutely brilliantly horrifying in so many ways. I mean, they don’t even shut down the reploids before breaking them down into parts
  3. Copy Copy X is a fascinating example of Dr. Weil’s lack of talent as well as insight into exactly how the living situation for the Humans and Reploids are
  4. Dr. Weil isn’t as well written as he should be, but is still an engaging force in the plot and a near perfect example of a Type 4 Villain
  5. Ceil. Slowly breaking down from command and forced conflict (properly done pacifist)
  6. External continuity. The game clearly and obviously connects to the X’s, the previous Z’s, and the future Z’s
  7. Visual storytelling is, as usual in the Megaman games, good
  8. Visual continuity helps with several of the stages and their connections to the city proper
  9. Doodads are good
  10. The theme of identity, and letting the player make the final blow on Omega

Story Negatives:

  1. Someday the dialogue will not suck. Also the exposition is pretty bad

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Casual scenario mode is a good option for experiencing the gameplay, hampered by lack of specific options
  2. Music is good, per Megaman standard
  3. Animation is usual well constructed
  4. Spritework quite good
  5. Sub tanks and the addition to gameplay (an optional power up that just sits there, forever, and allows you to slowly fill it with excess health which not only rewards you to not get hit, but gives you a recovery mechanic that only ‘costs’ as much as you need, making for granular healing)
  6. Core combat remains the usual Megaman goodness
  7. Enemy variety is pretty decent
  8. Controls and rebinds as per the last game
  9. Decent New Game +
  10. Satellite cyber elves and related kit
  11. Old residential section stage (multiple paths, fire burning mechanic, lots of secrets)
  12. The W.R. Factory stage (nice gimmicks, great background storytelling, other fun stuff)
  13. The Oceanic Highway Ruins stage (the race, the long underwater designed physics with jumps patterned around it, the optional buttons)
  14. Elves and new leveling system (multiple levels, so you can pop them early or save for later, fewer crystals required for leveling, can change some to Satellites or back to just use)
  15. Menu and visual style and Interface
  16. Snow stage with nice open areas, multiple hidden things, general fun
  17. Underwater library stage and boss variance depending on order you get the disks in, as well as the water level rising and lowering into electricity
  18. Lots of interesting and fun body parts you can get in this one
  19. General stage quality
  20. General boss quality
  21. The Omega fights

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Gotcha! It’s back, and it still sucks
  2. Boss refights
  3. Ninja Gaiden enemies (respawning based on camera, and entirely too close)
  4. Screen crunch continues to be an issue as it often is for GBA games
  5. Ranking system is… not super well designed. While better than previous, locking such an important core mechanic behind the ranking system is not great

Mega Man Zero 4

While lacking in the narrative department, the gameplay is the best the Zero series has had so far. Definitely recommend if you’ve gotten this far.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +21
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 8 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-13-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Visual storytelling is good in general
  2. Doodads are kind of awesome, much better than the previous three
  3. Modular city storytelling, with the modular nature of it being the stage design
  4. Imprisonment story beat, with Craft taking his ‘love’ to the safest place he can think of; a high security reploid prison
  5. The Ragnarok stage. The ambiance, the doodads, the background
  6. The Outro is actually quite powerful stuff all told. The final battle, the speech by Zero about trusting his friend, Weil’s delusions, and the final sacrifice

Story Negatives:

  1. Bad exposition is pretty common in the dialogue
  2. Actively bad cutscenes, with legitimately bad storyboarding, and aggravating world destruction and irritating in the Intro
  3. Craft is, in general, awful, but his entire narrative focus about how war is forever and humans suck and blah blah blah is absolutely terribly done
  4. The entire sequence of Dr. Weil surviving a direct blast, firing the warning shot, and then stupiditying his way into his end game is just aggravating

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Intro (good tutorialization, action setpieces, and decent layout and stage design)
  2. Casual scenario mode is a good option for experiencing the gameplay, hampered by lack of specific options
  3. Music is good, per Megaman standard
  4. Animation is usual well constructed
  5. Spritework is the best in the Z series so far…
  6. …second plus for Spritework
  7. Sub tanks and the addition to gameplay (an optional power up that just sits there, forever, and allows you to slowly fill it with excess health which not only rewards you to not get hit, but gives you a recovery mechanic that only ‘costs’ as much as you need, making for granular healing)
  8. Core combat remains the usual Megaman goodness
  9. Between EX skills and the weapon types and the movement tech, Core Combat remains quite fun
  10. Enemy variety is pretty decent
  11. Controls and rebinds as per the last game
  12. Decent New Game +
  13. Modular city level is great
  14. Gun level is awesome
  15. Kit in parts…
  16. …and in the singular elf you upgrade
  17. Magnetic stage was a ton of fun
  18. Generally good boss design
  19. Second general boss plus
  20. Intermission 1 (optional saving / fires)
  21. Sand stage was legit
  22. General stage plus for all the rest
  23. The Outro stages are fun, great setpieces with interesting fights and a legitimately fantastic last boss (hampered by the RNG)
  24. Visual distinction in terms of spriteworks and backgrounds

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. …crafting is also extremely walkthroughitis, with very little in the way of guidance (and even the hints you get have issues)
  2. Part drops are entirely too inconsistent (about 10%, which is honestly too low)
  3. Ninja Gaiden respawn is back

Mega Man ZX

A bit of a reset for the series, but still reasonable in the narrative department and very fun in the gameplay department… but please, use a walkthrough to avoid the navigation aggravation.
Total Story Score: +5
Total Gameplay Score: +19
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 11 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-15-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Doodads!
  2. A second positive for great doodad utilization
  3. World building
  4. Grounded, breather storytelling of ‘towns’ and NPCs
  5. Visual Storytelling is fantastic as usual
  6. The quiet horror of the people being converted into code to be tortured by Slither Inc in order to be ‘fed’ to Model W
  7. External Continuity and foreshadowing

Story Negatives:

  1. Intro (heavy cliche storm and legitimately bad writing)
  2. Outro (writing is problematic and tries too hard in several avenues)

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Casual scenario mode is a good option for experiencing the gameplay, hampered by lack of specific options
  2. Animation is usual well constructed
  3. Sub tanks and the addition to gameplay (an optional power up that just sits there, forever, and allows you to slowly fill it with excess health which not only rewards you to not get hit, but gives you a recovery mechanic that only ‘costs’ as much as you need, making for granular healing)
  4. Controls and rebinds as per the last game
  5. Spritework is great…
  6. …and honestly some of the best the entire series has had
  7. Music is good, per Megaman standard
  8. Second music plus!
  9. Some really well done sound design in general, with footsteps that vary based on form, splashes, attacks, and of course Star Trek and Star Wars references
  10. Core combat remains the usual Megaman goodness
  11. Enemy variety is pretty decent
  12. Energy plant stage
  13. Met Theme Park Stage
  14. Harpuia boss
  15. Purprill boss
  16. Forms! The ability to swap at will (in mid air, even) and the different passive abilities and movesets for them
  17. Burning apartment building stage
  18. HUD design (quick and easy to understand and use, color coordinated, etc.)
  19. The signal stage
  20. The lava wave stage
  21. General boss design
  22. Flammole fight
  23. Rhino dude fight
  24. Good visual distinction
  25. Proper hard mode
  26. Omega boss
  27. The ‘avoid enemy weakness’ system to have a higher level on the boss and therefore more weapon energy for them (or you can ignore it totally and just spend energy crystals)

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Ninja gaiden respawn problem
  2. Punishing exploration thanks to mission triggers
  3. The game has such a lack of direction at almost all times it’s ridiculous, from just navigating to knowing where quests are or where turn ins are. In short; Walkthroughitis
  4. Navigation is an interconnected issue. Between a bad map, bad traversal mechanics, lack of good fast travel design, lack of recall / escape feature…
  5. …what you have is a game that’s just irritating to navigate
  6. Boss refights
  7. The Outro is surprisingly lame for a Megaman game, with the final ‘stage’ being just corridors and elevators
  8. Aggregate: Mission complete beedleep which in some cases takes an annoying amount of time to remove // No healing in between boss refights

Mega Man ZX Advent

Better than the previous in the gameplay department, but substantially worse in the story department. Honestly worth a playthrough, either to laugh at it or just to skip cutscenes and enjoy the megamaning.
Total Story Score: -7
Total Gameplay Score: +20
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 3 Days // 11 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-19-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Surprisingly good foreshadowing and writing in the Grey Intro
  2. Doodads
  3. Doodads! Seriously, lots of good stuff in this one
  4. Visual storytelling as per usual

Story Negatives:

  1. Terrible line reading and voice acting in general
  2. The voice acting just goes out of its way to be awful and saps legitimate drama from the story
  3. Dialogue has some pretty bad issues
  4. There forced drama, bad writing, bad reading, and excessively long transformation sequence, only to end in a random ‘see ya!’ and ‘can’t spit it out’ with Model A…
  5. …And a second negative for that whole sequence
  6. The entirety of Grey’s Outro is just… bad
  7. Over-emphasis and bad usage of the ‘destiny’ theme in Grey’s story
  8. The Ashe Intro has all kinds of narrative issues. Writing, voice acting, pacing, lack of storyboarding, etc.
  9. The overall plot with Albert wanting to take over the world he’s… already in charge of to force evolution in… the way he’s already done… is just lacking
  10. While it’s a common element in Megaman games, the sheer quantity and consequence of the cutscene incompetence is through the roof here
  11. The whole of Ashe’s Outro is no better than Grey’s

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Casual scenario mode is a good option for experiencing the gameplay, hampered by lack of specific options
  2. Animation is the usual well constructed
  3. Sub tanks and the addition to gameplay (an optional power up that just sits there, forever, and allows you to slowly fill it with excess health which not only rewards you to not get hit, but gives you a recovery mechanic that only ‘costs’ as much as you need, making for granular healing)
  4. Controls and rebinds as per the last game
  5. Spritework is great…
  6. …and honestly some of the best the entire series has had
  7. Enemy variety as usual
  8. Great core combat as usual
  9. Visual distinction is pretty good for the Z standards
  10. Music is good, per Megaman standard
  11. Chronoforce boss fight
  12. Sound design is pretty decent
  13. Music has some boppers
  14. Boss fights in general
  15. Model a transformations are honestly some of the coolest things the franchise has come up with. I love being able to literally turn into bosses
  16. Kit in transformations and abilities, per the ZX standard
  17. Control center stage
  18. Underwater highway stage
  19. Volturon boss fight
  20. Tutorialization. Each form comes with an area right after it to get you used to the form and how it operates
  21. Proper hard mode difficulty, varying up patterns and enemy attacks
  22. The voice acting is absolutely hilarious to make fun of, and while it damages the story it enhances the experience
  23. Grey’s Outro is very fun, with a very tense final level and a great final boss
  24. Albert final fight is great. He has attacks from most of the previous models, including A, and is appropriately fun and difficult
  25. Varying levels and boss tactics on each mode (aka two campaigns)

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Ice physics
  2. Ninja Gaiden respawn returns
  3. Audio spam is worse than usual
  4. Forced tutorialization after each form
  5. Boss refights

Mega Man X

While it has a few note-worthy flaws that will hamper new players’ enjoyment, this is still a phenomenal game that absolutely deserves a playthrough. Or two.
Total Story Score: +5
Total Gameplay Score: +40
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 4 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-20-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Pre-title crawl tells you a whole lot about what’s going on and why, with lots of tiny smart details
  2. Visual Storytelling in backgrounds as per usual
  3. Intro is some good in medias res and quickly establishes tone (military attack on civilian target) and stakes (someone named Sigma, Zero is your superior, and Zero is much stronger than you)
  4. Visual continuity in the ‘area’ you’re fighting in, most easily showcased by the map, but also how the stages affect each other
  5. Doodads are, as per usual with this series, good stuff

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Title demo helps showcase gameplay features, gives you an idea of what you’re in for, and is generally well thought out
  2. Sub-Tanks continue to be excellent design
  3. Tutorialization in the opening stage
  4. Music! Even in the opening stage!
  5. Music!!
  6. Music!!!
  7. Good controls, tight and responsive, with the shortcutting between weapons on the fly being a huge quality of life improvement
  8. Core combat is the usual megaman high quality
  9. Intro is one of the better intro stages in the series, beautifully setting the stage and tutorializing how to platform and fight
  10. Spritework! There’s just so much awesome stuff in the background
  11. Spritework!! Absolutely love how the game looks
  12. Animations! Wonderful animations across the board
  13. The enemy variety is not only good in terms of themes and visuals but…
  14. …it’s crazy how different their attack patterns are and the variety in playstyle they encourage (as well as weapon interaction)
  15. Stages affecting other stages is a great idea and I wish they did more of it (Penguin changing Mammoth’s, Octopus changing Chameleon’s, etc.)
  16. Exploration inclination. Lots of indicating where power ups might be
  17. The Armored Armadillo stage is great. It’s got good speed, a nice variety of enemies, the mine cart sequences
  18. The Sting Chameleon stage is great. Wonderful visuals, enemies that attack through or from the terrain, fun platforming sections, and the Hyper Beam Moment of the Ride Armor
  19. Good design with the item drops and keeping the player moving forwards
  20. The Launch Octopus stage. Actually good usage of water physics, multiple varieties of enemies and platforming that shuffle you around through the water, fun minibosses
  21. The Armored Armadillo boss fight. He can block several attacks with his armor, his bounce around hurts like a truck of course, but he can be stunned out of shooting and his armor can be broken with his weakness (also allowing him to be hit while tunneling)
  22. Launch Octopus is another example of a great fight, with lots of attacks that take advantage of the underwater terrain, the leeching thing, the ability to cut off his arms without his weakness, and the ability to defend against his weakness
  23. The Storm Eagle stage (in addition to having awesome music) is a great example of properly using verticality and challenging the player to really think about the platforming
  24. The Spark Mandrill stage and its tight platforming with lots of good terrain utilization for enemy and power up placement, along with the changes depending on stage order completion (lights flickering because damaged so it’s harder to see, but also no sparks in the floor to avoid)
  25. The Spark Mandrill fight is another interesting example of an enemy that uses the collision damage properly, primarily just straight up punching you or leaping at you, but still having (narrow) windows to avoid
  26. The Boomer Kuwanger stage is yet another example of fantastic verticality, effectively climbing up an entire tower, really properly creatively using the wall jumping mechanic as well as a huge variety of interesting avoidance enemies (since most are either in your way directly or activate based on activity)
  27. Boomer Kuwanger is probably one of the better bosses in the game. He has a wide pattern, can be absolutely brutal and requires very precise timing to avoid, but can be recovered from, and his weakness still requires a bit of work to get working
  28. Armor system! Mostly optional upgrades that change how you play and add an almost RPG mechanic of finding gear to the game
  29. Weapon variety is really good in this one, with only a few weapons that lag behind
  30. Charging weapons is just kinda fun and neat and adds to kit
  31. The Chill Penguin stage, for its issues, is still a great tutorial stage. Clear thought and effort was put into enemy placement as well as the required jumps
  32. The Flame Mammoth stage is legit, with it being nice and brutal without the chill, and still very well designed in terms of enemy placement and denial without
  33. Sigma 1 is a fun stage, if a bit rough. The stakes are clearly raised, the stage is designed around full kit (you’re even forced to get the buster upgrade if you don’t have it), and the Spider boss… while mean… is good
  34. Sigma 2 and 3 are similarly fun stages, with good variety and build to how they function (very ‘final exam’)
  35. The Spider fight is, despite frustrations, pretty well designed in its mean-ness and even has the possibility of recovery in the adds who can drop health ups
  36. The D-Rex fight is actually pretty legit, with multiple options to avoid but he also hits quite hard, but also has ‘pauses’ to let you recover
  37. Outro. The final stage is well designed in its tension and the final fight is great
  38. Very, very replayable
  39. A second positive for stage layouts and designs that help with replayability
  40. Terrain is absolutely designed around movement and the types of attacks you have access to
  41. Excellent visual distinction on what’s where and what you can interact with
  42. Aggregate: Sting Chameleon is rough; On the one hand his attacks are great, with variety between meleeing (with his tongue), hiding (which also removes his ability to be hit), and flinging attacks at you from a distance. The catch is his ‘shake the ceiling’ attack which is pure RNG for avoidance // Storm Eagle is pretty fun, primarily using the very terrain against you with two of his four attacks (knocking you off the edge) but not in a cheap or irritating way (defeatable even without dash!)

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Barrier to entry: The game has a clear ‘intended’ order (Chill Penguin first) and the rest of the game is mean without the dash, and the bosses are pretty mean without power ups (which require dash) or weaknesses, and simply too easy with. Chill Penguin is so obviously supposed to be the first stage, in terms of level (lots of tutorialization) and boss (easily the boss most weak to buster) that it really should be more indicated that it should be first
  2. Ninja gaiden enemies, as usual

Mega Man X 2

While often forgotten, X 2 is still a very solid game that deserves a playthrough or two. Fun levels and bosses for sure, but awesome weapon utility in traversal really highlight this one.
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: +24
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 4 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-20-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Intro does a good job of establishing the stakes pretty early and easily
  2. Visual Storytelling continues to be good
  3. Visual continuity between stages and the map, as with X1
  4. Doodads are usual Megaman standard

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Intro continues to do good presentation and tutorialization
  2. Sub Tank design is, as usual, good stuff
  3. Controls remain the MMX standard
  4. Core combat is great and maintains a high skill ceiling
  5. Very good enemy variety as usual
  6. Sound design is usual standard
  7. Terrain design informing gameplay
  8. Generally good visual distinction of levels and interactables
  9. Overdrive Ostridge stage. Ride chasers, good challenging jumps, good recoveries
  10. Crystal Snail stage. The Indiana Jones traps, the slides, the enemy placement
  11. Wheel Gator stage. Great concept, another chance at the ride armor, great enemy placement, smart platforming
  12. Flame Stag stage. Evolving terrain difficulty with gas and flames, advancing lava, beetles that destroy terrain
  13. Crystal Snail. Defined patterns, nice attacks which you can recover from, and his weakness actually removes his defenses temporarily
  14. Flame Stag is a great ‘reaction’ boss, with multiple attacks he can chain into each other and reliant heavily on skill
  15. Wire Sponge stage. The good moving platforms with weather altering the design and good enemies that are built ‘into’ the stage
  16. Wire Sponge is actually a pretty fun boss fight, with several styles of attacks and a ‘berserk’ mode
  17. Bubble Crab stage. Good water stage, the submarine mini boss and moving ‘with’ it
  18. Music!
  19. Animations are the usual good stuff
  20. Spritework is pretty awesome as usual as well
  21. Armor pieces continue to be good design
  22. Morph Moth stage. The magnetic ‘pull’ changing jumps, the junk enemies that fall apart gradually or rebuild, and great aesthetic
  23. Weapons are legit as per usual, with some good utility
  24. Lots of variety and fun utility in the weapons
  25. The options of doing the X-Hunter fights which changes some dialogue and of course adds the Zero fight in
  26. Good replayability
  27. Aggregate: Ostridge boss // Gator boss // Crab boss
  28. Aggregate: Morph Moth boss // Boss design in general

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss refights, which are especially silly (Ostridge, Gator)
  2. Ninja Gaiden syndrome
  3. Serious HP sponge problems on Virus Sigma
  4. The Zero fight is just kind of badly done, with him hitting like a truck and very mobile and right before two other hard fights

Mega Man X 3

Still a ‘fine’ game, and net positive, but far weaker than I remembered upon analysis. Some shoddy level design, boring bosses, and dull weapon power ups drag this one down.
Total Story Score: +1
Total Gameplay Score: +4
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 4 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-21-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. The Intro does a good job of embracing what’s going on and expositing quickly and easily what was going on, the stakes, and hints and ideas of what’s to come
  2. Usual excellent visual storytelling
  3. Doodads are good in several stages (Doppler 4, Blizzard Buffalo, etc.)

Story Negatives:

  1. That ending comes out of no where, is mistranslated, and has no real weight or build up (or pay off, arguably)
  2. Characters. Bit and Byte do nothing and are nothing, Vile is here and then gone for no reason, Doppler is never even mentioned again, Mac has no significance to anything, and Sigma having no character officially starts being an issue

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Intro does a good job of tutorializing the general approach as well as the Zero gameplay
  2. Sub tanks are, as always, good design
  3. Zero playability (allows you to play a much higher ‘level’ character with the quad shot, and slightly different playstyle)
  4. Crush Crawfish stage. Ride armor, short but sweet, cool submarine section
  5. Volt Catfish stage. Decent enemy variety and different fun platforming
  6. Armor upgrades are still pretty neat
  7. General stage design positive
  8. Armor design is still good stuff
  9. The chips are still good design, despite their limitations
  10. Music is some good stuff
  11. Spritework remains excellent
  12. Animations are still good, especially with Zero added to the mix
  13. Core combat remains the Megaman standard
  14. Replayability is decent, if hampered by other negatives, in the options with bosses, chips, and order
  15. Aggregate: Toxic Seahorse has a good spread of attacks, if simple patterns // Crush Crawfish is mean… if you don’t completely control his AI // The Blast Hornet fight is a neat drone fight, with some issues

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Ninja gaiden respawn continues
  2. Zero limitations (once per stage, can’t use on bosses, permanently gone if lost)
  3. Boss AI being too controllable thanks to simplistic If/Then design
  4. Input delay and loss due to the Collection issues
  5. The checkpoints are officially bad in this one. They’re infrequent, and the stages are quite large (in contrast to 1 and 2)
  6. Outro is pretty lacking, with dull final stages (a slow, boring auto-scroller through instant death spikes? Really?) and dull, over-damaging last bosses
  7. The final boss fight deserves special mention for being total bullcrap. Very small window where he can be hit, only has three (boring) attacks, and he hits so hard that even when taking 25% damage he still knocks off a huge chunk of your life… plus his weakness is a completely skippable optional weapon (with no indicator that it’s available)
  8. Boss refights
  9. The itemization is honestly bad. Lowered drop rates from enemies (except if you kill them with one weapon, which nothing indicates), half-hazard items scattered across levels which barely band-aid the issue
  10. The difficulty in this game is absolutely insanity. Reduced items, enemies hit too hard, enemies designed to be invulnerable and/or have too much health, the bosses are way too easy or way too hard
  11. The pacing in this game is absolutely all over the place. Heavy intense sections next to long slogs of nothing, interrupted by weird aggravations like the unavoidable optional boss doors (or fights) and the bosses themselves, as well as minibosses exploding like regular bosses

Mega Man X 4

Let’s be clear, this is still a good game… but several issues with Zero’s campaign and the absolutely abyssmal storytelling on display really dragged this down for me. Still recommend playing it at least once through, as X, maybe once as Zero just for kicks.
Total Story Score: -4
Total Gameplay Score: +26
Cheats: Yes (Easy mode to speed up Zero’s campaign)
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 6 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-22-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Visual storytelling as usual
  2. Doodads remain good as always
  3. Voice acting is just… hilariously awful and funny for it
  4. The cutscene of Sigma’s first interaction with Maverick Zero

Story Negatives:

  1. Voice acting is… not good
  2. Fake drama is all over the place, mostly due to…
  3. …a massive idiot ball dodgeball fest on behalf of almost every single character
  4. Characters… aren’t. Iris, Colonel, General, X, Zero, Double, all get a lot of screen time and effectively no development other than ‘being an idiot’, and when everyone in your story is aggressively idiotic…
  5. X’s Outro is just not good on essentially every level.
  6. The Plot suffers at every level, especially as X. The game wants a grey vs. grey message but instead just makes everyone a moron, and most of the events happening are legitimately nonsensical
  7. The voice acting continues to be just… amazingly bad. Wrong tone, disconnected sentences, bad audio balancing on top of awful pacing
  8. Zero’s Outro completely fumbles everything, from dramatic potential to deeper themes or meaning

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Animations
  2. Animations are really excellent
  3. Visual distinction
  4. Usual sub-tanks positive
  5. Music is… really excellent
  6. Music is… truly excellent
  7. Music is… just amazing
  8. Magma Dragoon’s stage, with environmental obstacles being the primary issue and good usage of the mech
  9. Slash Beast’s stage, with careful thought out enemy placement and good pacing
  10. Magma Dragoon is a fun fight, with a lot of attacks and a good frenetic pace
  11. Slash Beast is another fun fight, seeming simple at first but slowly escalating his attacks and speed as the fight goes on
  12. Cyber Peacock’s stage is legit. The speedrunning element is fun, the cyberspace gimmick is cool, and the flipping stage is neat
  13. Storm Owl has yet another good stage, with the moving airships and platforming alongside a hovering mech and fun enemy placement
  14. Mid mission checkpoints (continue at them, and regular placement at load screens)
  15. Cyber Peacock boss
  16. Storm Owl boss
  17. Jet Stingray boss
  18. Frost Walrus stage
  19. Web Spider stage
  20. Split Mushroom boss
  21. Web Spider boss
  22. Weapons are about half decent, with some decent utility
  23. Good armor kit for X (second dash, hover, weapon is probably one of the best)
  24. Moves instead of weapons for Zero
  25. Second ‘campaign’ as Zero
  26. Built in cheats (decent cheat, can be toggled on or off at will)
  27. Controls are usual tight standard (more so than the SNES ones in some ways)
  28. Core combat remains legit
  29. Enemy variety is pretty good
  30. Spritework is excellent
  31. Guidance on power ups, with them usually being visible even if they’re not obtainable
  32. Itemization is back to being good
  33. Terrain design is all over the place
  34. Replayability, which is honestly quite standard… only as X though

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. The first Colonel fight. Effortlessly dodges you, immune to several weapons, has large reflective shielding, has way too much health, forced into the fight, and the worst part of all is he’s boring. He has one pattern of three attacks and that’s it
  2. Ninja gaiden respawns return
  3. Audio spam returns
  4. Boss refights as usual
  5. The General fight is just sort of sloggy and boring
  6. The final Sigma fight is sort of out of nowhere nonsense and a three boss marathon and kind of… not good
  7. The lack of ‘design’ around Zero for boss fights (not designed for melee, does too little damage, i-frames are anti-melee by design)
  8. A second negative for the entire Outro for both characters just being generally aggravating and no where near as good as the rest of the stages, especially in the non-stages of the Final Weapon and of course the awful boss rush

Mega Man X 5

A very good, very bad game. The positives easily outweigh the negatives, and the game plays very smoothly, but it has issues everywhere and is best enjoyed with a walkthrough. That being said if you haven’t given this one a try, I definitely recommend it.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +20
Cheats: Yes (To not be stuck redoing several bosses for schedule purposes)
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 9 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-26-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Pre-title crawl is actually quite cool
  2. Visual storytelling is excellent as usual
  3. The mission structure and approach to the plot adds to the overall enjoyment of what’s going on
  4. Doodad utilization
  5. Intro does what it needs to very quickly and efficiently, establishing stakes, characters, threat
  6. External continuity; Dr. Wily, Zero’s past, the Repliforce…
  7. The Outro and the endings are surprisingly good, with Sigma’s motives laid bare, Dr. Wily’s involvement, and Zero’s sacrifice

Story Negatives:

  1. Localization is… really bad in this game, the worst we’ve seen so far
  2. Empty text issues with everyone
  3. External continuity (sudden genre shift, despite acknowledgement)
  4. Fake drama in who you fight and why
  5. The ridiculous X vs. Zero fight scene is stupid both ways

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Proper separate tutorial option in the main menu
  2. The choice of which bosses to do in which order regardless of gun or shuttle, and when you fire to skip to the last stage, is awesome
  3. Sub-tanks
  4. Music
  5. Music!
  6. Firefly boss
  7. Kraken boss
  8. Grizzly stage
  9. Grizzly boss
  10. Absolutely lovely sprite work in general
  11. Being able to choose whom to play as on stage select is awesome…
  12. Huge replay value…
  13. …honestly probably the best replay of the series thanks to the many options
  14. The armor suits are, as usual, good kit
  15. Upgrades per boss into health or weapon energy
  16. Separate buttons for buster and weapon
  17. Spike Rosered boss
  18. Flame Rex boss
  19. Flame Rex stage
  20. Multiple suits of armor
  21. Animations plus
  22. Controls are very tight
  23. Core combat is excellent
  24. Enemy variety is enjoyable as it should be
  25. Difficulty options which are decent (changes damage, boss levels and thus drops and AI, and enemy spawns)
  26. Itemization has been good
  27. Good mid-mission checkpointing
  28. Zero’s moves remain awesome and are a great way to add kit to him
  29. The parts have some great additional kit and variety, made even better by the mix and match approach and making regular non-armored X useful (lots of part slots)
  30. Very visually distinct as usual
  31. The X / Zero fight is variable depending on actions and probably one of the best bosses in the game
  32. The Outro is enjoyable enough, with some tricky platforming, but Sigma 1 is where it really shines, with a great fight on a great backdrop, and the final final boss music rocks
  33. Built-in cheats (invuln, death protection, toggle on the fly)
  34. Second campaign as Zero
  35. Zero’s playstyle is intuitive, his moves are great, and playing as him is just smooth and enjoyable
  36. Aggregate: Firefly stage // Dynamo boss // Pegasus stage

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Intro is a bit heavy on tutorialization
  2. The text box interruptions are irritating and hurt the pacing in addition to being bad info dumping… and in most cases it’s totally inconsequential information too, like ‘you should go through the only door in front of you’ or ‘here’s what a weapon is the fifth time you get one’
  3. The fact that power ups don’t share across characters means you’re artificially nerfing yourself unless you pick and stick with someone
  4. Duff McWhalen stage. It’s a long, slow, disinteresting auto scroller
  5. Duff McWhalen boss. He’s too boring and simple until he randomly flings you into instant kill spikes which, thanks to the gravity, are just irritating to dodge
  6. Kraken stage… good lord that no-warning chaser bike section is just the worst, nevermind the energy sparks nonsense
  7. Ninja Gaiden negative returns
  8. The Intro sucks. It’s short, too tutorialized badly, the boss is lame, and worst of all you lose something (with no indication) depending on who you play
  9. The Black Devil boss fight is just awful. It’s intense and hits hard but has way, way too much health, only has three patterns of attack and is either a memorization chore or hard on the finger and, worst of all, the boss song is such a short loop that it gets aggravating
  10. Boss refights are one of the most ridiculous in the series
  11. The boss health problem is its own problem
  12. The final Sigma stage with the absolutely awful, literally distracting, literally hard-to-see background
  13. The final Sigma fight is a nice, dull, slow, boring slog
  14. Aggregate: Virus 1 is kind of bullcrap. It relies heavily on memorization and only avoids a full negative by virtue of refilling your time stop (which you’re almost guaranteed to have) // Virus 2 is such a pain of a stage, especially considering how rough it is as Gaea Armor before… // Ranga Banga W is just such a cheap boss. It’s okay overall… until the spikes come out of the wall
  15. Aggregate: The RNG is weird and unnecessary in the success/fail of the main mission // The parts acquisition is Walkthroughitis

Mega Man X 6

So this is the weirdest ‘recommendation’ I’ve ever given, but I do recommend giving this game a try. Just…. play it with cheats on. It’s a very, very rough, very early beta, very unpolished game and it shows. But there’s promise on display and some cool narrative beats and at least worth a look at.
Total Story Score: 0
Total Gameplay Score: -23
Cheats: Yes (give me a break)
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 12 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-28-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. External continuity
  2. The additional bits of backstory for the 8 bosses is actually pretty cool, and adds nice context and backstory, alongside Alia’s backstory which is further fleshed out as well
  3. Gate and Alia’s story is surprisingly engaging for how mis-handled it is
  4. The final Sigma showdown is actually kind of neat, and showcases what little arc Sigma has had thusfar, with him being broken down and barely functional and the style of how he lurches zombie-like and rips parts of the lab into a completely ramshackle body
  5. Sigma’s story/gameplay integration in showcasing Gate’s incompetence, how dangerous Sigma is despite being broken, and being what should have been Sigma’s final end

Story Negatives:

  1. The dialogue is absolutely terrible…
  2. …not helped by the legitimately awful localization
  3. The presentation and disjointed nature of Alia’s backstory and the backstory of the investigators makes it hard to really even figure out what’s going on
  4. Visual dis-continuity(Gate’s stages)
  5. Despite the nice Sigma moments, the endings are honestly quite dumb, and Gate’s stupidity in resurrecting Sigma is the icing on the cake

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Sub tanks
  2. Built in cheats
  3. Difficulty options which are decent (changes damage, boss levels and thus drops and AI, and enemy spawns)
  4. Good checkpoints… sometimes
  5. Metal Shark Player is one of the better bosses so far
  6. Shield Shelldon is another decent boss fight, lots of moves and variety
  7. Music is, as usual, good stuff
  8. Second positive for some great tracks
  9. The parts system is, as usual, really cool Kit
  10. Second campaign as Zero and…
  11. …option to swap between X and Zero
  12. The Blade armor is legitimately interesting and adds good Kit to X
  13. The Shadow armor is similarly awesome and also adds good kit
  14. Controls are, as usual, responsive and tight
  15. Sound design is, as usual, good
  16. Zero gameplay and moves
  17. Options in which bosses to do and which to skip via High Max 1
  18. Replayability, despite all the issues, is still there

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Nightmare phenomena (extremely badly explained in game, can make the difference between a stage being normal or irritating, and walkthroughitisy)
  2. The rescue system is terribly implemented. The placement of the bots is already questionable but the fact that the nightmare enemies are almost always placed right next to them is immensely irritating, added onto the fact that if you lose a rescue bot they’re permanently gone
  3. Ninja gaiden respawns, which is especially awful with the…
  4. …Nightmare enemies. They have a narrow hitbox, take far too many hits to kill, don’t drop items, can respawn if not collected quickly enough, can swarm, can move through terrain, and can shoot through terrain
  5. The Ground Scaravich stage… kinda sucks. It’s random which areas you get, which means you can farm it a lot before getting the helmet, and also involves a lot of bullcrap non-designed platforming
  6. The first donut fight in Blaze Heatnix can just absolutely go to hell. It has too narrow of hitbox, each point has to be hit separately, it’s entirely too fast requiring you to constantly rapid dash from one side of the room to the other
  7. The second and third donut fights are much worse. The second one is just a long, slow, boring slot thanks to the terrain limiting options, but the other two are even worse as they have respawning nightmares and very limited vulnerability windows
  8. The third donut fight is… so awful it defies words. It’s the usual issues, except it’s only vulnerable for very brief phases, while instant-kill lava covers literally half the screen, and no thought was put into platform placement which leads to a periodic ‘offset’ in jumping availability, while having nightmares pop in periodically (there’s also a rescue thing here), while being an autoscroller
  9. A second negative for the third donut fight and the absolute lack of level design that actually makes the fight much worse
  10. Metal Shark Player’s stage is… not good. While it’s not terrible early on, the checkpoint placement, bullcrap jumps, and ease of instant death drag it down
  11. Itemization is actively bad. The enemies drop things infrequently and with no rhyme or reason to what they drop. Further, the manually placed items aren’t particularly well done either
  12. The game has actively bad guidance and flow of exploration to power ups and upgrades
  13. Boss refights
  14. RNG in boss layout and level selections
  15. RNG is some of the worst I’ve seen in the franchise
  16. The fact that, as usual, upgrades and points don’t share across selectable characters sucks
  17. The Infinity Mijinion stage sucks. It’s just two types of enemies over and over going down a boring slope which makes it difficult to see the bottomless pits as they come, leading to… you guessed it… gotcha! Stage design
  18. The interface is unhelpful and generally bad (the red stages… except it’s not accurate or actively bugged… the parts and what they do… weapon counter replacing life counter for no good reason… etc.)
  19. The first High-Max fight is not good.
  20. Soul farming. It’s such a colossal, massive pain (despite being mostly optional)
  21. Enemy variety is astonishingly limited enemy variety, and enemy variety in general is bad, and there’s no good variety in types of enemies (as in, how they attack or challenge you)
  22. Blizzard Wolfang’s level is bad for basically the exact inverse reason as Infinity Mijinion’s; a big incline or decline and lots of instant kills
  23. The Mother Nightmare fight is one of the worst fights in the entire franchise. It’s incredibly random, has very small hitbox, which only shows up periodically, hits like a truck, there’s absolutely no telegraphs for its lightning attacks, it has tons of RNG, it can ‘fake you out’ to hit you, it gets twice as fast at low health which leaves you a very narrow window of avoidance which even that literally requires power ups…
  24. …which is why it gets a second negative
  25. Gate 1 is… absolutely awful. The initial requirement of spikes to overcome, lots of spikes and slippery ice while doing an auto-scroller, while racing away from instant-kill lava, with a total of 5 boring enemies
  26. Gate 2. Where to begin? Totem enemies with too much health and too narrow hitboxes which in some cases can’t be hit unless hanging down from a moving platform while avoiding fire from everywhere and also instant kill spikes and instantly respawning nightmares…
  27. …and on top of all of that, there’s no checkpoint in the middle of this absolutely horrible, two screen section, which is why Gate 2 deserves two negatives
  28. High Max 2. Absolutely huge i-frames, very narrow window to hit him after vulning, gargantuan hurtbox with all his attacks, hits like a truck, no variety or interesting mechanics other than just going back and forth…
  29. …leading to a second negative
  30. Gate. He’s invincible unless hit by one of his own balls which has to be hit near him which also hurts you, the random platforms make just maneuvering a pain, he ‘hones in’ on you to do a stupid amount of collision damage, he has entirely too much health, and what he does is pure RNG which can lead to long stretches of boredom or frenetic ball flinging…
  31. …leading to a second negative
  32. The last boss fight is honestly not good. Pure RNG, too easy, and too overall dull
  33. The audio spam is generally bad, but especially as Zero
  34. A third and final negative for the Mother Nightmare for being one of, if not the, worst bosses in Megaman history
  35. A third and final negative for High Max
  36. Third and final negative for Gate
  37. General irritation. There’s a lot of little, weird things that just make the game unnecessarily irritating to play, like putting a pit before Gate’s door, or making you jump all over the place for the refights, or having no thought or reason to floating platform placement so they interrupt jump flow
  38. The animations are generally absent but, more to the point, in multiple cases the enemies have no telegraph of which random attack they’re about to use, making it detrimental to gameplay
  39. Backtracking is not only encouraged but barely designed, with very little different other than the Nightmare Phenomena and irritation
  40. When there’s bad or no mid mission checkpoints, it’s really bad. See: Gate 2, or any crusher stage
  41. The pacing of this game is just absolutely all over the place, sometimes being smooth and sometimes having proper breather sections and then other times you’re stuck on a segment for hours
  42. Lack of info in game. How to unlock Zero, how to fight High Max, and worst of all lack of info on what parts do

Mega Man X 7

Do not play this game. Memes and jokes aside, common consensus aside, this game is the worst game I’ve ever reviewed, absolutely smashing previous records in terms of negative quality. Screw this game.
Total Story Score: -17
Total Gameplay Score: -50
Cheats: Yes (screw the Red fight)
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 8 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-29-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. So bad it’s good narmy cheesy stupid bad awfulness
  2. Surprisingly decent cutscene structure in having the story advance as you go through stages…

Story Negatives:

  1. Voice acting is… awful across the board (special point for X)
  2. Voice direction is equally terrible, with lines being said objectively wrong in terms of tone and sentence cadence
  3. A second negative for the voice acting being legitimately terrible
  4. Audio balancing is so bad that multiple lines are legitimately hard to hear underneath the music
  5. Awful opening, with bad or lack of establishment and dull narration which leads to an un-earned status quo change as the initial hook
  6. External continuity is just… terrible. The game acts like it’s suddenly Ghost In The Shell in the immediate wake of Fallout
  7. Bad camera usage in cutscenes, which actually convey the scenes flow and motion… wrong
  8. Bad storyboarding in the ‘cutscenes’, both how they move and how they are placed
  9. Bad animation in the ‘cutscenes’, stilted and awkward
  10. Axl. Whiny, annoying, 12 year old prat
  11. Axl. Big mysterious past, no payoff
  12. X. This is the worst, whiniest, most awful improper pacifist take on the character
  13. Idiot ball. Red, Axl, the entire Red Alert… yeah
  14. The cutscene where Red pointlessly sacrifices himself after pointlessly self destructing and Axl caring for no pre-defined reason
  15. The Outro is so bleh. No character growth or movement for anyone, pointless shame talking from X and weird egoism, just… weird empty bleh
  16. Dialogue. Dear lord, the dialogue
  17. The Plot is… not. Axl flees (and is never explained), we fight people to keep someone we don’t want, and then Sigma was behind it
  18. …but to contrast Positive 2, the cutscenes that ‘advance’ the ‘plot’ are awful and horribly repetitive
  19. The ‘theme’ of being radical and cool and hip and young… falls so hard it’s laughable

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Music is, let’s be honest, awesome
  2. So a second positive for music. (lord knows this game needs it)
  3. The swapping idea is actually legit, and deserves recognition
  4. Respawning is actually quite smooth and quick, with no load times, allowing you to jump right back into bosses or stages (checkpoint)
  5. As usual for the Collection, good toggleable-on-the-fly built in cheats
  6. QoL features in auto charge and auto shoot
  7. Sub tanks

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Controls? Floaty and heavy and awful.
  2. Auto lock on which is finicky and literally wrong at times
  3. Audio spam on locking on as Axl
  4. Lack of terrain utilization mostly thanks to weapons
  5. Color palette and brown problem visual distinction
  6. Intro stage is a nice vertical slice of everything wrong with this game in one neat shell
  7. Camera. Good lord, that awful, awful camera. It’s either at the wrong angle to the side, too close behind you from behind, or too close above you from behind
  8. Inconsistent hurt-boxes on attacks, mostly as Zero
  9. Forced, bad tutorials
  10. Alia irritations in level
  11. Alia irritations post level
  12. Incorrect geometry collision and related platforming issues
  13. Power ups and the like do not, as usual, share between swappable party members
  14. X joins entirely too late to really be worth a damn as it takes so much to unlock and then all the power ups and chips have already been allocated
  15. Axl’s copy ability. It requires a charge, bugs out periodically, does very low damage, you have to kill an enemy to get their ability, and all the enemies you can turn into suck
  16. The UI is just… bad. The dialogue defaults to no which is counter-intuitive given how it takes inputs, the several screens (save, stage select, team construction) are actively confusing, and there’s no skipping through dialogue or cutscenes
  17. Bugs. The game has lots of them, far too many to list here
  18. Seconds in minutes problem is just… constant. Every menu, every animation, every load screen
  19. The Soldier Stonekong fight a is boring, inconsistent hitbox mess
  20. Snipe Anteator’s stage is just eye cancer in addition to being a non-stage of disorienting nonsense (that’s… not how you do flip terrain)
  21. Snipe Anteator’s boss fight is just terrible. The enemy has lots of attacks which it’s hard to tell what hits where but also can just randomly stay on the underside and do nothing or waste your time, and good luck avoiding his drone attack
  22. A second negative for Snipe Anteator
  23. Sound design is bad in general, with bad FX, awful repeated shots and footsteps, and bad sound balancing
  24. Wing Crowrang’s stage can go to hell. Bad camera angle, awkward depth perception, and of course improper physics
  25. The rescuees can be permanently lost due to any damage from any enemy and they often spawn right in front of enemies or attacks
  26. The movement speed is just sluggish and awkward and really screws over the 3D sections
  27. The 3D sections in general deserve special mention for how badly implemented they are in every single aspect
  28. The Wing Crowrang fight is terribly unbalanced, with homing missiles entirely too fast to dodge, large periods of can’t hit (especially as Zero), and plenty of audio spam
  29. Bad checkpoint placement in general
  30. The Flame Hyenard stage has really bad platform placement and awful jump designs
  31. The Flame Hyenard boss is one of the worst bosses in the game. Ignoring the… obvious problems of burning to the ground and insane audio spam, it’s also a nice long irritating slog fight of dealing with his adds while his missiles while avoiding the lava and, worst of all, the physics of the giant mechaniloid are broken so you ‘slide’ on it frequently
  32. A second negative for the Flame Hyenard boss fight
  33. A second negative for audio spam in general
  34. A third negative for the worst audio spam in gaming
  35. The Tornado Tonion stage is awful stage design. One long almost uninterrupted corridor with just waves of enemies in a single line, and gotcha! traps in the upper areas
  36. The first part of Splash Warfly’s stage is awful design. The first part is boring but then there’s the no-camera-control, camera-too-close miniboss with a spinning platform carrying a plane that’s shooting. What?
  37. The knockdown animation sucks. It’s entirely too long, only triggered by stupid attacks, cancels your momentum instantly (so you plummet down), and eats up your i-frames
  38. The Splash Warfly miniboss was awful, with attacks that attack too large an area and home in entirely too much, effectively mandating the Axl dodge roll
  39. The save system is… arduous. Slow, frustrating, and de-incentivizing
  40. Ride Boarski’s stage can go to absolute hell. It controls badly, the draw distance is awful, some of the bombs are barely obtainable unless you know they’re there, there’s a time limit, you have to get all of them or die, and the ‘racer’ stage is best played… slowly
  41. So a second negative for Boarski’s stage
  42. Highway stage. It’s a running-at-camera with very little reaction time to enemies and a forced auto scroller with the possibility of just getting stunlocked
  43. The Red fight is among the worst bosses in the franchise. Long invulnerability periods, pure randomness which can leave you with literal minutes of being unable to damage him, narrow vuln window when he can be hit, most of his attacks have no telegraphing and he can teleport right onto your face so you literally cannot react quickly enough…
  44. …and so, a second negative
  45. …and a third negative
  46. Boss refights… which are even more nonsensical than usual because we literally just fight them in their arenas again
  47. The final Sigma fight is just kinda weirdly dull (as is usual for the big Sigma bodies), and total bullcrap as Zero… but what really makes it awful is the camera always homing in on Sigma, which can literally make it so you’re jumping blind over bottomless pits
  48. Gameplay animations suck in general, but are also unhelpful in figuring out what is happening where
  49. Backtracking is encouraged (parts, rescues) and irritating
  50. A second camera negative
  51. Core combat sucks. The Z saber is inconsistent with what it hits and is too short range, and it’s too irritating to ‘lock on’ with both X and Axl
  52. Difficulty ‘option’ just changes the health of enemies
  53. Graphics render radius and other graphical issues
  54. Bad itemization. The upgrades are weirdly placed, locked out based on character, and enemies drop far too little
  55. Outro is, as usual, bad. Short boring stages with irritating, frustrating fights
  56. Unskippable cutscenes

Mega Man X 8

This is… a much improvement over X7, but I strongly recommend playing the Collection version with the built in cheats. Some of the stages are just irritating and aggravating. But there rest of it? Some really brilliant stuff here.
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: +17
Cheats: Yes (those stages, my lord)
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 11 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-30-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. The Intro does all it needs to quite well and efficiently, with the Sigma fake-out, the new generation reploids, and the hook with Vile
  2. Doodads are back to their good selves
  3. Visual storytelling is some good stuff as usual
  4. Surprisingly good voice acting throughout
  5. The tidbit about the refights being copy bots delaying you is a nice touch and probably the single best usage of the refights in the entire franchise
  6. External continuity (X’s descent into Templarism, Axl’s prototype nature, Zero’s guilt, Sigma’s plans, and the very concept of the morphing reploids)

Story Negatives:

  1. There’s some weird tidbits of odd dialogue and story disconnect (notably with Zero and Layer’s non-story and X’s weird bloodlust)
  2. The Outro… falls flat pretty hard. Unexplained events, weird excessive monologuing, the SYMBOLISM thing comes in most, and it just feels like a ‘to be continued’

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Good difficulty options
  2. Good cheat selection as usual
  3. Sub tanks
  4. Character swap without irritations
  5. Auto swap on death for one
  6. Intro. Enemies designed around characters, how to play as all three plus giving us a vibe for the double attacks, and good presentation all around
  7. Navigator choices (secret areas, level design, or boss info… or none!)
  8. Bamboo stage (ride armor, multiple paths, ways to keep armor throughout)
  9. Bamboo Pandamonium boss fight (lots of attacks, good variety to styles, even his desperation is neat)
  10. Earthrock Trilobyte stage (the flee from the giant mecha, leading to chasing it, leading to fighting it, and it’s all quick and smooth enough to be enjoyable)
  11. Earthrock Trilobyte boss (has an ‘invuln’ that’s easy to remove, along with a large variety of attacks and some fun mechanics)
  12. Gravity Antonion is a really cool fight, with the whole gravity mechanic
  13. The Gravity Antonion stage has a really cool gimmick and they do some fun stuff with it
  14. The Optic Sunflower boss fight is pretty legit
  15. The Dark Mantis fight was legit, as most of the bosses are
  16. Recovery mechanic in swapping people to allow
  17. Chip upgrades are the usual cool
  18. Armor mix and match is neat for X
  19. Core combat remains legit and is back to being good
  20. Controls are back to being tight and responsive goodness
  21. The graphics fidelity is actually quite legit
  22. Animations and telegraphs on enemies are quite good
  23. Info In Game (chips and armor and how they work)
  24. Music! Legit good music
  25. Decent options for QoL features
  26. Visual distinction is quite good for being a 3D game
  27. Separate and distinct playstyle for Zero…
  28. …and for Axl
  29. Weapon kit for Zero
  30. Weapon kit for Axl
  31. Replayability…
  32. …and a second, for many game systems that encourage replayability
  33. Good NG+ is, as always, a plus
  34. Aggregate: Choice on using lives or restarting stage // Cosmetics in the form of the Navigators as playable // Double attacks

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Checkpoints and the lack thereof
  2. A second negative for checkpoint issues, cuz they interfere with so much
  3. The Avalanche Yeti stage is pretty bad. Long stretches of button mashing and relatively low interest and low offense areas, made much worse by gotcha! traps as well as minibosses with entirely too much health
  4. Burn Rooster’s stage and the unnecessary instant death auto-scroll combined with blind leaps into the oblivion…
  5. …combined with the slow pacing of it and issue with checkpoints, leading to a second negative
  6. Gigabolt Man-O-War’s stage is all kinds of awful. It’s a Star Fox level with none of the tools or kit to make it interesting, and has a timer on top of being legitimately hard to see
  7. A second negative for the Gigabolt stage
  8. The spike room in the Antonion stage is awful and what’s worse is one small change (remove the instant kill spikes, make them ‘merely’ damage) would fix it
  9. Gotcha! returns. In all its glory
  10. A weird fascination with instant death pits and spikes absolutely everywhere
  11. A second negative for the excessive usage of instant death traps everywhere
  12. Boss refights
  13. Improper terrain usage (notably on the gigabolt stage)
  14. So this is a combination problem. Metal farming isn’t awful, but it feels unnecessary, and when combined with the Retry Chip and how they’re mis-used as a Lives replacement, and have to be rebought each time… yechk
  15. The lunar stage can go to hell. No checkpoints, lots of instant kill spikes, and redoing it upon failing on the final bosses
  16. The final boss rush is generally awful. Ignoring the obvious problem of high damage and no breaks, there’s also the giant invulnerability phases all three bosses have, and the fact that they have that ‘boss HP cap’ issue where they just sit there attacking you invuln cuz they hit a certain HP barrier until they’re good and ready
  17. Audio spam and charge audio issues and with Axl’s shooting

Mega Man 1

While a net positive… barely… this game is pretty rough. If you’ve never played it and want to give it a poke it’s worth a playthrough, but otherwise I wouldn’t recommend this one.
Total Story Score: 0
Total Gameplay Score: +2
Cheats: Yes (Iceman)
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 4 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-02-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Bestiary positive
  2. Save system (on the fly save states)
  3. Level design as tutorial
  4. QoL features (CPU toggle, auto-fire)
  5. Rewind feature is, as always, a positive
  6. Fireman’s stage is actually quite well designed, with fair damage output and good layouts
  7. Elecman’s stage is probably the best designed stage in the game. It tells you right up front that it’s hard, there’s multiple paths through, it exposits its challenges before you face them properly, and it has branching design
  8. Core combat
  9. General overall graphics
  10. Music isn’t quite to the heady heights of the later games, but it’s still quite good
  11. Weapons have some flaws (Gutsman and Bombman’s) but the other 4 are generally good, useful, and often have utility (shield with Fire, freeze with Ice, hit in different directions with Elec, and arc with Cut)
  12. Magnet Beam is a great utility platformer helping kit thing
  13. Visual distinction is quite good throughout (with a noteworthy exception of Copy Rock)
  14. Good sound design in general
  15. General level design (Cutman, Bombman)

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Iceman’s stage has multiple issues. Improper tutorialization on spinies, improper tutorialization of Yoko Blocks (first room is unintuitive and has a spiny roamer), RNG on how the floating platforms spawn and issues that can cause, and the bad placement of the Big Eye right at the end…
  2. …leading to a second negative
  3. Iceman himself. He has literally one attack pattern, hits like an absolute truck, is incredibly tight to avoid, and unless you have his weakness takes forever to die
  4. Ninja Gaiden respawns in spades
  5. Bugs and jank. Inconsistent physics, controls, spawn timing, despawning, and of course bosses can kill you after you die
  6. Wily 1. While it starts off good, then you hit the random platform room with instant kill spikes, and after that is the Magnet Beam section which is weirdly designed and is only kept from being worse by virtue of the (small) energy refills that respawn preventing getting soft-locked
  7. Itemization. Enemies almost never drop useful power ups (just points), and the manual placement isn’t the best
  8. Yellow Devil. Memorization, long invuln phases, tiny vulnerability phase, tiny weak point, can miss hitting with Elecman’s weapon despite it being his weakness just due to RNG…
  9. …which is why it gets two negatives
  10. Copy Rock is not a good boss fight. The painful background making it literally difficult to see, the excessive collision damage, ruining what could have been a great idea
  11. CWU-01P is not a well designed fight. It’s almost impossible to dodge in general, while doing a large amount of damage, while being vulnerable to a weapon you only get four shots of (not enough to kill it) which doesn’t respawn after a failed attempt, while taking entirely too little damage from anything else except for Elecman’s weapon (which also destroys the blocks if you start with that)
  12. The difficulty rollercoaster (credit to Hazardous tm) is … exactly as wonky as you’d expect from an early NES game
  13. The boss refights in Wily 4

Innovator:

Stage Select

Mega Man 2

While it has some flaws, I’m legitimately surprised by how good this game is even today. If you haven’t played it, I absolutely recommend it.
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: +21
Cheats: No!
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 4 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-02-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. The Intro, while short and simple, is incredibly effective at setting the mood, scene, and getting you hoyped to play
  2. Visual Storytelling is great in this one
  3. Visual Continuity! Skull Castle, the map, the fall… great stuff
  4. Outro (the final collapse into the pit, the lack of music, the build up of the Alien, the reveal of the hologram)

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Save states
  2. Rewind
  3. QoL features
  4. Music, holy hell
  5. Bestiary
  6. Graphics and spritework
  7. Terrain is clearly designed at all points to improve the experience
  8. Great sound design
  9. Visual distinction
  10. Replayability
  11. Enemy variety in terms of not just enemies, but how they operate
  12. Controls are very tight and set the Megaman standard
  13. Core combat is the usual Megaman goodness
  14. Other than a couple of bumps (Bubbleman’s stage, Quickman’s stage, and Wily 4) the difficulty follows a pretty natural curve upwards
  15. A second positive for music… especially for Wily 1
  16. Quickman’s stage (very well designed, encourages you to be cautious while throwing different styles of navigation threat at you, the screens are designed beautifully)
  17. Quickman (the lunge and arcs combined with his hesitation to let you recover, and his jumps and speed angles being big on responsiveness and reactions)
  18. Good Itemization is back!
  19. Airman’s stage (very well designed jump layouts, always guiding you, and multiple chances to really pace yourself and pause to consider your jumps)
  20. Woodman’s stage (very classic stage design; establish, pay off, and with breather sections)
  21. Good weapon design adding to kit
  22. Good utility kit in the Items
  23. Flashman’s level. Multiple paths, no bullcrap, rewarding difficult sections, and variety of how enemies engage you
  24. Crashman’s level. Lots of build up and pay off (again), and good reward on top of thought out enemy placement
  25. Bubbleman’s stage does good tutorialization on water physics and instant-kill spikes, while also teaching you how you can and should control your jump height
  26. Skull Castle 1: Encouraging variety of Item usage right next to infinite refill spots, great music, and wonderful lead up to and pay off with the Mecha Dragon
  27. Aggregate: Heatman (risk vs. reward in distance to boss thanks to his arc shots rewarding closeness and his charge rewarding distance) // Metalman’s stage isn’t super fun, but it’s still well designed in its ‘encourage you forwards’ flow
  28. Aggregate: Crashman’s boss fight is Metalman’s but with the added pressure of him walking back and forth, and encourages the player to be pro-active // Metalman himself is reasonably well designed, reacting to your attacks and having a symmetry in game design with his stage

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Lazy difficulty (just changes damage and health)
  2. Quickman’s stage (very trial and error, binary difficulty, and exceptionally unforgiving)
  3. Heatman’s stage has a rather unfair yoku blocks section that stretches out too long, is too heavy on memorization, and requires redoing large swaths of the level upon failure due to positioning and checkpointing
  4. Bubbleman’s stage relies far too heavily on instant-death (it’s almost the entire stage), and the initial jumps across the falling platforms are far too tight to be considered acceptable
  5. Wily 4 is… not great. It has gotcha! traps in the form of the invisible pits (with no indicators that you can use Bubble Lead to find them), plenty of instant death hell, and leads into…
  6. …the Boobeams, which are just awful design. Cannot damage with anything but Crash bomb, hard to dodge, hits very hard, also require Crash bomb to damage a bare minimum of two of the barriers, meaning you either deliberately die after ‘setting up’ the arena or do it completely perfectly
  7. Boss refights (with empty, bland rooms to fight them in)

Mega Man 3

So this one surprised me. I figured this game would score much lower, but it wasn’t as bad as I remembered, and still had several really cool elements and stages. A definite recommended for any fan of platforming or Mega Man in general.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +17
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 3 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-03-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Visual storytelling in backgrounds
  2. Doodads work quite well

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Bestiary
  2. Music!
  3. A second positive for just… some absolute bangers
  4. And a third for being one of if not the best soundtrack of the franchise
  5. Animations
  6. Brickwork
  7. Spritework
  8. Enemy variety! Same as 2, lots of good types of attacks and styles
  9. Good save system with save states
  10. Rewind feature
  11. QoL stuff
  12. Itemization is back to the usual good quality, both in drops and in stages
  13. Still some great core combat
  14. Needleman boss (reacts to you, very frenetic but with openings to dodge, and generally fun to fight)
  15. Snakeman’s stage (creative and fun, good minibosses, good variety of challenges and enemies, good terrain design)
  16. Shadowman’s stage (great enemy variety, good gimmicks)
  17. Rush is, as usual, good utility (Coil, which you start with, extending your jump… and of course Jet, which is just incredible)
  18. Sparkman’s boss fight is the other well designed fight; Terrain and multiple types of attacks that vary based on location and style of said attack
  19. Magnetman’s stage (well designed, neat magnet gimmicks, and great enemy designs)
  20. Doc Robot Gemini Man stage is surprisingly well iterated on the base stage’s layout
  21. Wily 3 is quite fun. It has interesting platforming and fun terrain usage
  22. The bosses weaknesses and damage tables are sufficiently spread out to not mandate using their weakness nor forcing you to buster-only
  23. Yellow Devil mk. 2 is essentially the first one but polished to be actually well designed and properly challenging
  24. As per usual for a Megaman game, this game is quite replayable
  25. Great sound design overall
  26. Aggregate: Hardman’s stage // Magnetman’s boss… simple, but well designed

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Bugs. So… so many bugs, some unfinished, some bad, some weird
  2. Boss refights
  3. The weapons are, honestly, some of the worst in the entire franchise. Some weapons are mediocre (Shadow Blades), some are actively bad (Gemini Laser), some are literally bugged (Top Spin), and only one is really an actual good weapon (Magnet Missile)
  4. Doc Robot Needleman’s stage. Checkpoint positioning, lack of design, but what really pushes it over the edge is the ‘pit’ section with non-respawning weapon energy… and it respawns you on top of a weapon energy which you can’t avoid, wasting one refill
  5. Doc Robot. They’re all kind of not really designed (Woodman, Airman…) and you can tell there is a lack of QA in fixing them to be, y’know, right
  6. Inconsistent and actively bad hit and hurt boxes
  7. Checkpoint placement is off or actively bad at times (Doc Robot stages, especially Doc Robot Sparkman, and Wily 2)
  8. The difficulty curve is absolutely all over the place, between regular stages, the Doc Robot stages, and the Wily stages
  9. The Outro is, at best, lacking. One screen before a boss fight with only a handful of attacks, who can be easily circumvented

Mega Man 4

I had few memories of this one, but the polish of actually having full studio support and weight really shows. While it has a few irritations, and it’s a bit mean at times, this is a really, really good Megaman game. Hugely recommended.
Total Story Score: +5
Total Gameplay Score: +30
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 3 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-03-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. The Intro does some good stuff. It gives us actual backstory to the series as a whole, codifies Rock and Roll and their role in things, and gives us the necessary info on the current threat (Cossack) and the new gameplay mechanic (charging)
  2. Doodads are great in this one
  3. Visual storytelling is fantastic as usual
  4. Visual continuity is back with Dr. Cossack’s and Dr. Wily’s stages
  5. Aggregate: The Outro is decent, a bit quick and a bit empty but still well done and with nice symmetry ending on the train // The twist with Cossack and Kalinka is a decent scene

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Save system
  2. Rewind
  3. QoL features
  4. Bestiary
  5. Spritework is excellent
  6. Animations are fantastic
  7. Music is, as always, excellent
  8. Music has some great final dungeon songs
  9. Brickwork is at the point where it’s really getting good
  10. A second general graphics plus
  11. Controls are back to being great, with the slide actually working this time
  12. Core combat remains excellent
  13. Difficulty curve is actually quite good. The 8 stages have nice internal difficulty curves, and then the Cossack stages push it up a notch before hitting the Wily stages
  14. Diveman’s stage (lots of good variety in encounters, enemies, terrain, avoidance, and mini boss)
  15. Diveman’s boss is great, simple but clearly well thought out and rewarding the player for both reaction and preparation
  16. Pharaohman’s stage is quite legit. Very clear design and arcs and enemy placements and it’s just fun
  17. Pharaohman himself is very fun. Once again simple, but the terrain assists the fight and he’s quite fair while still being very challenging
  18. Interface (icons, indicators, clear cut, and easy to select)
  19. Toadman’s stage is great. The variable shove-back in the air, and later on the ground (and shove down), with great escalation of threats
  20. Brightman’s stage. Aside from some jank (possibly caused by the CPU Turbo mode) the stage is really good, with some inventive light / dark mechanics, neat grasshopper sections, and the swing platforms
  21. Drillman’s stage is fun stuff, with lots of thematically appropriate jumps and enemies
  22. Skullman’s stage has some great optional areas, looks cool, and has great jumps
  23. Ringman’s stage has excellent tutorialization, escalation, and wonderful gradient drop gimmicks
  24. Good weapon design all around, with lots of variety and utility
  25. Great kit in the Rush and Items, as per usual
  26. Great enemy variety
  27. Itemization is back to being good again
  28. Cossack 1 is a great example of how to use terrain in favor of the platforming
  29. Cossack 2 could have been awful, but the polish in what is placed where, and the usage of offset but not instant kill platforms helps a lot
  30. Square Machine is a very fun, innovative ‘use the background’ boss
  31. Cossack 3 is legit. It’s an autoscroller, but it uses its gradient rising platforms cleverly
  32. Outro… is just the final fight, but that pod fight (and unique music) is actually quite fun
  33. Very replayable as per usual
  34. Terrain is very much designed at all levels and stages
  35. Great visual distinction

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss refights, made worse by the Wily boss right after
  2. Ninja gaiden enemies are back and a problem
  3. Checkpointing is… weird, with no boss checkpoints in the Cossack levels
  4. Audio spam issues with the health bar
  5. Aggregate: No real info in game on what the W or B is // Toadman is a good boss fight… except you can stunlock him with regular attacks… // Brightman’s stage. It’s got some good concepts but it’s a bit too punishing in its last two sections and can lead to you getting very screwed over by issues related thereto

Mega Man 5

I don’t think anyone is more surprised than I about how well this one reviewed. This is a fantastic Megaman game, with excellent boss design, weapon design, level design, and it’s properly difficult in all the right ways. I wouldn’t recommend starting with this one (anymore), but it easily sits as one of my favorite Megaman games.
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: +38
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 2 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-04-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Intro is fantastic. Great song, great build up, great hook, and designed for recurring players. An excellent cold open
  2. External Continuity
  3. Visual Storytelling
  4. Visual continuity
  5. Doodads are great as per usual

Story Negatives:

  1. The Outro is disappointing at best, pathetic at worst. It’s a simple, two screen ‘to be continued’

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Bestiary
  2. QoL features
  3. Quicksave and load
  4. Rewind
  5. Music is great as always
  6. Music is just great stuff
  7. Interface is informative and useful
  8. Controls are back to the classic standard of excellence
  9. Core combat is tight and amazing as usual
  10. Rush kit is back and great as usual
  11. Spritework! Some of the best in the series
  12. Brickwork! Some of the best in the series
  13. A second general graphics plus
  14. Animations are fantastic
  15. Enemy variety is not just the usual greatness…
  16. …it’s finally at the point where we can give that second positive for it
  17. Weapons are some good, fun stuff, with great reach and great variety
  18. Itemization is back to its usual standard of good, especially in weapon ammo (to encourage weapon utilization)
  19. Gravityman’s stage is one of the better stages in the franchise. Great tutorialization of the concept, great enemy placement, great gimmick which is very tightly executed
  20. Gravityman’s boss is also very fun for how relatively simple it is, expertly using his gravity mechanic in a way to make the fight fun and interesting
  21. Napalman’s stage is simple but fun, good design and good enemy variety, and great visuals
  22. Gyroman’s stage is very fun, lots of creative jumps and good escalation of encounters (vertical attackers over dropping platforms, homing enemies over long jumps)
  23. Starman’s stage is legit. Creative usage of the low gravity mechanic plus cool enemies and smart placements
  24. Crystalman’s stage is gorgeous, has very fun and difficult jumps, and nice enemy utilization and placement
  25. Crystalman boss. He’s another case of ‘simple but fun’, with the vectors of his attacks and his long periods of airborn-ness
  26. Waveman’s stage has great gimmicks (the rider section, the bubble section) and generally tight design
  27. Difficulty curve is very smooth escalation throughout
  28. Darkman 1 stage. Very dense in terms of encounters and enemies, lots of good challenges, only let down by a lackluster boss
  29. Darkman 2 stage. Deceptively challenging, with very tricky and tight jumps throughout
  30. Darkman 3 stage. The platforming, the moving blocks over the pit, great stuff
  31. Wily 1 is an appropriate escalation of difficulty and wonderful in its execution of moving platforms, spikes, and enemies…
  32. Wily 1 boss is legit. You can bypass its gimmick with coil barely or with careful weapon usage, but control of its platforming is on the player which adds a great layer to the fight
  33. Replayability is, as usual, great
  34. Terrain design remains excellent, at all times escalating properly
  35. Sound design is the usual standard of excellence
  36. Visual distinction is fantastic
  37. Aggregate: Aggregate positive for Gravityman’s stage // Napalmman is another example of a simple but enjoyable boss, with attacks designed to encourage or interrupt jumps // Stoneman’s stage doesn’t have much going for it, but what it does have is quite good
  38. Aggregate: Aggregate positive for Waveman’s stage // Darkman 3 boss. First Darkman that’s actually a boss fight, and forces you to actually plan out a bit in addition to having the freeze gimmick // Darkman 4 stage. Short but sweet riddle, and very technically impressive
  39. Aggregate: Aggregate positive for Wily 1 // Aggregate positive for the Wily bosses

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss refights, especially funny since it’s literally just the boss rooms from their stages again

Mega Man 6

So the game doesn’t really do much new (except for the armor pieces) but Mega Man 6 is still a very legit, good Megaman game. In fact I’m adding it to my list of ‘try out first to see if you like it’ titles for Megaman games.
Total Story Score: +3
Total Gameplay Score: +31
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 3 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-04-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Doodad utilization is fantastic
  2. Visual storytelling is better than ever
  3. Visual continuity is back!
  4. Doodads are back

Story Negatives:

  1. The Intro is just lacking. It doesn’t provide a good hook and ties into the whole plot, which is really just filler for the most part, made even worse by seemingly altering the status quo only to end on a to be continued

Gameplay Positives:

  1. QoL features
  2. Bestiary which is useful
  3. Quicksaves
  4. Rewind feature
  5. Windman’s stage. The wind gimmick is neat and the enemy placement is good
  6. Visual distinction is fantastic throughout
  7. Animation is excellent
  8. Spritework is excellent
  9. Brickwork is excellent
  10. The backtracking is ‘enforced’ (because it’s hard to do a route that doesn’t involve it) but the different stage parts and rewards make up for it
  11. One of the best looking 8 bit games, easily earning that second graphics plus
  12. Itemization is still good
  13. Enemy variety is fantastic
  14. Controls remain excellent
  15. Core combat, hell yes
  16. Itemization is good as usual
  17. Music is pretty good across the board
  18. Replayability
  19. Interface is neat and informative as per the last couple of games
  20. Tomahawkman’s stage has excellent enemy placement and some nice branching paths as we go through
  21. Weapon design is pretty decent in this one
  22. Knightman’s stage is legit. Great theming, music, visuals, platforming, and gimmicks
  23. Flameman’s gimmick is great; the stage is harmless until it’s lit on fire then it’s terrifying, and the enemies you knock into the pits to ride over are great
  24. Blizzardman’s stage is great. The submarine section, creative use of breakable blocks and enemies, and fun timing bombs
  25. Enemy variety mk. 2
  26. Sound design is good as usual
  27. Mr. X 3 is finally a return to some proper stage design with great jumping challenges and some nice mean platforming
  28. The jet-pack (and power armor) are a great idea and a wonderful way to add the usual item ‘kit’
  29. Terrain design as per usual
  30. The regular branching paths help add to variety
  31. Aggregate: Centaurman boss // Tomahawkman boss // Knightman boss
  32. Aggregate: Flameman boss // Windman boss // Yamatoman boss
  33. Aggregate: Plantman boss // Blizzardman boss

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss refights!
  2. Aggregate: Seconds in minutes with inconsistent skipping of transformation screen // Wily 1 has a few screens of straight-up gotcha! traps in instant kill spikes

Mega Man 7

Our first Audit Run, and an interesting result. Still not as good as I remember from back in the day, but better than I remember from our last Run. The game still holds up in several ways, and is still very disappointing in others. Definitely still recommended though.
Total Story Score: +5
Total Gameplay Score: +16
Cheats: No!
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 5 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-05-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Intro. Surprisingly good music, recap, establishment, continuity, and style
  2. Visual storytelling
  3. Visual continuity in the Wily stages as usual
  4. Doodad placement is legit in this one
  5. Aggregate: The Robot Museum isn’t much but it’s a nice little touch and, honestly, really horrifying to think about (especially considering Megaman 9) // Additional visual storytelling positive for so many of the stages

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Music
  2. Stages altering based on weapon usage is a great idea, just like it was in X1
  3. Spritework is excellent as usual
  4. The Brickwork and backgrounds are fantastic looking
  5. Easily a second plus for Brickwork and general graphics quality
  6. Animations are really good in this one
  7. …deserving of a second positive
  8. Interface is quite well done overall
  9. Burstman’s stage is one of the better stages in the game. Decent branching, good usage of gimmicks in the water levels, and generally fun
  10. Junkman has several fun combat functions and is interesting in his pattern
  11. Burstman is a really fun fight, even with his weakness you have to juggle a lot going on at once and the usage of bubbles as weapons (to fling you around or drag you into the spikes) is fun
  12. Shademan’s stage is another pretty good one, with a branching path, great theming, and general fun
  13. Freezeman is quite challenging, with a good variety of attacks
  14. The kit in jet, armor, etc. is pretty decent overall
  15. Controls remain the usual quality
  16. Combat is the usual standard
  17. Auto’s Shop itself is a neat idea. The prices aren’t too high, most of the items can be found rather than purchased but it also provides an alternative for acquisition, and it’s a lot better than farming lives or E-tanks
  18. Weapons. While there’s one bleh one (spring) the rest are at least good, with several really good ones (Junk Shield and Slash come to mind)
  19. Wily 3’s top section is awesome, with fun jumps and the moving timer platforms
  20. Enemy variety is fantastic…
  21. …earning a second positive
  22. Good itemization in drops and statics
  23. The QoL features of being able to swap weapons on the fly
  24. Replayability
  25. When it’s not ear injuring, the sound design is quite good
  26. Visual distinction is fantastic
  27. Aggregate: Shademan is pretty simple but still neat with what they did with him // Slashman’s stage isn’t that great, but it is visually enjoyable to move through // Wily 1 is decent, some cool concepts with the rotating platforms
  28. Aggregate: Wily 2 is another good example of some neat sections but just not enough of it to enjoy past a single screen in most cases // Wily Machine mk. 7 is actually quite fun, with tight avoidance and nice coverage on attacks

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss refights
  2. Ninja gaiden problem is back and in spades
  3. The Screen Crunch is pretty bad in this one
  4. Jump design leading to bad terrain utilization
  5. Audio issues with several regular sounds being entirely too piercing
  6. A combination issue of no real indication of where items are, excessive backtracking to either farm or find items in the right order, and general irritation in how relatively ehh they are
  7. Emptiness of stages and pacing issues on several stages
  8. The Gamerizer fight sucks. It’s very slow and long and easy to screw up, he likes to stunlock you and has huge invuln periods and his actions are purely random so he can take forever or hardly any time at all
  9. Wily 3’s bottom section is full of instant death gotcha! traps and other irritations
  10. Wily Capsule mk. 7 can go to hell. It’s actually a decently designed fight… except he only takes damage from four sources total, and the most those can do is 2 damage… otherwise it’s just 1 damage a hit, very very slowly working him down. It turns the fight from an intense and exhilarating fight into a slow gear-check slog
  11. The difficulty curve is wonky as hell, especially considering the final Wily fights
  12. Aggregate: Unskippable cutscenes // Freezeman’s stage is… just lacking and clearly unpolished // The music and slog of selection in Auto’s Shop

Mega Man 8

So there’s a few spikes of irritation (jump, jump, slide, slide) and the story is, honestly, pretty terrible… but underneath that is a surprisingly good game which I enjoyed far more than I thought I would. Definitely worth a play through.
Total Story Score: 0
Total Gameplay Score: +31
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 4 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-05-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Good opening cinematic, with the showcasing of the previous games
  2. Visual storytelling is back, and better than ever…
  3. …leading to a second positive
  4. Visual continuity! Even outside of the Wily stages, you can see how the stages progress as you go (getting further into the factory in Grenademan, the city changing behind you in Frostman, etc.)
  5. Doodad placement is great…
  6. …no, really, it’s amazing
  7. Ridiculously terribly hilarious voice direction

Story Negatives:

  1. Voice Acting is just… awful
  2. The voice acting never really gets better
  3. And the voice direction doesn’t help
  4. The Intro is confusing, badly directed, terribly voiced, and horribly explained
  5. The mid-game cutscene with Duo, Rock, and Wily Tower is… so many levels of bad it’d take a whole paragraph to type it all up
  6. The plot is… not good. So there’s this Evil Energy (™) which is from space which spreads by consuming the evil thoughts and multiplying and so Dr. Wily (who is totes evil) is spreading it across the world… but we can’t do anything about it because of some nonsense so go collect the rest of it
  7. The ending is… bad. False drama, weird voice acting, awkwardness all over the place, weird pacing, bad storyboarding

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Music
  2. Music is just… so smooth, it’s great
  3. Spritework is fantastic
  4. Brickwork is some of the best so far
  5. Animation is truly excellent
  6. Animation deserves special praise
  7. General graphics for all of the above and beyond
  8. The Intro does a lot right very efficiently. We get ideas of how to interact with enemies (outside of killing), branching paths, swimming, bolts, and weapon energy
  9. Nice feature of having a separate button for the weapons
  10. The L and R quickswap for weapons
  11. Weapons are really quite good
  12. The Rush and ball Kit are good fun
  13. Grenademan’s stage is legit. Great build up and escalation of threats, good tutorialization, and fun gimmick of explosive terrain
  14. Grenademan’s boss is quite fun for being a frenetic, fast paced, ‘weaving’ boss
  15. Decent checkpoint placement and the ability to (finally) restart at checkpoints
  16. Clownman’s stage is very inventive and colorful and fun, but what I love most is how it escalates the bell / safe / unsafe mechanic
  17. Clownman’s boss is actually quite fun; with three gimmicks that vary the ‘safe area’ wildly, and good pacing to it
  18. Frostman’s boss is pretty fun, while he has a huge area of attack there’s plenty of methods around him and his attacks don’t hit too hard to be irritating
  19. Tenguman’s stage would be merely ‘okay’ if not for the additional step of making sure you get the ‘bonus’ helpers in the shoot ‘em up sections, which makes it a lot more fun
  20. Tenguman’s boss fight is quite fun, as most of them are, for the same general reasons (high paced and fun)
  21. Aquaman’s stage is quite good as well, with an awesome mid-boss waterfall section and some good usage of underwater sequences
  22. Aquaman’s boss is very fun, despite being one of the simpler bosses he keeps the tempo up and there’s multiple ways to avoid his attacks
  23. Searchman’s stage continues the pattern of excellence in gimmicks
  24. Searchman himself is, of course, quite fun
  25. Despite the frustration, Swordman’s stage is great. Lovely gimmicks, puzzles, and Indiana Jones vibes
  26. Swordsman himself is, as usual, very fun to fight
  27. Astroman has a lot of fun interesting gimmicks, similar to Swordsman’s stage
  28. Astroman himself is quite fun (minus his weakness that ‘had to happen’)
  29. Wily 2 and 3 aren’t that great, but they’re good enough together to warrant a positive
  30. Controls are fantastic as usual
  31. Combat remains excellent as per usual
  32. Enemy variety is great as usual
  33. Enemy variety is the usual excellence worthy of two
  34. Itemization is good as usual
  35. The Outro is overall fun, especially the first Wily Machine
  36. Replayability, as usual
  37. Good sound design other than the audio spam
  38. Terrain design is top notch
  39. Visual distinction is always there
  40. As with 7, Roll’s store remains a good optional way to procure additional mutators and power ups

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss refights
  2. Audio spam…
  3. …audio spam…
  4. Frostman’s stage. Jump, jump, slide, slide
  5. Swordsman’s stage, for all its cleverness and fun, is sufficiently slow paced and very easy to die in, which means it can get very old very fast
  6. Astroman’s stage has the same problem Swordsman’s does; very easy to die and easy to lose large swaths of progress to it
  7. Wily 1’s jump jump slide slide is awful. Between the delay on proper jumps, the ease with which you can screw up, the necessary reflexes and/or memorization, and how long it is, it just becomes tedious and you have to do it all over again if you die at any point on it or game over on the stage
  8. Wily 1 continues its barrage of bleh by having badly designed grapple sections where the grapple positioning is arguably unintuitive and any mistake means death (oh and top it off with a lackluster boss which requires the soccer ball)
  9. The Outro final Capsule fight has the exact same problem 7’s had; just too damned much health (and no out-gearing it this time)

Mega Man 9

INCOMPLETE RUN. This game certainly has its good points. Some creativity and fun bits, especially in 7 of the 8 stages… but it falls apart, hard, at the Wily stages to the point where I actively never want to play it again. Make of that what you will.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +10
Cheats: No (INCOMPLETE)
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 5 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-06-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Plot (legally mandated expiration dates!)
  2. The world building implications and concepts of the mandated expiration dates on the androbots and how accepting everyone is of it just… wow

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. The music in this game is fantastic…
  2. …in fact it’s some of the best in the franchise
  3. Music! A positive just for Flash In The Dark and We’re The Robots
  4. Roll and Auto’s shop is the usual nice optional method of obtaining items
  5. Plugman’s stage actually has proper, intuitive, gradual increase of difficulty in the yoku blocks and remained pretty enjoyable through
  6. Splashwoman’s stage has some fun platforming and the usual interesting escalation of theme
  7. Galaxyman’s stage is one of the better ones, with some neat gimmicks with the grab-and-drags as well as the portal portals
  8. Hornetman’s stage has some fun gimmicks, with the fold-out platforms, collapsing enemies, and pitcher plants that you prompt to progress
  9. The Concreteman fight is one of the better bosses in the game, with a nice, tight pattern that puts all of the impetus on the player
  10. The weapons are a good layout, between the seeking (and grabbing) hornet, the tornado, and the gravity weapon
  11. Animation is some good stuff
  12. Controls remain the usual tight responsiveness
  13. Combat is the usual excellence
  14. Spritework is quite good throughout
  15. Enemy variety remains the standard
  16. Interface is reasonable enough
  17. Wily 3 is legitimately pretty fun. The ‘shoot to move’ gimmick is great and the mimic metools are amusing
  18. Replayable as per the Megaman norm
  19. Protoman mode as a difficulty option is actually pretty good, with variance in how he plays (charge, slide, shots fire differently, huge recoil, double damage, and shield)
  20. Aggregate: Plugman’s fight would be fully enjoyable if he had a bit more complexity to him, but is enjoyable for what he is // Splashwoman has the same fun but simple thing // Hornetman is another good example of a simple but fun boss // Jewelman has a neat gimmick in it

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss refights… boss refights
  2. Checkpoint placement is… iffy at best in this one. It’s not uncommon to reach a lengthy, time consuming segment which involves instant death… die… and have to redo quite a bit of the stage as a consequence
  3. The second checkpoint issue is that the stages are too long for the infrequent checkpoint placement. Two checkpoints per stage works in Megaman 2 because the stages were quite short, here they’re almost twice as long
  4. Tornadoman’s stage is not only simpler and less interesting than the others (with only one neat gimmick) and easily some of the most bullcrap jumps and traps in the series
  5. Tornadoman’s stage gets a second negative for encapsulating all the issues the rest of the game has in one neat package. Bad checkpoints across too long of a stage with too little density or interest to fill it out
  6. No possibility to regroup or refill or buy at the shop in between Wily stages and…
  7. …much worse, no indicator that you have to start the entire castle all over again from scratch if you do so
  8. The final boss fight is one of the worst final boss fights I’ve seen in gaming
  9. It has a very tiny window where it can be hit, you have to bounce the eggs back three times to hit it, and there’s rng with regards to where exactly the eggs will hit
  10. And finally the fight has to be done immediately after the refights, immediately before the other two phases which are much harder (though less bullcrap), and with no possibility of recovery

Mega Man 10

This game is the one I remembered as excellent, and it stands up wonderfully. Great difficulty options, level design, enemy design, boss design. Hugely, hugely recommended.
Total Story Score: +5
Total Gameplay Score: +31
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 5 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-09-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Visual storytelling is back!
  2. Intro! Good hook, good worldbuilding, and Proto is here
  3. Doodads aren’t the best in the series, but are still enjoyable enough and add flavor to several stages
  4. The Outro does a lot with a little; Dr. Wily’s being sick (which is foreshadowed in the previous cutscene and in the boss fight) as well as his escaping and leaving the cure says a lot
  5. Visual continuity is back in stride

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Music is some excellent stuff as usual
  2. A second plus for that awesome music
  3. Really good animations throughout
  4. As usual, great spritework
  5. Proper difficulty settings in the form of Protoman mode
  6. Proper difficulty settings in the form of Easy and Hard Mode (actually changing stage layout and enemy layout) it also shows you the changes in the selection, which is awesome
  7. One final difficulty plus for the fact that you can mix and match characters and difficulty options
  8. Chillman’s stage is legit. Back to good escalation of design themes (the ‘breaking ice’ gimmick) and using it well
  9. Interface is good as usual
  10. Sheepman’s stage is one of the better ones in the franchise. Wonderful escalation and great usage of its two gimmicks, with very clearly defined visual indicators of what and where (the charge on the platforms, the flashing of the tetrises)
  11. Pumpman’s stage is fun, with the usual escalation and deceptively difficult jumps on top of the enemies that both impede and add ice physics, plus a dual path
  12. Nitroman’s stage is awesome, between the vehicles (with multiple methods of stopping them) and the general pace of it
  13. Nitroman’s boss fight is one of the more high paced, fun ones
  14. Commandoman’s stage is pretty fun, with the destructible sand and the sandstorms forming a fun and interesting gimmick
  15. Strikeman’s stage is, of course, quite fun, with the obvious sports theme and the platforms that rise based on interaction
  16. HUD! For the first time there’s multiple key, clear distinctions in the HUD to indicate weapons (and other little details throughout the levels)
  17. Enemy variety is, of course, excellent
  18. Enemy variety positive mk. 2
  19. Solarman’s stage doesn’t really gimmick it up, but coasts by on just being well designed. Good verticality, good placement of obstacles, and some branching
  20. Wily 1 is a great stage. Fun usage of enemies and placement, multiple paths, and…
  21. …the Weapons Archive is a fantastic boss fight, actual thought and effort put into adapting the old bosses into the new game and a much, much better version of Doc Robot
  22. The Crab Pusher was actually a pretty inventive and neat boss, with multiple avenues of attack and how to deal with his attacks
  23. Weapons are some really great variety, with huge utility and angles of attack
  24. Shop is neat, and Itemization is clearly designed around it, but actual thought was put into shop costs and bolt drops
  25. Wily Capsule mk. 10 is a surprisingly fun fight, especially in light of the backdrop (and it’s a separate stage!)
  26. The Wily Machine mk. 10 is also a pretty fun fight, the pirate ship is a fun visual and the attacks have good coverage over each other
  27. Core combat remains good
  28. Controls remain good
  29. QoL features with the weapon select
  30. As per usual for a Megaman game, it is quite replayable in its very nature
  31. Terrain is very well designed in almost every stage (in fact, all but two) to inform and add to the enemy and jump placements
  32. Good visual distinction as usual
  33. Aggregate: Chillman is pretty enjoyable for how simple he is // A second aggregate positive for Sheepman’s stage // Sheepman’s boss fight is pretty fun, just entirely too simple for a full positive
  34. Aggregate: An aggregate additional positive for Nitroman’s stage // Strikeman’s boss is (once again) simple, but fun // General Wily stages (2 and 3)

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss refights… boss refights never change
  2. Ninja gaiden problem is back!
  3. Blademan’s stage is… oddly bad. There’s only one real gimmick which it doesn’t do anything with, and is actively made worse both by its pacing and by the Ninja Gaiden syndrome

Mega Man 11

This game… is awesome. Stages, bosses, weapons, kit, controls, it’s got it all. A hundred percent recommend giving it a shot if you haven’t.
Total Story Score: +8
Total Gameplay Score: +51
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 4 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-10-2021

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Intro. It does a lot to introduce the characters to new players, add more character to Light and Wily for older players, and is generally well presented
  2. Voice acting is pretty legit throughout
  3. The lore tidbits in the Gallery are awesome and help flesh out the world and enemies nicely
  4. Visual storytelling is awesome and…
  5. …just some really great showcasing of the areas and adds to…
  6. …the visual continuity of the stages
  7. The Doodad utilization is…
  8. …some of the best in the entire franchise
  9. Actual, real characterization for Dr. Light and Dr. Wily

Story Negatives:

  1. The Outro with Wily just sort of status-quoing his way away after Light reaches out to him is just discouraging and kinda hurts the game

Gameplay Positives:

  1. The music is just awesome…
  2. …and deserves two positives
  3. Good difficulty options that actually change enemy spawns, enemy attacks, boss patterns, boss attacks, stage layout, item drop rate, and shop prices
  4. The built-in tutorial option to be able to try out moves and weapons freely and infinitely is, as usual, a great feature
  5. The Last Stand system is a fun feature, giving the player one last chance to turn things around if they’re not doing well
  6. The gear system is just generally awesome, but is made even more cool…
  7. …by virtue of the way it seamlessly slides into the game and is (almost) not necessary for playing through the game, as well as the risk/reward heat mechanic that goes with it
  8. QoL features; Quick weapon swap, the ability to exit a stage at launch…
  9. …as well as the right stick selection for weapons, Rush on hotkey
  10. HUD plus for the usual reasons but also for the change in Rock’s visuals so you can immediately tell which weapon you’re on
  11. The interface is, as usual, quite good
  12. Bounceman’s stage is just plain fun, but on top of the great visuals it has the usual good theme escalation of the bounceballs, hands, and launchers
  13. Bounceman’s boss is back to the Megaman 8 quality of boss design, with fast reactions and multiple possible avenues of avoidance and attack
  14. Challenge modes have some great variety and add wonderful replay value
  15. Each boss having a ‘gear mode’ they use on low health really adds to each boss fight in general
  16. Fully charged shots can ‘break’ enemy’s guard
  17. Fuseman’s stage is, once again, great about gimmick, establishment, and escalation and is just fun in general
  18. Fuseman’s boss is, as usual, legit. He’s properly fast and frenetic and fun
  19. Blockman’s stage is awesome, with multiple gimmicks and general fun
  20. Blockman’s boss fight with his multiple desperation moves and entire second form
  21. Tundraman’s stage has some neat stuff (wind) but the real benefit is from the careful and precise placement of platforms and enemies
  22. Tundraman is an awesome fight as usual
  23. Torchman’s stage (while hampered by the checkpoint issue) is still quite fun, with multiple ways to progress (regular, arctic weapon, speed gear)
  24. The Torchman fight is one of the more difficult, brutal fights and it’s awesome
  25. Acidman’s stage and the gradual increase in danger from the acid as enemies lob into it (reminiscent of Flameman’s stage) is awesome
  26. Acidman’s boss fight is just plain fun
  27. Impactman’s stage continues the trend of good layout for jumps and enemies
  28. Impactman’s boss fight is absolutely wonderful in how high intensity it is
  29. Gear Castle 1 is one of the best, hardest stages in the entire series…
  30. …and does it properly, without bullcrap or irritation, but is a true final exam and gives you lots of tools to deal with or bypass
  31. The store has some generally good design to it as usual, with the prices being appropriately set and the unlocks not being too egregious
  32. Weapons are some of the best in the entire franchise…
  33. …made even better by the power gear’s mutator on top of that
  34. Blastman’s stage is one of the better ones, a very fun theme and essentially the same great design Grenademan had back in 8
  35. Blastman’s boss fight is great as usual
  36. Wily 2 is another good Wily stage
  37. The Mawverne fight is a nice, fun one
  38. The Wily Machine and Capsule are really fun fights, some of the better ones (and on brand with the gear thing)
  39. The minibosses are consistently fun and interesting, and usually escalated via terrain
  40. Terrain design is spot on as usual
  41. The animations are excellent…
  42. …and do a good job of informing attacks and angles, especially on bosses
  43. The controls remain the usual standard excellence
  44. Core combat is honestly some of the best in the series…
  45. …deserving of a second positive
  46. Enemy variety is fan freaking tastic…
  47. …easily garnering a second positive
  48. The difficulty curve has a few bumps and pits (Torchman, Wily 1… and then plummeting with Wily 3 and 4) but is still smooth and well presented
  49. The ‘spritework’ is excellent
  50. The ‘brickwork’ is the series’ usual standard of excellence…
  51. …but above and beyond with the sheer number and detail in the background (Tundraman is a perfect example of this)
  52. Sound design is fantastic as usual
  53. Replayability

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss refightssthgifer ssoB
  2. Checkpoint placement plus long stages (the Megaman 9 problem)