Mega Man X7 PlayStation 2 Official Website
Developed by Capcom
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99
Here we have another classic, long running, series that has made the move to the third dimension. As we've said many times before it's a move that is fraught with difficulties and great care has to be taken to retain the same game play as the game had whilst it was 2D. Mega Man is a series that was created to be a side-scroller and in Mega Man X7 we have parts of the game that are played in 3D whilst others are in the classic 2D side-scrolling style. Here it's plain to see how starkly the gameplay contrasts when switching from 2D to 3D. Does it work though?
As with all games based around super heroes the story is one of doom and gloom and its scenario of struggling against the odds to fight the forces of evil. The story is also rather confusing so I'll keep it simple. Basically Mega Man (who is just X this time around) has retired because, as the manual puts it, he has a 'profound inner opposition to violence.' Since his departure the Irregular Hunters have been replaced with the nasty Red Alert Syndicate. The problems begin when Axl, a teenage reploid, defects from the Red Alert Syndicate and wants to join the Irregular Hunters. The Red Alert leader, RED, tries to forcibly take Axl back and as a result war breaks out. It's not going to be the same without Mega Man though, or is it? Maybe he can be tempted back from retirement?
Aside from the 3D levels in the game there are also some other differences from previous Mega Man games. Through the course of the game you'll be able to control three characters, Mega Man, Zero and for the first time Axl. Capcom have also added the ability to swap between the characters mid-mission. Each character has their own special abilities so when faced with a certain enemy it may be advisable to swap your current character so that you can be more effective against the enemy you are currently facing. At the end of each mission, depending on how well you've done and how many reploids you've rescued, you're given the chance to upgrade your characters. The upgrade choices are not to take lightly though as you'll want to make sure your heroes are of sufficient strength for the latter stages of the game. You'll also be able to use vehicles too, in the shape of the Ride Armor and the high speed Ride Chaser.
What might come as a shock to gamers who haven't experienced a Mega Man game before is the difficulty of the game. The difficulty isn't really an increase of previous titles in the series because the previous Mega Man games have all provided a stiff challenge. Nevertheless, compared to a lot of games released in the last few years, which have been dumbed down somewhat to make them more accessible, it initially comes across as difficult. Of course seasoned Mega Man players will be relieved that the series still offers a challenge but newcomers to the series will be in for a steep learning curve.
Mega Man X7 has a cel-shaded anime look about it. It's certainly a look that is becoming popular in the game industry and it's a look that when used well can be extremely effective. The cel-shaded graphics in Mega Man X7 are not up to the standard of those found in The Wind Waker or Viewtiful Joe but they do look good and actually suit the game. We started off the review by commenting on how the Mega Man series has moved from 2D to 3D but actually the game is a bit of a mix as some levels are side-scrolling affairs whilst others are played from a third-person perspective. The 2D levels feel more natural, and are definitely preferable. When the 3D levels are played camera issues do creep in, camera control is really only available in boss fights, and it doesn't feel as intuitive as the side-scrolling parts of the game.
There aren't any problems with Mega Man X7 for deaf gamers. The game is subtitled by default so all the cutscenes and dialogue is shown in text. The cutscenes are shown in a letterbox format with the text being displayed in the lower border. Other speech is displayed in white text, which is framed in an orange dialogue box. The text doesn't wait for you to press a button before progressing but it scrolls at a nice slow speed so the chances are that you'll find it a pleasant speed to read. Tutorial hints are also given during the early phase of the game and rather than being intrusive and occupying the whole of the screen with text, an icon appears asking you to press the select button whenever a tutorial hint is available. The tutorial messages are also given in text.
Mega Man X7 sees the series move away from it's 2D side-scrolling roots to a certain degree and it's a move that it probably didn't need to make. Viewtiful Joe proved that 2D side-scrolling action can indeed be beautiful and still highly appealing. In fact nobody does side-scrolling games better than Capcom, in my opinion. It seems a little strange then that the game wasn't just kept as a 2D side-scrolling Mega Man game. Had this been the case then the game would have been much more appealing. I'm not saying that the game can't work in a 3D environment but it's going to have to be something special to match the 2D experience that we all know and love.
Game Rating: 6.4/10
Mega Man X7 is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde experience. The 2D parts are enjoyable and what you would expect from a Mega Man game. However the 3D parts just don't feel the same, camera issues are a problem, and are below the caliber you expect from such a title.
No problems for deaf gamers.