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Review: Megaman Z/ZX Legacy Collection (Xbox One)By Sandy Wilson At 17.03.2020 12:28

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As ever, Capcom has graced players with another great museum-style title, showcasing the best that the GBA and DS offered to those who loved Megaman. The emulation is nigh-on perfect, and the customisability of the visuals and gameplay assists is great. When this boots up the title track and game selections are slick. It features all kinds of artwork from the series through the menus. The artwork by Toru Nakayama is full of style, and is by far the slickest Megaman game designs, with less bulky armour, and a nice pastel colour palette. After looking through filter and layout options, it's easy to see that Capcom is offering the most sensible options it could. All the games run flawlessly at what is perceivably 60fps at full HD resolutions, which makes it visually the most consistent these have ever been.

First, a word about the Zero series. Originally released on the GameBoy Advanced back in 2002, this series fought its way into the hearts of fans with its well-balanced gameplay, and fair difficulty, something the series would maintain through all four entries. Following on from the X series, Zero is revived by a small resistance force of reploids, who are at threat from a force known as X, and yes naturally the mind jumps to that being X from the aforementioned X series. Obviously each instalment follows up on the previous story with new mysteries and intrigues, and there is a surprising amount of character in the dialogue all the way through.

As mentioned in the intro, Zero has been collected before on the DS, and that version had a variety of quality of life changes, allowing players to max Zero's upgrades right from the go, something that, undoubtedly, more casual players would love to be in this version too - and well… it is. This version incorporates two difficulty modifiers, allowing for more save points in levels, or a casual campaign mode that gives Zero all upgrades from the beginning as with the collection on DS. The new Save Assist feature is an absolute godsend for those who like the challenge, but don't like limited lives. Naturally, these titles are incredibly difficult, but as stated above they aren't unfair in their difficulty.

Zero has a plethora of actions, from dashing and charging to item powers to traverse and fight, and he can even wall-climb by repeatedly wall jumping on the same wall which is very satisfying. Ranged attacks are upgradeable from single shot to burst fire, and Zero has his iconic laser sabre. All four Zero games have incredible level design, with most titles touting a central hub area. These rely on teleporters to travel between mission areas in Zero 2 - 4, but in the first game it goes for a more interconnected world, with the central base hub being the path to each area (though teleporting is still available for most missions), lending the first one in the series a more "metroidvania" feeling, especially with the RPG elements mixed in.

As with most Megaman games, the focus is on the boss fights, and Zero doesn't disappoint with its varied set of humanoid and more robotic enemies, this critic's favourite being the reploid you fight on the sea stage - her design is incredible! There really aren't many negative things to say about the Zero games that aren't ironed out throughout the series. Even from the second entry, it's faster into the action, more complex modes of traversal are available (though the spear grapple thing is still dreadful), and more streamlined with less of the RPG levelling.

Then we come to the ZX games. Here the series takes a few downward steps as well, as a few upward ones. In this series the Zero and X, as well as many other reploids, have been devolved into the 'Biometals.' These Biometals can merge with a host human, who has a specific aptitude and affinity. The most immediate change from the Zero games, is the introduction of a male or female lead character that the player picks as well as fully animated, voiced, and now in remastered in HD cut-scenes. The story in ZX follows couriers delivering biometal to a resistance group of reploids in the forest, including some familiar designs from the Zero series, before the main character in a very anime fashion turns out to be the chosen one.

ZX Advent is basically the same thing, but from the perspective of a Pirate who ends up running into a group with a vested interest in the biometals. Both are fine and the cut-scenes that looked so fuzzy on the DS have been remastered to be very clear, as well as all the voice-acting having been resampled. Neither story is as good as in the Zero series, but they provide just enough to have an intriguing reason to continue playing, and they can be played with the original Japanese voices as well!

The core gameplay is still there with many of Zero's basic traversal abilities coming across into these titles. However, and probably controversially, my preference is when your main character equips the X biometal only, and you get to run and gun as in Megaman X before you merge with the Zero biometal, and become ZX, which switches to a much more melee focussed gameplay style. Being able to actively swap them out would have been pretty epic. Both games feel less focussed and fair than Zero, with a higher number of enemies and obstacles that feel cheaper and harder to avoid, though this is noticeably reduced in the silky and clear presentation of the collection.

Most will enjoy the action romp that ZX and Advent provide, as well as the more story-heavy nature of these two. Both titles now also benefit from Casual mode meaning for the first time players can breeze their way through enjoying the platforming challenges and story without the stress of extreme limitations like low health and lives. The collection allows the players lots of ways to customise their experience, which is key for porting older software. For yours truly, the control mapping for Zero felt wrong, and for the longest time, it seemed like there was no way to change this. It turns out instead of remapping the controls via the collection menu, like you might expect it's actually done per instalment in the in-game menus.

With ZX control remapping is less essential, as the DS featured most of the buttons you find on a controller these days, it didn't really require changing but something about Zero using the A button to shoot and X to jump felt awkward, so it was best to flip these around. It also introduces a new mode for two players or a single player. This mode is Z/ZX Chaser, in which players race to complete levels and become the 'World Champion' in the time trial. Most excitingly, this can be played split-screen in local co-op, which feels reminiscent of the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 multiplayer, and is excellent fun!

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Final Score
A fantastic collection of some of the best Megaman titles! Capcom has given this collection plenty of attention, and really rammed in as many features as possible. Presented in beautiful HD, with loads of display and filter options, and running at a silky smooth frame rate, it ensures players can find something that suits their taste. The new multiplayer, casual mode, and save assist features make this the definitive version of the games. To have [i]Zero[/i] and [i]ZX[/i] recognised and ported to current gen, makes sure they aren't forgotten, and allows new audiences to pick them up and get stuck into probably the best GBA series, and two very fun DS games, on their modern consoles. A fantastic collection, worth a recommendation to anyone in the market for some slick and stylish side-scrolling action.



User Comments
#1 Dragon0085 - on 18.03.2020 at 15:01

This game looks really cool.  So is advent part of the lore or just a side game?

#2 Sandy Wilson - on 18.03.2020 at 21:03

Dragon0085 said:
This game looks really cool.  So is advent part of the lore or just a side game?

Advent is a direct sequel to ZX Smilie It's very good but far from my fav XD

#3 Dragon0085 - on 19.03.2020 at 15:04

I really want this game, you think it will go on sale anytime soon?

#4 Sandy Wilson - on 20.03.2020 at 07:51

Dragon0085 said:
I really want this game, you think it will go on sale anytime soon?

It's possible! Capcom are quite partial to sales these days! Either that or it may join gamepass Smilie

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