Mega Man X Dive, the review of the spin-off for iOS and Android



Capcom relaunches its historic brand on mobile platforms with Mega Man X Dive, let’s see how it went in this review.

We have seen, over the years, how the relationship between historical video game series and mobile platforms can be conflicting to say the least, and the review of Mega Man X Dive just highlights another one of these cases, although the operation of Capcom stands out, if only for a remarkable care put at the service of a project that desperately tries to be a game, rather than a commercial operation. It does not succeed completely, because the basic ultra-simplification made on the gameplay makes this title something clearly different from Mega Man, while being at the same time also a sincere tribute to the series. On the other hand, it is difficult to expect something in line with tradition if it has to be structured to work with a touch screen and be based on the inevitable gacha mechanics, elements physiologically distant light years from Mega Man.

The result is something rather close to Super Mario Run as operation and adaptation, but with the aggravating factor of missing substantially all the basic elements of the traditional gameplay of the series and adding, at the same time, other new features that are completely alien to the classic atmosphere.

There are flashes of Mega Man everywhere, mainly in the reconstruction of the levels (here made in 3D, but very faithful to the original scenarios), in the characters and in some typical situations of the various chapters, but in the heart of the action is difficult to find something of the original gameplay, which was based on the tough challenge, timing and perfect mastery of the controls, all things here largely watered down to get, basically, a completely different experience.

A very strange story

Mega Man X Dive, a gameplay scene

In order to justify collections of characters from historical series with their own chronological sequence, gacha games often defy any logical rules, and Mega Man X Dive is no exception. However, the strangeness here is also married to a nostalgic reenactment that manages to be sympathetic, mitigating the mindless soup effect into something at least close to the player’s memories. The story tells of a random protagonist who, while playing Mega Man X, gets sucked into the screen and finds himself in a place called “Deep Log”, which collects data and files from all the games. Something strange is happening to the Mega Man series, as a worried Rico exhaustively tells us, because someone is replacing game fragments and messing up the order of levels, chapters and bosses for some mysterious reason. It’s up to us to investigate, playing the various chapter fragments and trying to put things back where they belong, meanwhile collecting characters and customizations.

Gameplay between action and collection

In Mega Man X Dive weapons and special abilities can be gained with the gacha system

The game recovers structure and dynamics of the original Mega Man, but in fact empties them of their fundamental characteristics to return a very simplified action shooter. It is still something more challenging than many gacha games devoted to auto-play, but for a series that has always made the high rate of challenge a distinctive feature, this process of watering down is quite upsetting. There remains, at least, the need to dodge shots by jumping or ducking, some platforming elements that force you to jump or stick to the walls and even the presence of bosses in the sign of tradition, but the automatic aiming substantially changes the classic gameplay, in addition to the general simplification in the level design. All this is also a direct effect of the interface, since the controls on the touch screen (well designed, but still uncomfortable compared to a traditional controller) necessarily require to grant a greater margin for error and a lower pace.

The other change of greater magnitude is given by the introduction of the gacha system, which determines a progression of the character can further change the rate of challenge. The ultimate sense of all Mega Man X Dive is the collection of as many characters as possible, to be obtained through the classic evocations that require the investment of in-game currency (and thus lead to micro-transactions). The whole thing then becomes a race to the most powerful weapon and equipment, which can still be applied to any character, making it easier and easier levels with automatic fire and aim.

New aesthetics, but with classical references

In Mega Man X Dive customization is everything

Mega Man X Dive’s graphics are completely redone in 3D, with the game taking on the classic “2.5D” structure now common to many modern action and platformer-style productions. There’s a convincing art direction behind it, leading to an excellent recreation of classic levels and characters despite the abandonment of bitmap always being a bit traumatic for traditionalist gamers. Well supported by a good character design, even the gacha system works because it is a pleasure to immerse themselves in the huge cast of characters that characterizes the various series of Mega Man, always keeping in mind that a game like this must also leverage the fanservice (hence the inevitable waifu with costumes also skimpy, however linked in some way to the lore of the series).

Comment

It can’t be said that Mega Man X Dive isn’t a heartfelt homage to the Capcom series, but the variations imposed in order to fit in the gacha dynamics and make it functional on mobile platforms lead it to be a fundamentally different game from tradition. Compared to other similar operations you can see a remarkable care in the reconstruction of characters and levels, although the charm of the bitmap is quite different, as well as a genuine attempt to maintain gameplay elements close to the classic ones, but the problem is that this is a series historically linked to the skill, timing and precision in movements. If all these elements are depowered, the result is a game that really has nothing to do with Mega Man, while remaining a good homage to the series.

PRO

  • 3D graphics but very close to the original style
  • Something of the classic action has remained in the gameplay
  • Story and characters have something charismatic about them
  • The gameplay is too simplified, even more so for Mega Man
  • Usual negative drifts of the gacha between micro-transactions and grinding
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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