Megaman X8 is a refreshing new chapter after the deceptions of Megaman X6 and Megaman X7.
The game has a lot of stuff to play with and spend time with. You will have the 3 characters known as Maverick Hunters (X; Zero; AXL) from the beginning. You will assembly teams to go to missions and a lot of other stuff I will mention afterwards.
The graphics: This is an area that I wouldnt have changed from Megaman X4-6. 3D graphics dont help this series. One of the things that bothered me the most is the fact that they changed Zero`s hair to a much smaller and girly ponytail. Apart from that, the graphics are not that good considering its a 2005 game (compared to other 3D games of that time). Effects are not that good, but dont get the idea, they are not those "unplayable graphics". The cut scenes are done with the same engine used for the cut scenes in Command Mission using a nice cell shaded CG video.
This is were the game hits the strongest point. After years of games that were not critically loved in the X series, this should have deserved a better score. The gameplay this time is a mix of Megaman X4 with Megaman Zero. Thus you get a really fast paced Megaman that ressembles to the exelent gameplay found in the Zero series. But thats not all. X has the standard 8 boss weapons as usual, since if there is a constant in the Megaman universe its the 8 boss battles and skills. X and AXL are quite similar, only that X will aquire pieces of armor as usual making him stronger. AXL will not be able to launch the special skills charged unlike X, but his weapons can sometimes be more usefull than thos that X has. The real treat in the game comes for people like me that use Zero only. This time around, thanks to the new Metal system (derived from the FM system in Command Mission) characters will be able to obtain upgrades, that were previously obtained differently like saving people and such. This time around, some of them are obtained in the shop from the beginning, and others have to be found in the levels. Now X and AXL will get those upgrades that are common in the series, but Zero, aside from his regular upgrades, will get new weapons. This weapons will let you use Zero in lots of ways and situations making gameplay even more entertaining.
The sound: As usual with Megaman games, music is shortly forgotten, so not too much to say here. Other sounds, the SE, are the same as allways with no new improvement or change so expect a similar experience as in the past. Voice acting is not as good as it was in Command Mission or their Japanese counterpart were actors actually added more flavor to the characters by being more emotional in a sort of way (shouting when needed and such)
As usualwith later Megaman games, the story is normally on the weak side, but considering its a Megaman game, its not bad. It set a prelude to the appearance of new forms later to be called Cyber-Elfs during the Zero episodes. So to those that have played the X universe games included the Zero universe, you will find it somewhat entertaining. But its just another episode in the main story that hasnt been in development since X5.
Megaman X8 really scared me at the beginning. Being a huge fan of Zero the change of look he received totally dissapointed me. But after a few years, I decided to give it a chance, mostly because I had nothing else to play. My my, was I impressed. The demo packed in Command Mission was not impressive and rather dull but the final product, though not graphically changed, it really did impress me. Great gameplay, and giving Zero so much power was more than enough to compensate from the hair style change. Also having special armors for every character, meaning the return of the Black Armor for Zero and the inclusion of a White Armor for AXL addded lots of replayability. That this time works as in Zero episodes were you can restart the game with your previous stuff.