Mega Man X8 is way too frustrating for its few good moments shine through

User Rating: 4 | Mega Man X8 PS2
I love me some Mega Man. Be it classic or X, I have played most of their games and enjoyed most of them. I say most, because although I have mixed feelings towards Mega Man 3 and X6, I can definitely say the worse was yet to come, in the form of Mega Man X8.

GRAPHICS:
The look of this game is definitely the best part about it. The visuals are colorful, polished, and while most of the backgrounds do not particularly stick out, it still a quite nice looking game. 4/5

SOUND:
The music of the game is alright, but unmemorable. I have played quite a lot of this game, and I cannot for the life of me remember most of the tunes of this game. The voice acting, on the other hand, is fantastic. It uses the same voice actors as Command Mission, and they do mostly a fantastic job, definitely a better try than the awfulness that was X7's voice acting. Alia and Axl in particularly stand out, and although Zero may sound a bit too "hip", the voice acting is still great. 3.5/5

GAMEPLAY:
The game is a 2D sidescrolling plataformer. The story follows after X7 but before Command Mission, but since the stories of the games in the series stopped being relevant after X5, I won't bother covering it. Just you know: there is someone doing evl things, there are eight Mavericks to destroy, and a certain recurring villain that just won't die.

The biggest thing this game has going for is the 2D part. It doesn't follow on X7's 3D gameplay that was deeply flawed. At the same time it is good that the game went back to the familiar formula that works, but it is also somwhat shamefull that they went so careful with this one.

To give credit where credit is due, I'll say this: the gameplay itself is good. Quite solid actually. Once again you have to choice of playing as three characters, X, Zero or Axl, and thankfully X is available from the start, and Axl isn't just a lite version of him. Each of the three characters is unique. X can charge his shots, Zero uses the saber, and Axl's pistols where give an upgrade, where now you can just hold the button down to shoot, although you can't move while doing so. Also they all get diferent power ups after defeating the bosses, so there is a bit of variety as how you tackle the levels.

The reploid system from the previous two games has been replaced with a new Metal System. You can collect in every level this sort of currency called Metals, which you can spend on a shop to get usefull upgrades, like more health. You can also equip diferent chips to your characters, with acts as Sub Tanks and other gadgets. This departure from the past really doesn't bother me, and it is well implemented here. Also a much apreciated feature is that you no longer need to have all parts of an armor to get their effects. That was done on the previous three games, and was just an annoyance, definitely glad that they removed it.

What doesn't work in this game is the second thing that made these series so good: the level design. On X8, the developers tried to inovate too much, and add a lot of diferent gameplay styles that just do not work. Out of the eight Maverick stages, only two are the regular run and shoot kind. The others all feature some clunky, boring or uninteresting gimmick. The worst offender is Burn Rooster, whose stage consists of nothing but going down on plataforms, and avoiding getting crushed. And it just goes on and on for forever. Same with with Gigabolt Man-O-War, whose shoot em up stage just drags. Some of it can be alright, like the minigame style of Dark Mantis, but all in all they are just badly designed levels. Even the two regular levels are filled to the brim with annoying spikes and poorly placed enemies, two common ocurrencies on this game.

The bosses themselves are also lacking. While true that the X series was never known for its revolutionary designes, here they feel at their most lazy or just silly, like a freaking sunflower boss. The "main" villain is also silly looking, and does not convey terror or fear, not even on an ominous feel like previous baddies gave.

So, all in all, the level design just ruins this game. While there are some enjoyable moments on the more conventional moments that are not trying to be too diferent, most of the game is just frustrating. 1.5/5

OVERALL:
Mega Man X8 is just a mess. There is a good game burried deep bellow its many flaws, but it is hard to recomend this game, for how unecessarily frustrating it is. Give it a shot out of curiosity, you may even enjoy its quirks, but all in all, this is a big disapointment as the closure of the series.