Mega Man X: Command Mission – Staff Review

Last week I finally picked up Mega Man X: Command Mission (hereafter referred to as XCM) again after quite a long hiatus from the game. The last time, I’d gotten about halfway through and ran into a boss that quite literally could kick my collective Reploid butts four times over. I restarted it due to losing the story after so much time, still not sure if I could enjoy it enough to make it all the way through.

First, a little background. I am one of the biggest Rocktards (Mega Man fans) around. So when I first heard about a Mega Man X RPG, I was excited. I never had much fun with the only other major RPG based on the Mega Man universe and it’s offshoots: Mega Man Battle Network. However, X and it’s offshoots have always been my favorite sub-series of the Mega Man mythos, and thus the idea of an RPG based upon this series made me giggly. RPGs typically have greater stories, and there was plenty of fodder to flesh out in the X series.

Sadly, Capcom decided to take XCM in the “separate story” direction, placing the game’s setting in the future after the events of any of the X platformers, including the then-unreleased X8. This could have turned out well, but they went with basically an extended version of the platformer’s stories. The characters, while believable, are a bit low-dimensional. The main hunters that appear, X, Zero, and Axl, fit their roles as they usually do, with X being the reluctant hero, Zero being the aloof badass, and Axl being the eager new guy. The extras that round out the other character slots are made up of residents of the game’s locale, Giga City. You have a secretive bounty hunter, a ninja girl-bot, a child, and a heavily-armored “hero.” Each gets a chapter or two of the story to develop, but it seems like after said chapters, with the notable exception of the main Maverick Hunters, the rest just fall to the wayside outside of battle. For example, the heavy “hero,” who isn’t quite the hero he makes himself out to be, doesn’t get much screen time after his introductory chapter, which is the second out of 10. So, the story suffers a bit from a lack of character, but really, a super high-quality story isn’t something to expect from a Mega Man game.


The battle system, in which you’ll be spending the majority of your time with the game thanks to it’s slightly too-high encounter rate, helps to make up for the lax storyline. Characters have the typical RPG staples: Statistics that govern damage dealt and received, upgradeable weapons, “armor” in the form of Force Metals that change statistics in various ways, and even a form of MP.

When you start a battle, each character starts with a certain amount of Weapon Energy, which powers the sub-weapons you can use. These sub-weapons range from simple missiles, to elemental warheads, to missiles that deal status attacks, and even special abilities limited to a single character that allow for double attacks, extra money/EXP/Force Metal Energy from enemies, and more. Characters earn WE every turn to a maximum of 100%. Each sub-weapon has a different energy drain, and of course, sub-weapons are optional to use. Regarding Life Energy, it’s restored using Sub-tanks, which allow you to restore 25%, 50%, or 100% to either one character or all characters for differing amounts of Sub-tank energy. There is only one other way to heal yourself reliably, and I’ll describe it later on.

Each character has a unique skill that they can use when their WE equals 50% or more, with more WE allowing for more time to use the skill, or more power allocated to the skill. Examples include: X’s Charge Shot which will hit all baddies and gives a guaranteed critical at 100%, Zero’s requisite fighting moves which you chain together with button combinations for massive damage, and the child’s incredibly useful ability to heal everyone for percentages of Life Energy based on increments of 10% by simply rotating the right analog stick/camera stick.

Finally, every character has what’s called a “Hyper Mode”, which is essentially a state of increased stats, new abilities for some, and a form change. As well, when in hyper mode, characters are immune to status attacks, and any they are currently afflicted with are repaired. The catch is you have limited turns of hyper mode, and the turns do not recharge after battles without using some rarely found items, so they are best used in sticky situations and boss battles. However, it does behoove you to use these as they can help you attain the conditions for a Final Strike. A Final Strike occurs when you have three active party member and deplete an enemy’s remaining Life Energy by around 80% in one turn. A bar on-screen will notify you of how close you come to it. The result is a very devastating attack that will in all likelihood finish off the enemy, a bonus in Force Metal Energy, as well as some bonus Weapon Energy to the character that started the Strike. On bosses, it can result in almost double the EXP that you would normally receive.


Battle difficulty is quite varied, and factors that can influence this are levels, force metals equipped, weapons in use, and which characters are in the current battle. The latter isn’t as big a deal since you can switch any character out for any other at any time with no penalty. I’ve been in random battles that tested my patience only to be followed by a boss that went down without so much as a single hyper mode use. Conversely, some bosses are a major pain in the butt. Incentas, I’m looking at you. As such, some advice: Always use elemental resistance force metals when you have a clue that the boss will use elemental attacks, and never overlook the elemental weapons some characters can get.

Outside of battles, there are a few distractions for you. There are an insane amount of collectibles in the game. From sketches, to music files, to figurines from every chapter, you can collect quite a bit. Some of the items are found in dungeons or in vending machines, but otherwise you must use the Deployment Center. The Deployment Center allows you to take broken mechaniloids, repair them, and send them off to areas you’ve cleared to get items, ranging from the previously mentioned collectibles to weapons, force metals, and even keys that open previously locked (optional) parts of that area. The final distraction that can and will likely benefit you the most is the Force Metal Generator. It allows you to take force metals, either found or bought, and forge new, more powerful ones out of them. You can’t forge every metal in the game, but you can get some hard to find/buy ones earlier than normal using the Generator. It uses the aforementioned Force Metal Energy.

Overall, the 3D graphics are fairly good. The original Hunters all look like themselves, and the new characters have really cool designs. X boasts a new “command” body that looks pretty cool, Zero is his same old red pony-tailed self, and Axl’s… Axl. The game characters are cel-shaded in keeping with the fad at the time of it’s original release, but it works for it well. The generic reploids are kind of generic, but they get the job done of conveying the sense of reploids living in a city. Similarly, the sound is good, with the same old robot-walking noises and classic sounds like the charging X-buster and slashing Z-saber. The music is mostly forgettable, though some pieces are good, and some are almost as catchy as old Mega Man tunes.

Mega Man X: Command Mission is essentially what it advertises: A Mega Man X RPG. The story is on par with the X series, the almost never-boring battles include using special skills that require more than just your standard confirm button pushing, and you even have a boss rematch at the end. Just watch out for the sometimes wild difficulty and the mostly overkill encounter rate. If you’re a fan of the series and are interested in what an X RPG would be like, it’s a worthy purchase, especially now when it’s been out for so long. Just don’t go in expecting Shakespeare.

One Comment

  1. randar23rhenn:

    I must admit that this game was a very guilty pleasure for me. I am not a fan of the mega man games at all, but I thought this one owned. While I don’t disagree with any points raised in this review, I loved this game.

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