Is it worth taking the plunge? (Pun absolutely intended)
Mega Man X DiVE has just concluded its Closed Beta Testing (CBT). As we have mentioned in our previous article, we were lucky enough to be granted access to the CBT. How much of the gameplay was changed to cater to mobile devices? Did the gacha elements defile the game? Read our in-depth look to find out.
Comparing with the old games, this certainly is a step up. The models are changed from the classic 2D to glorious 3D similar to Mega Man 11. The game is rendered at a much higher resolution resulting in sharper and higher quality images. Backgrounds are vibrant and are a sight to behold. Even with all of these changes, the essence of the general art direction is still present so this will likely please fans of the series. Just look at X’s ultimate armor! Truly Ultimate.
Now on to the deciding factor whether or not to play this game. While good looking games are a sight to behold, it isn’t worth playing if the gameplay itself is bland and uninteresting (I’m looking at you The Order: 1886). In this section, we will breakdown the combat and all of the options that can be selected in the main menu as of the CBT.
If you have played a Mega Man X before, then you will already be familiar with how the combat works. However, there were a few changes that might need some getting used to. Since this is a mobile game, the controls use on-screen buttons. On the left side of the screen, you use the analog stick to move your character while the other side has the dedicated jump, dash, weapon attack, and skill buttons. You can execute a wall jump by pressing the jump button while near a wall.
There is also a double jump now which, to my knowledge, was previously not in the original games. This is done by tapping the jump button twice. Dashing can be used either on the ground or in the air but, not after using a double jump. Since it is fairly annoying to quickly press consecutive buttons using a single finger using touch controls, the game compensates by allowing the player to swipe to the next command. This allows for easier chaining of moves (e.g. dash -> jump -> attack). Now, let’s move on to weapon attacks and skills.
Unlike in the main series, attacks can now only be used a certain amount of times, as indicated by the ammo count on the button. After not attacking for a while, a meter will start filling up. Once filled, the number of attacks that can be used is fully replenished. You can think of it as an automatic reload. The weapon can still be used during this period but doing so will reset the meter. If the number reaches zero, you can no longer attack and it will enter a cooldown which forces you to wait until the ammo refills. Fortunately, you have access to a sub-weapon that you can switch to, freely, at any time, which has a separate ammo count and cooldown. Attacks can now be aimed by either using the targeting system or by using manual aim. For the targeting system, the game automatically targets a single enemy (probably the closest one) but you can manually tap enemies to change the target.
Sniping targets that are above or below you are now possible due to this change. Hardcore fans have the option to turn the auto-target off but, by doing so limits the fluidity and ease of targeting enemies vertically while moving. This is because to manually aim, you have to hold down the attack button then move to the desired direction similar to an analog stick. However, in practice, the manual aim feels clunky since there are times when holding down the button doesn’t trigger it, is fairly slow, and imprecise. Although, if you like the additional challenge, go for it. As for the skills, these have an innate cooldown after every use, unlike weapon attacks that can be used at any time (assuming it is not on cooldown). Depleting the charges seems to have a longer waiting time than usual, the difference seems minimal though, but this was just based on our observation.
The green HP bar on the left will decrease whenever you get hit by enemy attacks. You can seemingly come into contact with some enemies without taking damage although we are not sure if this is intended. Enemies also have their own HP bar indicated by a red bar and are depleted by your attacks. All damage numbers are influenced by your level and equipment, so if you want those big damage numbers, you better pump up those stats.
DiVE is the main menu for selecting the game’s four PvE modes. Although, there were only three available in the CBT.
- Story – You get to play the main storyline (duh). The worlds are based on the main series. This is also mentioned by the in-game dialogue between you and the guide character. Each world has six stages to clear with the final one being the boss battle and all of these stages have three stars that can be obtained by completing certain objectives (e.g. complete the stage in less than X minutes). These stars are then used to access the rewards based on the number you’ve collected. Aside from these rewards, obtaining all three stars for a given stage will let you “skip” it. This will be a godsend when the inevitable farming for materials happens. Since you don’t have to waste your time clearing the stage over and over again just to use your energy.
- Co-op – Getting a bit lonely? Grab a friend or some random person and do some co-op. Clearing these levels will grant you armors and/or materials to craft said armors. To unlock this mode, you need to reach level 20. While there is no energy required, there is only a certain amount of times per day that these can be run. Also, you can’t play these without another person, try not to cry solo players.
- Challenge – In the story levels, you can find violet orbs. If you collect enough, you can unlock a challenge level (not sure on the exact amount you need to collect though). This looks like a story boss but with more stats. If there were other variations such as new moves, we did not notice it during the fight with the first challenge boss. However, since this is the CBT, the actual game may still change this. These levels cost energy and only have limited amount of runs per day.
Real-time PvP in a gacha game? You got it! Unleash your inner competitive gamer by battling other players in this game mode. You will have three options to choose from: 1v1 practice, 1v1 ranked, or 3v3.
While it was stated in-game that the stats are adjusted to balance the playing field, we still don’t know by how much. Hopefully, it is similar to the PvP with “compensation: on” of MMORPGs such as Dragon Nest, which allows players to express their skill instead of their wallets.
If you’ve played a gacha game before, you pretty much know this section already. You spend some currency to “pull” characters and weapons, the drop rates of which depend on their rarity.
- Premium Capsules – You can get the available characters and weapons here. If you get a duplicate, it will be converted to a hunter patch or weapon patch, respectively, which can be used in the shop to buy character memories or weapon memories. These patches allow you to essentially craft your preferred character. So, pulling dupes isn’t as devastating as with other gachas.
- Zeny Capsules – Instead of a complete character or weapon, you pull for memories, materials are included in this as well. This is one of the more useful regular summons we have seen in a gacha game.
Free daily pulls are available for both options so you can scratch that summoning itch every day.
Not much to say here. This basically the daily quests and the lifetime achievements of your account. The rewards range from simple experience points to some premium currency.
Ever wondered what it would be like to play Zero but with a buster arm? Yep, that is possible here. Weapons are separate from the characters so you can mix and match as you please. We have a number of different weapon types such as launchers, rifles, swords, etc. Each of these can be enhanced by leveling, upgrading, ranking up, and unlocking skills but are limited or locked to your current account level. Basically, if you’re Lv.7 your weapons can only be upgraded up to that level.
- Level Up – By using exp programs, weapons can be leveled up to increase their overall stats.
- Upgrade – There are five main stats that can be upgraded further: attack (increases damage), crit (not sure if crit rate, crit damage, or both), luck (not sure if this increases drop rates), hit (enemies are less likely to dodge the attack), and hp (increases hp bar). To upgrade, mastery points and zeny are required.
- Rank up – By using weapon memories, you can increase the rank (stars) of the weapon. This enables you to unlock the other skills for the said weapon.
- Skill Up – Unlock skills by using materials that can be gathered throughout the game, these enable passive effects to be activated.
The repository allows you to equip, combine, strengthen, and dismantle armor in the equipment tab. This serves as your inventory to view your stuff such as armor, materials, memories, etc.
One of the aspects of Mega Man games is the ability to use the skills of bosses that you defeat. This game is no exception. It does, however, have a different spin on it. Instead of being able to switch between the boss skills that you have acquired, you use boss “chips” that you acquire from them and equip them in your weapons to activate their effect. These chips are also restricted to certain weapon types.
So, you can only bring a maximum of two boss chips (assuming you have two different types of weapons equipped in your loadout). During combat, the skill is automatically used once you fire your weapon. which will then decrease your meter (located at the right of your HP bar). There is a slight cooldown per use but we are not sure if this will apply to all boss skills. Once it becomes empty, it will enter its cooldown phase similar to weapon attacks and skills.
Tired of playing X? Well, we have good news for you! You can now choose between the available characters that you have unlocked. Some, like Axl, can be unlocked by progressing through the story while others, such as Ultimate Armor X and Vile, needs to be summoned through the premium capsules. Currently, there are eight playable characters. Each character has two unique active skills and a plethora of passive skills. You can customize the active skills further by selecting one of three modifiers that changes their behavior or effects.
The passive skills enhance the unique features of the character. For example, Vile has a Launcher Passive which increases the damage of launcher type weapons. However, similar to the weapons, you need to rank the character up by using memories to unlock some of the skills. Given the amount of customization, it is highly encouraged to experiment with different characters and weapon combinations that suit your playstyle.
Lastly, the final option in the menu is the Lab where you have access to researches.
- Free Research – up to three 80 points of energy and a single weapon memory box can be claimed daily. If already claimed for the day, the energy points can be reacquired by spending some premium currency.
Research Level X – This is basically the crafting system for this game. The list of items changes depending on your research level which is increased by crafting any of the items. Parallel researches are limited to your available number of slots. As of the CBT, there was no way to check the list of items for the other research levels unless you are already at that level. There may be items that can only be obtained through research so when the game is released, be sure to start leveling this up as soon as possible since crafting is done in real-time.
While this certainly is a beautiful rendition of the game, we do have some small caveats, particularly with performance. For those with low to midrange smartphones, you may encounter these issues. Even when using the low resolution option with shadows disabled, a Snapdragon 636 struggled to maintain a smooth experience. This is more evident in later parts (stage 3-1 onward) as the intensity of the stuttering increases. Granted this is not the most powerful mobile processor, it certainly is no slouch. Even with some hectic portions in-game, it still manages to run at around 30 – 60 fps.
So, it’s not like the processor is unable to play the game properly. Dropping framerates and stutters are just annoying and usually point to optimization issues. Also, another point worth mentioning is that there might be signs of memory leaks as prolonged game sessions slow down the game to a crawl, even as far as crashing at one instance. Restarting the game seems to rectify this. We do understand that this is still in CBT. So, hopefully some optimizations can still be done to improve the performance such as the stuttering and framedrops before releasing the final version of the game. That or future patch fixes after launch.
Even with the short period we got to play this game, it was a fun and enjoyable experience. Being able to play different characters with their unique skills and customizing them with different weapons is a blast. Since you can craft memories from your duplicate pulls, you are likely able to use your favorite character and weapon. However, the gacha elements may be a turn off for some people. Particularly the energy system in place. If you’re strictly free-to-play, you are innately at a disadvantage due to the higher time investment compared to paying players to be at the same power level.
We also got the promise of balances during PvP, so paying players aren’t at an immediate advantage. Of course, you can probably do most of the PvE content without having the top tier characters and equipment. It is still a skill-based game after all. If you can overlook / love the gacha stuff and are a fan of Mega Man X then, this is easily recommended for you. Else, give it at least a try when it is released. A free-to-play Mega Man game should still be worth a look.