In Vent's game, Giro seemed to have a buddy cop relationship with Vent, whereas in Aile's game he seems to play a more prominent guardian figure role. It's interesting how that works out, because Zero, the mentor figure from the Mega Man X series and very much Giro's equivalent in said series, filled both of these roles towards Mega Man X at different points in the series. That said, I prefer Vent's voice for gameplay reasons - Aile's high pitched voice gets a bit annoying. Aile's personality is also portrayed differently from Vent's - Vent is very much a "nice guy" protagonist, your typical saturday morning cartoon hero with a shred of self doubt. Aile is much more forward, even snarky at times, and has more confidence in how she presents herself. While the changes in dialogue are minor, each character certainly adds their own unique flavor to the narrative experience.
|Vent and Aile.|
|The world map as it is presented in-game. Here, it presents itself as a grid. This is more like a vague rendition of the game's actual map, serving as a general overview and indication to what area is where.|
|The actual map looks more like this.|
These quests often involve finding X item from Y area. While they add more depth to the game, as each quest gives you more reason to fully explore each area or revisit areas that you would otherwise leave behind, they can become quite tedious, especially towards the end of the game. By that point you've been doing these sorts of quests over and over again, and the formula of "go here and get this" begins to grate on you. They are all optional, but some of the upgrades for your character can only be gained through side quests, so you'll likely wind up doing quite a few of them.
The music is still amazing. It has such a trance-like vibe to it that I feel sets it apart from the more rock centric X and Zero games. And it's for the game's benefit, too, I think - it fits the less oppressive atmosphere.
Then there's the biometals. I love the biometals. And they mean even more to me now that I know about Harpuia, Leviathan, Fefnir, and Phantom, the characters who serve as the gameplay and story basis for each biometal model. Model H, the Wind Mega Man, is significantly more useful than the other three, and Model L, the Water Mega Man, is barely useful at all, but they're still great fun to use, and it's super cool to be able to basically play as the four guardians from MMZ.
Model X having his double charge shot from X2 is a nice touch for fans of that series, and the fact that Vent/Aile use Model X to merge with the other biometals is a nice nod to the original Mega Man X's role as the prototype model on which all other models are based. I do wish Model ZX wasn't just a slightly modified Zero, however - what's the point of having a "ZX" character when the traces of X are barely visible?
|From left to right: Model X, Z, F, H, L, and P.|
|From left to right: Model FX, HX, LX, and PX.|
|Model ZX, as used by Vent.|
This is, in my opinion, very, very cool. Whereas in the X series, especially in the first Mega Man X, you worked hard to reach your mentor's level, you were always playing as X, even after you caught up to your mentor Zero. As they say, the closer you are to something, the harder it is to see it - rarely is anyone completely aware of their own growth as an individual. Seeing your character from the last game from a third person perspective helps to cement them as the "powerful other," with the new sense of distance painting them as having lived up to their mentor's legacy in a more complete and effective way.
On that note, both Vent and Aile have cooled off a lot since their last appearance, although Vent still retains his nice guy persona and Aile is still a slightly cynical wise cracker. Once again, they cannot exist simultaneously, with Vent appearing in Ashe's game, while Aile appears in Grey's.
|An older, more experienced Vent.|
|The four Mega Men you fight throughout the game. From left to right, Thetis with Model L, Atlas with Model F, Aeolus with Model H, and Siarnaq with Model P.|
I've said many times that I fell in love with Mega Man for the wrong reason, as I'm smitten with its story, world and characters, which are admittedly fairly barebones and cliche in their execution. Starting with the Zero series, however, it appears as if Capcom started putting a little extra effort into the plot and its writing, creating a much more cohesive narrative with clear cut story arcs and characters that have a bit more depth to them. It was a nice treat to see that trend continue with ZX. Unfortunately, the story ends on a massive cliffhanger, one that will likely never be resolved. It's Mega Man Legends 2 all over again. Ah, what I would do for a proper ZX3...
|Prometheus and Pandora return from ZX, and the sequel does much to expand upon their story.|
My only complaint with the models this time around is how Grey/Ashe are constantly shifting back to Model A every time they enter into a cutscene or conversation. This becomes a problem especially after you copy Model ZX, which is almost objectively a superior model, and it becomes troublesome to have to keep switching back to it.
|The only Mega Man game where you can play as each and every boss, final bosses excluded.|
My opinion on the games remains largely the same as it was the first time I played them, which is that they are great games, some of the best Mega Man titles, and fantastic additions to the DS library. I prefer the first ZX, but only by a small margin. I would highly recommend both games, especially as they seem to get overshadowed by their more successful and well known brethren in the Mega Man series.