The plot of Mega Man X7 takes place in the 22nd century, during an age when humans coexist with humanoid robots called "Reploids". As some Reploids participate in violent and destructive crime, a police organization called the "Maverick Hunters" has been established to stamp out this activity. Maverick crime is rising in newly constructed cities. As this new crime wave hits, X retires, tired from the never-ending battles. A new group of vigilantes, Red Alert, is introduced. One of their members, Axl, decides he has had enough of their "murdering" and tries to leave the group. Red, the group's leader, is angered by Axl deserting, and goes on a rampage to get Axl back.
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The hover, walljump and airdash movesets are interesting. I actually think it's a cool moveset - especially in the 3D sections, although of course it's a bit of a bumpy experience. The auto-lock-on that Axl has is great - the implementation here has a bit of strange nuance in how it targets, but the idea of focusing on dodging via hover/dash, and defocusing aiming, is neat. It reminds me of Gunvolt iX and tagging enemies.
It's a Mega Man X game that's filled with a lot of interesting little ideas, even though they're a bit sloppy and you eventually gain too much health by the end and overpower things.
Bosses are a mixed bag. I think they all have cool ideas but whoever was making the calls in terms of implementation/revision kinda messed up. The biggest problems coming to mind are bosses with boring cycles, like Red or the Splash Warfly who have lots of arbitrary times they can't be hit.
Also, one fault in the aiming system for Axl - if we're in a 3D game and we often aim in 3D, then we should expect to be able to shoot the enemy even when they're further into the scene (like Stonekong's fight while on the pillar).
Some kind of lock-on priority system would have been good, too.
I liked Ride Boarski's fight, or the weird spatial conceits of Anteator's fight (even though it quickly becomes ridiculous at the end and you have to cheese to win).
Onion fight's idea of having directional armor that you remove was cool, although it was unclear if I was actually removing that armor or not, and sloppy implementation meant I could ignore this aspect of the fight and still win.
I thought Zero got shortchanged here, he has a lot of delay with attacks and the sword range is really tiny meaning you probably get hit with how the movement works. Still, it was sort of fun to learn how to precisely air dash in front of an enemy without getting hit. There's a lot of weird decisions in this game that are close to being pretty cool, the implementation is just kinda sloppy...
It makes me a little sad that this style of design got dropped after X7 and now we seem to be stuck in an age of endless dodge roll 2D games or sloppy/grindable 2D metroidvanias, or weirdly balanced random 2D roguelikes, but here we are.