Capcom’s long-running Mega Man X series has gone over a decade without a new mainline game, but the PC port of Mega Man X Dive is now available and ushers in a new era for the series. While the core game itself is a mobile port, it has been fairly well-optimized for PC play and includes full controller support with both Xinput controllers and direct input. Capcom bringing the game to PC is a fantastic move overall even if it does feel a bit half-baked using the Rockman name for most parts of the game and retaining the Japanese dialogue, but it also feels a bit more unique as a result of those elements.
One great thing about the X series has been its fast and responsive controls, but the lack of multiple angles to shoot foes at has been one downside. X Dive actually improves upon the core gameplay in ways that make it feel more similar to either a Metroid or A.R.E.S. game especially because the player has the ability to use the left stick and attack in any direction. Having keyboard support is also fantastic since some players feel more comfortable using a keyboard to navigate, and with this being a bit more action-heavy than platform-reliant, that makes keyboard-based platforming less of a concern.
The release of the series in various collections has yielded a big improvement in quality-of-life upgrades, whether it’s lessened difficulty or the ability to avoid instant death via spikes, and Dive keeps a lot of that quality-of-life DNA intact by default. It’s nice to see a new Mega Man X game period, let alone one that includes a better quality of life right away than any prior entry. Being able to aim in all directions makes taking out all enemies much easier and having a mobile-centric design does have some perks alongside the downside of not all content being immediately available.
While the origins of the games are in mobile, one big upside to that is mobile games generally have enormous menu text with bright colors and large artwork, and that holds true here. Text is absolutely massive and the bright, white typeface against bolder colors is easy to see. Having the text be so large comes in handy for those who want to skip the voice acting as well and still enables the player to not miss out on any of the dialogue. One big issue that gets in the way of the game being completely accessible is its use of gacha game menus to make everything needlessly confusing for upgrades.
Upgrades are tied to not only a timer, but also a myriad of different currencies of varying usefulness. Players can earn things by playing through stages, but can speed that process up by paying money. The menus are a mixed bag and get bogged down with options when it comes time to upgrade. That’s a good six or seven screens worth of various menus and small icons to see and it’s a pain because things are just scaled up from mobile displays. Having the left stick work as a mouse pointer is nice if pointer controls are accessible for you and makes it easy to use the controller to do everything, although there is no option to increase the size of the pointers.
Control-wise, Mega Man X Dive takes some cues from the modern-day collections and makes the platforming parts less of a burden than before. Stages aren’t quite full 1:1 remakes of X-series games and that results in a design that is more streamlined with far fewer filler screens. The addition of more modern features like a homing attack is welcome and makes the game as a whole a lot more accessible, as does the addition of different kinds of weapons. The blaster is a default, but players can switch between it and a saber ala the Mega Man Zero series at will. Having more weapon variety is fantastic, and it’s thrilling to be able to take out foes with a saber that are close by and switch to a homing blaster to take out flying enemies. One flaw in the homing setup is that it’s tied to a timer, so players have to pick and choose their homing shots and that’s not very user-friendly for someone with a fine-motor impairment.
DIVE’s visual style as a whole evokes Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter on the PSP, only with higher-resolution assets across the board. It’s pretty cool to see areas in a very similar style to that game but with better-quality assets. Seeing Mega Man X2 and X3 stages like this is even neater since those games never got the PSP remake treatment. DIVE’s style very much feels like an alternate universe where we got MMX 2 and 3 content in a 2.5D style, only that presentation would be more self-contained than this is as an online-only experience meant for microtransactions.
DIVE’s usage of series classic songs in a remixed form is nice, and the OST gets the blood pumping, but there is room for improvement across the board for audio. The lack of English voice acting makes it feel rushed to market on PCs, although the English subtitle work is solid and the text is reasonably large. Given that it’s a game that is scaled up from mobile, text size and UI size adjustments would be nice to have.