I'm finishing my review of the new Mega Man X Collection compilation set for the Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube and I've found that I have one piece of criticism that just doesn't fit into the tone of the review. It's a minor annoyance that's been on my mind for the last few days, and it just seems so trivial to pick at it. Nevertheless, here it is: Mega Man X4 assumes I know Japanese.
Don't get me wrong; the game is translated into English (well, about as much as Capcom translates anything into English, what with bad grammar and extra instances of "the" everywhere), but one aspect of the text that isn't localized is the name of each new attack that Zero gains during his adventure. Mega Man X acquires weapons with names like "Twin Slasher" and "Frost Tower", and since each weapon is assigned to a specific single weapon button, it's easy to shoot the weapon and see just what it does. The game even explains with text after gaining a weapon just what it does.
My problem is with Zero.
Zero doesn't earn weapons, he earns new attack techniques that require varying button presses and control pad movements that differ with each attack. That's fine; in fact, I have more fun playing with Zero's fighting style than I do with Mega Man X. However, Zero's attacks are not translated from the original Japanese. He earns attacks with names like "Shippuga" and "Raijingeki". I have no clue what those mean. The game tells me once how to pull off each move, but then it never shares that information again. That means that if I forget what attack I earned after defeating Storm Owl or how to perform it, I'm stuck. It's very frustrating to be in the middle of what quickly becomes a losing battle against a giant Maverick and know that whatever skill I gained from Slash Beast would help if only I could remember how to do it.
I know I pick on Capcom a lot for spotty localization outside of Japan, and I get that Zero is the pretentious warrior character in the Mega Man X world who learns honorable anime robot combat skills with great style and flair, but I really wish that Mega Man X4 included a way to see those weapon explanations again on demand. Thankfully the information is available on the Internet, but a well-designed game shouldn't force me to look elsewhere for basic attack information.
Stay tuned for my final review of Mega Man X Collection over at AMN in the coming days. It will not be as petty.