Also available on Saturn, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Gamecube, Wii U via Virtual Console, 3DS via Virtual Console, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 07/21/2021 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Mega Man X3 is, obviously, the third game in the Mega Man X sub-series, and it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect and want from a sequel to Mega Man X2. I still think the first Mega Man X was the best of this sub-series so far, but X3 definitely brought some much needed improvements over the sub-weapons in X2. That’s not to say that they were bad in X2, but X3 has some seriously cool weapons you can get from bosses.
Graphically, this is pretty in line with the other two Mega Man X games. The biggest changes here are to gameplay mechanics. On the surface, it will look like there haven’t been any major changes, but dig a little deeper, and it’s a different story. Some bosses will either not be fought at all or may be fought in different places depending on how you play the game in certain places. There are optional upgrades hidden throughout the game. Zero even makes his debut as a playable character although how relatively limited the ability to play with him is makes it feel like a little bit of a missed opportunity to me. Still, though, the fact that you can play as him at all was an awesome surprise for me as I think he’s got the coolest design in the series.
One of my issues with Mega Man X2 was that the difficulty seemed a bit skewed with early bosses being brutal without their weakness and easy with it, and the late bosses were just super hard no matter what. X3 is definitely better in that regard. The early bosses were obviously still easy if you had their weakness – that’s the point – but they gave me more of a challenge whereas, with the exception of the final boss, the late game bosses seemed like less dramatic of a difficulty spike. Another point that really impressed me was the story. Mega Man X in general as a sub-series had a more interesting story than the classic series and dug deeper into it, but X3 really nailed it. It’s still not super story-heavy, but the world-building done with Dr. Doppler and the Reploids after the defeat of Sigma and the Mavericks as well as the little bit of character building they did for Mega Man X were a fantastic touch that really pushed my experience to the next level.
I don’t quite think it matched Mega Man X1, but Mega Man X3 is still an absolutely stunning game, and it came pretty close to the first game in my eyes. The level design is fantastic, and there are enough upgrades to find and little ways to change the gameplay experience that it has more replay value in my opinion than the other two Mega man X games. As the last of the four Mega Man games to release on the Super Nintendo (in North America, anyway, and excluding Mega Man Soccer), this is definitely a solid swan song. As with the other two Mega Man X games on the system, it’s been so widely re-released that every gamer has access to it in some way, so I highly recommend giving this a play.