The Mega Man X series is an interesting specimen, as some would argue that Capcom created a perfect game on the very first try, and the series has been all downhill from there. Conversely, many others have their own favorites from latter entries-- even Mega Man X7, which if nothing else is the odd Mega Man out just for its 3D gameplay. Assuming you have loftier aspirations for the series than "just make the first one again," then how would you set about creating the ideal-- the "perfect" Mega Man X game? This is a question pondered over at GameInformer.com, and they have provided their answer here. Throughout this piece, they cherry-pick which games they think had the best examples of X's armor upgrades, Zero, level structure, Mavericks, weapons, and graphic style... as well as some harsh words for Axl and "what not to do" basically being summed up as "Mega Man X7."
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Thanks for the tip, Sinclair!