Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Where Did Ryuusei Go Wrong?

It's no mystery the Ryuusei/Shooting Star series isn't nearly as successful as its predecessor both commercially and critically, but why? Why is the series looked down upon and ridiculed by so many? As I see it there is one big reason: Long time EXE fans were turned off by the restrictive, overly simplified battle system.

The EXE games contained a very complex, tactic like system where one could utilize Battle Chip "codes" to create unique play styles. This system offered a broad range of depth and variety with limitless combinations. In addition, players were free to utilize a 3x6 grid to avoid attacks or execute specific strategies for the kill.

Unfortunately, SSR stripped the player of these mechanics by limiting one's movement to a single row and disposing of the Battle Chip code system in favor of the overly simplified "color coded" system. Sure, the system can be viewed as a bit more accessible than the coded system, but to EXE veterans, it was a a huge step down from the variety and depth of the former.

Thankfully, SSR3 introduced a few new bells and whistles to make the battle system a little more complex, however it still doesn't hold a candle to that of its predecessors'.

That said, where do you believe the series fell short? Why could have Capcom done to make the series better?


  1. I think they also mishandled a few things in this future universe. The matter waves in particular bugged me. It seemed like too much of an ingenious invention that would have had WAY more applications and would make the way people lived entirely different. I also disliked that they were given personalities.

    Also, I just thought the EXE designs were better. The clean, straightforward designs of navis (and people) just seemed better to me than the odd "FM-ian" designs. (The entire FM-ian thing bugged me.) Plus the fact that I liked the man suffix names better than the weird RnR ones like Wolf Forest. O_o

    EXE was more plausible, and appealed to my computer nerdy side. RnR just seemed like any other Japanese monsters 'n' good guys game with weird designs and names. EXE was unique in that it had navis, RnR was just another one of those henshin series, and the intelligent FM-ians and the ability to fuse just seemed off.

    I liked how they developed the characters in EXE better, and I liked the actual characters themselves better. The storylines were far more interesting and the overall quality of the EXE games was genius.

    Then the obvious gameplay issues that were mentioned. This entire series was just botched.

    I could go on for days.

  2. Rockman.exe just pwned. RnR... meh it was cool but near as cool.

  3. (This is Anon) BTW, thanks Protodude for giving me a chance to vent that. ^_^

  4. It seems odd but somehow the idea of navis and the whole exe universe was just cooler than the fmians and the ssr universe. I agree with a lot of what anon said.

    The gameplay was one of the biggest factors though.

  5. About the Matter Waves having personalities, Anonymous. It's almost the same as the Net Navis, what did you expect from the successor of EXE?

    I'm pretty sure the battle system was what turned the EXE fans away from Ryuusei.

    I like Ryuusei, a bit more than the EXE series, but I gotta admit that the battle system could've been better. The series could've been much harder, with only one row to move in and implementing the shield move. The only problem was that the attacks were predictable and it always came slow, you had time to move or block and still have time left over to sneak in an attack.

    The battle system was also perfect for strategy, but it was too easy and it wasn't implemented well into SSR3, and by that time it was too late.

    The whole transformation thing I liked. Sure it was similar to the Henshin series, but it worked. I liked seeing Subaru/Geo fusing with War Roc/Omega-Xis to become Rockman/Megaman.

    And personally I prefer the actual character doing the fighting than say launch your Navi program to do the fighting and pretending to be worried.

    Another thing that probably turned them off was the heavy dedication to friendship to the storylines. Yes, it has been played in EXE before, but in Ryuusei it had too much mushy friendship speeches, which by now is a cliche in Japan. Personally it didn't bother me, but it probably did to others. (Which BTW, I disagree with your opinion about the plot and settings, Anonymous).

    All in all, the series had potential and it wasn't tapped into until SSR3, and even then it still has potential to get better. The only question would be if Capcom could actually do it for SSR4 (That is if they're actually going to continue it).

    I'm sad to see Ryuusei go, but if when I get SSR3 this August and enjoy its improvements a lot, I can be a bit happy that it at least went out with a bang just like EXE with EXE6.

  6. Bullshit, first guy!
    It's the X/Zero/ZX syndrome!

    X had 8, Zero 4, ZX 2!
    Battle Network had 6, SSR 3!

    Sequels so big they warrant a new ID (BN to SSR) get half the titles! Every time unless the half would be less than 2!

  7. I know I can't speak for everyone on this one but, as an art fanatic, good art and design is often a necessity in attracting fan attention. Now comparing Star Force to the other Mega Man series, the art is fine. The official art is nice looking, the graphics are cute, it even went far enough to include some 3d stuff, but the actual designs are just atrocious. I actually played the first two games and enjoyed them but I was always bothered by the characters. Comparing characters like Zack Temple and Luna Platz to any of our previous heroes, they just can't match up. No matter how you look at it, they're generically designed schoolkids with no real personality or feats. I never even finished a Battle Network game, but I always loved the art and characters. I know Lan was just a schoolkid too but he had some character and a decent design. and he could kick Geo's ass any day. There's also the fact that SF had no references to past series aside from the main character being called Mega Man. I mean, what the hell happened? Battle Network was filled with that crap, everyone was named after someone else, but in SF, everyone has some stupid ass name based on a planet or a constellation or other uncool things.

  8. Kenichi: It didn't seem fitting that they were "alive" and talked. An AI program naturally should have a personality. :P The mushy stuff was also annoying. Also, I find myself disliking Warrock. His design, personality... all of it. :\

    And Subaru's clothes were ugly. XD

  9. I agree with Shawn and Anon1. The designs of the ryusei series just weren't as good as exe's.

    There's nothing that says there won't be a ryusei4 though.

  10. One thing I want.

    One thing that Ryuusei did right though was character development. The first game was awesome because of it and I grew attached to the characters. Something that EXE didn't do for me.

    The first Ryuusei was pretty good for what it did, the story and the system. I was honestly impressed that they made the genre fresh again. The bosses were actually hard (At first). And the gameplay was exciting for me with the limited movement and addition to the shield.

    Sadly though they did more of the same with Ryuusei 2, nothing new was added. It was probably that that drove the series even further down the negative side of gamers' opinions. Didn't liked the second one more than the first one.

    Well that and what I said in my first comment.

    IMO the first Ryuusei stands as being the best in the Ryuusei series. I'll see how Ryuusei 3 will fare with me when I get it this August.

  11. I can see Kenichi's point that transforming and doing battle is better than launching the navi and pretending to be worried... but I don't quite agree with it. It seems a bit piddly.

    Reminds me of my comment ages ago that related Wily going to get coffee while he waited for Netto to destroy his plans. XD

    But I tend to ignore it for some reason. You're pretending to be the protagonist either way. And it sounds cheesy, but I always got into Rockman being a person rather than a navi. It never seemed like a big deal to me and I tend to downsize it when I rag on SSR's faults. XD

    At any rate, both series' seem as though they may be in the hole, so... what does it matter? :|

  12. Haha, I thought the exact opposite, Kenichi. I thought SSR's characters and development were horrible, and EXE's were great. :P

    I must be prejudiced or something, since you're obviously a genius whose views can't be argued with. (kidding XD)

  13. Also agreed on the issue of the battle system. At the end of the day though it had its high points it basically felt like they were saying, "Let's make something in 3D." Only... not. If they had taken the time to make a battle system that actually utilized the 3D, it would've been much better.

    I liked Ryuusei. I liked the characters and the setting and the story. I liked the anime (I even helped sub it), but I have to agree with some of the criticisms here. Ryuusei 2 was basically the series' epitome of "more of the same" - there was virtually nothing added to the gameplay, and the story took a hit as well. (Don't remind me of the 'tickling' scene with Condor Geograph. Just don't.)

    Ryuusei 3 managed to help the gameplay and story, but the damage had been done. It's telling that the anime was (most likely) canceled in the middle of Tribe. The sales, while decent, aren't near EXE or Ryuusei 1/2's levels, and so I won't be surprised at all if RnR3 is the series' end. It's just not as viable for Capcom.

    I'd be happy if it continued, but at this point I get the feeling the most I can hope for is that the game(s?) they've been hinting at have more than one Rockman series, and Ryuusei is represented.

  14. The series lacke any real inovation until game three aside from the brother band system. First they used the same sprites from the real world as they did in Exe. They should have made the entier game in 3d.

    Too much friendship. It was ok with the first game but the second one was still trying to shove the whole cherish the power of friendship thing down our throats and it got stale.

    Compared to Exe RnR just seems to childish. In Exe characters were kidnapped, killed and tortured.In RnR the villians arent all that evil (unless you count there anime counterparts). The most evil act in the RnR series so far is when Luna merges with ophica and tries to kill her parents.

    The improvements of RnR 3 were just too little to late. Don't get me wrong I'd love to see a RnR 4 but the series really needs to grow up before that happens.

    That an I think Black Joker and Crimson Ace would have been titles for RnR 3. Black Joker just sounds more bad ass.

  15. Ah, someone stole my comment. SSR was too kiddified. EXE had a more serious and almost realistic feel about it. It's hard to explain why I like it better...

  16. I love ryusei! I wouldn't change one thing about it.

  17. The battle system aggravates me, and the character designs are to my eyes atrocious. Those factors alone would have killed the series for me personally.

    But the overwhelming factor, frankly, is the entire FMian concept. As soon as Capcom went the alien route, RnR lost the human / human technology factor that has been a part of Rockman since the beginning.

    It might have made a passable science fiction game, but it's not Rockman.

  18. On the subject of character development, the EXE series was certainly inferior. The characters either served as static archetypes -- Such as Dex, Yai, Dr. Regal, etc... or they were vague and their personality shifted from game to game for no reason. Examples include Lan himself, Bass, and a few others. Only a few characters actually had their backgrounds and motives explored (such as Chaud in BN3).

    Wily himself is a dynamic (and interesting) character, but there are still some strange, unexplained leaps in his character (Such as going from BN5 to BN6).

    You'll note that I don't use their Japanese names -- after all, I haven't played the EXE games in their original japanese form. Thus, I will admit that some of the poorly established characterization that I speak of might be explained by poor translation.


    In any case, I agree with the idea that the biggest marketing flaw with the RnR series is the character design. We all have to admit that one of the largest demographics for Rockman players is the child-to-preteen area, and I'm sure many of the children who had come to identify with Rockman's EXE incarnation found the new Rockman to be ugly in comparison. Quite simply, they didn't want their Rockman to have a pink visor and cone-spiked hair.

    A similar issue was present in ZXA -- Sure, Zero was popular enough to carry the 4 zero games and ZX (Though they didn't sell nearly as well as the Blue Bomber titles), but who (or what) did ZXA have on the cover? Capcom was foolish to think that spending more money on a game would directly convert into more profit. It's the person on the cover that counts, sadly; and no one cared for what they saw.

    Back on RnR, the older gamers (who wouldn't be quite as worried about the new art) didn't buy into the simplified battle system. Thus, you have a failed game (or three).

    That's my diagnosis.

  19. They could've not made the series at all and just gone ahead and made a MegaMan Powered Up 2 and Maverick Hunter X2.

    They could've done that.

  20. It was too futuristic. You know, that big transer had a retro-look and... the card system working that way, of sliding? Quite advanced if you compare with battle chips to slot it, right? Nope. Transers were replaced as soon as possible, with some more "modern" device. Meh. :)

    The "denpa-henkan" was a way to replace the persistent cross fusion. Well, the idea would sound more consistent, but it failed somewhat. The wave world is basically an unlimited dimensional area, plus a replacement of the cyberworld, since cyberworld' battles were quite rare with the advent of cross fusion. I can call that a natural evolution from EXE.

    The friendship wasn't the same. Too boring if you ask me, argh. Plus, the "chosen ones" were complete FM-ians hosts only, with forced Wave Changes (Denpa-Henkan).

    You cannot take conclusions from the game-side only. I'm looking both, but the anime-side is the main thing. Capcom was really out of ideas with Tribe - the new chars were... strange... folkloric, weird.

    Anyway, you see... "natural changes" for a "natural premature end". :(

  21. It's a generic knock off with a really unappealing look. Might as well be Digimon.

  22. Consensus seems to be the character (art) designs and battle system, and I agree. Taichara put it well: The designs to my eye, are atrocious. Fabiano also had a point with the future devices not being futury. It's hard to tackle any series that's supposed to take place in the future. The FM-ian thing was just about the worst idea that could be come up with for a waveworld-centered Rockman. It almost seemed like they put n00bs on the design team, even though a lot of them were from the EXE team.

    EXE just had a certain charm...

    I have to disagree with the EXE character development being inferior though. I'd say the character developments of the two series were about on par. (I am partial to the EXE characters, but that's unrelated.)

  23. I like Star Force as much or more than Battle Network. That is, up to having just way too many random battles in Star Force 2. But I love the battle system, too...

    ...even if I did get my tail handed to me in the tournament at Otakon.

    ben.> I don't think the existence of one had any bearing on the other. MHX and MMPU failed due to being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    --LBD "Nytetrayn"

  24. I got to admit, I played the SSR games because they're Megaman games. I had to learn to enjoy them, same with the Exe games actually.

    The art is one thing. Geo has terrible design and while I thought they couldn't do much worse than Dex and Yai as sidekicks, they did with Bud and Luna. Also the design of the Matter waves was just too child like, I mean skis with eyes and a mouth that talk about being brothers, come on.
    Look at the bad guys in SSR, no evil scientist like Wily, Regal or Orihime but a bunch of grownups playing dress up and making card references.
    The personality of Geo took huge jumps, in the first game he's a depressed emo kid who can't get over his father being missing, in the second game he's cheerful and his father is hardly mentioned at all except for the ending, in the third he's a bit between the two after his father gets mentioned.

    The story was just all over the place and not even slightly believable anymore. The story of Exe sounds plausible. Look at Second Life, it's a huge online world, give people a PDA like device, the ability to use it anywhere and a personality to their avatar, add in cyber terrorism and you got the basic story for Exe. I can buy that.
    Then look at SSR, aliens that require specific people they can fuse with (coincidently all your friends), people being completely unaware of the Wave world in the first game except for a few, only Geo being able to see and use the wave world, people give you battle cards but what are battle cards for anyway, regular people can't use them. The story of the first SSR wasn't too bad but then it started getting crazy.
    Creatures identical to the aliens but from an ancient civilization, make that 4 ancient civilizations (Mu, Berserk, Dinosaur, Shinobi), pretty much anything that can be created out of thin air, a survivor of a race extinct for thousands of years, tents with a personality, the list goes on and on.
    Because of the 3 OOParts, we know there were 3 races and that they fought each other, then there's Mu, a 4th civilization. It just felt like 2 different storylines with the 3 civilizations thrown in there as an excuse for a transformation. When Lan & co were locked somewhere, someone (anyone) could send their navi in a machine to unlock a door. In SSR only Geo was able to do this, what would normal people do in that scenario? In fact I often wondered, why go to the wave world in the first place, use a Matter Wave to create a key that opens the door, if you can create a car then a key shouldn't be a problem. Luna arguing about letting her best friends sleep in the same room as her because she's afraid they might peek, meanwhile she's sleeping in a tent with eyes and a personality with possibly the ability to record and send streaming video of her sleeping to anyone in the world for all we know. It just seemed that for a world where everything can be created out of thin air, people lived a life that is much too normal.

    Take a look at who you play as in Megaman games:
    You're a converted household robot fighting newer battle robots, you're an old robot fighting robots capable of mass destruction, you're a century old robot fighting a corrupted government with an endless army of powerful machine warriors, you're a kid with powers fighting a huge corporation or someone inside the government, you're an average schoolboy who likes the internet getting in the middle of cyber terrorism attacks.
    Then there's SSR, you're a boy getting approached by an alien, fuse with him, are able to do things no one else can do under a secret identity and become adored by your clueless friends.
    In SSR, you are special, you can do things no one else can and you are basicly a superhero from the start. In any other Mega Man game, be it original timeline or Exe timeline, you start as the underdog (storywise) and have to work your way up.

    As for the gameplay, Protodude said most of it. The overworld is exactly the same as the Exe games but the bad stories ruin some parts. The battles are too simplified, enemies can move around on the entire field as they please, you're stuck on the back row like a sitting duck with a shield waiting to be attacked.
    After Souls and Crosses in the last Exe games, the transformations in SSR 1 & 2 felt lacking, the Noise changes in 3 make up for that.

    Oh well, I liked playing the games and I will continue to play them if more of them come out but only because they are Megaman games.

  25. The whole thing seemed kinda, I dunno, Sailor Moonish. And they overdid it with the freindship thing. Half the time I wanted to skip the cutscenes.

    Well, Capcom, your third Star Force is made. What say you make that ZX3 now?

  26. Honestly, nothing. I enjoyed the RnR series a hell of a lot more than I ever did Battle Network. I think most of the BN fans were pissed and bitter at Capcom to see BN end, and so they chose to immediately hate Ryuusei. RnR was a much more unique, interesting series than Battle Network. It was nice to have some interesting bosses instead of the typical (random word) Man. I also found Ryuusei to be a bit more believable. Even aliens from another planet and ancient UMAs being able to fuse with humans seems more likely than a world where an evil guy can be standing two feet in front of you; but instead of just slugging him or vice versa, you send your AI into the net to fight his AI. Wha?

    Ryuusei had a spectacular design, through and through. There was a lot more comedy, the story was more mature, (About time, too. If I had one more dumbed-down, kiddy-fied Battle Network script, I was going to hurl.) and overall, Ryuusei was a better series. As to why it sold so horribly, my only hypothesis is that many of the BN fans boycotted it.

  27. I would like to say one thing

  28. @Hiroki: How could you think EXE was more kiddified that RnR? O_o It was horribly the opposite. I think I'd hurl if I had to play another friendship-centered RnR with the cheesiest comedy you can get. At times EXE was a bit cheesy, but nowhere near RnR's level.

    I tried to love RnR, heck when it first came out I was excited they were replacing EXE. We didn't boycott it, it just wasn't as good. :P

    I've already posted my opinions on it, but snap was able to put into words a lot of things I forgot.

  29. I admit that it's a bit weird that they sent navis in and waited around the real world, but a lot of times the real bad guy wasn't two feet in front of you, and when it was, it was usually Wily, who's too old and dramatic to do anything like slugging the hero. XD That's just part of games, a lot of times when you have to fight the bad guys, things like shooting them with a gun or something practical like that doesn't happen. RnR had plenty of things like that.

    There's no WAY RnR seemed like it could be more realistic. Come one, Fusing with aliens? :P It was not a more interesting series, and it felt really generic.

    Spectacular design. XD More mature comedy. XD Better boss names. XD

  30. A couple things I found wrong with it:
    There's no REAL Rockman. Rockman has always been a single program inside of some machine.
    Classic, X, Zero (Kinda), ZX, and DASH he was in a robot body.
    EXE he was in a server type thing.
    RnR he was an alien and a human. Which broke the chain of both Rockman being ONE and him being in a machine.

  31. The simple transition of "x amount of years later" doesn't always work from a writing standpoint. In Mega Man X, sure, 100 years have passed, but so what? Sigma and his 8 freaking mavericks are on the loose and reploids just happen to be better than robot masters! In Starforce its "200 years later, the world is ---" Well? They go into explaining everything with agonizing detail, in every game, wasting time I could be using for blowing up stuff. It was so obviously just a reboot of their formula that you could taste it. I don't really care about the concepts introduced into the game, as long as they're interesting, and not shoehorned(like they were, coincidentally)

    Same plotlines of EXE(Right down to killer meteors and being trapped in the class room)
    Same character dynamic of EXE(Rich girl, fat guy, little smart kid, love interest, done!)

    I will admit that Starforce was alot more aesthetically pleasing(The surreal look you get when you make Subaru put on the glasses is beautifully rendered)

    Now, the battle system.
    It was boring. Mega Man shoots automatically, charges automatically, and homes-in for all of his attacks automatically. You can get every battle down to a monotonous rhythm within 15 minutes. To make this worse, they use the long standing tradition of RANDOM BATTLES. which would be fine if I was leveling up... which I'm not.

    The game is advanced through fetch quests. "Go perform this mundane task!" "Great, you did it, now do it 3 more times at increased difficulty!"

    Anyone else get the feeling that each of the 3 games were independent?

    In short: Copying the same formula works for action packed platformes, but not 30 hour long JRPGs/

  32. The thing that bugged me most was that it was based on Sentai/Metal Hero shows. It's fine and all, but really you kind of take the "mega" out of mega man when he's just some random kid with magic powers.(same to ZX)

  33. JunkManSP> Except they weren't really random, they were chosen.

    --LBD "Nytetrayn"

  34. >Nytetrayn

    You've got me there, but when I played through the Star Force games, I couldn't shake the feeling that either Omega-Xis, or Geo could be completely removed from the story without compromising the games' integrity at all. There are times when Geo seems like a seat filler(You could say the same for any of the EXE kids, I guess)

    >The story was just all over the place and not even slightly believable anymore

    This I don't agree with. Not to say we'll have FM waves doing our laundry someday or anything. Like any other Mega Man series, this is a work of science fantasy, not science fiction. Talking energy beings from beyond the stars are just as likely as light-weight, humanoid blue robot who shoots bullets of solar energy at other similar robots with names like "Top Man". You have to take this stuff with a grain of salt, it's for kids, remember?

    I do agree that the plot was all over the place. Each game seemed to have a different writer.

    >but the actual designs are just atrocious.

    I liked the 50's sci-fi feel they achieved with all of the superfluous antennae and satellites on everything. The FM-ians were a little cheap, though. I'm sure they could've done better than "Flames vaguely shaped like something with maybe some metal sticking out"

    >meanwhile she's sleeping in a tent with eyes and a personality with possibly the ability to record and send streaming video of her sleeping to anyone in the world for all we know.

    I lol'd

    Anyway, to make the game better, they could have done more to distinguish it from the EXE series.

    >I admit that it's a bit weird that they sent navis in and waited around the real world

    They were better about this in the earlier games. Match would leave Fire Man in Lan's house, while you take him on without even contacting Match, for example.

  35. Someone else probably said this in some way, but what really did it for me was the fact that Battle Network was a bit more plausible, (aside from BN4 with the whole asteroid from space coming for judgement, thing,) and just seemed like more of a sensical story, to me. RnR was more blown out of proportion as far as realism goes. I mean, with the whole cyberworld and netnavi thing, you could easily make some kind of MMORPG out of it all and it'd be possible to have experiences similar to what happened in the game, but with RnR, there's no way any of that could be done practically. Wave worlds and aliens and stuff.

    However, I'd like RnR better if they'd either stayed more with the Battle Network battle system, or made up something new, 'cause I don't normally go for things that are halfway good or bad. (Or overly restricted, or overly simplified, in this case.)

  36. In my opinion, SF is compared too much to EXE. Sure, it's the sequel to EXE, but it ISN'T EXE. The battle system may be different and simplified, but it's a different series. And if they preffer EXE's system they should keep playing EXE and not complain about StarForce not being it.

  37. SSR3

  38. I want to play EXE series rather than to play ryuusei series.
    Because I like EXE battle system the best.

  39. Capcom has just made a shity game and gave it a name called '' ryuusei no rockman''i think ssr1-3 are not include in ''rockman'' series:)

  40. @anonymous before Maxdik:

    What it is they're complaining about is that EXE is no longer receiving new entries because of RnR, so they say what they like about EXE better. The series should be enjoyed separately, but I can understand why they are compared.

  41. Ryuusei went wrong everywhere

    End of Discussion

  42. I'll never hate Ryuusei. I enjoy what it gives.

  43. They should have just ditched the Rockman reference altogether and made a brand new IP. They only added the Rockman part to the name just for the name.

  44. man I sure miss EXE. . .

  45. Shooting Star Rockman I fuck you!And fuck all people said anything in this passage!You all are Hentais!

  46. I believe the problem isn't the entire serie... The problem is in the first game... Every veteran EXE player including myself didn't like the firts Ryuusei because of its simplified system and excess of limits in the strategy... The first game was too simples, was like after having all the 6 EXE returning to EXE 1 (as I started playing a little late EXE 1 wasn't that funny)... So when there was a Star Force 2 there was so much people not interested as the first destroyed their expectations... In my opinion comparing 1 to 2 it was a great progress and advance turning that simple game in something that could really excite you to the point of competing with friends and around the Wi-fi... For the people that had fate in the second and keeped up the third was a perfect progress... Now as I like Star Force 2 and 3 I believe that the only problem was the first step... If they started at least with something in the level of SF2 it wouldn't have been such a frustration and the serie would be even more "good seen" than it is...


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