Part 1: Simon talks about Commander Yammark's stageObjection to your introduction. X6 is not "not bad". It is the purest definition of terribly, horribly bad. Everyone calling it an absurd piece of crap is completely justified. However, I agree with you on liking it more than X5...and I have played it probably the most out of any X game. It's a morbid fascination with an edge of desparation, trying to polish a turd, but it's more than a little a simple fact: Despite being objectively horseshit, X6 can at many points be still an assload of pure fun to play. That is, and therefore calling it "horrible crap" with no "but" attached, mostly due to the fact that it is so bad. I draw great enjoyment from laughing at something that is irredeemably horrible, which is why I post on this site, and experiencing it for yourself is certainly...unique.
And sometimes, it's even unironically, so the hipster-haters don't even get a say.
Which is why I'm doing this because fuck X6, but fuck me more for playing it so much.
The story makes negative sense. It is an absurd clusterfuck trying to somehow build on X5 which already pushed complete madness into overdrive (just try and define what the "Sigma virus" actually is and how it interacts with Zero), then closed off everything in a more-or-less neat package. Zero died, Sigma died, fuck everything, story over. Telling the player that shit didn't-quite-happen-that-way but keeping all the insanity intact is not a smart move. Gate gets infected by that fucking virus the nature of which has been retconned about 20 times by now, from being a computer virus causing Reploids to become Maverick to fusing with Sigma and becoming to mutating into an actual virus infecting the whole earth to fusing again with Zero who was its original source to begin with to...you know what? I don't even fucking care. Shit makes no sense. I will lose no more words on the story except if it's really, really fucking stupid in the laughworthy sense, because that's what I do.
The music is beautiful. Gorgeous. Epic. It evokes a feel that X6 never manages to even slightly reproduce within its gameplay, a grandness and subtlety that makes me seriously wonder how Capcom consistently manage to hire some of the best videogame composers out there, perfectly suited for a stupid action game that takes itself way too seriously, and on the other hand fail to get actually competent people to program the gameplay itself. Maybe they are actually really competent (after all, they presumably made X4, the last good X game), and then got high as fuck on purple-stained coke they called The Sigma Virus, letting the intern design the levels by lazily gluing together assets left on the cutting room floor for being way too stupid.
So, for about 30 seconds after not reading a thing Alia said because shut uuuuup, X6 seems almost like it has promise. The background is fantastic, again creating an atmosphere not really felt anywhere else later on, working with a music composed of desolation and timid hope, and the enemies are broken down and shooting junk, it's a post-apocalyptic scenario that shockingly ties into the story backdrop and makes a lot of sense (hence the "shocking" part). Another brief shining ray of "shit X6 gets right" shines when the little exclamation mark shows up; Alia's hints...optional. Oh fuck yes.
The saber tutorial is, sadly, still mandatory because that block is collossaly in the way. Why does it have three swings worth of health? Why are there four of them in a row? Wouldn't people get it after the first one? It's making you wait, slowly carving your way through meaningless obstacles that completely shatter the atmosphere - those are brand-new shining blocks placed carefully to obstruct. Should have been piles of debris. One of them. X should have slashed through them effortlessly, showing the saber's power. Instead, the most you get in usefulness is the one slightly-too-much-out-of-reach for the shitty Falcon charge shot garbage Reploid at the start, a far more subtle and therefore well-done tutorial on the usage of the saber, which is all you'd think it needed. It's on the fucking box art. Of course it's A Thing. Don't tell me "HEY YOU MIGHT WANT TO USE THE SABER", a message etched onto a hammer pointed towards my face. As I said, 30 seconds. After that, the level design already is shattered to pieces. Shit's beyond unfun. Oh, and we won't get any more saber-only obstacles like the blocks if I remember correctly, so it's beyond pointless to start with!
The drills are stupid. I can't even try and understand what they are for. What they are meant to introduce in the intro stage. How they fit into wherever the fuck we are. Wasn't it a desolate wasteland just now?
The boss is a joke. It has a strange gimmick that also makes no sense - what does the orb signify? Why does it revive that junk robot? Why give it a claw if it never uses it? The saber one-hits the orb but also a charge shot, so it's not like it's an extended tutorial, again - what's the point? Its attacks are beyond lazy, of course, it's an intro boss, but come the fuck on, X5 had an intro boss, and if I'm giving that game credit, that means a lot. Fucking Sigma head spewing bullets everywhere. Shit was impressive. This? It's junk. Literally.
Then it gets destroyed by Nightmare Zero because X was unable to destroy an already destroyed junkheap? Or...what? Your guess is as good as mine. I think noone really knows why the fuck Zero teleports in and explodes the thing. I think the truth is "hey wait we wanted to introduce Zero early, right? FUCK. Erm where can we put him...aaaah fuck it, right at the intro boss, whatever."
High Max can go fuck himself. He looks decently cool, but, again, makes no sense whatsoever, as a non-character, a concept, anything. Like he's invincible or something and has literally no personality beyond being a minion to Gate and then there's also Isac who is...what? Or who? Nothing ever gets explained in this garbage-fest.
Are we still talking about things that make no sense whatsoever? Oh, cool. I'll get a sandwhich.
SHUT UP JESUS FUCK
This stage is only not completely terrible because it is short as all hell. The roly-poly things are something X6 really likes to do: have an overdesigned enemy with many ways you could interact with it, then completely and utterly ignore that and only use them in the blandest of ways. Or not at all. Their rolling up into a ball will never come into play again, the stair design of the first part of the level hints at clever puzzles and obstacles involving them, even something as simple as having to go up, them blocking the way and you having to dodge the balls you just made them curl up into, but nope. Three seconds of thinking up a level design element was too much for the designers. Oh, and the awesome temple background? Say goodbye to it, cave it is. Why. Imagine an incredulous cursive-written monoword question after every sentence in the future, please.
The mantis enemies are a nightmare (no puns intended because fuck the Nightmare effect). They have a nigh-unavoidable homing blade attack that has a hitbox made of pure Nonsensium, it's the worst fucking thing. Spewing out little robot thingies, on the other hand, would have been a nice callback to enemies like the penguin makers of MM3, or the chickens of MM5, and especially the latter used them well and in varied ways. What does X6 do with them? Place them over a pit where the freshly-spawned mantis children will fall into. The fuck are you smoking? Oh, and you can't kill them and they will respawn within like two seconds and have way too much health. They are among the most annoying and shitty enemies in the game, and that's a proud achievement. You can kill them for good...with Commander Yammark's weapon. Purest brilliance. Seriously. Clap clap.
This section already shows a great problem with the way the Reploid rescue works. The mantises are a constant source of nigh-unavoidable damage. Ephraim tanks it like a boss, then refills a third of his life by rescuing a Reploid. Suppose he dies to a pit or spikes afterwards? Well, then he has to do the whole thing without a health refill. So the stage is really easy the first time around, but you can get caught off-guard (especially in a second where the camera is made of butts and hate) and die, then it's suddenly brutally hard for a beginner. Or an experienced player because X6 doesn't waste a second of thought on enemy placement that is fair or logical or not evoking incredulous cursive-written monoword questions.
Ranting on the shit that is the Nightmares later.
The spike part is, unsurprisingly by now, garbage. First, you have to wait on slow-moving slugs, because that was such a great idea in X3, then you get hassled - or not - by those strange butterfly thingies, that have a behavioural pattern which I will never understand, they fly around above you I guess and you can maybe touch them but they don't really want to attack, and sometimes they emit dust that has a strange hitbox (unlike anything else in the game ) and make no sense. Repeating myself a little too much, maybe?
Then you have to make a blind jump onto a spike-covered ledge below because the level design is the worst in the world and playtesting is for communists, I guess.
Still, the last part is the worst in the whole level. It's a few rocks placed completely at random with enemies on them that don't make a single bit of sense in that position (see above), that are beyond annoying because of too much health and not staying dead, which can tag you from half a room away, just look at how long their blades persists, and can you make sense of how they fly? I hate the Falcon Armor, by the way. Shitty charge shot and I'm not good with airdash, always do it on accident, and also I'm so used to ZX and it allowing you to airdash out of a regular dash-jump that the X variant seems incredibly clunky and limiting.
You realize that that means for this section, right? Without the extended movement, dodging the blades in the confined space of the random rocks is almost impossible. You get double damage because you don't have an armor on. Getting hit also can very easily send you falling to your doom anyway. The only saving grace is being able to cut through the freshly-spawned mantis children. It's unfun to the max, and one of the many, many examples in X6 where extreme laziness breeds an experience that is an absolute pain to suffer through.
And I still like it more than X5.
The boss is a cool concept. I give it that. Tons of bullets everywhere, you can destroy them with a (not shitty!) charge shot and feel like a badass, or dodge like mad and it's cool, and he has a wide variety of attacks that actually make sense and are fair and I like it.
So of course, they give him a healthbar that you can sneeze away in 20 seconds. There is no rhyme and reason to how much health the bosses have in X6. It's ludicrous.
X6 makes no fucking sense on any level.