Mega Man Legends 2 – Second Opinion

Well, Matt definitely wasn't alone in thinking that the original Mega Man Legends was something special in the midst of the usual flood of Street Fighter rehashes Capcom sees fit to choke store shelves with. Personally, it's quite exciting for me to see that the series hasn't been pushed aside and forgotten in favor of more predictable (read: unimaginative sequel) titles. Not only does the Legends franchise still exist, but staggeringly, in a surprise move from Capcom, each game since the first has been significantly better than the original material instead of getting their trademarked "cookie-cutter plus one marginally new element" treatment.

Like Matt summarized above, Mega Man Legends 2 is bigger, better, faster and more of what made the first Mega Man Legends such a charmer. Without gushing, nearly everything about it is done with such style and quality, it's impossible not to like. The story and setting definitely take Mega Man into a direction that's different than anything he saw in his 8-bit glory days, which is unquestionably a good thing. As much as I have always been a fan of Mega Man, I'll be the first to admit that you can only take so much of a good thing before it either needs to be completely revitalized or simply ended. I'm glad it wasn't ended.

The design for the characters and overall setting are very strong, with a real "happy anime" feel to things. If you're not looking for something gritty or straight-faced serious, you'll be right at home here. Bright and colorful with charisma to spare, Mega Man Legends 2 hits the spot when you're in the mood to crack a smile or to enjoy the sheer cuteness and primary colors the Mega Man Legends world offers.

I am also in complete and utter agreement when it comes to the voices. There's nothing else to say—they are simply amazing. With the amount of horrible voicework that gets released in America, it makes my ears get all warm and fuzzy listening to the flawless cast assembled here. Voices can often make or break a game, and I'm glad to see there's not a bad one in the bunch here. Of special mention are the voices for Tron and Tiesel Bonne, who have easily earned a place on my list of all-time favorite villains. Anyone who thinks that good voicework just can't be done in domestic releases owes it to themselves to hear the quality of the actors presented. Enjoying the aural superiority here makes me wonder why Capcom doesn't make this much effort in their other franchises. The zombies aren't the only thing that's rotten in Resident Evil, if you catch my meaning.

My heaps of praise aside, the only thing I think needs improving besides the inefficient "lock-on" system Matt mentioned is the camera view during battles. This was also a problem in the first game, and I was really hoping it wouldn't be one of the things to carry over. During fights, the camera is so close to Mega Man that you're basically looking over the top of his head while blasting and dodging. While such a view is fine for looking straight ahead, the problem here is that you aren't able to see enough of the area around him to maneuver effectively, especially when it comes to dodging obstacles or circle-strafing. Because of the extreme close-up in the placement of the camera, it's often unavoidable to prevent yourself from running into walls or pillars and getting hung up in places where it would otherwise be cake to bob and weave. It definitely makes a few of the boss battles more challenging on a technicality than they would be if the camera was further back and you could plan an successful path of bullet evasion. Other than those two items, the only other thing "wrong" with it is that it was programmed for the PlayStation and not the PlayStation 2. If the series continues onto the next generation of machines, this game will be a thing of beauty indeed.

While the 8- and 16-bit Mega Man will always have a special place in my heart, the Legends series really gives it new life and energy in a different incarnation. Such a move was badly needed. Anyone who calls themselves a Mega Man fan or anyone who likes anime-flavored games should make the effort and track down a copy of Mega Man Legends 2. Heck, people should play this game for the Quiz alone (I can't remember the last time I've ever been asked about the birth ratios of cats or Iranian aqueducts in a videogame). The disc is definitely one step higher on the ladder to nirvana than its predecessors, and it has reached the pinnacle of 3D, story-based platforming in the 32-bit era. It's just a shame that it probably won't reach as many people as it should. The game is rated 8.5 out of 10