Battle Routine, Set. Execute!
HIGH An Action-RPG redesign gives new life to Mega Man.
LOW The grinding and the saving.
WTF The world can be destroyed with a computer virus.
Hi everyone! Eugene Sax here with another review from GameCritics.com.
Most Mega Man games have a regular formula — get through six or eight tough-as-nails 2D platforming levels, fight a boss at the end of each one, survive Dr. Wily’s castle to finally fight the usual big bad, Dr. Wily, and then roll credits.
I’ve always been a fan of the Blue Bomber, but I also love RPGs — they’re one of my favorite genres. Combining these two things, Battle Network is a Mega Man spin off series that takes our hero and puts him into a real-time-tactics role-playing experience.
Mega Man Battle Network: Legacy Collection revisits the entire ten game series (found mostly on Nintendo handheld systems) and puts them into one collection for Switch, PlayStation and PC players to enjoy.
For those who haven’t experienced it, Battle Network has players controlling elementary schooler Lan Hikari and his “net navi” AI program MegaMan.EXE. They work together to delete viruses and fight evil net navis.
Lan walks around in the real world checking email, talking with NPCs, and collecting battle chips for MegaMan to use. MegaMan explores the internet, finds other battle chips, and fights viruses. Unlike the classic 2D platformers that came before, the internet is more of a open world area that players can explore as they get upgrades and better battle chips to enhance MegaMan’s abilities. There is a main campaign to conquer, but players can also go online and trade chips with other players, or fight to steal chips.
So, what are battle chips?
In a nutshell, they give MegaMan new powers and tactics. Some allow him to steal spaces in battle so they limit the movement of enemies. Some just do a lot of damage. Some chips are weak on their own, but combine together to make more powerful ones. Battle Network allows players a lot of freedom in the chips they choose — the catch is how to get more of the chips players want. The answer? Grinding.
After each battle, players will get resources like money, free health refills, or free chips that enemies drop, and doing battle — aka grinding — is what’s going to be needed to succeed.
Don’t have enough money for chips or to get an upgrade for MegaMan? Grind against enemies to gain the money for chips. Need a specific chip that can’t be bought? Fight enemies quickly and without being hit until maybe the chip drops. The grind here is real.
Personally, every battle could take anywhere from about ten seconds (including loading into the combat and exiting combat) or a few minutes if my chip luck was bad. One fight in particular took nearly ten minutes because I came across a virus that could only be hit by physical chips and I couldn’t successfully escape the fight.
The grind is a bummer for sure, and on top of it, Battle Network requires players to manually save. I don’t want to think about the amount of time and progress I’ve lost because I lost a bad fight and forgot to save beforehand.
Apart from those complaints, I feel like Battle Network Legacy Collection is in a strange spot compared to other recent Capcom remakes.
Battle Network doesn’t have much in the way of accessibility for new players aside from a “MAX Blaster” mode which turns MegaMan’s basic attack into a one-hit-kill, but players still need to sit through the pre- and post-battle loading regardless of how fast the win was. Also, the graphics don’t translate well to a bigger screen. There’s a filter that smooths out the edges of characters and environments, but it’s a jagged mess on large screens without it.
There’s also a fair amount of memorization needed to know how each part of the internet connects, in order to avoid becoming lost on the way to the next objective. For those who forget or get turned around, there’s no help.
Despite my issues with them, I still adore these games. The chip tactics scratch my deckbuilding itch, but it’s not so tactical that it requires mental gymnastics to succeed. The story is charming in a saturday morning cartoon sort of way, and I appreciate the ability to access these games again on a modern platform. Capcom missed a few tricks by not adding a few quality-of-life and accessibility settings to make the games less grindy, but the series still holds a special place in my heart.
For me, Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection gets 7.5 out of 10.
Disclosures: This game is developed and published by CAPCOM. It is currently available on PS4, Switch, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 20 hours of play was spent playing the game, and one of the games was completed. No time was spent in the multiplayer mode.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E10+ and contains Fantasy Violence, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, and Use of Alcohol and Tobacco. From the ESRB Website: “This is a compilation of action role-playing games in which players help a man stop evil groups from committing cybercrimes. From a 3/4-overhead perspective, players interact with characters and use humanoid AI to battle computer viruses and robotic creatures. Players use blasters. energy swords, and mini bombs to defeat enemies in 2D grid-based battle arenas. Battles are frenetic at times, accompanied by blaster fire and mild explosions. The game contains some suggestive material in the dialogue (e.g., “Stop peeking! You Pervert”; “Her measurements are 33,22,33”; “You missed out on seeing [her] naked.”). Some sequences depict animal droppings on the ground, with accompanying dialogue (e.g., “[T]he smell here is too much”; “Phew, why did he have to go here?”). Players can encounter drunken characters (e.g., *hic* in their speech); one mission objective requires players’ character to obtain whiskey. Gallery artwork depicts a character with a cigarette in his mouth. The words “damn” and “hell” appear in the game.”
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: There is text in game, but the text is not able to be altered or resized. There are no voices, and the audio mostly serves aesthetic purposes. Music will change and signify that a match is about to end, but there is also a timer on screen so it’s not necessary for play. In my view, the game is fully accessible.
Controls: Controls are remappable.