Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Review – Nostalgic Trip Through a Cyber World
Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection feels like a dream come true for me. I fondly remember playing the Battle Network games on my Gameboy Advance. At the time, I had recently developed an interest in the RPG genre, and while Battle Network isn’t exactly an RPG, it’s more akin to a turn-based card game. The main appeal for me was its charming sprite-based art style, which looked gorgeous, and the world itself was intriguing to explore. Revisiting these games after such a long time has been a blast, but it’s clear that not all of the games have aged well.
Starting with the first game, Mega Man Battle Network launched this new spin-off franchise from Capcom. The story is set several years in the future and introduces a fun concept where the Internet is replaced by the Net—a decentralized network through which humans can communicate. They use personalized avatars called NetNavis, which are “jacked in” the Net through a connection point and used to explore it like a physical location in the game. This is the core theme of the Battle Network series since the Net is not just a means to shop or communicate online; it also becomes a tool for criminals to execute their nefarious plans.
The game stars Lan Hikari, who has his NetNavi called MegaMan.EXE, resembling the blue bomber that we all know and love. I’ve always enjoyed this specific design of Mega Man, and his personality in the series is well-developed, forming a close bond with Lan throughout the different games. In this futuristic world, the Net is used for teaching lessons in school and as a playground for kids and adults to challenge each other. Any place with a connection point can be used to jack in the NetNavi, as demonstrated in the opening when Lan’s oven is hacked by a suspicious repairman, causing a fire. Lan sends Mega Man to the oven’s software through a connection point, where he eliminates the virus plaguing it.
The visual representation of software and code in Mega Man Battle Network is entertaining, but one downside of this design is that the world map often feels like a maze. This is a significant issue in the first game, where puzzles can be frustrating to solve, and random battles disrupt the pace. Unfortunately, there aren’t many quality-of-life changes to address this issue, such as reducing random battles or disabling them altogether. However, there is a “Buster Max” mode that can be toggled on at any point, allowing Mega Man to defeat any enemy, including bosses, with a single hit. It’s useful for avoiding tedious grinding in some of the games, but to truly enjoy the gameplay, it’s recommended to disable it unless necessary.
The first game in the Mega Man Battle Network series may be the weakest, but it’s still essential to play as it establishes the world and lore. Starting with the second game, both gameplay and story show improvement, and in my opinion, the third game is easily the best one in the package. It boasts the strongest story, character development, and meaningful gameplay improvements. This game sets the foundation for the franchise, introducing customization for Mega Man and moving away from the simplicity of combat seen in the first two games. It was also the first game to feature two different versions, White and Blue, similar to how the Pokémon series locks some Pokémon or bosses behind different versions.
Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is divided into two volumes. The first contains Mega Man Battle Network 1 to 3, along with bonus content like artwork and music from the games. The second features Mega Man Battle Network 4 to 6. In total, the collection includes ten games with all different versions accounted for. You can purchase either collection separately or both for $59.99, which I believe is a fair price considering the value offered by these games. However, playing through all six games consecutively can be a slog due to their repetitive nature. This is especially true when transitioning from Battle Network 3 to 4, which hasn’t aged well and is not as enjoyable as the others.
While exploration in Mega Man Battle Network games can be daunting due to their maze-like design, the combat is quite engaging. Players can choose from a deck of cards that includes attack, defense, and support options. The combat takes place on a 3×3 grid, allowing movement during battles to dodge incoming attacks while strategically using the selected cards to defeat enemies. These games aren’t overly challenging, and with the “Buster Max” mode, any artificial difficulty can be easily bypassed through the options menu.
In terms of customization, players can choose different frames and screen sizes for the display. By default, the game plays with the large option and filter enabled, but to preserve the authenticity of the sprites, you can disable the filter and adjust the screen size. Unfortunately, there aren’t many other quality-of-life features, such as a fast-forward or battle skip option.
One new feature in Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is the ability to trade cards or challenge other players online. Since the game isn’t out yet, I couldn’t test these online features. Nonetheless, this seems like an exciting addition that could enhance the game’s value. Players can engage in practice battles, challenge others in real fights with the possibility of winning battle chips, or participate in ranked matches to improve their online standings. It’s also great to see special downloadable battle chips, previously exclusive to certain events in Japan, included in this collection.
Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection transports us down memory lane, revitalizing the beloved Battle Network series with its distinctive blend of turn-based card combat and RPG charm. This captivating anthology encompasses ten games spanning six core installments, elegantly divided into two volumes, and is enriched with delightful bonuses such as artwork and music. Players will savor the strategic, immersive combat and the series’ captivating sprite-based visuals. While certain titles, particularly the first and fourth, reveal signs of aging and the maze-like exploration can be challenging, the collection’s appeal remains unwavering. Enhanced by the introduction of online card trading and battles, this collection emerges as an irresistible treat for fans and newcomers alike. Surmounting minor setbacks and repetitive gameplay elements, the collection provides countless hours of entertainment at a reasonable price point.
Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Game Information
- Price: $59.99
- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Capcom
- Platform: PS4 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher