Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection
Developer: Capcom, Inti Creates, Akira, Tose
Genre(s): Role Playing Game
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PS4 and Steam)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: April 14th 2023
A code was provided for review purposes
Mega Man Battle Network is a brand new type of adventure for Capcom’s successful blue bomber. While fans know him for his 2D run and gun hardcore antics, this new spinoff is a tactical role-playing game series. The series began way back in 2001 and garnered high praise which resulted in 6 main games and spinoffs of a spinoff.
While each entry of the Battle Network Collection has its own spin on the story, each game’s core plot revolves around the same thing: Set in the year 200X, when everything is somehow linked to the internet, an evil organization (WWW acts as the threat for Mega Man Battle Network 1, 3 and 6 while Gospel acts as the antagonist of Battle Network 2 and Nebula being the main threat of 4 and 5) causes havoc throughout the computerized and real world by either creating a super virus, corrupting or causing chaos on Navis (in-game avatars) or even in-game real world kidnapping. It’s up to Lan and his trusty Navi, Mega Man, to overcome the threats; whether it be in real life or via the internet.
The game has two types of gameplay. First, as Lan, you’ll need to walk about the various towns in order to interact with the NPCs and learn more about the current game’s threats. In order to solve the issues being propagated online, Lan uses a NetNavi called MegaMan.EXE, a digital buddy that travels through the informational highway and its various networks. Lan’s friends also have NetNavi which are re-imagined characters, friends, and foes, from the Mega Man universe such as Roll.EXE or Gutsman.EXE for example.
Mega Man in Uncharted Territory
Given that the Mega Man Battle Network is a real-time strategy like RPG series, the combat is obviously vastly different than previous Mega Man adventures. It takes place on a three-by-six grid that’s split in half, right down the middle, where MegaMan.EXE is on the left while his enemies occupy the right side of the grid. You can move around your side of the grid in order to avoid enemy attacks/projectiles whilst defending yourself with your default buster. Enemies can also move around, so it’s vital to keep an eye on their patterns. Depending on the battle, tiles can have additional effects such as healing enemies, but to even the field, our blue bomber can overtake certain tiles thanks to Chips (more on that below). Once the meter at the top of the screen is filled up, you can go back into the menus and pick new weaponry to end combat faster.
While the combat does sound tedious and boring, especially with MegaMan.EXE’s default weapon dishing out 1HP at a time, you can equip the Navi with a folder of various Chips which will allow you to have a bigger bang on the battlefield. Before the battle starts, you can choose specific chip(s) to use in order to cause a bit more damage (or even one-shot-ing) enemies. As the battle progresses, the Custom bar at the top of the screen will fill up and once full, you’ll be given another opportunity to equip a few more chips. The little addendum however is that each chip has a letter associated to it and you can only use chips with the same letters or attack type which restricts combat freedom.
Deep Arsenal of Weaponry
Each of the 10 games in the collection has hundreds of chips to use and equip providing a decent variety of combat possibilities. You can use a shotgun shot, bombs, cannons, steal tiles from enemies or even summon friendly or defeated Navis. Each chip has its own efficiency and strengths so depending on the battlefield; whether it be enemies, layout, or both, some chips will be more efficient than others. Much like classic Mega Man games where enemies are weak to the blue bomber’s newly acquired weapons after vanquishing robot masters.
This collection includes 10 games however, in reality, akin to some Pokémon games, some games are the same with minor differences rounding up this collection of 6 original titles. For example, there’s no need to play MegaMan Battle Network 3 Blue and MegaMan Battle Network 3 White given everything is the same, aside from a few different bosses you face and NetNavis you meet. But thankfully, the 6 different games each introduce new mechanics to improve upon the previous entry. For example, Battle Network 4 adds a new counter system where Mega Man has stronger chips at the start of the battle. And Battle Network 3 offers unique battle styles; Blue as a more Grounded style focused on manipulating terrain whereas White has a Shadow style where charging an attack leaves the blue bomber invincible for a short period of time.
While I applaud the effort of flipping Mega Man’s recipe upside down despite my love for the series, I skipped this sub-series when it was first released because it looked out of character for the action-driven series. The combat is a bit hard to get into because early on, it feels boring and tedious. The learning curve to be efficient at combat is progressively steep, and given that Mega Man’s default weapon does barely any damage, it’s also menu/chip rearrangement/selection which brings the action to an even slower pace. If you don’t enjoy the slowness of the turn-based combat of most JRPGs, you’ll pull your hair out with this. Also, navigating through the network is sluggish and can be confusing at times with random encounters slowing your progress. Unfortunately, it feels more fun to walk around as Lan than actually enjoy the core combat.
Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is jam-packed with gaming goodness that has aged surprisingly well. When playing this game, you can see the risk it took back when it was first released and it still can be enjoyed by returning players or even newcomers. Although, be warned that there’s a bit of learning when it comes to combat; it feels like a mix of action/strategy/japanese role playing game. There’s definitely some gold here somewhere, you just need time and patience to find it.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection can be purchased on the Nintendo eShop.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.