Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Review
I’m not familiar with this version of Mega Man. I know the original series and the X games well enough, but this collection is a different story. In fact, this was the first Mega Man collection where I hadn’t played a single one of the listed games. So exciting, right? A chance to dive into a brand new world, untouched by the rosy lens of nostalgia. I’m happy to report that the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection mostly holds up. Even if the visuals are particularly muddy.
This is where the Switch version came in especially handy. Being able to play the Battle Network games in handheld mode made them a lot more palatable. These are GBA pixels, you see. Even with the filter applied, they’re just not meant for the big screen. Which is fine! My Switch’s OLED screen was perfect for the job. Once I acclimatized to the visuals, I started digging into the nuts and bolts of these games. It turns out there’s a lot to unpack here. These are six (ten?) massive romps through the Net. You’ve got a 30-card attack loadout to customize, with tons of new cards coming in a steady stream. You’ve also got a host of enemies to figure out. Things like movement patterns, attack timing, and floor hazards all need to be considered. Again, these games are big.
Played Properly in Portable Mode
In fact, the whole collection might feel like too much to tackle. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s Max Buster mode. This amplifies Mega Man’s regular attack by 100 times. You know, if you’d rather just focus on the story. Or if you’re trying to play through as much as possible for a review, for example. Plus, some of the games are variants. Sort of like Pokemon, you’ve got to choose which version you’ll be playing through. This makes a tiny lie out of the ’10 games’ claim, but I was a bit relieved. That’s four fewer games for me to blast through.
There’s a continuous narrative that runs through all six games. It’s a fairly childish story, but this is by design. You, a 5th grade child, spend your free time fighting criminals and saving the city. You know, normal twelve-year-old stuff. This is where that Max Buster mode comes in real handy. If all you want is to watch the story, you can do so without any resistance. On the other hand, I enjoyed the combat system. Enough so, that I preferred to experience the fights as intended. And yet, combat is not the biggest obstacle when it comes to progression.
No More Mazes Please
It turns out the Net is mostly composed of maze-like dungeons. You wander through a complex series of identical pathways, hoping that one exit leads to some story event. Not even a maxed out attack power can save you from this tedious nonsense. Thankfully, these games have been out for many years. Other players have marked out the way through, if you’re so inclined. But still, it’s a frustrating holdover from a previous era. Who knew that I’d lost my patience with mazes to this extent?
Brutal mazes aside, I’m impressed with how well the combat holds up. Again, this is my first foray into this whole Battle Network franchise. Fights require a mix of reflexes and clever strategy that keeps you engaged for hours on end. I honestly felt bad about using the Max Buster mode, mostly because it took away the battles’ intensity. I’d rather struggle and strategize than breeze through the fights. Tinkering with your chip/card library adds a ton of depth. I’m not sure I explored even 20% of that particular system, there’s just that much there to fiddle with.
The Battle Network games are a curious chapter in the larger Mega Man saga. If you’ve never played them, you’ll be shocked by how different they are. If you did grow up with these games, they probably form a massive chunk of your Mega Man knowledge. Having played them for the first time, I can easily recommend them. They add a curious new twist on the usual reflex-based Mega Man strategy. I wish there was more variety in the games. Fewer mazes couldn’t hurt, either. But if you’ve ever wanted something different from the Blue Bomber, you’re in luck. The Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is exactly what you’re looking for.
***A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher***
- Crammed with extra content
- Buster Max Mode very useful
- Gameplay holds up well
- Not enough variety between titles
- Graphics work better in handheld mode
- Awful dungeon mazes