Megaman Battle Network Legacy Collection Review: A Blast From the Past

About 20 or so years ago Capcom introduced us to a brand new version of Megaman. Instead of a robot, this version was an electronic artificial intelligence called a Net Navi that navigated the cyber world with the help of his human operator Lan. Together the two stopped evil net navis from hacking into important devices to use them as instruments of destruction. Recently the Legacy Collection was released for the Nintendo Switch and the first time outside of a Nintendo console for the PS4 which put the six games of the Battle Network series all in one place for the first time. Now with this being a beloved game from so long ago a lot of questions are raised as to how this re-release was handled.

So first I’ll mention the gameplay. The game plays exactly like it did in the original releases. You battle your enemy while your movements are contained in a 3×3 grid. Your enemies occupy their own 3×3 grid on the right side of the screen and for the most part, movement is strictly within your designated space. You win by using your mega buster and arming Megaman with powerful battle chips that equip him with a wide variety of weapons. You launch attacks into your enemy’s grid till their health hits zero. The gameplay is exactly as it was and that’s a good thing as it was a very fast-paced way of combat often requiring very meticulous timing. Additionally, the act of collecting battle chips to use was still as much fun as I remembered it.

Now while the gameplay is the same there is one really big quality-of-life improvement in the buster max mode. Some enemies are really tough and it takes a while to adjust to their timing but if you just want to rush through the story you can activate the buster max mode to make this weapon 100 times stronger which basically makes matches end almost instantly.

The story is also still as good as I remembered it. While the story quality varies from game to game each game offered a fun story in its own way. You get some surprisingly emotional moments between Lan and Megaman plus the supporting cast includes some really entertaining characters. While the story is good keep in mind it is also repetitive as each game is split into sections devoted to the Navi that you have to face at the end of that part of the story. Most of the time the story has the same kind of rinse and repeat method where something gets Lans attention and in the process something terrible happens only for Lan to discover it’s an evil Net Navi then you chase it down and defeat it. However, while the methods are similar each game and each level has its own unique way of doing this that is tailored to the skills and personality of the enemies. For example, fire enemies create heat and fire-related calamities while water enemies cause flooding or in one case exploding bubbles. While it is repetitive it manages to not get old.

The game also features some cool new additions beyond the buster max mode. The first is that you now have access to battle chips that used to be region exclusive so you get powers that you might not have used in any of your original playthroughs. Plus the home screen has a 3D version of Megaman that talks to you much like the character does in the corresponding anime Megaman NT Warrior. The child fan in me really geeked at the idea of actually replicating the feeling of having my own Net Navi. You also get a nice picture and music gallery featuring all the highlights from each game.

Now for the bad. Remember for the most part this is a re-release of the games so where it has all of their good qualities it also keeps their bad ones. For example, the first game’s map was very confusing and easy to get lost in. This is a minor issue especially considering a large portion of you who are curious about this collection have probably already played and experienced this problem for yourselves. The only other thing is that the 5th game actually had three versions one was for the DS which had some unique features in the gameplay. The DS exclusive features are not in this game at all which to me was a bit of a bummer as they had some of the most interesting stuff; however, all of the content from the game boy advance versions are all there.

Overall this game does exactly what I and I’m sure every other returning fan was hoping for. It brought back these beloved games in a set that makes them easier to access than ever before. The games are just as much fun as I remembered and the few changes that were made provided some very welcomed improvements to the gameplay and provided some nice fan service to fans of the anime. Personally, I don’t really know if this series will entice new fans or not because it is a re-release of very old games and so while the games stood the test of time their age does show in their graphics, gameplay, and even the story. However, as a returning fan this was a very worthwhile purchase to have every one of these games all in one place for the first time.

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