Back in 2001, the gaming universe was consumed by Mega-mania. The Mega Man X series was on its 5th mainline title, and the original series just released its 8th title. The folks over at Capcom reinvented the Blue Bomber once more with a new series, the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection, which is also predictably set in the future.
Fast forward to today — after SIX massive titles for Game Boy Advance (GBA) in the 2000s, and a tie-in anime series called Mega Man NT Warrior — the release of Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is upon us, and the massive collection will have fans and newcomers alike foaming at the mouth with Mega Man.EXE mania.
A Knight In Blue Armour
The Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection features a storyline that starts the same but always dives into intricate storyline mechanics that show the overall gumption of the main character Lan Hikari and his NetNavi, Mega Man. The titles are set in the future, where half of everyday life takes place in Network Society, which is heavily relatable to today’s society. PETs — short for PErsonal Terminals — are the home of NetNavis, which are required to traverse the Network Society and are as commonplace as today’s smartphone.
Lan and Mega Man, with their duty as the co-main protagonist, must solve net crimes throughout the entire series. Although the story in each title follows a cookie-cutter template, the story twists and turns, leaving the player satisfied by the time each credits sequence rolls.
While each title feels very similar in the beginning, advanced mechanics kept the series moving forward with many improvements, and the high-speed action gameplay still holds up to this day. As a side note, the tutorial sections are UNSKIPPABLE, and they’re the exact same thing pedalled through different methods each time. A true slog for veterans, but it doesn’t derail the experience much.
A Massive Collection
The Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection comes in two separate volumes in one collection. MMBN 1-3 — including the separate versions, Blue and White for the third entry — on volume one, and MMBN 4-6 (and all versions) on volume two. There is a missing component right off the bat, Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS (arguably the best game in the series due to the sheer amount of content) is sorely missing, and the ability to utilize both Navi teammates without switching versions from Protoman and Colonel is a huge miss. But both versions are present in volume two, so it’s not THAT huge of an issue.
“As someone who played every single title in the series, the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection embraced me with open arms like an old friend, but with a wealth of quality-of-life improvements and what seems to be a 0% crash/fail rate.”
It also would have been an excellent idea to implement some of the Mega Man NT Warrior anime scenes into the collection as bonus content, but allusions to the tie-in are lost here. It also feels odd that the art gallery implements artwork from MMBN 4.5 (the scorned and poorly received middle child of the series), but the collection misses the title entirely.
Despite these complaints, this collection is a MASSIVE accomplishment. As someone who played every single title in the series, the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection embraced me with open arms like an old friend, but with a wealth of quality-of-life improvements and what seems to be a 0% crash/fail rate.
The original titles — at least from my experience, entries 1-4 — had issues with their internal battery and would no longer allow the player to save the title. This is an issue that has been fully corrected, and gone are the many lost hours NetNavi operators had to suffer through in the early 2000s.
This simple solution makes the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection the DEFINITIVE version of every title on the list, simply due to the comfort of the save feature working. It also helps the MMBN Legacy Collection has a flat retail rate, whereas the GBA titles are a literal scalper dream which can see heavy markups for fans that just want to delete some viruses with the battery issues intact.
The Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection has a host of new features that give it the edge over the originals in many ways. First off, for Mega Man Battle Network 3 (either version), there was a huge Japanese promotion that gave players the Bass GS battle chip for free, and it was unavailable in the original titles.
With the collection, this chip can be downloaded with no extra fee and can allow the player to feel mega-powerful with a previously unobtainable chip. The same goes for other promotional material. All previous time-sensitive material can be downloaded from the new Legacy Collection menu screen from each game.
Speaking of the menu screen, the Nintendo Switch only allows one game to be active at one time, but while the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is running, you can back out to the main menu and start a different title without closing the previous one, very much like the popular quick-resume feature on the Xbox series of consoles.
The only setback here is games on volume one can only be quick-resumed with volume one titles, and vice versa. The new menu screen, accessed by pressing the – button, also allows for new button configurations and lets the player configure the border surrounding the game screen to their liking.
There is a brand new ‘Buster MAX Mode’ for each title, which functions as a VERY EASY mode. Each buster shot does 100 damage and allows Mega Man to delete everything in his path. This feature is a huge boon for those who play the games to their fullest as farming battle chips, in-game funds, and rare items become child’s play with the buff.
“The Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection features tight random battle roleplaying, with dense storylines and superb artwork that still holds up two decades after release.”
There is a notable trophy system on the Nintendo Switch version that scratches the PSN Trophy or Xbox Achievement itch for the completionists out there and features a massive artwork gallery that showcases some of the abandoned design choices that were made prior to launch. Fans of the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection music are also offered a music player from the series, which is an excellent addition for audiophiles who just want to jam out to tunes rather than play the game. The boss themes always RULE (especially MMBN 3), so having the ability to listen outside of tense battle sequences is a breath of fresh air.
My inner child was insanely excited to find out there was an online battle system for the MMBN games, and it is here in all its glory. The online system allows fans to trade hard to obtain chips and even Net Battle one another. It’s safe to say this is a VAST improvement over the Game Boy Advance link cable, and it becomes far easier to locate fans without posing awkward questions on a school playground. There is even a ranked matchmaking system to group skill levels appropriately. I was only able to get into one total Net Battle and one battle chip trade in my time playing, and it worked admirably on the Nintendo Switch—a true Network Society.
The Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection features tight random battle roleplaying, with dense storylines and superb artwork that still holds up two decades after release. The music and easy-to-recognize characters pull fans back to the glory days of GBA gaming. This time without the over-encumbrance of link cables or the built-in GBA cart batteries pre-installed.
The Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection operates as a time capsule for returning fans but also gives newcomers an easy way to experience classic Mega Man Battle Network games without having to break the bank to try them out—a worthy collection for any fan of the Blue Bomber, or just RPG fans in general.