I was young when Mega Man Battle Network launched on Game Boy Advance. At the time, my favourite (and still number one) sub-series was Mega Man Legends.Capcom has taken the blue bomber in several routes since the series’ inception and usually with a positive reception to it. Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection contains all ten of the mainline Battle Network games and it is the first full-blown turn-based attempt at making Mega Man an RPG. At its height, there was an anime that followed Lan and his friends as they dealt with an assortment of issues and tie-in toys like the Advanced PET toy with various chips you could trade and collect with friends.
So, when Capcom announced it was working on porting the entirety of the Mega Man Battle Network series to modern consoles, I was ecstatic. I dropped off around the fourth entry so I missed out on the latter chapters. For those diving in, there are two volumes available at launch — Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Volume 1 and Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Volume 2 — available separately with three games included in each volume or as a bundle with all six games and both versions of each game. Volume 1 contains Battle Network, Battle Network 2, Battle Network 3 Blue, and Battle Network 3 White. Volume 2 contains Battle Network 4 Red Sun, Battle Network 4 Blue Moon, Battle Network 5 Team Protoman, Battle Network 5 Team Colonel, Battle Network 6 Cybeast Gregar, and Battle Network 6 Cybeast Falzar.
Mega Man Battle Network Collection packs 10 great games together
Beginning with the third entry, two versions became available at launch and just like Pokemon, was a way to get together with your friends and trade exclusive Battle Chips, a handful of bosses, cosmetic changes, and a form change. At the end of the day, it came down to which version you prefer as later games begin to introduce Giga Chips, Souls, and NetNavi Bosses. Other than that, the core story remains intact and you can enjoy it as is.
Each Battle Network game is selected from a menu with your own MegaManEXE talking to you in the volume launcher. It, unfortunately, isn’t much to interact with so you won’t be spending much time interacting with him when you’re deciding which game you want to pick from the launcher. You can select a special skin and swap them from the menu, though and the skins aren’t bad either.
Set in the near future where the interconnected world of Net Society uses Net Navigators to manage everything from toasters to city power grids. These inventions have also led to a wave of cybercrime all over the world. As Lan Hikari, you’ll use your Personal Terminal (PET) and Net Navi MegaMan.EXE to deal with the culprits across six games. Without spoiling much of the plot, the crime organization World Three (WWW) tries to conquer the internet by corrupting it with the Life Virus. Together, Lan Hikari and Mega Man will face innumerable threats to ensure the safety of the Every Battle Network entry features dual protagonists as you control Lan in the real world and Mega Man, Lan’s avatar in cyberspace who deals with the viruses and threats.
Battles across all six Battle Network games occur in real-time and at random so I wouldn’t go in expecting to know when and where you’ll encounter viruses. The battlefield is divided into a total of 18 squares, split evenly between Mega Man and viruses in a 3×3 grid. You can freely move about the allotted square and fire your weapon at viruses but the magic happens when you begin using your allotted chips to put a dent in the enemy.
Mega Man can use Battle Chips against enemies and steel himself in battle, as these special abilities can easily turn the tide of any encounter. The Battle Chips have all sorts of effects like the Standard Chips Sword, Cannon, Thunder, and so on, each with their reach and effect. You can even use Battle chips that destroy tiles so enemies have less space to move about or restore health in a pinch.
Jack In, Mega Man! Power Up
Additionally, Mega Man gains levels by installing the correct Power chips that boost health and attack. However, stats can only take you so far so you’ll need to ensure you’re constantly using the correct Battle Chips and taking full advantage of the grid to ensure victory against enemies and bosses.
Later games removed things like the Add button, a feature that effectively allowed you to store turns and then add more Battle Chips to your capacity by 5 extra chips at a cost of not being able to use any for one turn. Battle Chip capacity dwindled with each subsequent entry before being altogether removed in Mega Man Battle Network 4. However, this was then replaced by the Emotion Window, a mechanic that is based on NetNavi’s state. If your NetNavi achieves full synchronization by performing a counter under specific current circumstances, your next attack deals double damage and your character flashes blue.
Similarly, Rage is invoked when taking too much damage and you gain armour that prevents staggering. Latter games also include mechanics original Mega Man fans will remember from their time playing the NES games; using the Emotion Window you can initiate a form change that pulls power from many original robots including Guts Man, Proto Man, and several other familiar robot masters.
Additionally, you can play against friends or others online by joining Casual Battles and Private Battles. If you wish to take on Ranked Matches, those will be available at launch. Also, if you want to add stakes, you can choose from different sets of battle rules such as wagering Chips in Real Time battles, the best-of-three brawl Triple Battles introduced in Mega Man Battle Network 3, or the return of Version Battles from Mega Man Battle Network 4.
I had a difficult time finding anyone online to battle but I’m going to report back once I’m able to take on a few people online.
Regarding what Capcom has done to bring the collection together, you can use the Music Player to check out over 180 tracks from across the series. In the in-game gallery, there are over 1000 pieces of concept art, sketches, and illustrations to peruse, and a Mystery Data section where additional illustrations from the various Mega Man game areas are available.
What’s New to the Collection
Capcom also added visual filters for each game in the series and while I appreciate the addition, the filters tend to make backgrounds and characters look far too smooth. Thankfully, you can freely toggle between the original pixelated look and the new filters from the setting menu. I do appreciate the updated text however more than the filters as the letters are much bigger and easier to read.
One thing I hope more publishers do with their collections is to add a way to enjoy the story without the necessity of grinding. Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection adds the Buster Max Mode, a toggle available in the options menu that effectively can one-shot enemies. The Mega Buster is powered up to 100x its original power, making the action easier to digest and move along the story campaign. It should be noted this is only available in single-player as heading online will disable its use against other players.
Mega Man Battle Network Patch Cards are known as mod cards in Japan. The once-exclusive cards worked with every game after Mega Man Battle Network 4 and were physical cards available to purchase and then used the e-Reader attachment for the Game Boy Advance. Patch Cards offered additional health or weapons to select from and there was an assortment of rarities available. Capcom decided to include them in-game, easily available from the menu by toggling them on or off.
Capcom’s been on an impressive streak for the last several years and continues to show it is one of the best publishers in the business. Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection keeps the main experience intact but adds flourishes to make experiencing each title less of a chore. While not every entry in the Battle Network series is as exciting or strong, the overall experience and story are worth revisiting if you never saw it through to the end.
[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection keeps the main experience intact but adds flourishes to make experiencing each title less of a chore.
10 Mega Man Battle Network Games to choose from
The overarching story is great
Fantastic battle system with tons of chips to collect and