Mega Man Battle Network: Legacy Collection Review – A Mega Collection

    Lan and MegaMan.EXE jack-in to modern platforms in this MEGA collection!

    Lan and MegaMan.EXE are back and jacking-in a PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, or PC near you! The Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection includes the 6 Battle Network games including the multiple versions that 3-6 have. The games have been preserved with some new features and extras.

    Mega Man Battle Network was first released in 2001 for the Gameboy Advance. This sub-series of Mega Man games are set in a world closer to ours than the previous Mega Man games. In Battle Network you control a boy named Lan and his NetNavi MegaMan.EXE. Yep, in these games Mega Man is a digital assistant that helps Lan by acting as an alarm, sending emails, and most importantly; Busting Viruses! Unlike the sidescrolling action of the previous Mega Man and Mega Man X games, the Battle Network games are RPGs that include exploration of an overworld, navigating cyber dungeons, and engaging in battles with a unique battle system.

    Now, with that out of the way; Review Program, transmit. Execute!

    Busting Viruses on the Net

    I find that one of the best aspects of the Mega Man Battle Network games is the battle system. The basics of the battle system involve building a deck of Battle Chips that give MegaMan.EXE powerful combat skills and moving MegaMan.EXE on the battle grid in order to dodge incoming enemy attacks or properly maneuver MegaMan.EXE to line up his own attacks. This creates an interesting parallel to classic Mega Man games, as those too are about properly positioning Mega Man in order to maximize his skills.

    The mix of customization, kinetic real-time battles, and a risk vs. reward system is downright addicting. Depending on the player’s play style and ingenuity, it’s entirely possible to come up with all kinds of strategies. I will add; some players may not like the randomness that card-based systems can exhibit.

    The first game established a rock-solid foundation that has depth. What else would you do but refine it further and add more ideas in subsequent games? The iteration this series flaunts is excellent. The games themselves become more fun to play from the added ease of play, new stylistic touches, and new ideas. The developers clearly knew what to hone in on because each new game alters the battle system in interesting ways. The jump from 1 to 2 itself made the simple ADD function in battles make more sense while leaning on the ‘card-game’ mechanics even more. 3 added more customization options for MegaMan.EXE that are superior to the meager customization in the first two games. This all goes without mentioning the various form changes that the games add, which allow MegaMan.EXE to adapt to different situations or use new tactics entirely. A nice thing about all of this is how a lot of these features tie into the story as well, which is beyond satisfying.

    In the Far Future of 200X…

    The year of 200X. To think that’s the past these days. I was shocked at how much this game called! Internet-connected household appliances, digital money, and auto-driving cars that crash and explode. This isn’t future sight, but the Mega Man in the title menus is totally a VTuber, right? Well anyway, these games are extremely high-concept. I got excited over how cool it all was. Jacking into different networks, solving puzzles by coordinating Lan in the real world and Mega Man in the digital world, using links and addresses instead of keys, uploading battle data in battles, getting new abilities through patches etc. I honestly wish I had these games as a kid and now I desperately want more games like these as an adult. 

    Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Review
    Totally a VTuber. Yep, definitely.

    I also love the designs of the characters. Yuji Ishihara (石原 雄二) is a great artist. They all exude personality and charm. Some of them have nice character quirks but some are underutilized. Aspects of the story and character arcs in these games aren’t always as fleshed out as I would like, so the great designs certainly help. Some characters are very interesting and definitely get more attention than others. I am a sucker for main characters in most things, but Lan and Mega Man are pretty good, reaffirming my own personal biases. All-in-all, the main plots and concepts stay at various degrees of interesting.

    Okay, I need to discuss this. The Localization in Mega Man Battle Network 1 especially is all over the place. I didn’t notice nearly as many mistakes or anything too egregious in the following games, but the first game was uneven in this regard. I understand constraints on the GBA like screen resolution and character limits are to blame for certain things. I also understand that this is a ‘Legacy Collection’, which I assume means preserving the games as they are with only a few QoL and concessions being sprinkled in to make everything work. I kind of wish that the text was fixed or even retranslated. I will begrudgingly accept the ‘Legacy’ part of the ‘Collection’ because it is important to preserve things.

    The combat is great. I talked at great length about how I found it interesting and unique. However, there is an aspect of the gameplay I don’t enjoy as often. The level design. This isn’t always a negative point against the games, mind you. Although, the level design is on the weak side; especially in the earlier Battle Network games. What I’m dumping under the moniker of ‘level design’ includes a few factors: the aesthetic, the layout, and the puzzles. Aesthetically I enjoy a lot about Battle Network as a series. I enjoy the sprite work in and out of battle, but the “dungeons” or cyber world or whatever you want to call it can be really hit or miss. Some backgrounds don’t look good and the path-based exploration can make me feel like a rat in a maze. Some of the puzzles are amazing and add to the tension of the story, while some feel like they waste my time. The first game especially has puzzles that require talking to specific NPCs to progress. I do admit that these aspects do improve as the games go on and that plenty of games that pride themselves on puzzles or level design churn out some stinkers too.

    PET Firmware Updates

    This here “Legacy Collection” includes some nice additional features that I feel should be mentioned. The art gallery and music are standard but much appreciated. The art gallery cemented my love for Yuji Ishihara as an artist. Anyways, I’ll break this into two easy-to-follow paragraphs (excluding this intro); stuff I liked and stuff I didn’t like.

    The stuff I liked: the online features are great, patch cards/download chips, Buster MAX Mode, and the screen sizes. First, I wanna discuss the last item on the list: screen sizes. You get to pick the size of the game screen. The largest fills as much of the screen as possible and the smallest looks to be about the same size as a GBA screen (when in portable mode on a Nintendo Switch). This is beyond funny to me. I’m glad they put this in. It’s on the same tier as the first Mega Man Legacy Collection where you can keep the sprite flickering. I suppose I’ll just go up the list in reverse order, so that means Buster MAX Mode is next on the docket. Buster MAX Mode applies a 100x multiplier to MegaMan.EXE’s Mega Buster. This also applies to the power upgrades for the buster. This feature makes farming a breeze or trucking through the story easy. I do recommend this feature for grinding or if you GAME OVER and lose progress (speaking from experience). The Patch Cards and Download chips 1) contain exclusive art and 2) are from events and such that happened two decades ago. These along with the online features makes this re-release feature complete. Oh yeah, the online features are nice. You can battle and trade worldwide and set up public or private rooms. That’s about it.

    Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Review
    Tiny Screen!

    The stuff I didn’t like: the high-resolution filter, borders, and oh, that’s all! This being such a short list is a good thing. The High-Resolution filter is a feature I have a personal vendetta with it in any game that includes it. It blurs out the brilliant pixel art and the effect doesn’t even replicate a CRT look. Not like the GBA had a CRT screen anyways. The borders all have nice art, but I personally prefer black bars on the sides as I find them less distracting.

    MegaMan.EXE, the NT Warrior

    I actually did check out some of the additional media tied to the Battle Network series. I looked at the Anniversary Chapter of the manga and watched some episodes of the first season of the anime. I have included links to these below in the ‘Related Links’ section.

    I haven’t read any of the Mega Man NT Warrior manga besides this new chapter. Based solely on impressions, the manga seems to be funnier in general compared to the games, with gags aplenty. The art is quite nice. I want to read this entire manga when I get the chance. This chapter does contain spoilers for the end of Battle Network 6, so be warned.

    I watched, like, 6? Yes, 6 episodes of the first season of Mega Man NT Warrior. This is definitely a TV anime from the early 2000’s. I like it. It’s a quaint watch. The differences in the story of the anime and games are interesting. It’s very fun seeing side characters getting more time in the limelight and I felt joy seeing how the game was adapted in certain episodes. Since I only watched 6 episodes I didn’t get to see anything past Mega Man Battle Network 1. Well, we only got two of the five seasons stateside anyways. 

    Concluding Review Program, Transmit. Execute!

    The Mega Man Battle Network games are great. Fun characters, awesome concepts, great art, and an extremely unique battle system make for some unforgettable adventures. There are aspects to the stories and characters that aren’t as gripping as other entries in the series, but that’s how it goes. Each entry is unique with new mechanics, fun characters, and cool stories.

    This series offers a different flavor from the classic Mega Man games but surprisingly keeps the same spirit. The RPG battle system keeps concepts from Mega Man through movement and weakness exploitation. The story itself differentiates itself with new concepts. Ironically, both series micro-iterate between entries; meaning that each entry changes a few things while keeping the same strong core. Mileage may vary depending on a prospective player’s outlook on these things.

    The collection itself is well-executed and feature-complete. This is a great treat for fans and newbies alike for Battle Network‘s anniversary!

    Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Review
    This sums up my thoughts succinctly!

    Disclaimer: Capcom provided Final Weapon with a copy of Mega Man Battle Network: Legacy Collection for review purposes.

    Mega Man Battle Network: Legacy Collection Review Related Links

    Check out the game!

    Watch the anime!

    Read the new Anniversary Manga Chapter!

    Check out some Mega Man Battle Network Guides!


    Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection preserves the legacy of this Mega Man series well. These classic games still hold up and this collection keeps every aspect of the games intact; even if some of those aspects haven't aged well. Oodles of extras tie it all together to make a fine addition to any Mega Man fan's collection!
    Payne Grist
    Payne Grist
    Payne is a huge fan of JRPGs. SQUARE ENIX owns his heart, especially their 'FINAL FANTASY' series. He is currently studying various mediums of art and Japanese.

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    Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection preserves the legacy of this Mega Man series well. These classic games still hold up and this collection keeps every aspect of the games intact; even if some of those aspects haven't aged well. Oodles of extras tie it all together to make a fine addition to any Mega Man fan's collection!Mega Man Battle Network: Legacy Collection Review - A Mega Collection