Review: Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection (Switch)

An excellent collection that brings an under appreciated series to today’s fans!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 05/19/2023 11:24 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Excellent presentation; Battle system is as fresh and innovative now as it was then; Addition of online functionality adds even more replay value; Ten full adventures to partake in
Poison Mushroom for...
Can't turn border art off; The games are entertaining but the stories might not be enough to hook some older players

Mega Man has seen a wide range of reinterpretations in the years since his original game launched on NES back in 1987. He’s been a soccer player, he’s tackled adventures in 3D, and for a long stretch he was rather X-treme (see what we did there?). Another type of game genre that Mega Man took on and did very well was the RPG. Well, to be more specific, a real-time tactical RPG. Mega Man Battle Network was a staple of the GBA era, with six games spread out across five years. Now, Capcom has compiled them all into a single title dubbed Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection. After so much time, are these games still worth playing? Read on to find out!

Launched in 2001, Mega Man Battle Network was a Game Boy Advance title that saw the entire series reimagined in a whole new way. Mega Man was no longer a robot, but instead something called called a NetNavi named MegaMan.Exe who patrolled “the Net” (the Internet) to keep it safe from viruses. Players controlled both Mega Man and the character Lan Hikari, a young schoolboy who was Mega Man’s handler. Mega Man Battle Network featured traditional RPG staples like quests, numerous characters to interact with, and an involved storyline. Where it differed was the game’s unique battling system.

Battles took place on a 6×3 grid, with three tiles reserved for Mega Man and his opponent, respectively. Within the smaller 3×3 grid, players could move Mega Man freely to launch real-time attacks as well as pull from a deck of attack cards for more powerful maneuvers. It’s these battles that really helped to push Mega Man Battle Network to the next level and set it apart from other RPGs. Even now in 2023, the battle system remains innovative and compelling, making Legacy Collection a must for fans of both the genre and the franchise.

First off, there’s a lot of content to get through in this collection. While the series is titled up to six, there are actually ten whole games to experience here. Here’s the list:

  • Mega Man Battle Network
  • Mega Man Battle Network 2
  • Mega Man Battle Network 3:
    • Blue
    • White
  • Mega Man Battle Network 4:
    • Red Sun
    • Blue Moon
  • Mega Man Battle Network 5:
    • Team Protoman
    • Team Colonel
  • Mega Man Battle Network 6:
    • Cybeast Gregar
    • Cybeast Falzar

It’s a ton of content, so much so that Capcom is offering two separate volumes of Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection (if you buy it on cartridge everything is bundled as one). No matter which route you go to buy the collection, there is a ton here to play and enjoy.

While the Battle Network games are fairly standard fare when it comes to storytelling, where the games truly shine is the battle system. As a deckbuilder, the games offer players countless BattleChips to sift through in order to form the perfect deck to take on enemies. Between bouncing around the 3×3 grid to fight foes and utilizing chips at opportune moments, these games offer a delicious buffet of tactical options. Later games in the series expand upon the battle system with things like transformations and counters, but the core remains intact and exciting for every installment. If there’s any gripe to be had, it’s that random counters can be a tad too frequent, making simple tasks infinitely longer than they need to be due to constant interruptions. However, while Legacy Collection doesn’t allow players to alter the rate of frequency, you can make Mega Man’s default buster attack 100 times more powerful at any point, which allows players to breeze through these frequent encounters.

I realize I just downplayed the storytelling in the previous paragraph, but hear me out: while the narrative in these games isn’t Shakespearean by any stretch, they’re still fun little adventures. In particular, it’s great seeing what the minds at Capcom in the early 2000s envisioned a world with broadly accessible Internet access would be like. The described functionality of PET devices in the game is not that dissimilar to a smartphone, for instance. The early 2000s was still a time when a larger chunk of everyday people were getting online for the first time, so it’s a delight to see what the writers predicted the world might become thanks to all of the new, networked technology of the era that was popping up. These games are also perfect for kids if you have a younger gamer looking for something to play after Pokémon.

New additions to be found in Legacy Collection include the ability to make online trades of Battle Chips, styles, and more. Players can now battle one another online, as well. For those who were curious over the years about the Japan-exclusive Patch Cards can now access all of that content and more to play with in-game. Capcom even went so far as to let players turn off some of these bonuses when battling one another online. It speaks to the dedication of Capcom’s developers that so much care went into assembling this collection. If I am allowed a complaint, however, it would be that there’s no option to turn the screen borders off. I enjoy the art that has been included, but if I could set it to black that would be far less distracting. Alas, it’s not an option—perhaps a future patch will change that. There’s also an option to toggle that smooths out the beautiful pixel graphics. No thanks. They look just fine with their hard edges, thank you very much.

As far as retro compilations go, Legacy Collection is a fine addition to Capcom’s robust Mega Man offerings. With ten games to play through, all available additional content unlocked for them, and extras like online play available, there’s enough here to keep players busy for many, many hours. While it has been a while since the Battle Network series was wrapped up, these games remain fresh and innovative all these years later thanks to the unique battle system at its core. We strongly recommend Legacy Collection and hope that you’ll add it to your collection on Switch.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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