Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 follows on from the predecessor, compiling the last four entries in the main canon series into one nice affordable package. The package includes Mega Man 7 (1995), Mega Man 8 (1997), Mega Man 9 (2008), Mega Man 10 (2010), DLC for for the last two titles, all rounded off with some additional features and challenges. It’s safe to say that any fan of the series or format will be getting more than their moneys worth, which is more than many of us can say when we look back to the (supposed) spiritual successor, Mighty No. 9, a game that promised depth and solid gameplay, only to fall miserably flat and fail on all fronts. Anyway, let’s get back to the collection.
First off, I want to make it absolutely clear that these four games are essentially straight up emulations. When you take the additional features out of the package, these titles will play exactly as they did when originally released. The additional features provide a nice touch, offering up heaps of challenges, galleries of art, quick save, high armour mode, and the added option to play the games via their original display size or via stretching to current TV dimensions. Quick save and high armour mode, which is a mode that sees Mega Man taking less damage, do make these titles somewhat easier to play through, but that’s not to say that you’re in for an easy ride. These games are known for their notorious difficulty, and despite these welcoming features, that harsh sense of play is still a dominant factor. In any case, it’s great to have that extra pillar of support should you need it (I certainly did).
Those that are not familiar with the series may be slightly confused by the design for each game, being that both Mega Man 7 and Mega Man 8 look more detailed than Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10. This is because Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 went back to the NES roots of the series, following on from the two previous games that released over a decade prior. Mega Man 7 and Mega Man 8 just didn’t go down too well with the crowd due to the minor shifts in both design and gameplay. That’s not to say that these games are bad, far from it, but if (like me) you crave the retro feel, you’ll certainly gravitate toward the latter two titles in the collection. History lesson to the side, how well does this collection stack up against the first collection?
Unfortunately, and as you’ve likely already picked up on, Mega Man X (often confused with Mega Man 10) is not a part of the collection. However we’re still getting four games for the price of one, so I wont grumble at that. Mega Man 7 is easily my least favourite from the collection. It’s a solid game in its own right, but when you stand this next to almost every other game in the series, it feels clunky and slow. It’s not overly hard to bond with the game but I did find myself wishing I had played this one first, because jumping from the latter (and better) titles in the collection to come back to this, only highlighted the aforementioned flaws. In all fairness however, Mega Man 7 does provide a decent experience that houses tough difficulty and a plot that falls inline with the classic iterations. I was pleasantly surprised by how well this game has aged, offering gorgeous colourful sprites across a range of environments, rounded off by some solid music to see you through.
Mega Man 8 on the other hand is most notably the one game in the series that suffers from identity crisis. Competing with many flavors of different platformer games from the 90’s, Mega Man 8 desperately tried to fit in with the formula, whilst trying out several different mechanics in an attempt to stand out. Anime cutscenes, voice acting, snowboarding, you name it, Mega Man 8 tried it. Unlike the predecessor, the game controls exceptionally well and offers up some action-packed sequences that have withstood the tests of time. Sadly, the music is less impressive and does very little to bolster the fast-paced gameplay that the series is known for. The poor cringe-worthy voice acting is another downside, but this is quite easy to overlook in the grand scheme of things. In any case, it’s a good experience, if even one of the worst from the long running series.
As alluded to above, Mega Man 9 is a return to the NES-esque roots, pitching 8-bit visuals, tough as nails difficulty, and the lack of charge shot and ground slide. Making an 8-bit game on last gen hardware allowed the developers to really play around with the format whilst not being tied to the restraints of NES hardware. This resulted in a game that’s widely accepted as the finest in the series, with excellent level design, plenty of enemy variants including bosses and mini-bosses, puzzling yet mesmerising platforming, and music that’s near perfect. Collectively, this pushes forward an experience that gifts you with solid and well structured gameplay whilst retaining the harsh difficulty that Mega Man is known for.
Although Mega Man 10 wasn’t as well received as Mega Man 9, it’s still a huge step up from Mega Man 7 and Mega Man 8. This is what makes the Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 particularly interesting, being that it bundles two of the least favourite titles in the series, with one of the most favoured titles, along with Mega Man 10, which sits somewhere between. Much like Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10 allows you to play as different characters, which really shifts up the gameplay depending on who you gravitate towards. In Mega Man 10 Proto Man can be selected from the onset, and comes with the charge shot and slide that were removed in the prior installation. On the whole this may not be as impressive as Mega Man 9, but it’s certainly one of the best in the series nevertheless, and provides you with plenty of action-packed moments, tough gameplay, and decent design.
Capcom have retained the challenges in Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 that were present at original release, along with throwing in several more challenges for good measure. Challenges vary in both difficulty and task, meaning one minute you can taking on a boss wave, the next, you’re only allowed to use one set-weapon. This takes the replay value to new heights and easily gifts you with tens of hours worth of play for the collection in its entirety. It’s definitely a worthy investment for those that enjoy the genre and want to pay a visit to a franchise that arguably shaped the genre.
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is a must buy for those that enjoy the series or the genre. There’s easily enough content here to justify the price tag, and the replay value alone will see you losing yourself for hours on end. Sadly there’s a lack of Mega Man X, but here’s to hoping that Capcom pull off a third collection to fill in the blanks. The additional content, or more notably the challenges found within, will give long-term fans and newcomers a run for their money. The games don’t come without issue, but much of this is carried over from the state of the games back when first released, such as design choices and bugs. When you sit back and look at the bigger picture, Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 arrives with a collection of decent titles that spans over a decade, each of which are well worth your time and attention.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.