Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Vol. 1 and 2 are a compilation of every Game Boy Advance Battle Network title from the early 2000s, similar to Capcom’s previous collection releases for the Mega Man, Mega Man X, and Mega Man Zero/ZX series of games. Volume 1 includes the first Battle Network, its sequel, and the dual versions of 3, Blue and White. Volume 2 houses 4, 5, and 6 each with dual versions of their own for a total of six titles, making 10 mainline Battle Network games across both.
The Battle Network series is a spinoff JRPG starring a revamped version of Mega Man who is now a virtual avatar for a dewy-eyed kid protagonist named Lan. It was a big departure from the action gunner roots the series was known for, but I personally never got into them. However as a more traditional Mega Man fan, I own the two previous collections and can hopefully provide some insight into how well of a collection this is, as most people probably already know whether they are fans of these games or not by now.
With that being said, if you’re going into Battle Network for the first time they are very traditional JRPGs in that you’ll be chatting with NPCs and roaming fantastical cyberspace areas rife with random encounters. Where these games break with genre convention are with their grid-based real-time battles that mix positioning and reaction time with a menu-driven strategy of selecting the right battle chips, essentially card-based attacks, to dispatch hostiles. Those collectible battle chips served as the reasoning for trading between friends and versions like Pokémon. And while I’m told there’s a high skill ceiling I found the system got old fast for a novice like myself, and it doesn’t evolve much over the next several entries. All six games also managed to be released over the course of about five years with no notable graphical shifts or enhancements; aside from differing plots you’re getting several instances of very similar experiences across both volumes.
But if everything I’ve described sounds like your cup of tea, or if you’re already a huge fan of the Battle Network games, I’m afraid the additional features present across both collections may also disappoint. The most notable change is that all of the link cable trading and battling options present in each game have been given proper online functionality now, a prospect that may delight longtime fans. They’ve also added a Buster Max Mode option you can switch on at any time. This turns your default Mega Buster attack into a one-hit kill for most enemies which will speed up battles, but there’s still nothing to mitigate the high random encounter rate when running through areas. Other extras include a pixel filter to smooth out jagged sprites, as well as an art gallery for each game with some marketing and concept art to sift through but no text or information to add historical context. A music player with a handful of newly remixed tracks and some rare Battle Chips and Patch Cards previously only available in Japan have also been added to the collection.
Special treatments like the remixed boss rush from the X collection or the head-to-head speedrunning mode from Zero/ZX are nowhere to be found.
The Battle Network Legacy Collection overall just feels phoned in. I may not be a fan of this particular flavor of the Blue Bomber, but I could have appreciated a thoughtfully curated compilation of extras and features that celebrated the Game Boy Advance games. These barebones ports add very little to an experience many have already had, and frankly if you’ve played one Battle Network title, you’ve played them all. Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Vol. 1 and 2 are out now for $39.99 each or $59.99 for both on Steam, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection.