Reviews from

in the past


Easier than ranking all of them, 3 and 6 are so fucking good, but they are all fun

This is a compilation of the reviews written for each entry I played in the Battle Network Retrospective:

Mega Man: Battle Network
4/21/2023

It was really novel for Capcom to take the beloved and by now extraordinarily refined conception of Mega Man into a completely new direction with the spinoff Battle Network series. The famous Blue Bomber, known for his brutally punishing platformer levels and unique boss battles you could tackle in any order, was now a tactical rpg stylized around the post-millennium boom of the internet. This unique inception, in both world and gameplay, endures as one of the most imaginative iterations of any property in gaming, taking the spirit and mechanics of not only its own legacy, but from many different styles of games to create an immersive and strategic gaming experience unlike almost any other. The Battle System is the first flourish of creativity most deserving of praise, blending together real-time and turn-based battle mechanics with a fusion of deck-building action engagements set on a three-by-six grid split down the middle. Not many other games are able to take so many different types of mechanics and roll them into something coherent, let alone a system as eminently enjoyable as this. The Battle Chip mechanic representing the powers of enemies and bosses you’ve defeated is also a great way to maintain one of the core appeals of the mainline Mega Man games while still radically rethinking and reinventing the identity of the series from the ground up.

Speaking of the series’ new identity, it may be my favorite thing about the game as a whole. The unique battle system of the Battle Network games is much easier to recognize as both innovative and lasting, but it’s the world of this hyper-connected internet society that has continually stirred my imagination over the years. In 2023, the premise of a world wrapped up in their all-consuming personal terminals which can connect to almost any electronic device being utilized to optimize and further interconnect their daily lives might seem downright ordinary, but even today, the realization of this through a kind of fantastical, Villain-of-the-Week, Saturday Morning Cartoon lens, is endlessly imaginative and inspirational. There’s a reason they were able to build on this concept over the course of six separate games, utilizing the same environments and assets throughout almost all of them on a single handheld system over the course of five years. The actual scenario writing is often corny and cliche, with world-ending stakes that undoubtedly rest far outside the practical reach of an elementary school protagonist, but the outlandish spectacle and overwrought dialogue are also an undeniable facet of the game’s charm. I think the cast is really great, if a bit basic in their characterization for this first entry. You get a really good sense of place in your main town, ACDC, with its familiar set of characters and explorable locales. It’s small, but makes a strong impression that is then built upon in later games.

The most titillating of all this game’s creations, however, are the Navis which substitute for this Mega Man’s interpretation of the series’ previous Robot Masters. Their personal ties to their operators makes for a lot of fun and memorable dynamics, not just amongst the principle cast, but the various villains as well. It’s nice to see how this world results in interesting creations of previously established Mega Man villains like Woodman and Elecman, as well as fun new adversaries such as Sharkman and Colorman. Their unique capabilities lead to many interesting and calculated battles utilizing the game’s distinctive battle systems, some of which are more balanced than others. Any struggles in difficulty are typically overcome, though, thanks to some truly punishing Battle Chips and weapon combinations you can get fairly early with relative ease. The proper sequencing of certain chips allows for an often devastating amount of power to be utilized with proper deck-building, creating an even deeper sense of the battle system’s mechanics that is made clear throughout the game without any blatant turorializing. The fact that it’s an optional element of the gameplay is even better, as you could easily go an entire playthrough relying solely on the powerful chips you can find from the Chip Trader instead of all the untold Program Advances left for you to discover.

There’s a lot, actually the game doesn’t tell you about, much of which is optional content, including a post-game with secret bosses to unlock with additional story beats. There’s also a lot which is poorly explained, however, leading to the game’s most significant setbacks and aggressive frustrations. For as well-realized as the world of Megaman.exe is, there are some absolutely grueling stretches of exploration and obtuse puzzle solving that you’re liable to give up relatively early on without a considerable helping of patience. The game is usually decent at pointing you in the right direction to progress at least, even including a handy mechanic of talking to Mega Man whenever you’d like for a hint on what you need to do next, but too often these tips are much too vague or even actively misleading, and the amount of running around the game expects you to do only compounds this agitating design. For example, there is a moment towards the latter half of the game that initially tells you to search for someone in a specific location. When you arrive, they are nowhere to be seen, prompting you to talk to every NPC in the area until you learn where to go instead. No big deal, this is all typical rpg investigation. When you get to your next destination you learn of two new people you have to look for, with only vague descriptions given to identify them from the mass of similar-looking NPCs in the area. One of these people are not in the area you’re told to look for them in, so you have to find someone else to point you towards their location as well. This is just a frustrating merry-go-round of meaningless character interactions further complicated by the game’s inexplicable lack of a map to help yourself navigate with. As far as I’m aware, the other games in the series don’t utilize basic map functionality either, but generally speaking, the locations are far more distinctive with easily recognized waypoints to constantly affirm your bearing when exploring the different areas of this multifaceted world.

This lack of distinction between areas is at its worst on the Net, a totally separate space from the real world where you take control of Mega Man and engage in the actual combat of the game in digital realization of a physically inhabitable internet. Every area looks exactly the same and is defined by confusing twists and turns which rarely guide you towards the destination you need. And if you wander too far before you’re ready, you’re liable to encounter incredibly powerful enemies that can easily decimate you and erase large stretches of progress. The basic functionality of an escape chance was relegated here to one of the Battle Chips you can include in your folder, an asinine decision which was thankfully remedied in later titles. Most of the optional content of the game is hidden away in these deeper parts of the Net, but the labyrinthian nature of the homogenous maze makes it quite unappealing to actually seek out, the reward not necessarily being worth the slog of enduring the monotony of the exploration. It’s probably not as bad as the slog of many required sections of the game’s dungeons, several of which contain some of gaming’s most regrettable conventions. Ice puzzles, invisible pathways, unexpected difficulty spikes-—a whole slew of terrible ideas intended to substitute for nominal challenge. The ice puzzles in particular really stuck in my craw, as they’re presented in such a way as to make one think they operate on only a single axis, when the only way to progress is by approaching them at an unclear and hyper specific angle. There’s no evident demonstration of how you’re meant to approach these puzzles in either of the areas they’re meant to appear, leaving the only solution as throwing yourself continually at it until it magically works. The invisible pathway puzzles are a similar nuisance, with no actual sense of reward from “solving” it.

The frustrations of the game are such that it’s hard not to recall the overall experience with a distinct sense of bitterness, but it’s easier to fixate on the negatives when you know the positives persist in far less flawed successors. If Battle Network were the only iteration of its kind, its issues would not suddenly fade away, but our appreciation for its unique inventions, its charming characters and imaginative world, would carry a lot more weight. Despite its hefty flaws, the original Battle Network does still have those inspiring qualities, and the refinement of these rougher edges in subsequent games shouldn’t let us forget that. It’s still an incredible reinterpretation of the classic Mega Man philosophies with a wildly entertaining spin on a future dictated by our increasing online connectivity, one which seeks to personalize the evolution of technology by tying our relationship to devices to a more intimate incarnation. The soul of the Battle Network series is strong here, even with its glaring caveats. The important elements are the most impeccable still, those being the core gameplay and the setting and characters. The growing pains that come with an initial entry are often felt, but never to such a degree as to disqualify the game completely. The game is such that it stands on its own merits, and would likely be praised to an even greater degree if it could exist within a vacuum. Really, the worst thing you can say about Battle Network is that there are other games that took what it created and simply made it better.

…and Ice Puzzles. Seriously game developers, stop creating stupid ass Ice Puzzles for me to pull my hair out over, I think we’ve all had our fill by now.

Mega Man: Battle Network 2
5/3/2023

By now, it’s very common knowledge that Battle Network 2 is universally superior to its predecessor in just about every regard. Technically speaking, we’re dealing with all the same qualifications here, but it’s clear Capcom and co. learned a lot from the rough patches of the first game and sought to improve the experience tenfold. The biggest improvements come from the refined UI of the Battle System and the navigability of the net. The often cryptic directions the game gives you can still be an issue, but the distinct renderings of the various areas within the net make surveying it for some kind of objective far less painful. The improved Battle System manifests in the form of many optimized small changes. Notably, the appearance of chip codes on the select menu itself, a permanent “Run” option from battle, a refined “Add” option which maintains the increased chip amount for the remainder of the battle, and small details such as enemy names being displayed at the start of combat now. Additionally, I felt an increased access to a variety of chips with similar codes being made available, making it easier for the player to optimize their folder and build more synchronous strategies to get through their folder faster in battle. I can’t be certain this is truly the case, but regardless, by the end I had a selection of chips I felt I could suit more to differing playstyles than I think anything in the first game ever managed to offer.

Another new feature which distinguishes the personalization of the combat in Battle Network 2 is the introduction of the Style Change function. Early on, Mega Man is given the ability to change his appearance and abilities based on the playstyle the player has prioritized up until that point. Each style comes with a random element attached which affects the performance of Mega Man’s buster attack. You’re able to collect multiple styles throughout the game, swapping around and leveling up which you enjoy best, or is most suited to your current situation. This is a really great new feature which incentivizes and rewards the player for engaging in combat in different ways, ensuring a unique experience tailored to the individual’s particularities and strengths. The only thing from the first game’s Battle System I could even possibly miss is the full healing you’d get after each encounter. It made slogging through that game’s horrendous dungeon designs less punishing at least. Luckily, they didn’t simply take it away and force you to stuff healing chips into your folder for 2. The addition of Sub Chips as an additional resource you can use outside of combat ensures you can always heal up if you ever get low on health, as well as allowing you to dispel enemy encounters for a while or repeat certain encounters if you’re searching for a particular enemy to fight. Both of these features were continued in the next game as well, proving their significance in further refining the Battle Network experience.

Narratively, Battle Network 2 expands on the scope of the first entry by spreading the conflict across a greater expanse of locales. The world of Battle Network opens up for the first time here, starting with the second dungeon, which takes you out of the familiar location of ACDC Town and Dencity and into the rural scenery of Okuden Valley. This varying of locations is an essential element of the series’ building upon the strong impressions of a lived-in world established by the first game. It’s important in helping us invest further in the denizens of this world, as we continue to familiarize ourselves not just with the recurring characters of the series, but the places they inhabit and effect, too. It’s especially important for this entry, which aims to amp up the tension of the latest cyber threat by involving multiple other countries in the sweep of its effect. The increasing grandiosity of Battle Network’s story doesn’t necessarily register in full, especially as its central villain remains completely obscured until the game’s very final moments, dumping some hackneyed backstory after the final fight has concluded in order to drum up some kind of contrived purpose for the antagonistic force to perpetuate to begin with. They kind of did this in the first game as well with Dr. Wily’s backstory dump, but he was at least a constant presence in the game with intermittent cutscenes sprinkled throughout. Gospel is a far more nebulous threat, although the opponent Navis are generally superior in both design and combat to the first game’s cast of villains. The various dungeons, much like the vastly-improved net, are far more enjoyable here, with no particular puzzles proving intolerably frustrating. The final scenario before the endgame sees you going on a ludicrous fetch quest back and forth across the net, which alone tests the player’s remaining patience for the game by this point, but everything preceding it is totally reasonable, leaving this one untenable area mostly forgivable.

If the first Battle Network was a promising new IP that reinvented the philosophy of Mega Man, but suffered from poor design elements that constantly hindered the experience of the gameplay itself, then Battle Network 2 is the first complete realization of those innovative conceptions without insanely detrimental flaws. The expansion of the world in tandem with the refinement of the Battle Systems demonstrate incredible progress in the shaping of what elements made the first game so endearing, while the increased customization provided by the Style Change system and increased chip variety ensure a unique experience for every player, and every playthrough. The back half of the game is tainted slightly by an excruciatingly lengthy and tedious backtracking sequence, as well as an ending that narratively carries little weight. Some obtuse solutions persist throughout the early game as well (the invisible item fetch quest in the second scenario immediately springs to mind), as well as a bizarrely offensive depiction of international travel as instinctively predatory, also stand out as frustrating experiences, but by and large the game expands and improves upon the enticing groundwork of the first game. A robust amount of post-game content compels me to further explore the enthralling gameplay of Battle Network 2 now that the main game has reached its conclusion, which itself is all the indication needed to demonstrate how much of a drastic improvement this sequel is over its progenitor.

Mega Man: Battle Network 3
8/6/2023

When looking forward to embarking on a retrospective playthough of the entire Battle Network series, the entry I was most anticipating was Battle Network 3. It was the only game in the series I had previously played, but the impression it left was so remarkable as a kid that it is perhaps one of the primary influences for me loving games still today. The GBA library is replete with brilliant games that hooked a new generation of children into the medium, overflowing with veritable classics that still rank amongst the best of their respective franchises. Pokemon and Metroid, Mario and Sonic, Fire Emblem and Castlevania. Any one of these games could and have been the consecrating cornerstone of someone’s journey into gaming–but not me. There were a few other games I owned at the same time as Battle Network 3, but none absorbed as much of my time or imagination as this. It was such that I never even considered wanting to play 1 or 2 thereafter, or that there may have been a 4 or a 5 or even a 6. I played Battle Network 3 endlessly, in part because it just has so much to offer.

I spent a lot of my review of the first Battle Network game discussing the inherent qualities of the series’ premise and mechanics, but I think for what amounts to the culmination of all the developers’ efforts thus far, many of the same sentiments bear repeating. Namely, I find it valuable to pontificate on how valuable a well-paced, reasonably dense RPG fares on a handheld system. RPGs are one of the most immersive types of video games, and for a child with generally short attention spans, the pick-up-and-play nature of handheld systems is inherently more inviting. While RPGs are generally structured to favor more intensive sessions to grind out lengthy sections of gameplay, the often turn-based, preparation-heavy design of their systems can be quite conducive to a more sporadic scheduling. The benefits of both approaches work together to encourage one another, fostering the growth of a more prolonged attention span for those who lack it, while also facilitating breaks and more dispersed sessions of play. Combined with the previously discussed appeals of the series (a unique combat system, a customizable approach to fighting, an immersive science-fiction world with endearing characters and a Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe), the Battle Network games strike a perfect balance engaging mechanics that both introduce and further encourage engagement with the inherently unique qualities of a video game for the relatively uninitiated.

Those appeals remained evident when revisiting the first two games of the series, though it was clear, based on my memories, that they were still building on a foundation overflowing with potential. The first game suffered immensely from incomplete mechanics and a half-designed world which became tedious and repetitive to navigate. The second game addressed almost all the issues of the first, and expanded with new ideas that complimented the established mechanics of the games, but dropped off towards the end with needlessly convoluted navigation and a narrative conclusion that fell flat. With the third entry, it truly feels like the culmination of everything that came before. All the strides and improvement of gameplay made from 1 to 2 have been retained here, with additional refinements and new inventions to go along with them. The most noteworthy new system is the Navi Customizer, which builds upon previous games’ abilities to upgrade Meagman’s capabilities in yet another personalized approach. Where previous games merely allowed for linear power increases through upgrades found across the net, the Navi Customizer creates a system that incentivizes variety and change. The grid-based, block-oriented system of placing power ups mirrors the intricate grid-based combat system of the game, making for a more interesting as well as differentiated approach to progression and challenge throughout the game after it’s introduced. There are several points throughout the game which require certain programs be used within the Navi Customizer, requiring you to be flexible and creative with your builds.

While narrative has never been the most compelling component of the series, Battle Network 3 manages to conjure up a story that feels emotionally engaging in terms of both stakes and characters. The pacing of the story feels especially attuned to this sense of progression, starting out with familiar, locally contained scenarios before branching out into a more wide-reaching and dramatic turn. Smartly, this ratcheting of the stakes comes with a nominal increase in the difficulty of the game too, amplifying the player’s sense that the threat is not only dire for Lan and Megaman, but for them playing as the two as well. The Hospital Scenario is perhaps the best example of how the game ties difficulty and emotional stakes before straying from the traditional contained dungeon formula for subsequent sections of the game. You spend the pre-dungeon portion of the scenario befriending a young boy who is suddenly in need of intensive surgery right as the scenario’s villain strikes the hospital to acquire its specific MacGuffin. It’s a simple emotional hook, but nonetheless an effective one the writers employ with consistent success throughout the game, asking you to invest in these characters so that the stakes might resonate beyond the boilerplate save-the-world scenario these games ultimately boil down to.

Because of this, the scenarios and boss fights of Battle Network 3 are the most distinct and memorable of the series so far. When you walk away from the game you don’t just remember the design of the evil navis, or the moves they employed in combat. The scenario itself becomes an impressionable aspect of their personality, often requiring some additional overworld interaction with their calamity in order to defeat them. That isn’t to undersell the actual designs of the navis or their fights either. Judged on their own objective merits, they still come out on the top of the heap. The embrace of less humanoid navis like Desertman and Flameman creates a space for more creativity to prosper, and a wider range of what defines the bounds of a navi to begin with. The fights are memorable too, of course, with the second encounter notably continuing the trend of the previous game ratcheting up the difficulty perhaps more than the player was expecting this early in the game. Unsurprisingly, the greatest hurdle of the game comes at the end, with the final showdown against a fully powered Bass and original incarnation of the internet, Alpha. For this first time in the series, we have a final fight which can only be accurately described as brutal. The combined barrier of Bass’ signature aura shield and Alpha’s regenerating core demand the best of your deck-building skills to create a folder capable of taking both on back to back while their actual attacks constantly keep you on your feet dodging and looking for an opening to sneak large chunks of their massive health bars away. It is far and away the most difficult fights of the series so far, and despite the insane spike in difficulty, it feels neither unwarranted nor insurmountable in its challenge.

Battle Network 3 has a couple of infamous roadblocks which can halt your progression entirely, but upon revisiting the game I was happy to discover the answers to all the problems were indeed there, if a bit obtuse to uncover. It’s not really like in 2 where there were puzzles built around invisible items you needed to uncover, or annoying fetch quests which sent you back and forth across the same stretches of the internet with irritating obstacles blocking your pathways. Any similar puzzles to those in Battle Network 3 are mitigated by a smoothening of their presentation: the only notable invisible item interaction is in a directly defined location, and the comparable scenario to the Freezeman backtracking quest in 2 clearly lays out your objective from the start and allows you to clear it in whole sections at a time, eliminating any actual “backtracking” that would make it annoying to begin with. The real stopgaps of 3 are the well-known “Iceball M” quest and the ambiguous “One of Many Birds” mystery. The former has its answer very clearly stated to you in several locations, despite having no means of encountering it prior to being assigned this task. Having struggled to find this exclusive chip as a kid, I never forgot the obtuse solution all these years on, but I was very glad to discover that had I simply thought to utilize the game’s in-world hint system more liberally, I could’ve found the solution easy enough. The latter is perhaps a bit more inscrutable. It’s totally possible to never notice the solution to this puzzle during your playthrough before being presented with the task to go and find it, and even though there are NPCs who will talk with you about this hint throughout the world, I didn’t personally encounter one who explicitly laid out the solution like the chat rooms did for the Iceball M chip. Still, it was something I figured out as a kid, and something I still noticed playing today, and it’s not so unachievable that some frantic interacting with every possible object wouldn’t net you the solution more or less soon enough.

There is no greater joy than the feeling of revisiting something from your childhood and discovering it was more than just nostalgia holding your fondness for something aloft in your mind. Pillars of quality and design bear the weight of a game like Battle Network 3; a game which, perhaps more than any other, is responsible for my ardent investment in the medium today. Even after watching the credits roll, there’s still so much left to do. The substantial postgame alone offers another small adventure to dive into, this time considerably more difficult than the challenges which have come before. Several new navis to find, and an expansion of the Undernet quest first began as part of the main game. I even managed to get decently far in it as a kid, before hitting a roadblock due to my lack of understanding of Program Advances. But I think now I could tackle it, as well as all the other tasks and personal challenges the game leaves you with. S-Ranking all the navi fights, similar to that of fighting the Robot Masters in the original Mega Man games; grinding Bug Frags and searching for all the friendly viruses hiding across the net; finishing all the job requests and hunting down every rare chip in the game. A lot of this extra content is ultimately kind of tedious, but it’s a testament to the overall quality of the game and the world it creates that I find myself actively wanting to pursue these rather menial missions. Battle Network 3 offers an eminently playable and replayable experience through all its unique characteristics that even the efforts of its previous entries can’t seem to compare. It is perhaps not as innovative in its accomplishments as the previous games, with 1 laying the groundwork and conceptual inspiration for the series, while 2 instituted a number of new and interesting mechanics which became essential elements of the gameplay going forward. But what 3 accomplishes, in addition to the wonderful new features it does add, is the ultimate refinement of what the first two entries aim to achieve in their outset. It builds on the promises of its progenitors and realizes their ambitions and more, providing that perfect balance of multi-faceted gameplay and immersive world-building which makes video games such an engaging medium to begin with.

Mega Man: Battle Network 4
10/4/2023

Whenever there is a significant departure in an established series, risk is inevitably incurred. Risk of alienating established fans with potentially controversial changes; risk of corrupting the core appeal by deviating too much from what has always worked; risk of obscuring completely the fundamental identity of the series through a glut of overly contrived additions in the place of cleanly refining the essential components and expanding upon a strong foundation. It’s always a risk, but one which is necessary to stave off stagnation, and create space for further creativity. Every failed idea was an opportunity for success, and before focusing on the egregious mistakes which lead to an undoing, it’s important to acknowledge the attempt to try something new. Battle Network 4 is an unquestionable failure and a risk–a necessary deviation from the refined formula of the series, which had reached its culmination with the splendor of the previous game. It’s actually less what 4 does differently which makes it so maligned than what it continues to do in terms of the series’ consistent pitfalls. The deviations of 4 are only frustrating in that they initially promise an exciting evolution for the series, which sadly goes unrealized in the face of all the worst impulses of the franchise manifesting so overtly. The new gimmicks thus become an additional flaw, perceived as a shoddy realization that compounds upon the already prevalent issues of the game instead of a bold innovation and a wellspring of future potential. So long as the fundamentals are solid, any nominal growing pains can typically be forgiven. With Battle Network 4, though, it feels as if every lesson learned in the development of the three previous titles were completely forgotten, and even the most basic of game design philosophies had been thrown out the window.

Setting aside mechanics for a moment, one of the immediate differences returning players will notice is the total upheaval of both the art style and the overworld as two of the most familiar and consistent elements of the series. This is not a dealbreaker in and of itself—beloved characters remain and maintain their base designs, while the spirit of the in-game world is not necessarily compromised due to the changes. However, it’s evident from very early on that these visual changes are overall for the worse. It’s another case where the negative sentiment could probably be assuaged if the game around it was still good, but because the core itself is rotten, these pockmarks fester across the whole of the experience. Similarly, the persistent localization errors plaguing the game’s translation are a minor but ever-present nuisance that, more than anything else, embody a lackluster sense of presentation inherent to the game. It contributes further to a pervading sense that the game was intentionally designed to be frustrating for the player, as even the flashy new developments introduced here are marred by obtuse limitations and tedious extension.

Double Soul is the new gimmick for Battle Network 4, replacing the Style Change function of the previous two games as the transformation mechanic that imbues Mega Man with various elemental powers. It recalls the central conceit of the original Mega Man games, in that you take on the powerset of certain opponents after defeating them in battle. This is far and away the most exciting and evolutionary change Battle Network 4 presents. Double Soul incentivizes more strategic play, as it only lasts for three turns in battle and requires synergistic deck-building to get the maximum value from every use. It’s also a more visually inspired mechanic, fusing elements of other Navi’s design with Mega Man to emphasize the melding of their abilities, as opposed to the generic palette swaps and minor ornamental differences seen in previous games. The catch, as it were, is that you can only access three of these souls, despite there being six unique variants per game, for a total of twelve different options across both versions. You have no means of influencing which souls you obtain on any given playthrough, and are expected to play through the game multiple times to experience all six, which are hard-coded to make you repeat at least one on a second playthrough, forcing at least three entire playthroughs of the game to experience the complete breadth of this new mechanic. Presumably, this is done to ensure variance for subsequent playthroughs, but the scenarios are presented in such a way as to be entirely interchangeable, negating any uniqueness they could have had. What’s worse is that the main narrative missions persist as well, further exacerbating the tedious nature the game has to begin with.

It’s almost impressive how tiring the gameplay loop ends up feeling, even from just the very early sections of the game. Whether you’re playing through part of the main narrative chasing down evil Navis across the net, or chugging through the tournament scenarios that pad out the time between actual story progression, the structure of these games has never felt so cyclical. The first major scenario embodies this aggravating approach acutely: you’re forced to chase an evil Navi across the heavily-restricted and blandly designed net, hit a dead end after you catch up to him, go to another place in the overworld and access the net again, chase him again until you hit another roadblock, go back into the overworld to obtain a progression item you’ll never use again, and then access and complete one of only three more traditional dungeons this game has to offer. The amount of backtracking endured in this first scenario is a dire portend of what’s to come, and when you’re not tasked with running back and forth across the same stretches of net, enduring an onslaught of tedious virus battles along the way each time, you’re saddled with cryptic invisible item fetch quests and monotonous endurance battles as your only additional content to experience. There aren’t even side quests anymore to break up the repetitive loop of carbon copy plot beats and uninspired story missions. It only gets worse towards the end, as certain progressions keys are locked behind a currency gate, forcing you to grind for pittances of zenny in random virus battles should you have chosen to commit the grave sin of engaging with the game’s economy of shops throughout the game. In a twist of irony, this inexplicable punishment functions as a far better risk/reward system than the one which actually exists in the game. Unless you’re consistently playing like crap throughout, you’re unlikely to ever see Dark Chips outside of the mandatory tutorial they’re introduced with relatively early on in the game.

The persistent feeling of frustration that comes from playing Battle Network 4 is only ever compounded by the moments where the gameplay feels engaging and fun. It’s frustrating because, very clearly, there exists the groundwork for an appropriate and exciting evolution of the series beneath the grueling game design that weighs down every other moment playing this game. The combat in particular showcases the continued trend of improvement and complexity of the series, with new and interesting chips to be used in tandem with the more compelling Double Soul mechanic the game more or less revolves around. In hindsight, one can almost certainly claim that the risks taken in the digressions of Battle Network 4 were ill-advised. Still, it should be said that the failures seen here are a greater product of poor design in general, rather than the changes made to specifically distinguish this entry from the prior titles. The game is bad on a fundamental level, but it’s arguably still a decent Battle Network game. The spirit of the series is maintained, by means of its unique battle system being preserved and expanded, while the story and characters remain consistent, if a little more confused due to the botched localization. I’d be curious to know if these staple strengths of the games were enough to endear an uninitiated player to the series, similar to how the unrefined mechanics of the first game are endured thanks to the foundational appeals one experiences playing it for the first time. It’s impossible to ignore, though, the rudimentary failures of basic game design here, forcing players through repetitive loops of undistinguished gameplay, and masking the keys to progression behind abstruse and unintuitive solutions. Battle Network 4 seeks to incentivize players to go through the game multiple times based on the structure of its core design, but the baseline flaws are so discouraging it’s a struggle to complete even a single playthrough of the game, let alone three or more.

Mega Man: Battle Network 5
11/26/23

The squandered potential of Battle Network 4’s departures and innovations sees its just due in this immediate sequel, shedding the majority of its hostile design principles while continuing to reinvent the core gameplay formula around progressive new concepts, in harmony with the overarching spirit the series has maintained across five mainline titles. The promising Double Soul mechanic introduced in the last game is realized to its full potential here, partnered alongside a congenial new party system and a more tactical gameplay structure nestled within the familiar trajectory the series primarily promotes. Even the fumbled Dark Chip concept quickly forgotten in 4 proves actually enticing here, fleshing out the mechanic into an inviting risk/reward system actively interwoven with the main narrative of the game, and affected by the central mechanics core gameplay is built around. Most importantly, though, is how the game weaves its fundamental designs around an engaging plot and cast of characters, filled with new and familiar faces alike, whose personalities excel at investing you in this most ambitious adventure for the series so far. The experience isn’t so ideal as to be completely free of the tedium and annoyances which by now can be seen as signature flaws of the franchise, but the fundamental evolutions of the gameplay, in tandem with its robust narrative and endearing band of allies, are such that it is an effective culmination of all the major tenets the series has thus far built for itself—both good and bad.

The primary battle system the series is known for remains intuitive and strategically complex. The combination of turn-based, deck-building combat executed on a gridded battlefield remains a winning formula, particularly as the various new mechanics continue to build upon this strong foundation in engaging and innovative ways. Although mainstay functions such as Program Advances were severely limited in this entry, incentives for conscientious deck-building are further encouraged by means of the returning Double Soul mechanic and the new party system present in the game’s premier addition for the series: Liberation Missions. These advanced tactical challenges lie at the heart of the game’s narrative, tasking you to free various areas across the net which have been occupied by an evil organization known as Nebula. Liberation Missions shake up the traditional Battle Network gameplay by employing tactics-style stratagems to clear tile-oriented objectives of increasing size and difficulty. Each new Liberation Mission gives you a new team member to operate, often a familiar Navi opponent from a previous Battle Network title, who has been persuaded to assist you in freeing the net of this latest tyrannical threat. The unique opportunity to operate other Navis is a first for the series, and with it comes an increased variety in playstyle, as they all have unique properties and powers to utilize when it comes to battling. Although you still battle with the same chip folder you use with MegaMan, each Navi boasts a unique chip only accessible to them once per battle, typically a very powerful attack with a code associated to their name. As you expand your chip library, it makes sense then to keep in mind synergistic builds for operating not just MegaMan, but all the allies you’ll eventually partner with, as a balanced deck is the key to pulling off each Liberation Mission in the least amount of turns, earning you the greatest reward at the end.

The conclusion of each mission also rewards you with the corresponding Double Soul of the most recent Navi recruited to your cause. Just as in the previous game, Double Soul imbues MegaMan with the associated properties of the Navis he has formed a special bond with, effectively emulating the power-copying ability intrinsic to the original MegaMan games when defeating the various Robot Masters. It continues to be a very motivating mechanic that accelerates gameplay, enlivening the endless combat encounters of the game by offering a wide range of opportunities for quick kills and combos when effectively helmed. The mechanic enjoys a greater sense of implementation here thanks to the continued presence of the respective Navis throughout the game via Liberation Missions, solidifying their character-motivated attribute of a personal bond having been formed between MegaMan and his teammates. While less important than the mechanical functionality of the gimmick, the efforts taken to intermingle gameplay and story is one of the stronger components of Battle Network 5’s presentation. You miss out a bit on the running narrative previous games maintained of Lan’s struggle to balance childhood escapades with daring pursuits of evil antagonists, but it’s largely mitigated thanks to this entry’s more sober disposition. A more dramatic narrative engages us from the outset of the game, carrying with it the most plausible sense of threat the series has thus far seen. When first journeying onto the net after Nebula has begun its occupation, there exists a sense of menace unknown to the series outside of the Undernet, which has always possessed a kind of cartoonish gloom in contrast to this. Even after you’re able to liberate these spaces, there remains a kind of inhospitable feeling in their design. Unfortunately, that lingering dread is not so much a result of immersive storytelling, but rather, the unrelenting bugbear of discommodious level design.

The series has been somewhat inconsistent with this recurring issue, progressing and regressing across various titles, but appearing to exist in some form or another in almost every entry. Battle Network 5’s labyrinthian interpretation of the net is a marked step up from its predecessor, but still lacks integral elements of clarity and ease of navigation, as well as distinctive identities for the various spaces associated with real world counterparts. The amount of backtracking the game requires often compounds this frustration, as you’re often asked to head deep into the net for a particular objective, only to then be taken back to the real world before going back to that same place on the net, with no means of quickly traversing there via some easily accessible shortcut. Between this, and the game’s tendency to reuse already exhausted dungeons for additional story beats, the obvious padding of the game and stretching of assets becomes quite obnoxious. It’s not even logically implemented, in that you could return to each of the major areas for some new challenge or relevant narrative moment. One of the dungeons is inexplicably reused for three separate events, while another serves as the last location you need to check for an inane story quest which in no way points you towards relitigating a prior dungeon as the necessary objective. Even Liberation Missions suffer from these frustrating conceits, as although their layouts suit the tactical mission structure in which they’re introduced, the vast spaces which previously served as a battlefield end up as little more than hollow hallways for the rest of the game. It really undermines the sense that you’re “liberating” much of anything when all that appears after you return are a handful of NPCs with nothing but meaningless dialogue to offer you.

The game in general suffers from a want of engagement outside its core narrative. There’s still the meager interactions of trade quests and quiz characters to interact with, but the absence of more definitive side quests hurts the whole of the experience in the grand scheme. It is a very good thing, then, that the base game is fundamentally compelling enough to more or less make up for the lack of these features almost entirely. The core gameplay has never felt better for the series, with an array of synergistic chip types pairing with the revitalized Double Soul mechanic to make combat feel consistently fresh and exciting throughout the game. The mechanics of the game meld with the story and characters in a way that is most satisfying, all while introducing an unexpected evolution for the series that further emphasizes its tactical fundamentals. As a final note of merit, the game’s soundtrack warrants praise, as it highlights the previously unmentioned strengths the series has always had for melodic compositions on a console notoriously remembered for its abysmal sound quality. Many of the tracks are new mixes of familiar themes, balancing the soundtrack between more whimsical interpretations of nostalgic motifs and sinister new accompaniments for the darker tone certain segments maintain. Battle Network 5 is an overall outstanding entry, notwithstanding the few remaining issues the series insists upon in an effort to puzzle and provoke the player as a means of challenge. The confident strides the game takes in advancing the series are too successful to be hampered by these frustrations, however, with the impressive amalgamation of narrative and gameplay being a particular coup to set this entry apart from its notable predecessors.

Mega Man: Battle Network 6
1/28/24
By the time you roll the credits on Battle Network 6, it’s evident that the series has reached its conclusion. Previous games have always left the player on a triumphant note: having defeated the latest world-threatening evil, Lan and his friends celebrate, secure in the knowledge that, should such another menace disrupt their beatific adolescence (as they so often do), Lan and Mega Man will rise to the occasion and thwart their schemes again—and in the process, work up a much-deserved appetite while frantically forgetting his homework, as ever. But Battle Network 6 ends a bit differently. In addition to the routine celebration we get a scene of all the characters looking towards their future, finally having graduated from elementary school and considering where they’d like to be in twenty years. It would seem that development did not begin with this intent of denouement in mind, but regardless, a conclusion for the series was always inevitable, and the provided closure for the characters is appreciated, but insubstantial. The bittersweet feeling you’re left with is more the result of a want of a proper conclusion, the hollow sentimentality lingering in your chest as you ponder how impactful such a culmination should feel after six consecutive entries. The hastily constructed epilogue is in part to blame, providing details of the characters’ futures without actually giving us the satisfaction of seeing these ambitions come to fruition, but the relative disappointment of this final entry derives more from the totality of the experience leading up to this lackluster finale. While it never feels like a bad game during its duration, and certainly greater than the series’ nominal low points, the experience nonetheless fails to conjure the same spirit and personality which has propelled the franchise up to this regrettable end.

Conversely, one could argue that this is the pinnacle of the franchise, from a gameplay perspective at the very least. With five entries preceding it, refining and expanding the various mechanics of the series, would that not be the logical result? But for all this provides, the inclusion of all these features often lacks cohesion, resulting in a series of systems which theoretically synergize together, but in practice often render one another moot in the vast majority of situations. The primary example is the titular new draw: the Cybeasts. The story this time centers around these near-mythical titans of the net, uncontrollable behemoths sealed away during the early era of the age, yet conveniently never mentioned before despite establishing a link to a similar beast from a prior title. In order to prevent their rampage, Mega Man must absorb one into his body (somehow), and thus take on its attributes in combat. This new transformation gimmick exists alongside the preserved transformation gimmicks of the previous games, refined and rebranded as the Cross System. These two mechanics can operate in tandem to give Mega Man’s Beast Mode the elemental effects of the respective Navis of the Cross System. The increased power level and flexibility these powers supply can be rewarding, but the flash and spectacle that accompany them more often disrupt the flow of combat and delay the completion of most encounters. On top of that, the two systems contradict one another when it comes to deckbuilding, as the various Cross Navis encourage you to include corresponding elemental chips to multiply their damage, while the Cybeast’s power demands non-elemental chips to unlock its full potential. And while this theoretically should reward a diverse composition of varied chip types, the Beast Mode’s powers trump that of the elemental Navis even when combined together. Although this newest mechanic initially appears exciting, evolutionary, and engaging, it proves to be quite unnecessary, and even tedious, in most situations in the game, and even ends up clashing with the retained transformation system of the previous games.

But perhaps this underwhelming combination of ideas has more to do with a lack of thematic cohesion rather than their mechanical failings, as in spite of their nominal flaws, both the Beast Mode and Cross Systems do present situationally rewarding gameplay. The draw of these colossal titans is ostensibly the spectacle of their gargantuan nature, but despite a relatively convincing backstory, their presence feels incongruous to the aesthetic and environment of the cyber world rendered so far. Thus, it necessitates a complete change in setting for the story, a completely new destination for the series, comprised of largely uninspired locales with often bizarre theming that threatens the fragile credulity of this already fanciful series. The biggest culprit here comes in the game’s fourth scenario, the second new overworld destination you can travel to about halfway through the game. Revisiting a concept from the series’ third entry, the centerpiece of this area is a cybernetically-enhanced tree, only instead of operating as the central computer of a hospital, its function is to pass judgements as an artificial intelligence programmed to hand down the most perfect verdicts as an unbiased arbiter of justice. The Judge Tree, as it’s called, operates as the nucleus of this order-obsessed town, combining together principles of legalism and environmentalist imagery to create an Orwellian vision of a technologically-incorporated justice system. All this is just a bit too heady for a series like this, even before it’s revealed that the Judge Tree is the product of one of the prosecutors who still actively participates in trials alongside the program he invented to hand down verdicts. The game clearly has no interest in the drastic moral questions all this brings to mind, as it’s solely designed as a smokescreen for an unsurprising villain reveal partway through the scenario. Still, the philosophical implications linger for anyone aware enough to ponder, and the quandaries they present are uncomfortably discordant to the straightforward dichotomy of conflict the series has always committed to.

The other areas of the game suffer from the inverse of this contrivance: overly simplistic design and theming. In addition to Green Town, the Sea and Sky themed areas offer little more than their names imply, seemingly serving only a single function for the entire city, consisting of an aquarium and weather center respectively. These kinds of singular identities for a destination aren’t necessarily unknown to prior entries, but by the sixth game in the series you’d expect things to improve, or at least resemble some of the more distinct and memorable examples of the past. Battle Network 6’s locales just feel so bland, so by-the-numbers. They lack the signature personality which propel the previous titles, hampered further by the distinctly uninspired villains and Navis who terrorize these places. The first two scenarios don’t exhibit this issue nearly as much as later chapters, as both Blastman and Diveman sport memorable character designs and fairly benign dungeon scenarios which, at the very least, remain in line with the straightforward and contained design of previous entries. It’s towards the latter half of the game things get tedious, especially when the main antagonist is initially revealed to be a former friend of the franchise. You go the whole game expecting, or at the very least hoping, that there will be some sort of satisfying explanation for this sudden motivational reversal. Their characterization up to the climax feels sloppy and inconsistent from what was established before, and you think maybe there could still be some magical explanation that’ll put all the pieces into place when you get to the end. But the shoddy writing is exactly that, and the explanation you’re given is just some contrived backstory that doesn’t gel at all with how this character was previously presented, and it’s clear that the story was only taken in this direction to create some forced dramatic conflict. It’s perhaps the biggest disappointment of the entire game, which itself was struggling to deliver the same level of flavorful presentation of prior games thanks to the muddled execution of everything from its narrative to its overwrought battle mechanics.

But it’s not all bad, and in fact, Battle Network 6 excels in areas many might find redeeming enough to more or less forgive the procession of poorly-considered narrative conceits. For one thing, the chip variety and code synergy between chips has never been better. Even from very early on in the game, you have a host of options in terms of how you want to build your folder, with a plethora of viable codes that allow you to combo chips together quite easily. On top of that, a new feature is introduced to make Program Advances far more reliable in combat, tagging together two of the three needed chips for an Advance so that they always show up on the Custom Screen together. Combined with the already handy Regular Chip feature, you’re practically guaranteed to get a Program Advance almost every battle. Many of your early chips this time also exhibit a significant power increase over prior entries, further assisting in trivializing the game’s transformation mechanics by allowing you to end most battles instantaneously with the right draw. The Battle System as a whole remains a paragon for the series, retaining all the beneficial features and mechanics developed over the last five games while continuing to find new ways to tweak certain elements to keep combat engaging and rewarding. Once again they expand on features introduced in the prior entry, allowing you to take control of ally Navis and learn to battle with their unique properties. While the Liberation Missions they were contained to in 5 were not carried over, you can now utilize them across the whole of the net, with the only restriction being that you need to start off from a specific area each time you enter. This limitation is actually a lot more discouraging than you might think, and it makes wanting to use each Navi to clear specific hazards across the net something of a chore, but it’s nice still that they found a means of retaining this fun feature in a way that still demands situational application.

Speaking of returning features, Battle Network 6 finally brings back side quests via the Request BBS, a much-beloved feature absent from the last two games. Side quests are an important mainstay of RPGs, as they can assist in the world-building and reward systems of a game while also helping to break up the pacing of a very direct and unceasing narrative. They do impose some odd limitations on it unfortunately, creating scenarios in which you’re able to accept certain jobs before you even have access to the area you’re meant to accomplish it in. And as with the previous games that featured this system, you can’t unaccept a job after you’ve committed to one, so you can end up unintentionally locking yourself out of completing jobs for a while. It’s slightly annoying that the jobs system still has some kinks, but ultimately I’m just glad to see it back after getting axed from the previous two titles. That’s about it, though, for truly positive praise of the game. Sure, there’s still an abundance of cromulent features rounding out the experience, but those are largely returning mechanics with little to no additional refinement from the last game. Smaller changes which might otherwise go unremarked are appreciated, such as an indication of an upcoming boss fight allowing players to recognize where they should save before starting a cutscene, but tiny refinements such as these hardly make a game, and ultimately pale in comparison to a lot of the game’s more unwieldy decisions.

I feel like a lot of the bitterness here stems from the fact that Battle Network 6 marks the end of the series. The most prominent qualms reside in the game’s poor characterization, rushed conclusion, and generally awkward theming, with the gameplay being more or less sound—no better or worse than in any other title, at least. But because it’s the end, and because things seem to fade out on a whimper, the dissatisfaction of the experience compounds, leading to that lingering sense of disappointment. While writing has never been a strong suit of the series, the personality imbued into the world through the story’s characters and perils has always been its lifeblood. Sure, the immersive and rewarding battle mechanics are what keep you playing, but it’s the flavor and presentation of this unique setting that hooks you to begin with. In certain ways, Battle Network 6 does deliver a satisfying conclusion for the series. It’s clunky and doesn’t really land with all the emotional weight it intends, but in a way that’s kind of par for the course. The Battle Network series as a whole is somewhat clunky, inconsistent in its quality across all six titles, with numerous peaks and valleys within each individual game determining the ultimate outcome of the experience. By that metric, Battle Network 6 is sort of the perfect Battle Network game; an encapsulation of all the enduring charm and squandered potential each entry possesses regardless of how terrific the final result ends up. What’s good remains good, and what’s bad is, well, not unheard of for the franchise. And although 6 manages to trip at the finish line, half-heartedly giving us some emotional closure for the characters we’ve grown to love over a lengthy series of games, it still possesses the unique attributes and heart which has been pivotal for the series since its unforgettable inception.

Finally, backtracking simulators games are over

Gameplay holds up with the best blend of action and deckbuilding to date, the story... not so much.

This is the best way to play the games, but not much more than that.


A collection of 6 games really with four of them having an extra version with some have slight changes others bigger ones is a fantastic bundle. Back in the early 2000s these were some very fun titles. The game is sort of an alternate timeline to the original mega man series and instead of side scrolling action you have a very card battle action rpg. Across the series you get some booping tunes, some cool character designs and an amazing combat system. The combat in these games is fun. It doesn’t get boring. It’s the highlight of the game. Each game is about 10-20 hours to beat not including a plethora of extras in each game. As well as including Japan only exclusives for each game in the forms of extra items and op battle chips. Buster max mode adds some extra fire power if your a in jam or if you want to breeze through and enjoy the story of these games. There are moments of tedium and unnecessary backtracking in some of these titles but overall I’m shocked at how well the games hold up. They are fun interesting and very rarely feel like a slog.These games will keep you busy. Capcom also added extras to explore in terms of concept art etc as well as trophy’s (achivements) The collection is divided into two collections but just get the whole thing it’s not worth forking out an extra 20 bucks. I adore this collection these games are some of the best on the gba and getting to play them again blessed me. I had such a fun time and a big smile the whole way through. If you grew up with these you must get it. If you didn’t I’d say try it out but go in knowing that these games are from an older time. Save always lol look up guides if your stuck and be patient. The combat system is rewarding and guarantee you’ll have a good time

I've already played these games but it is so great to have all these games in one package and the fact that the battle network series is getting recognition again. I hope they do the same for Legends and Starforce

Going to properly review this eventually, just stopping by to say that a mod to return the in-game fonts to the original pixelated ones has released.

they localized the Boktai crossover

BN1: Sucks
BN2: Sucks less
BN3: Peak
BN4: WIP
BN5: WIP
BN6: Peak

I’m not a mega man fan I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this, but the gameplay is really cool! Game also oozes y2k internet style

Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is an irresistible option for fans of the classic Mega Man series. Despite the age of the games included in the collection, their game mechanics remain incredibly fun and engaging, providing hours of entertainment.
One of the strengths of the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is its unique combat and exploration system. While many RPGs focus on turn-based combat or dungeon-style maps, the Battle Network series presents an innovative approach that mixes real-time action and strategy. The player controls Mega Man.EXE in a virtual environment called "Cyberworld" and must use a combination of skill, strategy and card choice to defeat enemies and solve puzzles.
In addition to engaging game mechanics, Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection also offers a gallery full of artwork never before seen in Europe. Fans of the series will be excited to explore this collection of images and discover details and trivia about the games' development process.
Another plus point of the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is its ridiculously low price for the entire contents of the collection. Considering the amount of games included and the intrinsic value of the series, it is an incredible offer for fans or those who wish to discover this classic series for the first time.
However, not everything is perfect with Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection. Some players may complain about the too high frequency of random encounters. While random encounters are an integral part of the game, they may become a bit frustrating for those who prefer a smoother pace of play.
Ultimately, Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection represents an excellent opportunity to revisit or discover this fun and engaging game series for the first time. The unique gameplay mechanics, artwork gallery, and affordable price are definitely strong points. Despite its drawbacks, the collection remains a recommended purchase for Mega Man Battle Network fans.

I was waiting until I had beaten at least one game of each entry before giving my full thoughts, and the game specific critiques. The collection itself I think is very well done. The games themselves are just the gameboy games with the bonus content now accessible or returned such as the Boktai crossovers and Patch/item cards which give you a bunch of things like navi programs, items and chips. This also includes their faults just as their encounter rates, glitches and translation errors. Outside of the games got the jukebox, an art gallery full of nice art (I'm bias cuz I adore the BN artsytle) and a 3D Megaman talking to you on the screen. I liked when he congratulted me for beating games. Oh theres multiplayer too I guess but I never intended to touch that. Buster max mode is the "qol" addition this game has. No save states or god mode, just makes the buster do 100x more damage and yes it does stack with the buster upgrades to at buster level 5 you're doing 500 damage a shot. While it doesn remove most challenge it is not a be all end all. Any enemy thats resistant or immune to it will still not take damage so don't neglect your chips. Buster Max will make chip grinding a lot easier as well since you'll end battles in 1 to 2 seconds but you're gonna have a hard time getting S ranks since those tend to require mutli deletions. Don't be adverse to using it and make sure ot save often, there is no autosave and you can get jumped by a boss' ghost if you're not careful. I'm battle networked out right now so I don't intend to return for Tema Protoman or Falzar anytime soon, but they aren't out of the question. 4 can fuck off, that game sucks and I hate its existence. I think Battle Network might be my favorite iteration of the Megaman series now.


Battle network 1:
Very basic but it is the start of the series and layed a fine foundation for whats to come. The general chip selection was pretty basic as was its story, auto healing after each battle was wild and didn't return in the sequel and not being able to run without a chip was tedious.

Battle Network 2:
An improvement from 1 in every single way. Better chips, better story, better internet layout. It also introduced the style system which is fantastic. Megaman will gain a new style depending on how you play which gives him new abilites like hyper armor, a shield, more selectable chips etc and unlike in the sequel BN3 he can hold 2 styles at a time. The element you get is random though an that would carry over to BN3. That Freezeman section fucking sucks though and really hurts the game. So much running around between several points, sometimes right next to each other in the overworld causing constant jack ins and outs to avoif the high encounter rate, and needing to get a 10 or S rank in a specific random encounter for the reward to progress. Those internet run around sections are often considered the worst parts of each game.

Battle Network 3:
Versions played, Blue and White: The only one of the series I had played for a significant time prior to this collection, though as a kid my carts battery died in the final dungeon so I never beat it until many years later. Another improvement over the predessecor and introduced Navicust which are programs you can install into megaman in a tetris looking box to give him abilites like more hp, more buster damage etc. This pairs well with the style change system, which as I said above now you can only hold 1 style at a time. Now as you level up the style you gain navicust programs which you can then install and use when you're in your normal or different style (provided the color is compatable). The internet was also more refined, the areas look a lot more different from each other and the "main paths" to the squares are made a lot more notciable. the introduction of the in internet metro also speed up traversal. This game also has a couple of "get me some chips to progress" moments but unlike in 2 you only need a mid grade which is most likely the one you get without even trying. Plus for a specific chip later you can get a navicust program to force that virus type to spawn a lot more frequently. Even its Freezeman like sequence of running around the whole internet is nowhere near as bad as in 2 due to the inclusion of the aforementioned internet metro. Honestly if the series ended here, it would have been a great ending. Virus breeding was also introduced though there was no breeding whatsoever, just feed them to make the summon chip stronger and get the "boss virus" in the postgame and it didn't seem to come back unfortunatly.

Battle Network 4:
Version played, Red Sun: You go from 3 to this? How is that even possible? You have to make deliberite choices to get these results. The story is non existant, worse sprites as a whole and megaman got squished with an inflated head in the overworld, the game is now 3 tournaments of random opponents with random shit you have to do before running back and fighting your enemy navi where half the time they are either a generic good navi or a heel navi. There were 3 actual dungeons in the game you'll experience in a single playthrough, the rest of the time you're doing "the ever so loved /s" run around the internet missions in place of it for majority of the game. The internet design is also worse, really leaned into the isometric angle and hid critical plot items under them that you'd not know if you so much as walked on the correct side. Hidden items in the earlier games were extra things like HP memories. The soul system is a mix of navi chips (summon other characters for a single action) and style (changes megaman's look, elemental properites and charged buster attack) and is the worst of both with limited turns, non permenant gameplay changes to megaman, it required specific chips to enter into and not was as strong as a standard navi chip. You also need to play the game 3 times to get all the souls to reach the post game area, and due to that since it also increases the difficulty, your chips from your first time through are horribly weak due to the general virus level since you're not gonna be running into the V2 and V3 viruses until new game plsu. This game also introduced dark chips which are really strong chips that show up as a comeback mechanic but come with a cost, a permenant reduciton of your max hp by 1. Yes permeneant, you cannot get it back and the game makes sure this is known. All this did was make me not interact with it at all. Do you know how expensive hp memories are? And that they're limited unless I wanna use the patch cards? I think its too steep of a punishment. At the very least the ost was good, especially the internet theme. This set my expectations low for the following games

Battle Network 5:
Version played, Team Colonel: A complete improvement on and utter trouncing of that trash that was battle network 4. Its night and goddamn day. This game had more plot in the first 30 minutes than 4 did in its entirety. Artstyle is the same but the chips were still a bit wack. The internet is SO MUCH BETTER than in 4 as well. No longer is it that MC Esher stuff 4 attempted, its closer to the older games (2 and 3) where they are distinct but simple. Still backtracking a good bit, a lot more in the overworld than in the net it seemed. There were also plenty of actual dungeons this time around although most didn't end in a boss navi fight, seems the liberation missions took that spot. The liberation missions were interesting at first, thank god theres only like 6 of them though cuz once traps were added it was no longer fun. Really felt like every single space was rigged to either blow you up or paralyze you (the worst option). I still don't like the soul system over styles but at least there was also a way to fuse with the dark chips so you could actually use them without worrying about your alignment or hp. In that Chaos unison mode its now a skill check, release the charged buster at the right time and get the full dark chip attack but release it wrong and not only do you get taken out of the transformation but your dark soul appears on the other side and tries to fuck you up until you either beat the battle or outlast his timer. The series has returned to from with this entry and I have high expectations for 6 since I hear its the second best behind 3.

Battle Network 6:
Version played, Cybeat Gregar: I see why this one is generally considered the second best behind 3. In general I thought it as a very solid entry. The overworld maps were a good size, the internet areas were easily distinguishable with some shortcut points added outside of the usual warps. The fact they decided on this final entry to make such a big change to setting was smart in my opinion, not that I had grown tired of ACDC town these past few weeks or anything. The Cross system is also much better than the double soul one from the past games as well. No more chip sacrifice, instead you do a task controlling a different navi, then fight them and unlock that form. Its permeneant except getting hit by the weakness. Dark chips also were gone and repalced with the beast soul which is where the turn limit comes back in, by default Mega has 3 turns in it and its VERY powerful. Still not as good as styles but its a close second. Something I didn't like however was how some paths were locked behind those other navis I talked to eariler so in order to open them you gotta go to their specific computer and then run all the way through the internet from that access point to the shortcut you wanna open. Felt kinda needlessly lengthy sometimes, megaman should have been able to do it himself once he unlocked the form imo. And the several times where I had to do those navi treks through the internet just felt like padding. I don't know how different Falzar is but I can't imagine going into this one if you didn't play Team Colonel.


TLDR
The collection is solid, I think you get a good value here. The game's rankings are 3>6>5>2>1>4 and I'm not up for debate. If you want a good collection of mostly solid, shorter, card battler jrpgs then I don't think you can go wrong with this collection.

Capcom does it again with yet another excellent Legacy Collection for Mega Man. Was really cool to finally experience the Japan exclusive content, and I'm excited to do online Net Battles for every single game. The best part about the collection was Mega Man himself, and just how much personality and charm they gave him, complete with Andrew Francis reprising his role. Definitely planning on buying this for Switch and PC when the money's right.

I only completed the first 3 games or volume 1. Going to take a good break before replaying volume 2.

These games hardly have any changes, but both volumes added a new font that wasn't as bad as I imagined it to be (it is AWFUL in BN3 though), a super god mode, a horrible visual filter to toggle and some busted download chips (JP event exclusives). It is kinda weird to see how little effort went into volume 1 meanwhile volume 2 has JP exclusive scenarios with a new translation, 499 e-reader mod cards (with so many various effects, items, bonuses, downsides etc), and they actually put effort into fixing obvious issues (BN6 music). In BN6 after you clear the game and begin the postgame it would normally just loop the panic music forever. Capcom specifically highlighted that this would be fixed in their marketing but then they just left BN3 with the net being grey for the entire postgame. Like all the other collections you have a gallery and artworks to look at. This one also includes a 3D Mega Man as a sort of guide to your actions on the menu screens which was ok.

Unlike other Mega Man collections, you are not able to select black bars instead of a border and I have no idea why they regressed. Also nitpicking but the achievements in this collection are awful. They are all things you naturally get just going through the story, all style ones, or completing the other version one. Having one for completing BN3 Blue & White here as separate ones is so funny. I was hoping for a lot of specific combos with chips for special interactions or time trials/Navi records. Maybe even toss in some stars completions or something related to the new special mode like every collection before has done? That "new special mode" is just online multiplayer (battles, trades, compares etc.) here which you could already do on the originals minus the online (if you want to nitpick there's even less since they removed a random folder mode from 6 here which was sick) or you could just play on Tango. Cool that consoles get it now at least, I just wish they weren't super safe on these achievements. All these games getting split up into their own collections and then further split by no crossplay is going to suck for every game but BN6 if you want to do anything online. Every game even has more options for battles like picking between ranked or unranked and then "real" one where you lose chips or practice. There are so many things just splitting up the playerbase. "No matter what, we're always connected!" I know it's not really Capcom's fault (probably Sony) for no crossplay but it still sucks.

It still has some of my favourite games so I will be a bit biased but I just expected a bit more.

I will gladly give everyone and anyone the 10 secret pvp chips in BN2. No one should be forced to do 1050 online battles just to get a completion star/hard mode.

My best friend MegaMan.EXE tells me that I did a great job today and that I should get some rest.

Also — I love the little touches Capcom adds to these collections. Love the art gallery, the music player, and the lengths they went to include all the Boktai and exclusive chip/Patch Card content. LOVE Buster Max mode. Really smart quality of life solution.

If the collection cuts all multiplayer content and does not offer any alternative then modern Capcom will truly be a worthless company.