The Mega Man X Legacy Collection is Another Excellent Capcom Anthology

first_img I’m a huge fan of the original Mega Man series. Even though they kick my ass all day every day, I just love playing those classic games. While I have a deep admiration for old-school Mega Man, I’ve actually never played any of the Mega Man X titles. It’s something I’ve never gotten around to. Thankfully, Capcom has just released Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2 to help me fill that particular gap in my gaming knowledge. Like previous legacy collections, this is another fine anthology for fans of the originals and for newbies like myself.Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2 contains two compilations. The first collection has Mega Man X1 through X4, while the second has X5 through X8. The first three games originally released on Super Nintendo. X4 through X6 came out for PlayStation (X4 also on Saturn), while X7 and X8 were PS2 titles. Like previous Mega Man Legacy games, each title is optimized to run on modern televisions. They also have a variety of options and modes that make the old titles feel fresh. Other Mega Man X collections exist, but this is by far the most comprehensive and mode-heavy iteration yet.For those who may not know, Mega Man X represents the “new generation” of Mega Man titles. As great as the NES Mega Man games were, they ran their course after six consecutive entries. The original Mega Man X breathed life into the franchise and gave birth to an entirely new fandom. It took everything that made Mega Man a classic and updated it for the (then) modern era. The SNES generation saw many fantastic updates to classic NES titles and Mega Man X was certainly among them. Even now, the series is still held in high regard by many gamers.As a first-timer to the series, all of the updates introduced in Mega Man X blew me away. The graphical upgrades were obvious, but what really stood out were the controls. X is a more agile character than Mega Man. He can climb walls, dash, and even duck in certain games. The android also gains new abilities and upgrades which make him more durable and change his physical appearance. These changes to the character’s mechanics fundamentally alter the gameplay. Mega Man X is decidedly more action-heavy. Sure, there is still a fair amount of platforming and exploration to be found. But for the mostly, these games are about running and gunning. It’s not something I expect from Mega Man titles but the focus on action certainly distinguishes this series from the one which spawned it.Each collection has a nice amount of special features, options, and modes not found in the originals. They are similar to previous legacy collections in many ways. The additional options and modes help enhance the games and also give players insight into their histories. They are a feast of interesting Mega Man X trivia and lore.Players can set the picture size to the games’ original 4:3 aspect ratio or stretch them to 16:9. The old aspect ratios leave empty space on the sides which players can cover up with a variety of different wallpapers. There are two filter options for the in-game graphics. The first one cleans up the pixels and makes them smooth. The other option adds a CRT filter to give the games more of a retro look. You also have the option of completely turning off all filters. When it comes to retro titles, I always turn on the CRT filter if it’s available. However, I have to say I preferred the smooth filter for this collection. The futuristic robots and backgrounds just look nicer with cleaned up pixels. Overall, the games in the collection look absolutely great despite their age.The Museum contains a great deal of Mega Man X-related content. In Gallery, you can check out a whole slew of artwork from each game. This includes both promotional art and concept sketches. Product Gallery focuses purely on promotional items like action figures, cards, apparel, soundtracks, books, and more. You can also listen to tracks and check out trailers for each game. There’s even a 25-minute animated feature called “The Day of Σ” which sets up the events of Mega Man X. You can easily spend hours perusing through everything in the Museum.Players also have the option to play the original Japanese versions of each game. Fundamentally, there are no major differences between the two versions other than words being in Japanese and Mega Man X being called Rockman X. Truth be told, playing in Japanese doesn’t make much sense for English-speaking players. It’s just a nice addition for those who want to experience the games in their original form.One of the coolest modes in each collection is X Challenge. Here, you face off against two Maverick bosses at once. The game doesn’t just toss random bosses at players either. Each fight pits users against themed enemies. In one fight, players may tackle two ice-based foes, while in another, the enemies may use fire. There’s even a loose story explaining why X is fighting two bosses simultaneously.What’s interesting about X Challenge is how it mixes and matches Mavericks from different games. For example, you will face Mega Man X’s Chill Penguin and Mega Man X4’s Frost Walrus at the same time. The mode actually warns you of spoilers before you start in case it is your first time fighting one of the Mavericks. You also get to choose your loadout before starting. Since there are three separate matches, you must choose your loadout wisely. Otherwise, you will not survive the mode’s three rounds. This is by far one of the best modes in the collection and one fans of the originals will surely love.Though Mega Man X games aren’t nearly as difficult as those of the main series, they’re still very challenging (especially the SNES entries). Players looking for an easier time can turn on Rookie Hunter Mode. With this option enabled, X only takes half damage. In later games, X will not die when falling into bottomless pits or landing on spikes. Enabling this option certain takes away some frustration but it isn’t exactly implemented well in each title.I noticed that in Mega Man X, Rookie Hunter Mode doesn’t do much. X does take less damage but even normal attacks still take a good amount of energy. In every game after the first, X receives next to no damage with the mode enabled. For example, in games like X2, I didn’t start to lose health until I got to the boss. Even then, the damage taken was minimal. The copy I played is pre-release so hopefully, a future patch will balance the damage properties. Of course, you can always disable the mode and not deal with this sort of inconsistency. However, I personally want to see the mode fixed since a similar mode in Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 did a nice job or lessening damage while still giving players a challenge.The only major complaint I have with this collection is the save system. Or rather, the lack of a proper one. In Mega Man Legacy Collection 1, you can save anywhere at any time. In the second installment, the game auto-saves at the beginning and middle of each stage as well as before a boss fight. Things are quite different here. Instead of giving players the option to save freely, they are at the mercy of each game’s individual save systems.For the SNES games, you can save after each boss fight. You can also save whenever you decide to revisit a level to search for power-ups and upgrades. This means you don’t have to jot down passwords. While that’s all well and good, things get frustrating when playing through Sigma’s fortress levels. You can save in-between each of these final boss levels. Unfortunately, if you lose all of your lives or restart the game you’ll have to go back to the beginning of the fortress. Having to repeat sections of the fortress you’ve already cleared is not fun. I don’t care if it is more “challenging” or true to the originals. It’s annoying.I understand the Sigma fortresses are basically massive gauntlets meant to test players. However, I don’t get why there isn’t an auto-save function in-between fortress stages. This option existed for the second Mega Man Legacy Collection, after all. Why not give players the option to turn auto-saves on and off? Perhaps it’s a technical issue since each game in the compilation runs on a different engine? I’m not sure. Hopefully, this is just an oversight on Capcom’s part and the company will eventually add an auto-save option after launch.Now to answer the inevitable question: which compilation is better? The answer to that is simple: the first one. The SNES entries (X1–X3) are fantastic, as is the Sega Saturn/PlayStation game (X4). Each is a masterclass of level design, action-focused gameplay, and sprite-based animations. The quality dips slightly with each subsequent entry, but not by much. Mega Man X is easily the best game here. Despite experiencing the series for the first time, it was easy for me to see why folks love the first few games in the series so much. Playing them now makes me wish I had played them back in the day. They’re incredible.Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the titles in the second collection. These are among some of the worst games I have ever played. X5 isn’t overly terrible but it definitely lacks when compared to its predecessors. Its graphics, which blend 2D sprites and pre-rendered GC, just don’t look right. X6 is a trainwreck on every conceivable level. With the exception of its music, it has no redeeming qualities. It’s a chore to play through. X7 is a fully polygonal 3D game with frustrating controls and confusing level design. X8 somewhat restores the series to its former glory by bringing back 2D gameplay (albeit with polygonal graphics). Outside of purists and completionists, this particular compilation is almost worth skipping entirely.The original Mega Man games had a very thin story at best. Despite the plot centering on robots taking over or trying to destroy the world, it was decidedly light-hearted. That isn’t the case with the Mega Man X games. Though the plot is similar, it is definitely darker in tone. It’s not “edgy” or whatever, but it is more mature. In doing my research for this review, I found that many fans have a deep appreciation for the lore behind the franchise. I can’t say I share those feelings.Like the classic series, the first Mega Man X game gives you a bare thread of a plot. It is more concerned with tossing you into the action as quickly as possible. As the games continue, the story becomes more involved and convoluted. You’ll have to suffer through long intros before the games officially start. The titles in the second compilation are the biggest offenders of this. Not only are cutscenes overly long, but there’s also a ton of talking during the actual games. This kills a lot of the momentum. That’s a bad thing considering how this series is all about fast-paced action. Also, some of the voice acting (i.e. all of it) is just plain atrocious.Truth be told, I skipped over cutscenes as much as I could. Perhaps it is because I’m an old-school Mega Man fan, but I am not playing these games for a story. I just want to explore the levels, shoot robots, and face entertaining bosses. I’m usually a lore-hound, but for these games I just wanted things to move along. Having to constantly press X to bypass dialogue got extremely tedious. If you like the story behind Mega Man X, then that’s great. Me? I’ll pass.While the Mega Man X series isn’t as consistently good as the core Mega Man franchise, the first four games are truly phenomenal. They are among the very best action/platforming titles ever released. Even the lackluster latter entries cannot undo the excellence of the first four games. While I am not happy with its save system, I am overall pleased with Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2. I’m glad to have finally played these games after all these years. I’m still more fond of the original Blue Bomber, but I have room in my heart for X, Zero, and the rest of this franchise’s characters. I look forward to sinking many hours into the first four games this summer, that’s for sure.Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2 is available now on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. ‘God Eater 3’ on Switch Brings Franchise Back to Its Roots‘Devil May Cry 5’s’ Kylo Ren Mod Is Angst Overload Stay on targetlast_img

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