Mega Man Legends 2 Review

Legends title

Title: Mega Man Legends 2
Developer: Capcom
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: PS One Classic
Download: 228 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download

EU Availability: Currently Unavailable
PSTV Support: 
Yes

A lot of series fans were really let down when Mega Man Legends 3 was announced for the Nintendo 3DS and was later cancelled before even the prototype demo version released on the eShop.  Now, we don’t know if we will ever get Mega Man Legends 3, after all of that hype for the series’ first game since the PlayStation era.

There are alternatives for handheld fans of the Legends series.  As much as some 3DS owners may not enjoy it, PS Vita fans are now able to play all three Legends games via PS1 Classics.  It started with the Legends prequel around Tron Bonne and then Mega Man Legends, which many people thought wasn’t able to be put on PSN due to copyright issues.

Now, much time after my reviews of those, what seems to still be the final game in the Legends series has arrived on PSN for PS Vita and PSTV owners to enjoy.  Here is my official retro review of Mega Man Legends 2!

Story

Legends Story

Some time after the events of Legends, Roll’s grandfather, Barrel (Do a Barrel Roll!), leads an expedition to a place called Forbidden Island, where legends state that no one has ever returned from.  On said island is the mythical Mother Lode, which legend states is the greatest treasure in the world.  During the voyage, however, Barrel’s ship is attacked by an unknown assailant, prompting Mega Man and Roll to join in and assist.

Following this, Mega Man and Roll are sent to surrounding islands to recover keys to unlock and reveal the Mother Lode, racing against the clock in competition with The Bonnes from the first Legends game, Glyde from the Tron Bonne game, and two new pirates entering the fray.  As they work, they also uncover hidden mysteries of the islands as well as Mega Man’s past and the fates of Roll’s parents.

The story is definitely one of the larger parts of this series, and it retains the enjoyable plots of the first Legends game all while also providing a lot of mythos for the series as a whole.

Gameplay

Legends Game 4

Mega Man Legends 2, like the first game, is a 3D action game with platforming and puzzle elements thrown into the mix.  As you go through each area and dungeon, you’ll be constantly platforming, gathering items to solve puzzles, and fighting off enemies with your buster gun and select special weapons you can create from items.

The main differences between the first and second Legends games are some extra systems thrown in as well as the fact that none of the special weapons are required to progress through the story.  Some extra systems are in the form of a large number of side-quests to do, a license system that can strengthen enemies and allow access to new ruins, and finally an Affection system with Roll that can lead you down a Light or Dark path that is tied to one of the side-quests as well as affecting shop prices.

Progressing through the game has you using The Flutter to fly to various islands in the vicinity of Forbidden Island.  On each island, there are towns full of NPCs and shops as well as dungeons for you to fight your way through to get key items both for the storyline and to help you afford upgrades from the Junk Shops.  Once you get so far in the story, all of these islands also house a lot of side-quests for you to go through for specific items, scenes, and changes to shop prices.

Legends Game 1

Upgrading is a big part of the depth of the gameplay systems.  Junk Shops sell all sorts of upgrades for you to buy.  There are buster gun parts that can increase your power, range, rapid (speed), and energy efficiency.  There are also armor pieces for the head, body, and legs that can increase your damage resistance as well as allowing dodge-rolls and free passage on hazardous terrain.

The biggest thing, though, are material items and booklets.  Booklets that you find will have instructions on making equipment and special weapons.  If you gather both the book and required items, Roll can develop and upgrade that equipment for you.  This is the only way to gain access to these weapons, so theirs is much exploring and buying to do if you want to be able to use special weapons and especially the jet skates that give you much faster maneuverability.

Exploring dungeons is pretty simple.  You go through each room with the goal of finding the end, where the key item you need to progress the story is.  Along the way, enemies, mini-bosses, and major bosses will fight you.  Each dungeon also has a specific puzzle-type to it.  Some have sections you have to flood and slowly move through water to get through some areas, while others have you adjusting gravity levels to unlock and gain access to certain doors.

Legends Game 2

Combat is the most fun you’ll have in the game, particularly boss fights.  You fight with the buster gun and special weapons.  The buster has unlimited ammo while the special weapons use up special energy that must be recharged once it runs out be it from enemy drops or special upgrades you can buy from the shop, much like the energy canteens you can buy to refill your health gauge.

When you defeat enemies, they drop health, special weapon energy, and refractors.  Health and Special Weapon Energy will replenish the health and special gauges, respectively.  Refractors are used as money, and you’ll need a lot of it for good equipment upgrades.  Thankfully, this game retains all of the glitches of the original release, so the “Golden Bird” trick can still be used for farming refractors.

Fighting bosses is where the game gets difficult.  Every boss has a specific pattern that must be learned in order to really fight against.  I had only a couple bosses I didn’t have to repeat a few times to learn strategies to beat, one being the final boss because I farmed money and had OP equipment.  Since this also brought back the Mega Man tradition and refighting bosses at the end of the game, it’s best to learn strategies early so not only can you be ready for the end-game, but also so you can beat them without having to retrace your steps with very little health.

Across the game is a lot of time to consume.  My first run took me out of the way for only a few side-quests for upgrading equipment and I beat the final boss around 12 hours into the game.  Considering most Mega Man games don’t take much more than a couple hours, this has a lot of content to go through.

Controls

Controlling the game is doable, but can also be tricky at the same time.  Like the first game, the R2 trigger is used a lot for locking onto enemies, so some control configuring is to be done on the Vita.  On the PlayStation TV, you don’t need to worry, since you have all the buttons you need on a DS3 or DS4.

So here’s how it goes.  The Left Analog Stick lets you move and the L and R triggers can be used for the camera controls.  R2 is used for locking onto enemies,  Then with the face buttons, X is used for jumping and Circle for interacting with people and objects.  Triangle is used for firing your special weapon and Square for your buster gun.

What I would suggest is moving the camera controls (L and R) to the Right Analog Stick and R2 to the R trigger.  This enables a very comfortable play style.

Now, the lock-on works so much better in this that there aren’t any near-impossible bosses like in Legends.  However, the camera can still screw you up from time to time.  When there are a lot of enemies on screen, the camera can easily move where you don’t want it or far enough away from your target that auto-lock goes to something else.  This is quite frustrating.

Presentation

Legends Pres

Visually, this game is a step up from the first Legends game.  There is a lot more detail and the environments are much more colorful.  Not that the first Legends looked bad for a PS1 game, but they definitely improved the graphical engine in Legends 2.

I can also say that, unlike the PSN release of the first game, Legends 2 contains no slowdown or frame-rate issues whatsoever.  Load times are short and I have no real complaints about the presentation.

Summary

Mega Man Legends 2 finished the trio of Legends games available to PlayStation Vita owners.  It still has some camera and control issues, but proves itself a worthy upgrade and sequel in a series that proved Mega Man could go 3D and have an involved plotline. 

8/10

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