Mega Man Legends Review

Mega Title

 Title: Mega Man Legends
Developer: Capcom
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: PS One Classic
Download: 214 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Currently Unavailable
PSTV Support: 
Yes

Mega Man is one of the most loved franchises of the gaming world and it saddens our hearts to know that there will likely never be another Mega Man game released, outside of collections and ports.  The series has had a bit of a sad note even before they hinted that there’d be no more games in the series.  On the Nintendo 3DS, the planned Mega Man Legends 3 got cancelled, which upset not only Nintendo fans, but also fans of the Mega Man Legends series who were excited to see new adventures for Mega Man, Roll, Tron, and the others.

Not too long ago, a game in the Legends series became a digital download that could be played on the PS Vita and PlayStation TV.  That was the prequel, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne.  Just last week, the Legends series continues to live on.  With an unexpected turn, Capcom and Sony have put the original game on PSN, with high hopes for the second game to come as well.  Here I am with another retro review, for Mega Man Legends!

Story

Mega Story

Mega Man Legends takes place in a world that is covered by an endless ocean.  The only land in the world consists of small islands that contain ruins where archaeologists known as Diggers hunt for power sources to sustain their world and make profit.  One such group is a young boy named Mega Man along with Barrel and his granddaughter, Roll.  (There’s a Star Fox 64 reference in there.  I just know it)

Upon returning from a dig, their airship, The Flutter, crashes onto an island.  Once there, they must find parts for their ship and protect the island from the Bonnes, a group of pirates coming in to steal the island’s treasure.

The story of Mega Man Legends is very expansive for a Mega Man game.  This was one of the first games in the series that had a large story presence and there’s a ton of comedy thrown in especially from the Bonnes.  It’s an entertaining story and adds a lot of color and fun to the franchise.

Gameplay

Mega Game 1

Mega Man Legends is a 3D action adventure game with platform and combat elements thrown into the mix.  It’s very different from the typical Mega Man formula.  Instead of going through missions, you will be running around a large hub world where you will be exploring towns and dungeons while fighting off enemies and bosses.

As you begin the game, you’ll be introduced to the hub world, which is a set of large 3D arenas that contain dungeons, towns, NPCs, shops, and more.  It’s borderline sandbox material, but not quite as expansive.  The main aspects of these areas goes in dungeons that become accessible as you play the game and the shops.

Shops come in two forms: The Shop on Apple Street, and Roll in the Support Car.  In The Shop, you can buy new weapons or equipment, such as armor upgrades, new types of buster gun upgrades to increase power, energy, or range, or items to be able to refill your health gauge while out in a dungeon.  The Support Car is a bit different, in that it lets Roll create new equipment and weapons for you with materials you find as you crawl through the game’s dungeons.

Armor Upgrades are a pretty important part of the game.  Like the games of the Mega Man X series, equipment can be modified to improve your skills.  A helmet can help you from high falls (and make you look much more proper as a Mega Man character), leg upgrades to increase your jumping capabilities, or special weapons that can access secret rooms.

Mega Game 2

Combat is something Mega Man fans will be familiar with.  You have a Buster Gun and Special Weapons.  The Buster fires off normal shots and special weapons are significantly more powerful but have limited ammunition.  The depth comes from Buster Gun Upgrades that can increase the power, quantity, range, and speed of your shots.

The difficulty is also something people will be familiar with.  Each dungeon is harder than the last, requiring specific upgrades to be able to traverse it easily.  Bosses are also very tough, requiring you to fight them a few times to learn their patterns before you’re able to take them down with ease.  Others never get easy and are always tense when you’re fighting them, even when you know how to dodge their attacks.

This is probably the longest Mega Man game on PSN right now.  Due to its adventure take on the Mega Man formula, you can expect to put in at least 6-7 hours into the game.  Not bad for the price you’re paying for this PSN download.

Controls

This is where things get very tricky if you’re playing this on a PS Vita.  Mega Man Legends uses all four triggers, so you’ll have a bit of a time setting up a control scheme.  It can be done, though.  When all is said and done, the Vita actually has a more comfortable control scheme than the PlayStation TV does.

The D-Pad is used to move forward and backwards, and strafing from side to side. This game doesn’t allow free movement, but more of a tank-like movement.  You can move forward and backwards, or strafe.  To help with this, L1 and R1 are used to move the camera to the left and right.  Then, you use R2 to lock onto the nearest enemy.  Next, X is used for jumping, Square for firing with the Buster Gun, Triangle for Special Weapons, and Circle for interacting with people and objects.  Also, you can tap L1/R1 and X to do a dodge roll, which is needed for some bosses.

Since we don’t want to use the rear touch controls, here’s the optimal control scheme.  First, redirect the D-Pad to the Left Analog Stick.  Redirect L1 and R1 to both the D-Pad and Right Analog Stick.  This lets the game feel more modern and gives you easy access to the dodge roll.  Finally, Redirect L2 and R2 to the L and R triggers.  This is the best control scheme I found when playing on the PS Vita.

Even with this, it feels very clunky with the camera controls.  Not only this, but the camera feels very sluggish when it moves.  It will move a bit and then stop and move slowly the rest of the way.  Since the camera doesn’t move very quickly, this makes many boss fights very difficult.  Particularly the final boss.  The camera makes the final boss have two major difficulties.  The first being the boss itself.  The other being fighting the camera controls that don’t respond nearly as quickly as the boss does.

Presentation

Mega Pres

Visually, the game doesn’t look bad.  There are some faded textures when you look up really close in scenes.  All in all, though, it doesn’t look bad for a PS1 game.  It’s got a lot more color and more detail than some other games available on PSN.

Frame-Rate is an issue in some areas.  When you go into Apple Street, you’ll see the frame-rate drop a lot.  There are a few other areas where it drops, but nowhere near as critical as in Apple Street.  Thankfully, you never have to fight enemies here, so you shouldn’t have to worry about anything.  But it’s worth noting because the frame drop is pretty severe.

Another issue is cutscene audio not matching its visual.  There are a lot of scenes where the audio will be a good 5-10 seconds ahead of what’s showing in the scene.  This doesn’t happen with every scene, but it does in most of them in the latter portion of the game.  Setting the Disc Read Speed to Fast doesn’t help this.  In fact, it causes more graphical problems to be worth using.

Load Times are really nice, though.  Most of the game runs smooth and the load times are always quick.  It’s just those small areas in Apple Street and during some fights that causes problems for you while you’re playing through the game.

Summary

Mega Man Legends is a game many thought would never come to PSN.  On the downside, it’s got a few technical problems and some pretty clunky camera controls.  If you can bear an irritating camera, this is a fun 3D adventure for Mega Man fans to finally enjoy on the go. 

7/10

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  • Lester Paredes

    Irritating cameras were par for the course on the good ol’ PSOne! They hadn’t figured out optimal camera positioning yet. Hell, some still struggle with it. Loved Legends, though, through the lens of time, I’m sure cracks have shown up in the veneer.

  • Lester Paredes

    One thing i forgot to mention in my first comment was that there was never any slowdown in the original game. I was getting slowdown all over the place, which was very odd. I’d bet that’s due to the emulation software for PSOne classics. I hope Sony does something to fix that.

  • Divinehand123

    Great review. I would like to play this but boy do I hate Tank controls. May give it a shot after it gets a little more of a discount.

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