Played on Microsoft Windows
Also Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
“The Original Mega Man series is one of the best series of games ever” Hold on, I’m going to have to pull a Kanye here. “Mega Man X is one of the best Mega Man games of all time.” Thank you.
The fact is when the original Mega Man Legacy Collection came out, I picked it up and played it, and it was a solid game. However, even with save states and more, the entire time I played it, I kept thinking “I really miss Mega Man X”. So Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 came out and admittedly I haven’t played it yet, but I still wanted the Mega Man X versions. Finally, Capcom figured it out and released Mega Man X Legacy Collection. This is a collection I’ve been dying to play, even playing it as one of the first games I tried at E3 this year. So was I wearing nostalgia goggles or is Mega Man X Legacy Collection live up to the hype?
Well, the good news is that yes, Mega Man X Legacy Collection has the best games of the series in it. Since I’m reviewing the games on Steam, I am lucky enough to actually have gotten Mega Man X Legacy Collection and Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 as separate games. The good news here is that I can review them at different times. The better news is I’m reviewing ONLY the Mega Man Legacy Collection here. Which means this review only concerns itself with Mega Man X, Mega Man X2, Mega Man X3, Mega Man X4 as well as the all-new Mega Man X Challenge.
Why is that good? I get to talk about four amazing titles and not a certain other title starring a new character that is called X7. With that foreshadowing out of the way, we can talk about the Mega Man X Legacy Collection.
The fact is I really wish I could come in here, gush about amazing games and call this game perfect, just call it a 5/5 and be done with it. Honestly, it should have been that easy. After seeing the amazing Mega Man Legacy Collection the bar was raised, and ultimately Mega Man X Legacy shouldn’t get judged just on games in its collection, but how well it showcases the series. Sadly Mega Man X Legacy Collection has a significant number of issues I have to talk about.
The biggest problem is that there’s a lot missing from the game. The original collection had save states, remixes of each game, and more. It was a huge improvement for the series. However Mega Man X Legacy only adds a Rookie Hunter mode, no save states, and has the Mega Man X Challenge, I’ll treat as its own game.
The remixed games from the original collection would be something I looked forward to due to my love of the series, but sadly that’s not here. In addition, there are no save states. It isn’t as big a loss as it would be in the original pack as the X series are easier overall, and rarely that difficult. However, the Rookie Hunter mode that seems to replace it is a disappointment.
These games still try to put a lot more story into the game.
As I said, the X Series is relatively easy. There are not many huge difficulty spikes or impossible challenges, and when there are, the rewards are usually worth it, such as a special ability, that wasn’t required to beat the game but did make it easier. However there are still difficult bosses, usually the final stages (When the game should be getting harder) are challenging, so triggering Rookie Hunter might make sense at that point in the game.
The problem is Rookie Hunter in Mega Man X Legacy Collection makes the player take less damage. The game claims that the damage is reduced to 1/4th of the original value, but I believe it’s closer to 1/8th or less of the damage. I was having trouble in X4, and finally activated it, but where I died to almost every boss during a boss rush mode on normal difficulty. In the Rookie Hunter mode, I was rarely taking more than an energy capsule of damage a boss, and beat each boss on the first attempt.
It also eliminates spike and pit death in X4-X8 (according to sources, I have not needed it for that). And gives you a massive amount of sub-weapons uses (far more than you need).
Rookie Hunter mode basically is a “Win” button for the game in my opinion. There’s very little challenge once you’ve turned it on, and rather than a helping hand that makes the game easier, it basically lets you beat the game with no challenge.
I like the idea behind the feature, I just think it makes the game far too easy so that I felt that it wasn’t just holding my hand but practically playing the game for me. This is just an opinion on game design but it does limit my ability to use the feature.
There are other issues as well, sadly.
If you turn on Full-Screen mode for the game, at least Mega Man X runs very slowly, and likely all games do. You can use Borderless window mode and it runs correctly, but not being able to use full screen makes very little sense, it seems like someone didn’t test that part of the game.
There’s also no 4k support for the game. Granted these are old games, but the system supports 1080p, 1440p so why not support 2160p/4k? That’s a rather odd omission.
You’ll even get to play as Zero in two of these games.
In addition, since I play games on Steam, I use the Steam Overlay and often use that to set up my controller. Some games like Undertale do not support the Steam Overlay, and while I dislike that, it’s fine due to running in GameMaker, or for other reasons. Mega Man X Legacy still allows the overlay to come up but doesn’t show it for some reason (likely not calling the right function in the Steam library when rendering a scene). You can hear the overlay active, you can use it and select functionality in it, but you can’t see it.
Really those three issues are rather bad, and they reflect negatively on the game. The thing is I wanted to enjoy every piece of the Mega Man Legacy Collection but those issues did hold me back quite a bit, especially the overlay. Still, even if the experience isn’t perfect, it should come down to the games, and as long as you’re ok with a borderless windowed mode of 1080p, they work, so how are they?
Well, we might just have the four best Mega Man X games ever, along with Mega Man X Challenge. The fact that there are two collections is odd, but it does mean the first collection is extremely tight. Let’s go through them. I won’t give them full reviews, but give them a couple of paragraphs to discuss what I enjoyed and what was made them special.
Mega Man X
Mega Man X is easily my favorite Mega Man game. It’s where the series completely changed. Instead of just a simple 8 levels, you started to get armor upgrades outside the bosses, health tanks, and a bigger life bar. These became the standards of the X series, and for good reason, they add challenge to players who avoid the upgrades, but also more progression for the player who does. Also, there’s a blaster upgrade that allows you to charge sub-weapon attacks and use a secondary attack for them.
Also almost every boss in Mega Man X is memorable, like Flame Mammoth.
At the same time Mega Man X throws down the gauntlet and starts to tell a story, it introduces the best character in the entire franchise (Zero) as well as a fantastic villain in Sigma. There’s an introductory level as well, and finally, the stages have connections. A great example is Flame Mammoth’s stage has lava on it, however, if you beat Chill Penguin’s stage first, Flame Mammoth’s stage is now iced over. A shame only X3 did a similar thing.
It also is a relatively easy game to beat. There is definitely a challenge here, but you’ll find that most of the eight Mavericks (the evil robots) are pretty easy, and only a couple of the endgame bosses are very difficult. Oh, and you can get the Hadouken from Street Fighter in Mega Man X. One of the best upgrades any game has had. It’s a well-hidden secret, but worth looking for.
Mega Man X2
Mega Man X2 continues the tradition, while it drops the stage changes, it also continues the story, and development of Zero as well as Sigma. The bosses are excellent. However, there are sub-bosses in the game, three of them and they’ll change your ending from the good to the bad. They are somewhat easy to find, but personally, I found the sub-bosses to be a little rough if tackled too early and can be missed if you ignore them on a run through of a level.
One of the most interesting bosses in the entire collection, Morph Moth.
In addition, the game is a little harder than X, though not as hard as the originals. While a couple of the endgame bosses are annoying, there’s nothing too hard here, and honestly is another really fantastic game in the series. Though one thing that helps is each boss has a really obvious damage animation when hit with their weakness.
Mega Man X3
Mega Man X3, is a rather fun game, but I think critics thought it was a weak entry, and as much as I want to disagree with them most of the changes in the series are worse. There are four Ride Armors, which sound great, but I only found the ride armor when I was 75 percent of the way through the game, and barely used it except to get all the items. They aren’t really used that much so why even have them? Where X1 and X2 hide away cool super moves, X3 only offered a hyper chip which was powerful but doesn’t feel as special, though there is a special upgrade that can be worth it, though you get the “Bad ending” if you go for it.
At the same time, the Sub Bosses are far worse, where it’s hard to not notice the sub-bosses in X2, in X3, they can be missed, and even if found, might not be “correctly” defeated, one of the sub-bosses needs to be beaten 3 times. The game can get quite a bit harder but usually ends up requiring players to grind health rather than actually being hard.
Classic style with the final SNES entry in the series.
Until you get to the final stage and then the game becomes incredibly hard. The final boss might be the worst boss in this collection. Even with all the energy tanks, I can’t stand this boss, and honestly, it almost ruined my enjoyment of the game. I played that one level for a couple of hours and almost gave up on the game. I still beat it, without Rookie Hunter mode, but I was not loving it. A sour final note for a rather sweet game.
Mega Man X4
Mega Man X4 is the departure for this set of four games. X1-X3 were all on SNES, X4 went to PlayStation. That story that was good on the SNES now could have anime cutscenes with voice acting and the graphics are vastly improved. At the same time, the voice acting in the cutscenes are some of the worst I have ever heard. It might even be worse than Mega Man 8’s Doctor Light.
In addition in Mega Man X4, you can now play as Mega Man X, or Zero, and while they fight through the same levels Zero has a completely different fighting style, and each of them has a unique boss. X fights like he always has, however, Zero uses sword-based attacks and a melee fighting style. He is limited in his range attacks, and instead of getting new shots, he learns new moves. The two play differently and feel different, but that adds to the replayability, especially when they tell a different story.
This is the opening levels’ boss but you can see the game took a huge step up here.
I only played through Mega Man X4 as Zero, and admittedly used the Rookie Hunter on the final stage here, but Mega Man X4, made me love the series once again. Where X3 feels like more of the same, X4 breathed new life back into the series, and the ability to play the entire game as Zero was amazing. I plan to return to replay the game as X.
Mega Man X Challenge
Finally, we get to talk about the X Challenge mode. X Challenge has 9 stages, with each stage having 3 levels of boss battles, and each battle has 2 different bosses that attack simultaneously. Yes, that’s a lot of steps. You start this mode with a battle against Chill Penguin (MMX) and Frost Walrus (MMX4) and if anything shows you the difference in styles of the games it’s these two. One is from the original SNES game, and one is from the first PlayStation title, and yet it works.
You can enter each stage with your choice of three of nine options for sub-weapons, which need to be used for all three battles. X gets three lives and will try to deal with each boss to get to the end.
Two enemies, no waiting.
The challenge will put the player to the test. On Normal mode, X Challenge is rather hard. It’s a fair challenge, but fighting two different bosses at the same time can tax the player. Luckily there’s an “Easy mode” And similar to Rookie Hunter mode, it makes this mode very easy. So any player should be able to fight his way through it. There’s also a hard mode for people who find Normal too easy. In addition, there’s a leaderboard and if players are looking for bragging rights and a challenge, X Challenge is definitely the mode to show off the mastery of not just one game, but all the games in the Mega Man X series.
I will also mention that the Mega Man X Challenge is similar between both Legacy Collections. The third level of each stage is different between the two collections, but the first two stages are the same (same location, same bosses). A bit disappointing but overall acceptable.
And those are the games for Mega Man X Legacy Collection. As mentioned it’s a rather solid set of games. The Mega Man X games are some of the best in the series, and Mega Man X Challenge is a good addition if a bit underwhelming. It’s clear that it’s inclusion is more for bragging rights, but at the same time, it’s nice to see a new twist on the entire series.
There are a few other features here. One I like is a Hunter Medal Gallery to look at all achievements you’ve earned in the games, and in fact, a couple (very few) will unlock a little bonus or perk for the game, like a special wallpaper to “letterbox” the game.
There’s also a “Museum” that’s rather nice for fans. There’s a soundtrack player for all five games, galleries of drawings and concepts for the game, product galleries of all sorts of collectibles for the games, trailers for the entire X series (all in Japanese, sadly), and finally “The Day of Sigma” video that came with a Remake of Mega Man X called Maverick Hunter X. The Day of Sigma is probably my favorite piece as it added 30 minutes of anime to explain more of Sigma’s backstory but in reality, none of these are that special for the collection. They’re nice additions for the super fan, but most people are going to skip them.
That’s really the sum of the game, and like I said at the beginning I really wanted to look at this game, call it perfect and move on. I enjoyed my time playing all four of these games, and while there were minor problems with the games’ endings and difficulties, I can’t say the games are anything less than excellent.
But the collection is flawed. The lack of 4k, the broken steam overlay, (Again remove it Capcom, or fix it), the fact that the fullscreen may still break these games (I think I still see a problem though it has been improved, it was broken at launch.) I find it hard to give it top marks.
I also just feel that while Mega Man X Challenge is a nice addition, the fact it uses the same layout for the two collections, and 2/3rds of the same stages are lazy. I would have loved a new and innovated system, and while Mega Man X Challenge is most of that, I just feel they could have gone a bit farther.
Maybe I’m being harsh on these games because I expected more, or because these are my favorites in the series. If you are a Mega Man fan even of the original line, check this game out, but I have to be honest here, this is a bit weak for a stellar collection of games. I still highly recommend it, especially to fans, but I’m going to have to give this game a
I really wanted to give this higher but Capcom gave me problems that got in the way of my enjoyment and while they’ll hopefully be fixed in the future, they should have been caught before launch, or as part of the QA process.
Final Thoughts: An excellent collection held back with a number of flaws in the collection itself. Come and play the games though, but it’s not going to be a perfect experience. Sadly.
Stats: 36 hours played 32/52 achievements earned so far.