Mega Man Legends is one of the more underrated of the Mega Man series of games. It takes the platforming elements seen in 3D platformers but adds a focus on exploration and puzzle solving to the mix. The result is a game series that while small (only two games and a spin-off) are still fondly remembered by the gaming community. Many love the original Legends, but what about it’s sequel?
Legends 2 is a game that had a lot of expectations from both the fan base and Capcom. With a larger budget and major fixes to the core gameplay, does this new adventure for MegaMan Volnut take off to the stars?
The game opens with a long introduction video (20 Minutes) that has Barrel on a giant air craft searching for a special treasure called ‘The Motherlode’. This has Roll worried, as she watches live on TV Barrel partaking in a press event with his partner. They see the ship under attack and blows up thanks to a mysterious woman attacking it.
The craft gets sucked into the Island, pushing Rock, Roll and Data to visit the island themselves. They are going to the island as they want to save Barrel and the other people on-board the crashed ship. They first land on a snow covered island to try and find Forbidden Island. After going into town, they are given a special landing device from someone that they saved from a Giant reverbot. Roll attaches this device onto the Flutter, which allows Mega Man to finally land on the Forbidden Island. After defeating a massive reverbot, he frees two beings called ‘ancients’ and finds Barrel & his partner. After all of this happens, Rock is tasked to find three keys that will allow the Mother Lode to be unlocked.
If that sounds like a fun adventure, its because it is one! The writing is as great as past Legends titles and the core story for the characters is quite strong. Morality comes into play to a points, with MegaMan’s actions while not affecting the core story, effecting little things in interesting ways.
My favorite characters from the original Legends, the Bonne family come back and are charming as ever. Tron Bonne continues to show her crush toward MegaMan in little ways and seeing the ServeBots roam around the game world with clever dialog was charming.
The game world is filled with places to read up on lore and backstory, giving the story added weight. Major elements like how MegaMan was discovered, how his interactions affect his family and seeing the lives of the various NPC’s help push the story along. Sadly the game famously has an ending that never is fully wrapped up but the journey to that point of the game is well worth undertaking.
Legends 2 has a strong story that while isn’t as ‘alive’ thanks to the more linear gameplay structure compared to the original, the plot is still quite enjoyable and one of the MM series best stories.
The Gameplay & Design
The core gameplay is a major face-lift from the original Legends. Core design is the same, with MegaMan finding various weapon parts that Roll converts into tools he can use to explore new locations and every main area has a hub to explore. Tools like the drill can not only break through walls but also cause a lot of damage. This makes tools both worthwhile to forge for game progression but to also give you more options in combat as well.
Unlike the original Legends though, you don’t have a main hub area to explore but rather smaller hubs that act as ‘towns’ before entering the dungeons of each location. This change in basic structure results in a more linear game but you still have plenty of open areas so you can explore. To help with that, the core gameplay is a lot stronger. The lock-on works lets you stay focused on a target, allowing you to move around when attacking instead of being locked in place like the original Legends. In addition, the game supports full analog control allowing you to look around and have greater control on MegaMan’s movement.
Really enjoy the combat now, as thanks to these improved controls, fire fights are streamlined and feel quite rewarding. Having tighter control over combat results in your various tools being used more, as you want to play in through combat encounters rather than just rush through them. One interesting touch to combat is that you can take elemental damage, so if Mega Man goes on fire for example, he will gradually lose health unless you find water to put out the flames. Another example is if Mega Man is struck with lighting, where movement speed greatly decreases for a short while. This is important to keep in mind later in the game, as you face more elemental challenges like lava in the fire dungeon for example. You can purchase parts to help deal with elemental damage, as they will remove those effects from Mega Man.
The core design of each dungeon is different, with them having unique themes, gimmicks and core design elements. The Forest Dungeon for example focuses on MegaMan climbing up to a higher floor and repeatedly taking on another Digger (who are treasure hunters that populate the world of the Legends series).
Sadly not all the dungeons are well designed; the water dungeon in the PS1 version of Legends 2 has Mega Man move really slow, resulting in fully completing the dungeon taking longer than it should. Controls also suffer from the added weight to MegaMan’s movement, making combat feel unresponsive. Considering how the game’s greatly improved controls make that part of the gameplay enjoyable, it is a shame to see them suffer here.
The game also introduces a lot of ‘prologue’ portions before you complete dungeons, with you either helping a town, saving some brothers sister from a pirate, and defending a flying base from being destroyed. This adds variety to the gameplay, as you aren’t just running through ruins and dungeons all the time, adding to the core gameplay.
Legends 2 has a very interesting difficulty system, where MegaMan can earn licences based on rank; B (Normal), A (Hard) and S (Very Hard). This system is offered to you toward the middle of the game and unlocks new dungeons to explore depending on what level you pick. Once you pick a level, you have to complete a challenge and once you do so, you have the licence! This raises the difficulty of course but also ups the reward for Zenny (this games money) from Reverbots. I played through the game using only a B Licence and got a A Licence toward the end of the game, as the S Licence is quite the challenge.
Mega Man Legends 2 is a strong action adventure game just on gameplay & design alone, with strong controls and greatly improved combat complementing the dungeons you explore.
The presentation here is a big step up from Legends 1, and that game looked great on the PlayStation 1. The character models are more detailed, the music is more catchy and the dungeons have striking designs. Not to mention the cut-scenes got a big step up too, with better animation, more movement and them feeling ‘grander’. Using strong art direction and clever texturing systems, Legends 2 accomplishes having a timeless look and through this, remains one of the strongest looking 3D games on the PlayStation.
The music is something I want to highlight too, as I really like a lot of the tracks in the game. They are catchy and feel grand at the same time. Mega Man is known for having good music and while Legends 1 had some noteworthy tracks, it’s musical score wasn’t strong compared to other games in the various sub-series. Here though, most if not the entire soundtrack, feels like Mega Man but on a grander scale.
Legends 2 is a long game, taking over ten hours to fully complete the story mode. But with the licence system, you can find added replay value through new dungeons to explore. Fully upgrading all your weapons and completing all the side quests will add to the overall playtime as well.
When you beat the game, you also unlock extra easy and hard difficulty modes. Easy is good for beginners for the action/adventure game while hard opens up an extra layer of challenge you have to overcome. This combined with the licence system, will give you flexibility with the games difficulty curve once you beat the game.
Legends 2 overall has a lot of content to offer a long adventure for most gamers.
Overall: 4 out of 5
Mega Man Legends is a series that offers great fun, charming characters and all around being a nice 3D adventure for the blue bomber. With Legends 2, Capcom took everything that was wrong with the original Legends and refined things. This results in a high quality package that has aged remarkably well. Tight controls that feel fantastic to use, great gameplay that has fun combat, story that has engaging characters and dungeons that are mostly fun to explore. Legends 2 is a PlayStation Classic that I highly recommend to any fan of action/adventure games.
This was played on PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3 through the PS One Classics version on PlayStation Network.