Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2 Review (XONE)

Even 25-years later the Mega Man X series is still one the best examples around of how to evolve and update a franchise without totally ruining it. It still feels like a platform jumping lemon shooting Mega Man game but with tons of new things like a dash, wall climbing, lots of secret upgrades, the ability to re-enter completed levels, and much more. Mega Man X is still Mega Man, but deeper and more complex. The brand new Mega Man X Legacy Collection celebrates all eight Mega Man X games, albeit in two separate releases, on Xbox One, PS4, and Switch with pixel perfect ports of each game and tons (and tons) of extra bonus goodies. Mega Man X newbies and veterans alike will find a lot to like here. Continue reading our full Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2 review for more.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom 
  • ESRB Rating: "T" for Teen
  • Genre: 2D Platforming
  • Pros: Rookie Hunter Mode; some great games here; lots of bonus goodies
  • Cons: Some stinky bad games, too; not sure why it's two collections
  • MSRP: $20 each, $40 bundled together
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The Mega Man X Legacy Collection is available in two releases - #1 includes Mega Man X 1-4, and #2 includes Mega Man X 5-8. Each collection is available for $20 or you can buy a bundle with them together for $40 (or less). If I'm being totally honest, though, I'm not sure why Capcom chose to split the Mega Man X Legacy Collection into two separate releases. Frankly, the first three games are by far the best in the series and the last 3 or 4 are easily the worst, so there is little reason for people to buy the second collection unless you just really, really want to have the whole franchise on one system. If you're only going to buy one, I highly recommend Collection #1, though there is certainly no shame in owning both just to see how the series evolved.

Each collection offers a number of fantastic features besides near-perfect emulation of the games. Each one has tons of unlockable artwork and photos and other neat stuff that really show off the history of the series. You can also choose to play the Japanese or Western version of each game, which offers subtle differences between the two. There is also a new "X Challenge" mode where you fight a gauntlet of mixed and matched bosses taken from all the games in that particular collection two at a time but can only choose three weapons to take with you. Each collection also offers various visual smoothing options and wallpapers on the sides of the screen. All in all, as far as features go, both of the Mega Man X Legacy Collections pack plenty of content for their $20 asking prices.

The absolute best feature, though, is the new Rookie Hunter Mode. Rookie Hunter Mode is available in all eight games and makes the game substantially easier by halving the damage you take and, in the later games, preventing deaths from spikes or bottomless pits. I know some gamers will balk at the idea of an easy baby difficulty mode being present in their big boy hardcore retro vidya-games, but I absolutely love it. It ensures that all players can actually see everything the games have to offer and is a great way to practice stages and learn boss patterns before going back to normal difficulty and doing it for real. I love, love, love this feature.

I won't talk about all of the games individually, but I do have some comments. The games are emulated here warts and all, which means they slow down in the same places here that they did on the original hardware. I honestly can't say if it is better or worse here, but Mega Man X really, really slows down to the point it affects gameplay. I seem to remember that is kind of how it always was, though. The other games seem to run fine. I also want to clarify why the first collection is better than the second collection. Similar to the original Mega Man series, as the Mega Man X series went along they started to run out of ideas to keep them interesting so they started to feel repetitive and watered down. The X series also changed hardware a couple of times - from SNES to PS1 and then PS2 - and trying to take advantage of the new hardware each time kept moving the games further and further from their tight 2D platformer roots.

The presentation in the Mega Man X Legacy Collection releases is very nice. The menus are clean and great looking and you can tell a lot more care and attention was given to the aesthetic here compared to the second OG Mega Man Legacy Collection release. The games all look and sound like they should too, of course.

All in all, the Mega Man X Legacy Collection releases are fantastic trips down memory lane that franchise vets and newcomers alike will have a great time with. If you can only buy one I highly recommend collection #1 as it truly is the best the franchise has to offer, but if you can get them bundled on sale having both collections so you have all of the games is certainly the way to go.
Disclosure: Review codes were provided by the publisher.