Review by KeyBlade999

"The best seventy-five dollars I've ever spent."

~ Review in Short ~

Gameplay: An excellent, entertaining mix of classic MegaMan elements and those of RPGs and the first MegaMan Legends.
Story: Somewhat of a sequel to MegaMan Legends with the RPG stereotype of saving the world.
Graphics: Pretty good for the PlayStation era, though sub-par by today's standards. The PS2's texture smoothing helps.
Sound and Music: Fairly varied overall, with some sprinklings of tunes from the original MegaMan Legends and remixes.
Play Time: About one hour for a speed-play, though more like fifteen to twenty for a basic playthrough, and about forty for a comprehensive one.
Replayability: Quite high, as this game is exceptionally entertaining and comes with difficulty options for those needing challenge.
Recommendation: It's rather hard to say. Frankly, this game is one of the best I have ever had the opportunity to play - this much goes without saying. However, nowadays, getting a good copy of the game can run you over one hundred dollars on Amazon. Whether it is worth it or not is up to you. I, however, spent something like seventy-five dollars on it and do not regret this decision in the slightest infinitesimal way. My recommendation would be to buy it.

~ Review in Long ~

It has been around twenty to thirty years since Capcom began their MegaMan series on the NES. In that same amount of time, we've seen hundreds, thousands of other games get released. Few people now actually own (or at least use) their NES consoles. Nowadays, at the time of writing, we're waiting for the Nintendo Wii U from Nintendo, the next PlayStation (after the PS3) from Sony, and the next Xbox (after the 360) from Microsoft. NES's are now aged.

In the meantime, we've also seen a large number of MegaMan games come from Capcom. MegaMan Legends 2 is but one of several dozen MegaMan games. The Blue Bomber ran, all guns blazing, into this entry in 2000 for the PlayStation. MegaMan Legends as a series is one of the few RPG-style MegaMan games you'll ever see... and perhaps the best.

Is there one particular reason why? No, there are very many!

GAME HISTORY:
MegaMan as a series began on the NES console a few decades ago, and was developed by Capcom. They quickly released new MegaMan games in the series almost year after year, going to MegaMan 8 rather rapidly. During this time, various other MegaMan games were released, such as a large portion of the brutal MegaMan X series and the MegaMan Zero series. Other games came after the MegaMan Legends series, such as MegaMan 9, some time after MegaMan 8. The MegaMan Battle Network series became rather popular as well.

However, we're not here to talk about those games. MegaMan Legends, as a series, was a hallmark for MegaMan overall, as it launched the Blue Bomber into two new fields for him - RPGs and 3D. The original came out for the PlayStation in the late 1990s. MegaMan Legends is regarded by some to be a flop; by others, such as myself, a treasure. MegaMan Legends 2 perfected on the formulas presented throughout MegaMan and was released in 2000 for the PlayStation as well.

For some time, the series remained dormant. It was early in the 2010s that Capcom openly told everyone that they were, finally, planning to make a MegaMan Legends 3, for the Nintendo 3DS no less! Sadly, however, they soon cancelled the project due to a supposed lack of support, and little news has shown that the series will be revived any time soon.

GAMEPLAY: 10/10.
General Progression:
Progression through the game is much like you'd expect in most role-playing games, and it really takes cues from the first MegaMan Legends. You pretty much have a linear path to go through in the game - you'll go from dungeon to dungeon with a few intermediary sequences. You'll fight a fair few bosses.

It pretty much can be boiled right down to that. There isn't a whole lot of non-linearity in this game - you have a few sidequests and a few extra dungeons, but that's about it. You don't have to progress forward in this game until you want to, though, like you'd expect.

Battle System:
The battles in this game will all be in real time, much like you'd expect having playing MegaMan Legends before, or perhaps another game like Kingdom Hearts. In fact, the battles themselves can be most readily connected to Kingdom Hearts.

During the battles, it can be you (MegaMan) versus a large number of enemies - generally two or so, but I have seen up into the dozens of enemies. You have two basic weapons - your Buster Gun and a Special Weapon. The latter can be a number of various things, from a missile launcher to a mine to a laser. You also have the Lifter, which you can use to throw enemies and other objects around.

The enemies have a huge variety of attacks, from the simple tackle to the complexity of increasing the local gravity and tossing explosives at you. Thusly, the battles all offer some sort of challenge to you; even on the easiest difficulty, it will be hard to avoid being hurt pretty badly at some point. The enemies themselves don't actually have a lot of weak points you need to abuse like you'd expect out of an RPG - given that you lack elemental differentiation in your weaponry, this should be expected. However, that doesn't make the battles any less entertaining.

Unlike the typical RPG, though, battles don't earn you a type of "EXP." or "experience points". Rather, that is all done financially through shops and inventions. So, while it is possible to grind to an insurmountably high level of power early in the game, that level of power will be surpassed later on due to the staggered nature of the availability of items.

The Dungeons:
Those who played the first MegaMan Legends probably recall the stark simplicity of the dungeons. Oh, sure, the layouts were complex enough, but the in-game map solved that problem rather quickly. In the end, the first MegaMan Legends was a game in which you mainly just went through and shot at enemies. Very rarely, if ever, were you actually given a true test of your mental faculties over your ability to press the Square Button really fast.

Don't expect anything like that here, though. (Of course, the layouts are actually even more complex!) MegaMan Legends 2 has some rather annoying puzzles with the dungeons. You'll get started off pretty easily so you can get the hang of it, but, about a third of the way through the game, you'll be looking at needing to solve puzzles and keeping that health gauge up. A few of these are more like what you'd expect out of a puzzle game given a certain riddle, but a large number of them are based moreso on the actual physics of the game. For example, you'll be using buoyancy in water to create stepping stones to an upper area so you can continue, or luring Reaverbots into traps.

There are also a variety of elemental themes for the main dungeons of the game. Pretty much every one of these takes a cue from the classic MegaMan series. For example, you have a dungeon absolutely filled with lava, and another dungeon in which you are sometimes underwater. This can make for an interesting change versus MegaMan Legends, for you now have to deal with new types of physics, and new types of dangers. After all, lava burns, doesn't it? Isn't ice slippery?

You will be made open to new equipment to deal with these new things, which is perhaps my favorite thing about this game. The dungeons are only as hard you make them. You can choose to grind for hours and hours, getting the perfect equipment and whatnot for a dungeon ... or you can decide to rush headlong and enjoy the challenge of going into a dungeon blindly.

Other Changes from the Original:
Perhaps the most spectacular is the introduction of various "statuses" MegaMan can obtain, which are used in lieu of the shield from MegaMan Legends. These statuses are quite well what you'd expect from a game such as Pokemon. You can have a burned status (in which you lose health over time), a paralyzed status (in which you lose speed, mobility, and jumping height), a Buster Leak (in which you pretty much can't attack), and a "freezer burn" status (basically being burned, and often paralyzed, simultaneously). These make the battle environment insurmountably more dangerous, as the lack of them in MegaMan Legends led to the idea that every fight can just be endured through. Granted, you can still do that here, but it is harder.

Like MegaMan Legends, this game does implement a fairly in-depth invention system. This system basically requires you to find random stuff and give it to Roll, MegaMan's dear friend and Spotter, so she can invent something. In this game, the system is more generalized into only making Special Weapons rather than a varying number of special, other items. She also can upgrade these weapons, but a much higher and harder-to-obtain cost than in MegaMan Legends. As a bit of a comparison, the most expensive weapon in MegaMan Legends 2 is about 10.4 times more costly than the most expensive one in MegaMan Legends.

To further elaborate on the difficulty in obtaining such an exorbitant amount of money (in this game, Zenny), you must know of the next change. The refractors in this game, which can be picked up for Zenny, have a few additional types, but barely exceed the base values for the original, and enemies don't really drop much more than they did in the first game. So, in effect, you can say that the money systems are, at the core level, the same.

Next up on our list would have to be the difficulty system. To a point, there is no difficulty system. Rather, the game's difficulty is based on MegaMan's Digger's License, which shows just how good of a Digger he is. As his rank goes up, so does the game's difficulty. This generally results in increased enemy defenses, but also raises the amount of refractors the enemies drop. However, there is a bit of a difficulty system, in which you'll be allowed to start with a certain License rank. In turn, this can result in a super-easy or super-hard game by affecting what equipment MegaMan has, the refractor-Zenny conversion factors, enemy defenses, and more. Diggers' Licenses overall will also determine what extra dungeons you can enter.

Finally, equipment. My memory relates this back to the days of MegaMan X. In the original MegaMan Legends, you basically could choose your Buster Gun, Special Weapon, and whether to choose to wear a helmet, armor, and Jet Skates. In this game, though, you'll have the first options on this list. Additionally, you'll have a much larger variety of what to wear in helmets, shoes, and armors. Each of these has a number of effects - for example, your damage reduction can be different, or you may be able to avoid certain statuses. It is an integral part of the strategy in this game, now, to develop your equipment rather than turn it "on" or "off".

Other than those main five examples, the majority of the game is the same as MegaMan Legends except for the obvious (new items, new weapons, new enemies, and so on).

Sidequests:
What is an RPG without a few sidequests? MegaMan Legends did not really take this to much of a deep level like other games of its era (Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX), but they were okay. The sidequests for MegaMan Legends 2 are a few more in number, and often a lot deeper.

The majority of them actually have a common theme of MegaMan's "morality", so to speak. In other words, doing bad or good will affect some of the sidequests. For example, doing bad will close the doors of every single sidequest, except one, for which it is required. Sometimes, you'll be punished or rewarded for these quests by, for example, getting higher or lower shop prices or Special Weapon development costs.

The other quests are a bit more fun, and, depending on how you look at it, more rewarding. There are three main extra dungeons in this game (plus a few extremely minor ones); however, your access to these depends on your Digger's License ranking, which, in turn, can mean you need to do the tests for the licenses. Yes, a lot of the sidequests are intertwined together in such a manner. Other than those dungeons, though, you won't see much. There is a superb (and hard) quiz game you can play, and the races from MegaMan Legends return (in a more in-depth style), but little else is there.

STORY: 9/10.
This game takes place approximately one year after MegaMan's adventures on Kattlelox Island in the first MegaMan Legends...

For a while now, Bluecher, a friend of Professor Barrell's, has been thinking of the Forbidden Island that he once landed on thirty years before. He has amassed his fortune into making a ship to go to this supposedly impenetrable island. Professor Barrell, against his better judgment, also decides to go with him, likely to investigate the loss of his daughter - Roll's mother, Matilda - and his son-in-law.

Meanwhile, the pirate gang known as the Bonnes, as well as their rivals in Glyde's gang, have caught wind of this and allied together to get whatever treasure may be on the island. Roll and MegaMan are arbitrarily following the ship Bluecher made, when, suddenly, it is attacked by an unknown woman that is somehow registered as familiar to Roll!

The ship begins to plummet towards Forbidden Island, where the vortex will tear it to shreds, along with everyone inside. But Roll and MegaMan can't go in there - their ship is worse off. They, instead, decide to land on a nearby town and, there, they search to find a way to get on Forbidden Island.

And so, their next journey, unbeknownst to them, begins. Who is this woman that attacked Bluecher's ship, and why? Why is Forbidden Island forbidden? What is it hiding? And, perhaps most importantly, how is MegaMan intertwined in all of this? These questions and more will be answered...

GRAPHICS: 9/10.
The graphical quality of this game mostly depends on from which standpoint you view them from. For the purpose of this review, I compare the graphics to other games of the PlayStation era. By comparison with modern games, especially on the HD consoles (PS3, 360), you'll probably find the graphics in MegaMan Legends to be rather inferior. Texture smoothing on the PlayStation 2 is somewhat helpful in raising the quality by smoothing out the pixels, but it also has a tendency to just feel odd when looking at it.

Anyways, the graphics are fairly vibrant and varied. You'll have a huge number of environments to look at, from lava-filled dungeons to forests to underwater ruins, it's all pretty nice, and Capcom even put in some extra effects. For example, you can see bubbles in the underwater dungeons and wavering in the images on-screen.

Quality-wise, it is around par with other games of its time - notably, Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX. The graphics could use some work as far as smoothness goes, and some of the things you don't ever get to interact with just a bit fuzzy. However, all in all, the graphics are pretty good.

SOUND AND MUSIC: 9/10.
There are a fair variety of sound effects in this game, the majority of which you probably would have heard in the first MegaMan Legends - a lot of explosions, zapping when damaged, laser shots, and the like. The sounds can be pretty overwhelming, and you'll be hearing them almost constantly in this game, sometimes to the point of drowning out the background music. Quality-wise, it's still good.

As far as the music goes, I don't particularly see a problem with it. I don't really pay attention to music much at all, but, I have to say, I kinda like the music. There are a fair number of varying themes that suit the situation. I especially remember the underwater ruins and the theme that implied a bunch of mystery for obvious reasons - after all, you try finding a 3D RPG with an underwater dungeon!

To put it briefly, the sound effects are good, though unlikely to have been unheard to players of the original MegaMan Legends. The background music is of a decent quality and the music itself is amazing. There are a scant few remixes of themes from the first MegaMan Legends, and even a few classical tracks in the game!

PLAY TIME: 10/10.
For a PlayStation game, I'd have to say that the amount of play you can get from MegaMan Legends 2 is rather spot-on for a few reasons. The biggest is the range of time it can take to play the game, and the next is that the game actually has longevity.

A basic playthrough of the game can be expected to last somewhere from ten to fifteen hours, especially for first-timers. However, the game can be sped-through easily in an hour - in one sitting, versus over a few days and weeks. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you'll find that the comprehensive playthroughs can last much longer, generally around forty to fifty hours if you already know your way around the game.

Definitely, this disparity can result from a large amount of extra content you unknowingly would do in a basic playthrough, or would do in a comprehensive one, but not do in a speed-run. Speed-runs are, in fact, the most challenging way to play this game if you try, because there is so much you would otherwise gain to aid yourself. Comprehensive playthroughs has a lot of content to trudge through, from several extra dungeons to raising millions and millions of Zenny to max out all of the Special Weapons.

This game obviously has a fair range of possibilities for you as far as longevity goes. You can have a game you play in one sitting, over the course of a week or two, or over the course of a few months - whichever you prefer, as it is mostly you who makes those decisions. Capcom only opened the door; it is up to you to step on through it.

REPLAYABILITY: 10/10.
There are a very, very few games that do not bore me with repeated playthroughs. I can count them on one hand - two are MegaMan Legends 1 and 2, and another is Dark Cloud 2. Given I've played well over two hundred games, that means a lot to me.

This game is just so entertaining. To some extent, the dungeons are randomized in their enemy formations to prevent a true step-by-step walkthrough, so you can't readily look up how to beat an enemy in a situation. The dungeons are practically unique for the RPG genre and present unique challenges. Overall, the game itself is wholly entertaining and also varied, the main factor in being able to replay a game.

Perhaps the next big factor would be the difficulty system. There are practically five different difficulty levels ranging from a game you can play through in about an hour to a game that is so hellishly difficult that it can take months to play through what would otherwise take a few days, just because of minor changes in Zenny conversions and enemy stats. Everyone will have, at some point, a difficulty available to them that is also perfect for them without creating boredom or over-challenging.

All in all, MegaMan Legends 2 provides perhaps one of the best replay values a game can get. It lets you do all of the choosing in how hard you want it to be; that way, you are able to make sure you get just the right amount of challenge without needing to throw a controller out the window. Simply put, amazing.

THE END. Overall score: 9.5/10.
In MegaMan Legends 2, you have perhaps one of the most treasured, maybe even the best, games of all time. The game is unique in its environments, in its challenges, and in its puzzles. It provides a massive level of entertainment, and a massive amount of it for those who choose to delve into the sidequests.

It provides an intriguing, albeit sadly cut-off, storyline. It can be played for an hour or fifty, and often repeatedly without a bit of boredom. The only shortcomings this game really has, in fact, are found in the technical limitations of the PlayStation era as far as graphics and sound go. Remember, this is a 2012 review, so those technologies have advanced much in the past dozen years.

Regardless of those extremely minor shortcomings, MegaMan Legends 2 is by far one of the best, if not the best, games I have ever played. I paid a rather large amount of money for it (even by modern standards) to get it - seventy-five dollars. By comparison, most games at launch at sixty dollars, and that's the high end.

And yet, it has quickly shown to be the best money I have ever spent on any video game. I would, without reservation, without hesitation, recommend this game to absolutely anyone. It is practically the perfect game from my perspective - a perfect mixture of the classic MegaMan platforming elements, classic adventure game elements, and great RPG elements.

There is, in fact, a reason why it costs so much. It is just that good!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/12

Game Release: Mega Man Legends 2 (US, 10/24/00)


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