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October 2022

Mega Man X Legacy Collection

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: July 24, 2018


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PS4 Review - 'Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Oct. 17, 2018 @ 1:30 a.m. PDT

Mega Man X Legacy Collection includes every mainline Mega Man X game, from Mega Man X to Mega Man X8. The collection is loaded with new features, including a museum and challenge mode.

Buy Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2

Mega Man X was an odd outing for the Mega Man franchise. After the cheerful NES era, the title took Mega Man to a much darker place. A far-future society where the cast of the original game is long dead and forgotten, X follows the adventures of the titular Mega Man X, who works as a "Maverick Hunter" alongside his friend, Zero. Mavericks are robots who are out of control and threaten humanity at the behest of their leader, the rogue hunter Sigma. As the plot progresses, it gets darker and more melodramatic, and most cast members die at least once. The dark plot gives it a distinct feel that sets it apart from its predecessor. What isn't different is that, at least early on, it has some of the best gameplay the franchise has ever seen.

All the Mega Man X games are evolutions of the traditional Mega Man gameplay. Mega Man himself, known as X in this series, retains all of his trademark abilities, such as absorbing enemy powers and charging up his buster cannon. New to the series is the ability to cling to walls, dash along the ground, and unlock new armor. Every game has multiple armor pieces (sometimes multiple armors) that give X new abilities and alter his visual appearance. The result is a character who retains all of the classic Mega Man style and adds a bundle of new abilities to the mix.

The first of the two bundles in the complete Mega Man X Collection, which contains Mega Man X1 to Mega Man X4 and is one of the best game bundles in existence. Almost every game in the collection is an excellent title, and even the low points are perfectly fun games. If you had to purchase just one of the half-collections, you should absolutely get the first half. It's almost worth the full cost for Mega Man X alone.

Mega Man X is close to being a perfect platformer. The level design is phenomenal, the gameplay is excellent, the enemies are colorful and memorable, and the difficulty and pacing are near-flawless. It is absolutely a fantastic game by any metric. What few flaws it has are nitpicks, and frankly, the collection is probably worth it on its own just for this title.

In many regards, X2 is a safe sequel. It still has excellent level design and bosses, and it doesn't rock the boat, but that isn't a bad thing. It lags a little behind the first due to some annoying design decisions, including some upgrades that are pretty tedious to collect, but it's still among the top Mega Man games and perhaps the second-best game in the entire collection.

X3, which is the Super Nintendo version and not any of the later re-releases, is probably the weakest of the SNES Mega Man X titles. It's still a solid game, but it starts to get a bit bloated. It has some of the least satisfying upgrades and generally feels like it's spinning its wheels a bit. Its coolest feature is the ability to temporarily play as X's partner Zero, a sword-wielding powerhouse who will become a much bigger part of the series.

X4, the last game in the first half of the collection, was the first PS1 Mega Man title. It has a lot of strengths but also a lot of weaknesses, so I'm a bit torn about it. The core gameplay is really fun and introduces a fully playable Zero, with his own distinct move set and story. The level design suffers compared to the SNES days, and the graphics have aged more poorly than the SNES's crisp and clean sprites. If it's the weakest game in the first X Legacy collection, then that's a small complaint. It's a fun and well-made platformer that manages to avoid the pitfalls of the later games in the collection.

This brings us to the second half of the collection. It may sound cruel, but the second half of the collection is a genuine mess and contains among the worst Mega Man games ever made. At least Capcom's decision to split the collection into two parts provides a nice, clean cut-off point. Unless you're a collector, you should purchase the first half of the collection and stop there.

Mega Man X5 is probably exemplified by being among the laziest Mega Man titles. It's nowhere as bad as it could be, but it's not a fun game to play. This is where the level and encounter design start to go downhill. The boss weapons are less interesting, the equipment upgrades are less fun, and the ending is determined by a bizarre random RNG roll. To get the good ending, you have to reload saves over and over again because even if you do everything right, the game can still toss you a bad hand.

Mega Man X6 takes all of X5's problems and amplifies them. The stage design is bizarre and contains a number of ridiculous areas that aren't any fun at all. It adds the need to rescue reploids from evil Nightmare creatures, but the act of actually doing so is a tedious chore. There's almost nothing good to say about X6 except that is has some pretty cool unlockable armors.

Mega Man X7 is in the running for the worst Mega Man game ever. It was the franchise's first attempt to branch out into 3D, and unfortunately, it was a failure. The level design is awkward and frequently unenjoyable, losing out on the tight platforming that makes Mega Man work. The bosses are a mess, the character balance is way off, and in general, there are almost no redeeming features in this game. It adds a new third character, Axl, but he's not a particularly fun playable character. As if to add insult to injury, the titular Mega Man X is an unlockable character, which is the shame because he's the best of the three. Even if you decide to pick up the second X Collection, it'd probably be worth skipping right to X8.

Mega Man X8 is the best game in the second half of the collection, but that's faint praise. It (mostly) reverts to 2D gameplay and tightens up a lot of elements of the game. Unfortunately, that's about the extent of the praise. It doesn't excel in any real areas. At best, it's a thoroughly average 2D platformer. It has a few critical missteps, such as some awful "speeder bike" levels, but nothing that sours the experience like the other three games in the collection. It's the best of the latter half of the Mega Man X titles, but it's nowhere near as good as the first four.

The collection as a whole has some cool bonuses. You have galleries, museum entries, and the "Day of Sigma" animated short that was originally included with the PSP remake of Mega Man X. You even can play the Japanese versions of the game if you desire. Probably the biggest selling point for fans of the series is the X Challenge minigame, which allows players to take on various combinations of Mavericks from the entire X series. It's a fun challenge, and while the graphics mesh oddly, it makes for a series of entertaining boss battles. Getting the complete X Challenge is probably the biggest selling point for the complete Legacy Collection.

All in all, Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 is a must-buy, and I'd recommend skipping Collection 2. The first four Mega Man titles are good Mega Man games and remarkably good platformers in their own right. Anyone who remotely enjoys the Blue Bomber will get a lot of fun out of the games. The second half of the collection is, at best, of academic interest or for completionists. Die-hard fans will get a lot of fun out of the X Challenge feature, but for most people, the real value is going to be in the engaging first four games.

Score: 8.0/10

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