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Megaman Battle Network 2 - Review

Once Upon A Fetch Quest

By: Zachary Lewis


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 6
   Music/Sound 5
   Originality 4
   Plot 2
   Localization 6
   Replay Value 5
   Visuals 8
   Difficulty Moderate
   Time to Complete

5-25 hours

 
Overall
7
Criteria

Title Screen

   And the plague of sequels shall begin again, so sayeth the corporate entity. In fairness, this isn't necessarily true yet. When was Megaman ever anything but a saga embodying fun and enjoyment - if not one of massive creativity or an engrossing story? These aspects of a game are generally held most vital in an RPG but does their relative absence hurt Megaman Battle Network 2? Not really.

   Arguably the greatest aspect of the platform games in the Megaman series is the ease with which new players can become good at the games' dynamics. The Battle Network games continue this tradition with an intuitive action/strategy battle system where you move Megaman.EXE around on his portion of the battle grid while trying to avoid enemy attacks and aim your own. Attacking can be as simple as firing the time worn buster - a weak but always accessible option - to the complex and fine art of program advancing, whereby your regular battle chips combine into a super powerful attack. The previously mentioned battle chips are your primary form of both defense and offense as they can have a huge variety of effects. Some battle chips simply fire more powerful shots similar to your buster while others can create shields, affect the terrain of the battle grid, summon other characters to your aid, or heal you to varying degrees. It should also be noted that an homage to the more traditional Megaman titles makes an appearance as it is possible to change the basic attacks and color of Megaman.EXE later in the game.


Ah, The Power Of Cheese; AKA, Spreader Cannon
Ah, The Power Of Cheese; AKA, Spreader Cannon 

   Much like the battle system, the in-game controls are easy to use and should pose no problem for even beginning players. Menus are even designed a bit better in this sequel as the options are now slightly more clear and there is less trial and error required to master their use. Using the Game Link cable to battle friends is easily done and can pose some of the greatest challenge in the game - providing you're on equal footings. Other added bonuses can be attained via the Game Link by completing various benchmarks of the game, some of which include defeating the final boss, completing the hidden WWW zone, and collecting all 250 battle chips.

   Music and sound effects are more-or-less average as the GameBoy Advance goes and are much similar to the first Battle Network title. The translation is fairly decent, with the majority of the characters being developed by their dialogue and the emotions that show through their words. Although no classic lines from the past return to haunt us in this episode of the series, there is fairly large number of jokes thrown into the naming conventions for countries and other locations such as Yumland - a country known for exotic foods - and Netopia - a highly advanced computerized country.


Yay! A-Flaming-Pile-Of-Goo-Holding-A-Staff Virus!
Yay! A-Flaming-Pile-Of-Goo-Holding-A-Staff Virus! 

   Sadly, the story and overall creativity of the game falls back on the tried and true method of the entire Megaman series. Dr. Wily and the WWW, having been soundly defeated by Lan and Megaman.EXE, have all but vanished from the net. However, a new group known as 'Gospel' has come onto the scene with a fairly similar set of goals, e.g. mass destruction, world domination, etc. It's up to you to stop this new threat all the while training toward becoming an official net battler. It's equally bad that such a meager plot is told primarily through the use of the evil 'fetch quest' syndrome where you must wander the game periodically just to collect useless items or gain money to go on to the next portion of the game. With such a simple story and easy-to-use game dynamics, it hardly comes as a wonder that the game can be completed in a short period of time. Although a large portion of the game is considerably more difficult than the original, veterans will get right into the swing of things and have the virii fleeing before them in no time at all. That's assuming the dozens of new kinds of enemies - with their plethora of new skills - don't send you packing first.

   Graphically, the game is a step up from its predecessor. There is much more detail in general, e.g. trees and signs on the net, enhanced animated backgrounds during combat, etc., and careful work was done in designing the newer characters with the same style as in the original. The only effect that detracts from the new shiny coat of Megaman Battle Network 2 is seen whenever Megaman.EXE jacks into a computer terminal, and even that is only in comparison to the fancy 3D wireframe used in Megaman Battle Network.

   The second title in each Megaman series adds much to the formula to improve on the original. Megaman Battle Network 2 is no exception. With the recent news that the third title is under development it looks like Megaman and RPGs are becoming as inseparable as Mario and Nintendo. And that might even turn out to be a good thing.





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