Game Title: Mega Man X Legacy Collection
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital
Battery Life: 4 – 5.5 hours
Download: 2.9 GB
I’ve been waiting so long for all of the Mega Man X games to be made available on a handheld. Ever since Capcom threw X4 and X5 onto the PS Vita, I loved the nostalgia of revisiting my favorite 2D platformer and couldn’t get enough of Mega Man X Series on the go.
For that reason, I was super-hyped when they announced the Switch would be getting the entire X series in the new collections, alongside PS4 and Xbox One and I’ve been in the middle of X Fever since it came out.
Do note that I’m dividing these into two, separate reviews instead of one. As such, here is my review of the Mega Man X Legacy Collection for the Nintendo Switch!
Unlike the original series, Mega Man X and its sequels brought in-depth storylines, character development, and serious tones and themes to the series. Hundreds of years after the events of the original series, Reploids (Robots) live alongside humans in peace until something causes them to go berserk and attack humans, becoming a threat to the stability of the world. These robots are called Mavericks and a special strike team called the Maverick Hunters deals with these threats.
The series centers around Mega Man X, the last creation from Dr. Light from the original series and his Reploid buddy, Zero, as they tackle challenge after challenge from former-Hunter Sigma, who seems to revive and come back just as much as Dr. Wily did in the original series.
The stories from these games is good in that you get a lot more depth and character development. X and Zero aren’t just fighitng to protect the world, but they are also constantly left with questions on whether peace can really be achieved, and what sort of sacrifice will have to be made to ensure it. There is an overall theme of sacrifice throughout the entire series and it’s at the core of X and Zero’s characters.
All of the games in this collection are 2D Platformers with combat elements and heavy “Metroidvania” elements with a heavy emphasis on replaying levels and searching for secret areas to find hidden items and collectibles. Imagine it like the Shantae games, but not requiring it for finishing each game.
This is the first of the two collections, and contains the origins of the X series: Mega Man X, X2, and X3 from the SNES, along with Mega Man X4 from the PlayStation. This part is unique for fans because of the inclusion of X3, which is extremely difficult to find in its original form now. The only way to get it handheld at a decent price outside of this collection is Virtual Console on the 3DS. There’s also a new Challenge Mode, letting you Boss RUsh through multi-boss fights.
They also include a huge range of media to look at in the Museum, from game trailers to physical merchandise released for each of the games. The Day of Sigma anime prequel to Mega Man X was also included here, which was previous exclusive to the PSP game, Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X.
But that’s not the best part. For all of you people who want Achievements and Trophies on the Switch, all of the PS4 Trophies and Xbox One Achievements are built into the Switch version of the game and unlock the same way trophies/achievements appear on the other consoles, giving you that same Trophy-Unlocking feeling as you complete challenges.
The main progression point of Mega Man hasn’t really changed that much in the decades it’s been around. You have 8 stages to go through with bosses to fight and you utilize other boss’s weapons to take advantage of weaknesses to fight them with an advantage. However, X series really added a lot to the formula. X added wall jumping, collectible energy tanks, and armor upgrades, X2 added collectibles for different endings, X3 added an in-depth Ride Armor system, and X4 added a new visual style and separate story campaigns for both X and Zero, complete with Voice Acting and Anime Event Scenes.
And it’s all these little things that keep it so interesting. You’re shooting your way through stages, but also looking for secret areas to get power-ups, raise your maximum health, and the reusable E-Tanks for refilling health during boss fights. Little things that add up to making the games much more doable and not as difficult as the original Mega Man games. Plus there’s the fact that X1-3 now have a manual save feature built into this collection so you don’t have to use the repetitive Password system every time you exit out of the game.
That’s not to say these games aren’t difficult, because they are. X, X2, and X3 in particular are extremely difficult games, especially when it comes to bosses and the damage enemies do to you vs what you do to them. Thankfully, there’s this handy feature called “Rookie Hunter Mode” for all of the games, which makes things easier. Essentially, this mode just reduces the damage you receive from enemies. In Mega Man X, it functions like the armor upgrade, while in X2 it appears to be much more substantial a decrease. Either way, if you ever have trouble with a boss, you can pop that feature on and off whenever you need it.
One last thing to say is that all of the tricks and glitches from these games’ original releases are intact here, so if you want to do the Iceless jump in Mega Man X or input the cheat codes for Black Armor Zero in Mega Man X4, you can enjoy all of them. They are straight emulation, just as they were when they originally came out.
In terms of time, you’ll have plenty of time to do everything in these games. Each game should take you around 3-5 hours a piece, giving you a total of around 12-20 hours of content, plus the Challenge Mode and the 24-minute Anime Short, The Day of Sigma.
Controlling the games are pretty simple, though I do often question why Capcom opted to have A being the dash button in the X series, when you’ve got all the other buttons to worry about holding and pressing at any moment on that side of the controller.
The great thing about these games is that they all have re-mappable controls from the Options menu. Although it’s strange that the game won’t let you direct anything to ZL or ZR in the pre-X4 games, it’s easy to remap and create a button scheme that’s to your liking (in my case, redirecting Dash to the R trigger like I always used in the Mega Man Zero games on the GBA).
Visually, the games look wonderful. Capcom made a default smoothing filter that makes all of these games look very crisp, clear, and smooth on both the handheld screen and the TV. It’s got the old filters as well, replicating both the original graphics and a CRT screen and when you check those, you can really see a huge difference in the quality and beauty, especially in X4. The filter really does wonders for the visuals of these games.
However, there are some things that filtering didn’t quite fix. X1-3 had built-in slowdowns during item collection and some full-screen animations, which are still here and very present whenever you encounter any of these. A lot of this is intentional, but it does take from the experience, especially in Docked Mode.
The other is X4’s laughably-bad voice acting and anime scene picture quality. All of the animated scenes have a lot of blur and degrade to them. It looked like this on the PS1 as well, but you really just can’t get past some scenes in the voice-acting department. While I have a love for Capcom’s cheesy Resident Evil voice-acting of the 90s, X4’s Voice-Acting probably shouldn’ve just not been there at all.
This collection does quite well in terms of Battery Life. Unlike the 2nd Mega Man X Collection, all 4 games here use the same amount of Battery Life. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 56 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 18 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 58 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 20 minutes
A nice, big, chunk of time for Battery Life that might get you one full game out a single charge, if you’re lucky.