Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2 Review

Mega Man X Legacy Collection is a compilation of the main games in the Mega Man X series. It features every game from MMX1 through 8, but not any of the side games, like Mega Man X Command Mission, or the GBC Mega Man Xtreme games. Like Mega Man Legacy Collection, MMXLC is split up into 2 packs, with 1-4 on MMXLC1 and 5-8 on MMXLC2. You can buy them separately as downloads for $19.99 each, or in a boxed bundle as Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2 for $39.99. The PS4 and XBO versions come with a disc for each collection, but the Switch version comes with MMXLC1 on a cart and a download code for MMXLC2, just like MMLC 1 + 2. The Steam version doesn’t get a physical version at all!

Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2’s in-game options are exactly the same in both. They are very similar to the in-game options in MMLC 1 + 2, but there are a few key things missing, like save states and button remapping options. There are no save states, checkpoint saves, or rewind features of any kind. This isn’t much of an issue with X4-X6, since they have automatic checkpoint saves you can continue from, but I miss having save states for the SNES games. X7 and 8 could probably use save states, too. MMX1-3 have a save feature, but it’s really more like an auto password input. It works exactly like passwords did in the original games, and does not save button configurations or special upgrades, like the Hadoken in MMX1. MMX4-8 have button remapping options in their pause menus, but the collection’s own in-game options menus do not have button remapping, like MMLC 1 + 2, so the only way to remap buttons in MMX1-3 is to change them in the game’s main menus before starting a game.

The only cheating feature available in these collections is the new Rookie Hunter Mode, which can be switched on or off in the in-game options menu at any point during any of the games. This mode gives you 9 extra lives, reduces damage by half, and you won’t die instantly from hitting spikes or falling into pits in MMX4-8, but you still will in MMX1-3. If you fall into a pit with Rookie Hunter Mode on, you’ll just warp right out onto a safe platform. It’s actually kind of hard to die in Rookie Hunter Mode.

The video options are pretty much the same as they were in MMLC 1 + 2. You have 2 filters; CRT scanlines and a smoothing filter that makes the games look a little bit like Xover. You also have the option to turn them off. There’s 3 screen sizes; a 4:3 mode that fills the screen from top to bottom, another 4:3 mode with the games displayed at 4x their original resolution, and the quintessential 16:9 stretch, which fills the whole screen. MMX4-8 look great in their original 4:3 aspect ratios, but MMX1-3 are not displayed in 8:7, like MM7 in MMLC2 was, so most of the graphics in these look stretched horizontally. There are 5 wallpapers available if you want to cover the black borders around the games, one for each game and another plain looking one for X Challenge. You can use any of the wallpapers on any game, unlike in MMLC, but you also have a lot less than in MMLC.

Some other features include the option to play the Japanese Rockman X versions and Hunter Medals, AKA achievements. Yes, even the Switch version has achievements. They, of course, are only for this game, since there is no Nintendo gamerscore. Sadly, there is no option to turn off their notifications. The Rockman X versions of the games are the real deal Japanese versions of the games, have Japanese voice acting, and their saves are not compatible with the English Mega Man X versions.

A lot of people are probably going to go straight for the original SNES trilogy in MMXLC1, but sadly, these are far from the definitive versions I was hoping for. I’ve seen tests done with the PS4 version that say the input lag is around 7 frames. That’s twice as much as MMX on the SNES Classic and about half a frame more than MMLC1 on Switch. I don't think it feels as bad as MMLC1 on Switch, but it doesn't feel as responsive as MM7 did on MMLC2. They did reduce some of the slowdown found in the originals, but they didn’t get rid of all of it, and they introduced some ugly frame skipping that happens for no apparent reason in the process. I’ve even seen some screen tearing going on in the PS4 version.

Mega Man X4 is the last game on MMXLC1 and MMX5 and 6 are on MMXLC2. All of these run great and look much better than the PSOne Classics versions do on PS3. They look sharp and not blurry, like they do on PS3, and the anime cutscenes have been upscaled and look much better. There is no trace of slowdown, screen tearing, or stuttering either. They maintain their original 4:3 aspect ratio, so they don’t look stretched, like the SNES games, and they all perfectly scale to 4X in 1080p docked and to 3X in 720p on the fly when you take the Switch on the go, unlike MMLC2. The only issue I’ve found with these 3 is that the voiceover in the cutscenes and some of the sound effects in menu screens are way too quiet. This is most noticeable while scrolling through menus.

Mega Man X7 and 8 are the final 2 games on MMXLC2, and they look better than ever. They’re both upscaled to 1080p, run at a constant 60fps, and have anti-aliasing. They maintain their original 4:3 aspect ratio and just look great all around. I guess the only real issue with these 2 is that they’re still the same games, and were never great to begin with.

X Challenge is the new mode made specifically for MMXLC 1 and 2. In X Challenge, you pick 3 weapons and try to get through a gauntlet of battles against 2 bosses at the same time. You get 3 lives per game, 10 minutes for each fight, and don’t get health back after finishing a fight. Each collection has its own X Challenge (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), but they do share some fights. I didn’t like this mode a whole lot. The fights take forever and the weapons don’t seem to do a lot of damage, even when the bosses are supposed to be weak to them.

There are two galleries in the game, an art gallery and a product gallery. The art gallery has a bunch of character bios and artwork from all the games, including the new artwork made for Mega Man X Legacy Collection. The artwork for the main games is exclusive to each collection, so MMXLC1 has the MMX1-4 art and MMXLC2 has the MMX5-8 art, but they both have the same gallery with the new MMXLC art. The Product Gallery has a bunch of pictures of action figures, capsule toys, cards, and lots of other stuff, and it is also the same in both collections. The product gallery is a neat idea, but the pictures are way too small to really appreciate. The biggest improvement over the MMLC1 and 2 galleries is that up and down is not reversed anymore and you can browse through pictures by pressing ZL and ZR.

The Music Player has all the soundtracks from the games included in each collection, and both collections have the full MMXLC soundtrack, which has a bunch of new music recorded specifically for these collections. The MMXLC soundtrack is pretty good. There’s some good remixes and some cool tracks that remind me of Phantasy Star Online in there. The actual music player has gotten a nice upgrade over MMLC’s, and now has autoplay and a few different looping options.

The Day of Sigma animation from the PSP remake of MMX1, Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, is also included in both collections. It’s a 25 minute long anime prequel to MMX1, which takes place shortly before MMX1 begins. It shows the origin of X and how Sigma went from leader of the Maverick Hunters to the main villain of the series. There’s also a gallery with what looks like old E3 or TGS trailers of the games, but there’s nothing too exciting there.

I’m really not too high on either of these collections, and I’m not sure I’d recommend them to anyone except Mega Man fans. I enjoyed revisiting the games and looking through all the galleries, but this isn’t the best way to play the SNES games, and X6-8 were never great games to begin with, so the only stuff really worth your time here are the really nice versions of X4 and X5, and the extras. Hopefully the issues with the SNES games are fixed, but I doubt they will be.