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Mega Man Battle Network 2

Review By:  Tikerman

Developer:  Capcom
Publisher:  Capcom
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Action/RPG
ESRB:  Everyone
Accessories:  N/A
Date Posted:  6-10-03

When Mega Man Battle Network the First came out, not long after the initial release of Game Boy Advance, there was a smattering of interest for the innovative Action-RPG battle system combined with the ubiquitous Mega Man franchise. It featured a weak story-line, oft corny dialogue, and occasionally frustrating visuals. But for the sheer fun of it, it was a solid title. The battles were fun, exploration challenging, and collecting all items, chips, armors, etc., added a bit of the old catch 'em all craze.

Before you get excited about Battle Network 2, know this: there is, as with most sequels, no fundamental change. However, Battle Network 2 does offer some innovation. You still control Lan, the now sixth-grade boy who seems to be more capable a NetBattler than the professionals. You still control MegaMan.exe, your friendly NetNavi, through the isometric maze that is the Internet, and viruses still pop out to attack you. Doctor Wily is back and terrorizing the Internet.

For those of you that haven't played Battle Network, here's how the game works. In the real overworld, you control Lan, who jets around on his roller blades. You generally don't play much of the actual game here, just moving about, and "jacking in" (that's the real term they use) to the internet or various intranets through PET (PErsonal Terminal) ports. The majority of gameplay is via MegaMan.exe. The internet is portrayed as a network of inter-connecting platforms that hover over an electronic abyss. You move about these, trying to navigate the puzzle of each level. While you walk, like any other RPG, you get jumped by enemies. They may come in groups of one, two, or three. The end goal of every level is generally fighting a boss.

After defeating a boss, usually some technically competent henchman's NetNavi, you get a chunk of change, depending on how well you defeated the enemy (factors include how much you move, how many times you shoot, how long it takes, how much damage you take, et cetera). After having defeated the enemy, you can look through the internet to find beefed up copies of that NetNavi. Defeating these copies sufficiently will score you a NetNavi chip, the equivalent of a summon in standard RPGs. Better versions of the Navi will show up later, allowing you to acquire better versions of the chip.

The gameplay is all around fun. Utilize your standard buster (B Button) to chip away at your enemy. When your Custom Meter hits full, you can open a menu to access your chips, specialized, powerful weapons. You can only select chips that are the same type or the same Letter Code (A, B, C, etc., some have none and can be used with any). Your buster can be increased by finding or purchasing Power Ups. A Power Up can power your buster up in any of three ways: by increasing the damage inflicted by each shot, increase the rapidity with which MegaMan.exe can fire the buster, or increase the speed with which he can charge the buster (at first he cannot charge, the first Power Up dedicated to charge will simply allow him to do it). There is also a multiplayer mode in which players can wager a chip on the outcome of the battle.

The game offers challenge in terms of puzzle-solving ability, quick thinking and decisive action ability, and of course standard RPG skills. It can be difficult, but not impossible for anyone. Hardcore players should breeze through this one fairly easily.

One innovation from the last game is the armor system. Players can acquire armors (that much is similar to the last), but this time they actually have a look to them. They also offer new, powerful weaponry, such as a powerful fire-blast or the equivalent for other suits (aqua, elec, etc.) The downside lies in the fact that there is, otherwise, a dearth of innovation. Minus a few technical changes to the battle system, this game is much of the same. The environments are new and different, as are the friends and foes, but that much is expected of any sequel. Battle Network 2 fails to break any real ground, causing me, at one point, to lose interest in the game, halfway through.

Sound and graphics are, however, again plusses. The music is new and fresh, for the most part, and, up to Capcom standards, comprises catchy tunes and fun beats. The graphics are, though similar to the previous Battle Network, above average for the GBA, and very appealing. A downside of the previous game returns in that the isometric view of the Internet can be confusing.

Highs:

  • Cool battle system returns
  • Not too hard, not too easy: just right
  • Music and graphics are up to Capcom and GBA standards

Lows:

  • Frustration from the isometric view returns as well
  • Too similar to the first one

Final Verdict:

 Like it's predecessor, a fun game. Elements from all over the place make this one appealing to a wide variety, as does its safely average difficulty level. The music is rock solid, as are the graphics. But for those who have played through the first Battle Network, this may be a touch boring a repetitive. Hopefully, Capcom will spice things up with their next installment, but I'm not so hopeful.

Overall Score: 7.2

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