With Mega Man X Legacy Collection and Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2, Capcom has continued its recent celebration of the Blue Bomber by bringing every game from the X franchise to modern platforms. For long-time fans of the series, such as myself, having every entry on one console is enough reason to wall jump for joy—but Capcom has offered additional incentives to make these new collections even more worthwhile.
Similar to last year’s collections for the original Mega Man series, the X Legacy Collections split the franchise into two packages, with X Legacy Collection offering Mega Man X through Mega Man X4, and X Legacy Collection 2 housing Mega Man X5 through Mega Man X8. For those new to the catalog of platforming games, it all began when the 1993 2D side-scrolling Mega Man X for Super Nintendo introduced players to the struggle between Reploids and Mavericks. Over the course of the eight titles, X has teamed up with his sword-wielding sidekick Zero to defeat countless Mavericks, including the series’ main antagonist, Sigma. While the franchise eventually evolved into a 3D platformer with the arrival of Mega Man X7, the core mechanics of hunting down eight Mavericks, earning new special weapons and armor, and having a final showdown with Sigma never changed too drastically. Thankfully, Capcom didn’t tamper much with the new ports either, making both collections the definitive editions for seasoned fans and newcomers.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few discretionary bonuses to spice things up. First off, there are several aspect ratio and filter options that can be accessed at any time through a master menu. For instance, while most players will likely play the games in their original 4:3 aspect ratios with customizable wallpapers to fill in the black borders, they can also choose a stretched 16:9. As for filters, Mega Man X through X6‘s can be smoothed, pixelated, or even have a CRT filter applied to offer an old-school experience. For the last two entries in the series—Mega Man X7 and X8—players can keep the games’ original PlayStation 2 graphics or toggle on an upscaled and smoothed HD version of them. While these are purely cosmetic features, it’s still a treat to have customization options that don’t affect gameplay.
Apart from the graphical settings, both collections offer a bevy of bonus content, including a music player, galleries for official and concept art, trailers for each game, the Day of Sigma short film, and Hunter Medals. Again, a majority of these add-ons are purely fan service and a way to show the evolution of the series, but the Hunter Medals are where the gameplay changes start to kick in. While the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of both collections come with trophy and achievement support, Capcom offers a clever way for Nintendo Switch and PC players to join in on the quest hunting. See, the Hunter Medals are the same tasks as the trophies and achievements, providing an array of challenges that range from simple to severe. For example, one Mega Man X Hunter Medal requires you just beat one of the eight Mavericks in the game, while one from Mega Man X3 tasks you with defeating the secret bosses without any upgrades or special weapons. There are even Hunter Medals tied to well-known secrets in the game, such as unlocking Street Fighter’s Hadouken for X by dying a certain number of times in Mega Man X‘s Armored Armadillo stage. Not only do these give seasoned players a lot to accomplish, but completing the more difficult tasks unlocks new wallpapers, songs, and secrets.
The real bread and butter of both X Legacy Collections, though, are the Rookie Hunter mode and X Challenges. While these collections are arguably geared toward those that have played more than one entry in the franchise, Capcom included the Rookie Hunter mode to give newcomers a way to practice and master the core mechanics of the series. When accessing the mode, X will be unable to take damage and can only die when falling into a pit or bed of spikes. However, to keep players from abusing the mode’s modifiers, the trickier-to-obtain Hunter Medals can only be earned in normal mode.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the brand-new X Challenges are not meant for players unfamiliar with the games. In fact, they can be thought of as a hard mode for diehard fans. In them, X has to go up against two Mavericks at once, and can enter the battle equipped with three special weapons. The catch, though, is that each of the nine X Challenge levels includes three different pairs of robot masters, which means X has to defeat all six Mavericks with one bar of health, his X-Buster, and the optional three special weapons. After many hours of trial and error, I was able to complete all nine levels on the easy and normal modes, but the unlockable hard setting is in a league of its own that takes time to master. In addition to being a fantastic challenge, it was a blast to see bosses from the first six games cross over. Some of the matchups are obvious, like Frost Walrus and Chill Penguin, but others, such as Blaze Heatnix and Blast Hornet, are odd but fitting once you experience them. Overall, the X Challenges could have been released as a complete game on their own. The fact that they are technically seen as add-ons is impressive, and a testament to the amount of content Capcom packed into the collections.
While I’ve said that the hands-off approach to the original versions of the games is mostly welcome, there are some aspects of gameplay—specifically in Mega Man X7—that have needed tweaking for years. The switch from 2D to 3D brought a lot of challenges to the series’ focus on platforming. The most notable problem has been the 3D entries’ third-person camera, and the X Legacy Collections would have been the perfect way for Capcom to refine them. Sadly, the frustrating and often unreliable camera in X7 is the same as it was when the title first launched. In turn, it could deter new players and a majority of the returning fans from jumping into it. Despite it not getting the overhaul it needed, though, Mega Man X8 is still a step up and improvement on the 3D format, so players can try that entry out if X7 becomes too unbearable.
If you’re new to the series and are on the fence about picking up Mega Man X Legacy Collection or Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2, Capcom did include enough helpful features to bring you up to speed. Thankfully, you can also purchase the collections together or separately, so starting off with X Legacy Collection and learning off of the original four games is my recommendation. As for players that already love the series, playing both collections is truly a no-brainer. From the new Hunter Medals to the X Challenges, there’s no better way to revisit the X franchise. Trust me, there are also many secrets hidden within the collections’ challenges that you’ll want to uncover on your own.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2 are the perfect way for returning fans to revisit the entire X franchise. The classic 2D and 3D platforming games are just as addictive as ever, and the new X Challenges bring a new set of trials for seasoned players to tackle. Newcomers are also welcome with the Rookie Hunter mode, making these collections the definitive way to experience the franchise.
T – Teen
|Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2 is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for PlayStation 4. Review code was provided by Capcom for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of one to five stars.|