MegaMan: Battle Network 2
MegaMan: Battle Network 2, known as Rockman.EXE 2 in Japan, is an spin-off RPG in the, and part of a whole spin-off series.
A terrorist organization wreaks havoc all over the world, eclipsing WWW from the previous game, and nearly destroys the world as a whole in an attempt to establish their own world order. It's up to Lan and Mega Man to stop them once and for all.
Why It Rocks
Note: A lot of the points from the first game apply to the series as a whole, including this game.
- The fun gameplay is back, and improved from the last game with the addition of new chips and new mechanics.
- For starters, the new Style Change mechanic gives Mega Man a whole new dimension to battling, as it not only provides Mega Man with a new element and corresponding charge, but a different attribute, such as more raw power, wider selection of BattleChips each turn, or more NaviChips in the pack, depending on the style.
- For another, panels can come in many types this time, and they each have their own interactions with different enemies (and Mega Man depending on the circumstances) and add a new layer of depth to the gameplay.
- For yet another core difference, HP are not restored from battle to battle, but rather from jack-in to jack-in. This encourages the player to be more cautious about taking damage in regular battles, as this battle can carry over to future battles.
- For yet another improvement, the Regular Chip system allows for a specified chip to always appear in the selection at the beginning of any battle, given that Mega Man has enough Regular Memory for it.
- The villains are a marked improvement in this game in terms of how evil and intimidating they are.
- More impressive spritework for both the overworld and the battles. The homepages in particular seem more personalized and the Undernet goes from blending right in with the normal Net to looking far more foreboding with its own design.
- The music in this game is a new set of bops, and it also meshes quite well with the graphics, leading to solid presentation overall.
- This game's secret post-game area is also a marked improvement, looking like its own unique area. In addition, there is a post-game subplot tying things together and foreshadowing for the next game.
- This game introduces the request board, which allows for minor side quests for various rewards. These include both overworld tasks and specified battles. Some of these are required for license exams and other key events, but others are completely optional, offering a reward to the player for going out of their way.
- While the story in the last game can come off as overly childish and cartoonish in some instances, this game has these issues accentuated with the villains coming off as far more formidable. This game really does not know whether it wants to be a kids game or not. The story is not bad from a narrative perspective but the tone of the game has no idea what it wants to be. There is a great story here, but it seems muddled by the cartoonish elements.
- In the first scenario, a man disguises himself as a repairman to gas Yai and render her unconscious, only to extort her parents for a large sum of money for the chance to see their daughter again. He fails this mission thanks to the heroes, who are themselves kids, and almost dies as a result of his failure. In addition, the game tries to include some comedy about the fact that Lan might have seen Yai naked. This is immediately following a life-or-death situation, and it should be noted that both Lan and Yai are young children, so the game joking about them seeing each other naked is inappropriate.
- For another example, one of the villains here is a well-known mercenary who was bought by Gospel. He had the ability to get past world-class defenses to assassinate a king and his royal guard, but doesn't do it until Gospel pays him. This might make him, and Gospel, seem like intimidating forces, but this same mercenary is defeated by child protagonist because of course. After his defeat, Gospel dismisses him as just another average mercenary despite the fact that he penetrated world-class defenses to assassinate the king of one of the largest countries in this world.
- For yet another example, towards the end of the game, one of the villains causes various natural disasters, such as extreme sunlight, blizzards, monsoons, and hurricanes all over the world. The cyberworld is not safe from this phenomenon, filled with harmful ice and powerful viruses wreaking havoc everywhere. This would normally be a fine way to establish how evil Gospel is, though the natural disasters are all but forgotten a day after the heroes put an end to them, seemingly ignoring the death and destruction that would come from such a cataclysmic series of events.
- In another scenario, a different villain tries stealing sensitive data from a plane while onboard, which causes multiple malfunctions. The hero, who is a kid, manage to fix everything while the professional pilots are unable to do so, and despite multiple parts malfunctioning at different points during the same flight, nobody is harmed. Thankfully, this criminal is arrested as soon as the flight lands, but it seems cartoonish that the plane didn't crash to begin with. This is a stark tonal shift from the events transpiring beforehand on this same flight.
- As an aside, this game was released an unfortunately close time after 9/11, and while this was a coincidence, this coincidence landed this game in quite a lot of controversy for this reason alone.
- The finale seems to be a huge offender as well, if not the hugest offender. Gospel has already established itself to be a terrorist cult which has murdered countless individuals, including their own members, and have their outreach everywhere, including world leaders. They did this with the aim of destroying and rebuilding human civilization as a whole. Despite this, the leader, who was shown to be appropriately heinous and cruel, is treated like a misguided child after the heroes learn of his troubled childhood, and the fact that he is oddly still an adolescent while commanding atrocities around the world. Weirder still, this villain actually considers being good after being shown genuine friendship, and while the world was cold and unforgiving to him growing up, showing friendship to him after he saw others who suffered from a broken civilization and grew to lead these people, that just seems like a colossal stretch.
- Overall, this game could have discussed the problems with human civilization and how many people do suffer in it with more tact. It tries to take itself seriously in this regard with the motivation for the villains, especially Gauss and Shun. However, as this game is marketed to kids primarily, it is admittedly limited here, despite a few instances of foul language and other subtle messages that have no place in a game for kids. This tries to take serious messages, and a serious villainous organization, and push them in a kids game like a square through a circular hole.
- The flaws from the first game carry over here, with the exception of the post-game gripe.
- Some of the situations here do require a lot of backtracking to areas already explored, and while the first game had that, this game has a lot more of it.