Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Ninjaaa 18.01.2019

Review for Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 on Nintendo Switch

The first four Mega Man X installments are considered classics by many, but the second half of the series is relatively less popular, if not considered worse. They still contain the jumping and shooting present in a fast-paced platformer like this, but despite that, some of these entries are downright controversial with their quality. How well does Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 fare compare to its first half, and is this collection worth picking up?

One nice thing about the collection that should be mentioned right off the bat is that it offers a few appreciated perks to the PS2 entries, which have never been ported before. Loading times are now almost instantaneous, and the boost in visual quality is a positive as well. The other extras in this collection are the same as in Mega Man X Legacy Collection, though, including a bunch of franchise artwork and such, and an easier difficulty named Rookie Hunter mode. As another note, Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 still has the X Challenge present in the previous collection, in which you fight sets of two bosses at once, but it's mostly the same. There's a few new fight combinations, but there are only boss fights from Mega Man X to Mega Man X6, although it's understandable why this is the case (especially since most bosses in Mega Man X7 are designed around 3D anyway).

The titles in this collection have a lot to live up to, and Mega Man X5, while not fantastic, is still a decent start. It's similar to the previous entries as usual (with eight main stages that can be tackled in any order, plus the finale afterwards), but that's not necessarily a bad thing… although the production values are noticeably lower than before, such as how instead of there being anime-style cut-scenes like in Mega Man X4, these are just still images now. Even without that, though, Mega Man X5 feels unremarkable in general. Some segments feel like they were ripped straight out of the previous entry aesthetically, and this even applies to certain gimmicks as well. There are also a few other questionable elements, such as one stage consisting entirely of an extremely slow auto-scroller, and then there's also one of the game's biggest issues, which is how cryptic some of its systems are.

Screenshot for Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 on Nintendo Switch

There are multiple examples of this problem, but easily the biggest one is how the finale is handled. Without going into spoilers, how the last stages play out is actually decided randomly. There are ways to boost the chances of receiving a favorable outcome, but there's still a shockingly high chance that none of it will matter, and that the bad ending sequence will play out anyway. It isn't the largest issue in the world (all stages are playable no matter what), but it is quite a strange way of structuring it. Overall, though, Mega Man X5 is decent, but definitely not the best the series has to offer. Although Mega Man X5 may have been a tad underwhelming, at least there was the chance to correct it in another sequel, but sadly, Mega Man X6 manages to be a whirlwind of poor design choices. The gameplay formula isn't too different from usual, but there is a new central gimmick called the nightmare phenomenon. When entering a stage, two other stages will have new obstacles added into them, such as crushing blocks or falling meteors.

In concept, this system could've made for an interesting take on dynamic difficulty, but due to it being poorly explained, and the nightmare effects themselves being obnoxious rather than actually challenging, it feels as if the player is being constantly punished just for playing. It doesn't help that the level design itself reaches a series low, with constant instances of cheap enemy placement, irritating gimmicks, an absurd amount of instant death spikes in some stages, and even scenarios where it is straight up impossible to progress unless a specific upgrade has been taken into the area, with no indication said upgrade is required in the first place. Keep in mind that upgrades can only be equipped outside of levels, so when something like this happens, you have to intentionally waste all your lives to quit the stage.

Speaking of upgrades, there's quite a few this time, but the way they're handled is bizarre, to say the least. There are 16 robots (which are called reploids) in each of the main stages, and some of them include some helpful benefits such as more max health, or being able to ignore knockback when taking damage. The problem with this (besides there being no type of radar to identify which reploids have upgrades and which don't, because most of them offer nothing) is that reploids can permanently die when attacked by certain enemies, and even if the level is replayed, that reploid will be lost no matter what, meaning that upgrade also cannot be obtained without starting a whole new playthrough or reloading an old save.

Screenshot for Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 on Nintendo Switch

There are a ridiculous number of instances where an enemy will be placed directly next to a reploid, making it feel like a cheap way of adding difficulty, since there's no way to predict when it happens. There's also a limit to the number of upgrades that can be equipped at a time, too, which is very restricting, since the only way to raise the limit is to replay levels over and over to get a currency called nightmare souls. The existence of grinding in a Mega Man X game seems ludicrous, but here it is, as much of a slog as it sounds. Mega Man X6 has a few enjoyable moments in it, but as a whole, it's frankly not worth playing - at least not without Rookie Hunter mode enabled.

One might assume that the series would hopefully recover from the declining quality of the previous few installments, but unfortunately, the franchise ends up spiraling downward even further in its most pitiful entry yet, Mega Man X7. As the first Mega Man X installment on PS2, it takes many leaps forward, but every single one of them manages to fail spectacularly. The biggest change to the formula is that gameplay is no longer restricted to just 2D movement, as there are now full 3D segments throughout levels. It switches between 2D and 3D fairly often depending on the area, yet neither style is fun to play. Trying to move feels like the equivalent of trudging through molasses (especially during 3D sections), and the fact that there's an automatic lock-on system no matter where your character is means that defeating enemies is tedious instead of engaging and satisfying.

Screenshot for Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 on Nintendo Switch

There's also a new team-up function where two of any playable characters can be switched between mid-level (as opposed to picking a character at the start of a level and doing the whole stage with them), but it's a useless mechanic since there are only two characters available for the majority of the campaign, so the second character on the team feels more like an extra health bar than anything else. It's a neat idea, but executed in a way that makes it almost entirely pointless. There's still so much more wrong, though. From the atrocious voice-acting, the dull and uninspired level design, the mess of a collectibles system (the reploid rescue system from Mega Man X6 is here too, yet not a single issue it contained was actually fixed), and the forgettable soundtrack, it's difficult to get any enjoyment out of Mega Man X7. It isn't as obnoxiously frustrating as the previous installment, but being aggressively boring instead isn't a much better situation.

Luckily, though, the final entry on the collection, Mega Man X8, is a massive improvement in quality. Movement immediately feels better, now offering some of the slickest, most fluid controls in the series. Stages are now 2D only again (with the exception of a few vehicle segments), but in this context it feels like the farthest thing from a downgrade when considering what happened the last time the series tried to go 3D. One of the healthiest improvements is that the team-up mechanic is back and actually has a purpose now. All three playable characters are available from the start and have their own set of upgrades, plus they each play distinctly different from each other so there's an incentive to trying out different combinations. Not only that, but there's a new rule where if a character takes damage, they can recover a fraction of their health by switching to your teammate to let the other character heal. This offers a clever reason to frequently switch characters, and there's a balanced regeneration cap that keeps it from being easily exploited, too.

Sadly, Mega Man X8 tends to rely a bit too heavily on its stage gimmicks. There's two vehicle stages this time, plus two stages that are mostly auto-scrollers, so there aren't many situations where you get to let loose and dash all over the place. When a traditional level is on offer it feels great, but it's a shame that it doesn't happen that often. Still, it's quite the enjoyable experience, with some nice additions to the formula, such as being able to mix and match different sets of armors that each have their own unique properties, resulting in situations like choosing between extra jumping height or faster movement speed. It's just unfortunate that, again, there aren't a whole lot of opportunities to use all this.

Screenshot for Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


It's difficult to recommend Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 since it's so wildly inconsistent in its quality. What is essentially being offered is one game that's decent (albeit unmemorable), one that's sometimes great, and then two that are complete trainwrecks. That said, Mega Man X5 and Mega Man X8 are worth playing through as they're still fairly enjoyable in their own right. Otherwise, though, there's not much reason to check this out.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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