Capcom brings the next series of Mega Man games to current-gen consoles and PC with another spectacular collection.
Having grown up with the Mega Man franchise, I vividly remember the rise and fall of the blue bomber. This perspective allows me to realize just how special this revival of the franchise over the past few years has bee. I am happy to say that the Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection continues the tradition set forth by the classic and X collections of being a superb remastered collection. It’s one that fans, new and old, should pick up and experience.
Taking place hundreds of years after the conclusion of Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero begins with a group of resistance fighters attempting to escape from a squad of enemies. They are being chased by robots that bear a striking resemblance to Mega Man X. They make their way to a long-abandoned lab. Its walls crumbling, with ancient cables and computers that have long since stopped functioning. The floors having flooded by centuries of rain. At the center, the rusted and broken shell of Zero, the legendary S-Ranked Maverick Hunter.
He’s awoken by the human Ciel, commander of the resistance, and is immediately thrust into battle. Once more becoming a pivotal piece in a conflict that will determine the fates of humans and reploids alike. What transpires over the course of four games will see Zero come face-to-face with ghosts from his past and horrors of the present. Setting the seeds for events in the future, that our heroes in ZX and ZX Advent will contend with.
The collection itself busts out of the same gate that last years Mega Man X Legacy Collections 1 & 2 did, in terms of quality and design. Similar bright and snappy menus, graphical filter options in-game, borders, a ton of archived high-resolution artwork, and new game modes are all present. Players can still choose different regional versions of the games to play, and you can enjoy all the games’ soundtracks, as well as some new remixed tracks, in the music player.
My favorite addition to these games is the new Save Assist feature, which I openly admit to having taken full advantage of. For new players unfamiliar with this era of Mega Man games, the Zero games especially, are tough. Like, I can do buster only playthroughs of most of the classic and X games, and the Zero games are “almost made me break my GBA” kinds of hard.
Save Assist is a perfect middle step between the unforgiving difficulty (particularly in Zero 1) of the original games and the super-easy scenario mode option that was added to the DS collection. A feature also included in this package. It does nothing to adjust the damage done to or from Zero, so you can still get your challenge. Instead, when you die you will immediately restart, with full health, at the last save assist point and continue on as normal. Your ranking won’t be lowered (plenty of other things still do that), but it keeps the games challenging while making the trial-and-error phase more pleasant.
Much like how the X Legacy Collections received the new X Challenge mode, this collection includes the Z Chaser Mode. Taking bite-sized snippets from the six included games, you will race against the clock, the run of another player, or a second player locally, to complete the segment. Each of the six games have two challenges, a Normal and Hard type, with six ranks each. The higher of rank you aim for, the shorter the amount of time you have to complete the run.
What I appreciate about Z Chaser is that while it isn’t as much of a novelty as the X Challenge run was, it incentivizes focusing on improving your skill of the games. And, as I mentioned earlier, this game is tough, so I’m pretty sure I would have broken my PS4 if I had to try and go up against two different Zero bosses at once.
Keeping this update train rolling, ZX and ZX Advent has received a brand new dub of their, now uncompressed, anime cutscenes. What was previously a blocky mess viewed on the small DS screens is now displayed in glorious HD, crisp detail! With good voice acting too!
The versions of Mega Man Zero 1 – 4 are those that were found on the Nintendo DS’ Zero collection, released back in 2010. The soundtracks are the same remixed versions found in that collection, the Z-chip feature for Zero 3 and 4 are included, and the easy Scenario Mode returns. This mode dials the difficulty back all across the board and strings the four Zero games together for a more narrative-focused adventure.
Mega Man ZX and ZX Advent, have until now, been playable only on the DS handheld. The navigation of the second screen relegated to the right analog stick tied, which will direct a cursor around. When hovering above an option you simply click in the right joystick to simulate the touch gesture. Granted the touch screen implementation was never among the most creative found on the dual-screen handheld, the fact it has been translated over is still impressive none the less.
The resurgence that the Mega Man franchise has seen these past few years, it makes an old fan like me smile. The Zero and ZX entries as a whole have never been my favorites of the franchise. One of the standpoint aspects of this series is the story. Taking place hundreds of years after the X titles, it has arguably the best lore and plot twists of the entire property. Fans of the X series who are playing this for the first time will find all sorts of surprises here. Leaving a whole new generation of players intrigued and rabid for more information on the events between the end of X and the beginning of Zero.
With another series down, what collection will we get next? Will we get a Legends bundle or (what I’m personally praying for) a Battle Network and Star Force collection as the next release? At this point, part of me wonders if at some point Capcom will create their own version of a classic series collection, too, unifying all the collections with a similar style. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we will get an X9 announcement as well, that will start bridging the gap between the X and Zero games along with finally giving us the Elf Wars. Please Capcom, please!
The Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is hands-down the best way to play these games. It has proven itself worthy of standing alongside the previous classic and X collections on any fan’s shelf. Capcom has shown that they know how to create great collections for these games. They get what makes a good collection. The included art, ease-of-play modifiers, and brand new modes are all amazing additions that only enhance what was already great. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long before Capcom gives us the next collection.