Capcom seem to be very aware of just how well nostalgia sells, so much so that it seems like every few months we get a new collection of games to play with a rose-tinted filter on. It is an incredible mercy then that these games tend to still stack up pretty well. That being said, there is a very clear division between the twinned Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 that reminds you that not everything ages gracefully, a fact which is exceptional evident in the way that old 3D games tend to look nowadays.
Let’s do this in reverse order so that we can end on a high. Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is significantly weaker than the first, as the strong formula shown and mastered in one through four in the series was fiddled with and diluted. The best of the bunch is easily 5, with the series declining as it falls down a disjointed and nonsensical path which it barely recovers from in 8. Mega Man X 7 is a particular low point as the series tries to journey into the third dimension and loses all of the things that make it great in the process. It is a real shame, and while the supplemental modes still make the collection enjoyable, if you are only after one of the two collections then avoid this one.
Onto better things and therefore onto Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1. The first four games all have different strengths and weaknesses, but all four of them are incredibly solid platformers that show just how fantastic the genre can be. Timeless is a hard mark to hit and yet each of them seems to not only hit it, but charge shot it into the distance as though it were nothing.
Each game has you dash jumping your way through unforgiving territory and fighting against tough-as-nails bosses in order to succeed. They contain a series of ridiculous stories that are as melodramatic and over-the-top as a secondary school production of Romeo and Juliet. Each one is a testament to the strength of a series and also a painful reminder of just how far it has fallen since. While this kind of feeling can often be chalked up to just not liking change, these collections make it incredibly clear that they quite simply don’t make them like they used to.
Of course, with a collection like this there are always some new perks. Little quality of life improvements come in the form of a save system that allows you to save after every level and really helps to bring it up to modern standards, which is to say that it helps those of use who don’t want to be constantly crying while playing games.
The addition of Rookie Hunter Mode makes for an easier run through of the games and will help anyone who just wants to enjoy the old games do so without the same need for high skill level and the ability to memorise everything in each level.
You also have the X Challenge mode, which is a boss rush of sorts that pits you against two bosses at a time. At the beginning of each run you can choose a set of weapons to bring with you in order to try and give you an edge against the immense challenge you are about to face. Each collection has a slight variation on this challenge, but ultimately it is hard to justify the mode in both versions if you aren’t already there for the main games as well.
Naturally there is a Museum as well. This is fulled to the brim with an immense amount of content chronicling the music, artwork, and merchandise from the series. It is a nice touch for fans of the games and helps to make the package more complete, and much more justifiable too.
While having both 1 and 2 may be necessary if you are completionist or if you adore the series, the second one is so much weaker that it is very hard to justify. Mega Man X Legacy Colletion 1 is a great set of games with some really interesting new features that will have you bashing your head against a cyber wall and somehow loving it. The new X Challenge is paticularly interesting and gives the game a different feel while still retaining the rewarding challenge that has inspired so many games since.
Collection 1 Score: 9/10
Collection 2 Score: 6/10
Version tested: PlayStation 4 – Also available for Xbox One, Switch & PC