Friday, September 30, 2016

My Month In Games: September 2016

Mega Man Legacy Collection - PS4

After putting in my time with the underwhelming Mighty No. 9 last month, I had a hankering to cleanse my palate and revisit the original Mega Man series, so I picked up this collection of the six original NES Mega Man games for the Playstation 4. Before I get into what I thought of this package however, let me give you some of my general thoughts about the current state of the Mega Man series. The Mega Man games have always been known for their quality, and most entries feature tight controls, solid visuals, and exceptional music. Since the release of the original game in 1987 we've had ten mainline Mega Man games, eight or nine games in the Mega Man X series, four games in the Mega Man Zero series, and various other spinoffs, remakes, collections, and side stories from the franchise. That's a lot of Mega Man games!

With that in mind, there's something about the series that's been bugging me lately. Well, to be more accurate, my beef is more with the fans of the series rather than the series itself. Mega Man fans have been crying lately about developer Capcom's seeming lack of interest in supporting the franchise. They look to the departure of series co-creator Keiji Inafune from Capcom in 2010 as a starting point and point to the fact that there hasn't been an all-new title in the franchise released since Mega Man 10 in 2010. Here's my message to those folks, I JUST COUNTED OFF 23+ GAMES IN THE SERIES that were released in the span of 23 years! Have you played ALL of those games yet? Can you stop to consider, just for a moment, that Capcom has maybe slowed down to let the series breathe for a few years? Give us fans something to look forward to for when the next game surfaces? Shit, Mega Man even caught a break with the disappointing nature of Inafune's Mighty No. 9. The game that was supposed to make Capcom look stupid for taking a step back from the - I'll friggin' say it - somewhat tired Mega Man formula stumbled out of the gate. What does that mean? That means that when blue bomber does come back Capcom will likely double down on all of the things that fans love about the series in the first place, and you'll have had some time to build up a little anticipation! I realize that I'm engaging in some conjecture on that last point, but doesn't it stand to reason? There are loads of other great action platformers out there. Go play one or two of those and chill...Mega Man will be back.

You can maintain the original 4:3 display ratio if that's your jam.
Now that I have that off my chest I'll get into what I thought of Mega Man Legacy Collection. It's good. All of the original NES era 8-bit games with artwork/concept galleries, trophies, and even a bonus "challenge" mode that tasks you with completing some of the series' most iconic moments as quickly as possible. It's a good package at a fair price, and if you have any love for the series and don't already have these games on an emulator, you really should check it out.

You thought the box art for the NTSC version of the original game was bad?

Check out the art for the PAL version of Mega Man 2!
Finally, I want to say that I still think the original Mega Man is still the best game in the series, as it really nails the right combination of challenge, playability, and aesthetics. Mega Man 2 did a few things better than the original (best soundtrack of ANY Mega Man game by far) but it's just a bit too easy, and Mega Man 3, while somewhat lacking for me in the character design department, rounds out my top three games in this six game collection. Entries 4, 5, and 6 - while still quite good - feel a little stale and formulaic, and I think there's maybe a bit too much looking back through rose-colored glasses from the fans regarding those titles. 

Grade: B

WORMS W.M.D - Playstation 4

Speaking of long running formulaic series', here's a new entry in the Worms franchise! I dig me some Worms and I've never owned a version that featured online matchmaking, so I decided to pick this up. It's Worms all right! Take your team of cutesy invertebrates (I named mine after the members of N.W.A) and wage war against players from around the globe in two, three, or four player's a blast! *sigh* I missed my calling as a writer of back-of-the-box copy for video games.

Yeah, this is a fine entry in the series. There's a fairly deep single player challenge mode to augment the main course of player vs. player online battles, and it looks and controls about as well as it always has. The janky, somewhat unintuitive menus and spartan presentation that the series is known for are once again on display here (somewhat surprising given the limited scope of these games), but overall it's a quality effort.

Grade: B-

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