The Mega Man series, one of the most venerable franchises in console gaming, has a proven ability to age gracefully. Its second foray into the realm of 3D (or third, if you're counting The Misadventures of Tron Bonne) is currently being localized. From what we've seen, the US version is coming along quite nicely, and - if the Japanese version is any indication (see our import review) - Western gamers are in for a nice treat.
Mega Man Legends 2 takes an action-RPG approach to the series, as its predecessor did before it. This time around, though, the world is much larger, featuring a navigable world map replete with towns, dungeons, and other explorable areas.
Most of the game will be spent exploring the myriad locales throughout the world. As per the standard adventure formula, Mega Man will traverse the environments, communicating with townsfolk and blasting away at Reaverbots. The environments look quite polished, and the camera lets you view them from any perspective. One so inclined could easily be immersed in the world of Mega Man.
The control scheme seems much improved over the previous version's. With the analog sticks, it is possible to control the character and camera seamlessly, and there is bound to be button configuration to suit most players.
The graphics have been given a treatment as well. Overall, the characters are brighter and more expressive within the cutscenes and without, and the game features more than its fair share of impressive environmental effects. Stylistically, fans of the series will find much to warm their hearts, as Capcom's graphical vision has not only remained intact for more than ten years, but it's also grown to suit its new form.
The cutscenes, which are produced using the game's engine, are a real treat - displaying a level of realization and polish that full-fledged FMVs often strive in vain to duplicate. Though they were entirely in Japanese (without subtitles), their production was top-notch, both in the audio and visual departments.
Indeed, it seems as if Mega Man Legends 2 is set to win a place in the hearts of American gamers. Set for release in September, the game is currently in the process of an English-language translation. Read our review of the Japanese version, and keep your eye on this spot as the game's release date draws nearer.