As I continue to slowly plod my way through Mega Man Legends 2, I find myself wondering more and more “Do I genuinely enjoy the first game, or is it just nostalgia?” Because MML2 really isn’t doing much for me, and I can’t pinpoint exactly why.
I touched on this before in regards to the plot, but I think the bigger world also hurts the gameplay, in a sense. In MML2, the story has you go through a handful of elemental-themed dungeons to collect the four sacred macguffins. This makes it feel a lot like Zelda, which should be a good thing, but I don’t want Mega Man Legends to be Zelda. The original game had a collection of underground tunnels and ruins that seem segregated at first, but as you collect various weapons and power-ups, you slowly discover that most of them are actually smaller sections of one gigantic interconnected maze. It was amazing! Now that I think about it, MML might have been the first 3D metroidvania. MML2 has no such reveal, as each dungeon is located on a separate island.
Plus, the conceit for exploring the ruins in MML is “maybe this one will have the legendary treasure!”, which is significantly less video game tropey, and just more fun in my opinion. I’m way more excited to keep adventuring when I don’t know what’s at the end of the next ruins. Knowing that the goal is just to check another goober off the list isn’t nearly as compelling. (Though the compulsive part of my brain begs to differ.)
At this point, I’m probably about three-fifths of the way through the game, and I’m desperately hoping that the worst is behind me. See, the second dungeon is the Water Temple equivalent, which allows you to flood or drain each level as required. Only you need each floor to be flooded at pretty much all times to get anywhere, so it’s basically 90% underwater. And Mega Man moves SO SLOW underwater. Easily half-speed, and it is so impossibly tedious. I think I spent two hours in this dungeon, and I’d bet that I could have shaved off at least half of that if I’d been able to move at a reasonable speed. Maybe it’s my fault and I missed the Gravity Suit upgrade, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think that it’s just a really poor design decision.
Now let’s talk about a greasy anime trope that made me sigh in contempt. MML has a scene where you walk in on Roll while she’s changing, which is like… ugh, really? But it’s a very quick scene and I think it’s even optional. You’ll miss it completely unless you go into the wrong door at the wrong time. MML2 has a similar scene, where you walk in on Roll in the bathtub. It’s not long either, but this one is forced. You literally cannot move the story forward without seeing it. I suppose that the bathtub scene does get replaced with a “depressed Roll” scene if you treat her like garbage, but why would you do that? Who would do that to Roll? So yeah, the bathtub thing is completely unavoidable.
MML2 doubles down on this, though. About halfway through the game, you’re pitted against Tron in a boss battle. Once you win, the robot she’ piloting explodes, and the camera switches to a blushing Mega Man. A couple of Tron’s servbot cronies then sheepishly explain to her that her clothes were burned off in the explosion, and that she is now buck naked. In what other medium besides anime do characters completely fail to notice that their clothes are no longer present? It’s ridiculous in the worst way, and it just sits on this reaction shot of Mega Man for what seems like ages as Tron admonishes him for staring and being a big ol’ pervert. Yikes.
So that’s that for this update on my Mega Man Legends 2 playthrough. It’s possible that the rest of the game could really turn it all around and amaze me, but I’m thinking that’s probably not going to happen. I think what’s going to happen is that I’m going to get to the end, finally beat it, and then never play it again. I’m having a hard time coming to grips with this concept, but I think that I might legitimately dislike Mega Man Legends 2. Is that kind of thing even possible?