In every long running game series, there's always "that" one game which greatly splits the fanbase. Usually due to a major overhaul of an aspect that flies in the face of series tradition, these black sheep games typically are wrongfully seen as a bad or disappointing release simply because they did something different. Mega Man Battle Network 4 Red Sun & Blue Moon is very much "that" game for the MMBN series. While it is true that it made certain changes that divided opinion, Mega Man Battle Network 4 Red Sun & Blue Moon is still worthy of the series' name and is strongly recommended for both fans and newcomers.
The premise of the story is entertaining enough, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. Once again, MegaMan.exe and Lan Hikari spend most of the time battling their way through the ranks of a netbattling tournament, though the purpose of this one is to determine the strongest Operator and NetNavi in the world. The reason for this is because an asteroid is on a direct collision course with the Earth, but it could possibly be diverted if a strong enough Navi entered its cyberworld and altered the course. In between matches in the tournament, another evil organization - called Nebula - runs around making mischief that only Lan and MegaMan.exe can put a stop to.
It all works well enough, but the asteroid plot point takes a backseat after being introduced at the beginning of the game and never feels like it's properly expanded upon. On top of this, MMBN4 is easily the worst translated game in the series, with gems like "What a polite young man she was!" and "Megaman, is the jack out now!" disrupting the flow and creating some unintentionally humorous moments.
One of the biggest changes MMBN4 introduced was a new art style that would go on to become the series standard. Sprites and environments went from being larger and more detailed to being smaller and more minimalistic. Many fans disliked this change and it does, in some cases, seem to reflect how rushed this game was for its initial release. However, the new art style also brought with it much more bright and vibrant colours that the previous three games never featured. Especially in the cyberworld, visuals seem much sharper and better contrasted against each other, and this both helps ease navigation and provides some nice eye candy. It's a matter of individual opinion, but the new look seems to have added more than it's taken away.
The soundtrack is unexceptional, but it fits in with the theme of the game. Electronic chiptunes permeate the experience and generally help to drive the atmosphere. For example, if Lan is just taking a leisurely stroll through ACDC town, a friendly and easygoing track plays, but a much more urgent and serious track plays during critical moments in the story. It all sounds nice, but the music doesn't significantly add or subtract from the experience.
Battle remains mostly the same from previous entries, though there have been a few notable tweaks. These new additions contribute greatly to what was already quite enjoyable combat, adding in additional strategic elements, but with strings attached that make the player pause before making a decision. First of all, the popular Style Changes have been tossed out in exchange for Soul Unisons. There are six in each version and they mostly fulfill the same function, changing MegaMan.exe's form and giving him certain elemental strengths/weaknesses. The twist here is that a chip of the transformation's element must be sacrificed to make the switch and that a particular NetNavi must be defeated to obtain each Soul Unison.
Additionally, there's now an "emotion window" that shows how MegaMan.exe is feeling in battle, and this has various effects on his performance. For example, if a counterattack is successfully landed, "Full Synchro" is activated and the next chip attack performed deals double damage; if the player takes several hits without fighting back, "Worried" is activated, disabling soul unisons and tempting the players to use dark chips. Dark Chips are a new class of chips that offer a great risk/reward system. Each one is extremely powerful, but each use permanently impacts some aspect of MegaMan.exe's battle capabilities, such as lowering his max HP or limiting the effectiveness of his Mega Buster.
As always, there's an incredible amount of replayability, but the way it was handled in this case is perhaps what divided fans the most. It takes not one, not two, but a minimum of three playthroughs to ensure that everything is collected. It may be that the viruses and enemies are strengthened with each playthrough, but this feels like unnecessary padding and will likely make many completionists groan, as there are certain chips, Soul Unisons, and upgrades that are only available after beating the game once or twice.
Like with Mega Man Battle Network 3 Blue & White, the differences between the two versions are marginal. Certain chips and Soul Unisons are exclusive to one version, but this Virtual Console release gives players the chips missing from their version if the player attempts to access the comm screen. The main story and the meat of the game remain consistent between the two, so Soul Unisons are the only thing that'll really sway opinion as to which version should be bought over the other.
While not everyone may agree that it was for the best, Mega Man Battle Network 4 Red Sun & Blue Moon did make some fairly significant changes to the series. Regardless, virus busting is as engaging as ever and exploring the charming worlds both inside and outside of computers provides a fun and unique experience. Barring a few tweaks the core experience is still the same that made many fans fall in love with this series, and that makes this an easy recommendation.
Yeah, I can see now why many fans don't like BN4. Since Red Sun was my introduction to the whole series, I didn't really care.
Still, I think that the great NaviSouls and Battlechips make this game one of the best BN games I ever played.
And by the way: to complete the game 100%, four full runs are actually required, since the final secrets depend on the Ultra difficulty of the fourth NG+ to be obtained at all, and these final secrets open the path to the FINAL final secrets.
As a city fan I guess I'll have to buy the Blue Moon version
Oh noes it's the start of the bad Battle Network games!
@Kaze_Memaryu Haha, are you serious? How deep does it go?!
@MitchVogel I wanted to avoid this, but okay...
SPOILERS AHEAD - DON'T READ THIS IF YOU WANNA DISCOVER IT ON YOUR OWN!!!
When you play the Ultra Mode (NG+ 4), you unlock a certain NPC in Undernet Area 5, whose trial you have to pass to gain one of the EvilChips (I think it was DarkPharaoh, but I'm not sure).
Winning this trial also unlocks the LaserMan.exe DS Navisoul in Undernet 5, whose DS NaviChip you ALSO need (meaning S-Rank a buffed-up boss enemy). That unlocks the path to Bass.exe (you need all 150 regular and 60 MegaChips to get to him). Defeating him nets you the GigaChip Bass X/BassAnnly X, which you need (alongside a SECOND GigaChip from his NaviSoul, DarkBarrier L) for the final EvilChip (get all 5 GigaChips to unlock the path).
THEN, you can reach BlackEarth, where you fight the 6 NetNavi's you got your DoubleSouls from, and then your DarkSoul with the chipfolder you used against Bass.exe. Defeat him, and you get a NaviCustomizer program (I think it was HubBatch or CleanseSoul, not sure). And THAT is the 100% mark (except for ProgramAdvances - you need to find these yourself).
Finishing certain tasks gets you badges on the title screen: the RedSun/BlueMoon badge for owning the GigaChip, RegComp for all Regular Chips, MegaComp for all MegaChips, GigaComp for all GigaChips, a badge for using every program advance, another one for owning every Navi program, and a final one for having S-Ranked every NaviSoul.
The sheer length of what I wrote reflects on the effort required, honestly. And I did it twice, because my copy lost the 100% file some years ago...
I remember that MMBN4 was OK, but it was completely forgettable as soon as MMBN5 rolled around.
So which Soul Unisons are exclusive to each version?
Red Sun: Fireman, Gutsman, Roll, Windman, Thunderman, and Searchman
Blue Moon: Aquaman, Numberman, Metalman, Woodman, Junkman, and Protoman
I've always preferred Blue Moon because it features Chaud and Protoman, two iconic characters in the series, but getting to fight Mayl and Roll for the first time in Red Sun isn't bad either.
Personally, while I am a huge fan of Megaman Battle Network in terms of gameplay and style, and I consider it to contain one of the best action-rpg battle systems, I think by this point in time the game was feeling too familiar/repetitive. Too many iterations of a good thing without changing up the formula feels stale. The best of this line of series imo are 1-3 and MM Starforce 1-3.
There are some cool Styles (or, Souls as they call them in this game) as you get Styles based on Navis, so a number of different cool abilities. [My favorite was Roll Soul, her charge shot can destroy other player's battlechips (excellent in 2p versus)! However, this version on WiiU is incapable of versus mode. so that won't help much here.]
The battle system, per previous entries, is still top notch, and better than most RPG's. I forget when, but at some point in the series Countering was added (attacking an enemy with a battlechip right before they attack stuns them). That is a great addition to the series, if 4 is the first, then kudos goes to them for adding that, as it adds a level of depth to the timing of attacks and forces the player to watch enemy movements closer.
The major gripe I have against this game, and what kills it as a game, is that it is not one 'lengthy' adventure, it is a smaller adventure that they want you to complete 3 (or maybe 4) times in order to unlock everything. Sure, each playthrough is slightly different, you fight mettaur2 (the little helmet guy with the pickaxe) during the second playthrough instead of mettaur1, but per previous entries you encounter these guys much sooner on the standard adventure, rather than having to wait to battle and collect their battlechips.
If you are not a fan of grinding in general, you probably won't like this game, as being required to read through the same text and traversing the same areas that many times is frustrating.
Because of this, my personal rating for this game is probably 6.8 - 7.2 range, especially if you've played the original 3. For me, the series after 3 just felt like more of the same. Note though, that while Starforce series is similar to MMBN, the different perspective in the battle changes things up quite a bit. They also create a whole new 'universe' of characters, which helped liven things up.
Worst game in the series, the fact that the player has to play through the game 3 times in order to get every double soul is exhausting. Personally I would give the game a 6/10.
So this game is on Wii U as GBA VC? Somebody I streetpassed has "Megaman Battle Network 4 - Blue Moon (Europe) " as last title played and im confused especially since im in the us...
Tap here to load 11 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...