Mega Man Battle Network 2
The second game in The Blue Bomber's GBA spinoff series

Review Written by

date published: 8.29.23
Game Suggested By

Did you have that one friend growing up that was into some stuff you just couldn’t get into? Maybe their clothing style was just a little too ‘out there’ or maybe their music taste was a little too hardcore. If you had that friend, you might have loved them regardless of all the shit they liked that you didn’t. But what if that friend was obsessed with Mega Man? What then? Can you still love that friend? Are you even still friends with them? Do you hate this new bitter rival? Picture that day in middle school when they tell you they got a new GBA game last night and that you have to come over and check it out. After school, you hop off the bus and they continue to tell you about it as you walk over to their house. Sounds like it could be.. Chain of memories? Advance Wars? Fire Emblem?? Any of those choices would be amazing. Instead, they boot up their navy blue GameBoy Advance SP to reveal

Note: I will be using proper Mega Man Battle Network vocabulary in my review to highlight this game’s colorful terms. If you need a definition for any of the words or phrases marked with an asterisk, please scroll down to the glossary section of this review. Definitions will be listed in the order they appear.

The Blue Bomber* is back at it again with a sequel to his GBA spin-off series: Mega Man Battle Network 2. Instead of the level-based action platformers that everyone knows, the battle network games are ‘card-based real-time tactical RPGs’. The games have you hopping back and forth between the physical world and ‘The Net*’. In the physical world, you play as a boy named Lan in his home town of ACDC. As Lan, you cruise around town on your roller skates, talk to NPCs, check your email, and purchase items with your Zenny*. Before long, problems will start popping up and Lan decides it is his duty to solve these problems. The issues you are up against are shockingly more serious than I anticipated. For example, one of them has your friend from school trapped in a room with a gas leak — scary stuff. To resolve these issues, Lan sends Mega Man (his NetNAVI*) from his PET* into The Net to delete all the viruses that are causing the problem and ultimately take on a terrorist group that operates on The Net.

Jacking In

Jacking in* to The Net allows the player to control Mega Man himself. In The Net, Mega Man walks around maze-like hallways trying to find the root of the issue that Lan is facing. As the player walks around, they must endure random encounters with viruses. Battles in this game play out in a 3x6 grid. Mega Man spawns into the battle on the left side of the grid and the virus will spawn in on the right side. A menu pops up and displays a shuffled selection of chips* from your chip deck*. The player then chooses which chips they want to use on their first turn, and the battle begins. Each battle plays out in real time. Mega Man hops around the nine spaces on the left side of the grid and uses his blaster to pick away at the enemy’s health. Chips can also be used whenever the player decides. While you are using your blaster and chips, the enemy viruses will be attacking you. Each virus has different behaviors and will target Mega Man with their own unique attacks.

I’ll come out swinging and say I did not enjoy this game. I have no nostalgia for Mega Man and I never really liked the original games either. While playing Battle Network 2, I got lost walking around blindly in The Net more times than I care to admit. When you’re inside The Net, everything looks like a technology-themed acid trip and while that may look cool, it is NOT helpful for navigating your NetNAVI through the labyrinth that is Lan’s toaster.

I have been playing video games long enough to feel pretty confident with my abilities when it comes to reaction time and hand-eye coordination. I can recognize enemy patterns and understand telegraphs. Unfortunately, I had a terrible time dodging enemy attacks in Battle Network 2. I found the virus’ attack telegraphs to be insanely quick in this game and some of them near-impossible to dodge. I know you aren’t supposed to dodge everything, but I was really having a hard time with it.

Game Art

Aside from those glaring, objective issues with the game, I also did not much care for the writing. I get it - the game is made for kids, but I couldn’t help but cringe every time I read the phrase ‘Jack In’. I think the writing could have aimed for a slightly older audience. Kids would still have understood what they needed to.

Moving away from the negatives, I do really enjoy the graphics in the battle network games. The character sprites are done very well and everything is vibrant and colorful. Walking around ACDC and The Net, the game has an isometric camera angle and in battle the camera is more of a straight on, flat angle. Many of the boss enemies have great designs as well. Bosses are not unlike boss enemies in the original Mega Man games (AirMan, QuickMan, etc.)

Interestingly enough, the story of all the Battle Network games revolves around some pretty serious topics (considering the youthful writing style). Lan is essentially going up against terrorist groups on The Net that are causing mayhem in the real world.

Honestly, I would not recommend anybody play this game unless you have pre-existing nostalgia specifically for the Battle Network games. If you think you might be interested in the battle system, it might be worth a shot. However, I say there are better games like this on the GBA that you could spend your time on: ‘Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories’, ‘Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade’, or ‘Final Fantasy Tactics Advance’.

Game Art

That navy blue GameBoy SP slams shut and your friend looks up at you with one eyebrow raised. What are you supposed to say? The game does not interest you and it certainly did not seem to justify its $40 retail price tag.. You decide to humor them - tell them the game seems interesting and that maybe you will look for a used copy. Yeah, that’s the perfect response. Now you can head home for dinner and hope your friend will finish Battle Network 2 and move on, forgetting about everything related to Mega Man.. But they won’t.. You know deep down that this friend is lost. They have strayed from the path and their eyes are set on the blue bomber for good.

— Glossary —

  • The Blue Bomber - Mega Man
  • The Net - The internet
  • Zenny - The game’s currency
  • NetNAVI - Digital beings that humans use to interface with The Net
  • PET - Short for a ‘Personal Terminal’, these are small, portable, electronic devices that house a person’s NetNAVI
  • Jacking In - When a human sends their NetNAVI into The Net
  • Chips - Powerful moves for Mega Man to use during battle (attacks, healing, special)
  • Chip Deck- A deck containing a limited number of chips for Mega Man to use during battle

  • Cybergas


    "Just wanted more Roll"

    "It's cute and fun"

    "I think I'm ready to jack OUT"