Capcom announced at the 2010 New York Comic Con that it was working on Mega Man Legends 3 for the Nintendo 3DS. Then project leader Keiji Inafune left Capcom about a month later. News about Mega Man Legends 3 staggered for about a year before the game croaked for good on July 18, 2011. If you remember that day, then you probably remember that Mega Man fans were quite miffed.
Actually, "miffed" doesn't sufficiently describe an iota of the anger and disappointment Mega Man's followers felt over the cancellation of Legends 3. "The fans raged like a kerosene-fueled bonfire" is more apt. Mega Man Legends 3 was ten years overdue, and not only did Capcom cancel the project, it did so without much regret or apology. Details over the death of Legends 3 are scarce, but Inafune's departure from Capcom may be the reason why the company subsequently picked up the developer's pet project between its thumb and forefinger then dropped it unceremoniously into the trash.
Fandom outsiders are still bemused at how many Mega Man enthusiasts still ache over the cancellation of Legends 3."It's just another Mega Man game," they shrug. "Aren't there, like, ten billion of the things out there by now? Go play Mega Man 2 or 3. Those are the only good games in the series, anyway."
But Mega Man Legends 2 isn't a dismissible copy-paste of its predecessor, which tends to be what people think of when they think "Mega Man." Even taken outside the context of its parent series, Mega Man Legends 2 is a special game, and it's more deserving of a sequel than many adventure titles.
It's admittedly a cop-out to describe a game as "special," but the descriptor fits. Legends 2 doesn't do any one thing excellently, but all its parts are hearty and warm, and they connect to craft a gaming experience that makes you feel good as you work through it, even if you're not a Mega Man fan.
Mega Man Legends 2 is a game with simply-built visuals that still deliver heart-stopping surprises like towering Reaverbot bosses that bash through walls. It's a game with top-notch voice acting, even though it hails from the grand ol' year of 2000, when awkward lines and popping mics were still the norm for the medium. It's a game that tells an engrossing story and doesn't bog it down with fat, filler, or self-importance.
Mega Man Legends 2 is a game that lets you talk to a fellow explorer who tells you how strange it is to be standing in front of her own grave. It's a game where townspeople rightfully grow mistrustful of you and jack up their prices if you go around breaking their stuff and acting like a jerk. It's a game that lets you kick around animals, break your sister's heart, commit acts of vandalism, and then expects you to perform necessary penance to regain the trust of your friends and family.
And that's all side-stuff. The meat of Mega Man Legends 2 is in its combat, exploration, and treasure-hunting. Whereas the first Mega Man Legends takes place in an inter-connected network of ruins underneath a single island, Mega Man Legends 2 pits you against smaller ruins scattered across many islands. While it's a bit disappointing to lose the sense of accomplishment that comes with unlocking bits of a dungeon that gradually spiderwebs underneath Kattelox Island, it means less time is spent re-treading old ground. There's also more variety in Legends 2's ruins, including battlegrounds based on fire, ice, and water.
Finally, Mega Man Legends 2 ends on one heck of a cliffhanger, which makes the announcement and cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 that much crueler. We were promised answers, and now we pretty much have nothing. We don't even have much hope, given how little Capcom of Japan seems to care about the little blue robot that earned the company its fortune in the 8-bit era.
Sure, Mega Man will supposedly see new life on mobile, but is there a single person out there who'd take a mobile Mega Man game over a game engineered for Nintendo's eShop or the PlayStation Network? While I believe it's possible to make an excellent mobile action game, I'm not confident Capcom of Japan will put in the amount of effort necessary to do Mega Man justice on phones and tablets. As it is, the App Store is littered with Capcom games that broke with the iOS 8 update and were never fixed.
So be kind and throw a bone to us Mega Man fans, even if we're an over-dramatic lot with lingering bitterness issues. Better still, grab the recent re-release of Mega Man Legends 2 off the PlayStation Store, give it a try, and judge for yourself if it's worthy of a sequel.