Mega Man Battle Network 3: Blue
Another year, another Mega Man Battle Network. Is anyone surprised? Once again, Capcom has put together a surprisingly solid little RPG that ranks among the best GBA games available. Newcomers to the series will have no problem getting hooked on its fast-paced gameplay and innovative battle system. The problem is that if you've played either of the first two Battle Network games, you've essentially played this one. Unsurprisingly, the formula is starting to get a little stale. Yes, BN3 has the usual smattering of minor tweaks and gameplay upgrades, but on the whole, it feels less like a sequel and more like another glorified remix of the first game. How many times can they recycle the same story, characters, graphics, and even music tracks before gamers start to lose interest? And was it really necessary to make two versions of the game this time? (Short answer: no.) That said, if you can get past the deja vu, you'll most likely have a great time with BN3. Let's just hope the next one offers something new.
Well,John's right about Capcom sticking to its "find a gameplay formula and repeat" philosophy--that has been the hallmark of the Mega Man series through its 50-plus incarnations. But even though BN3 is a lot (well, almost exactly) like its two predecessors, it's still a darn good game with fun characters, a cool plot, and a surprisingly deep battle system. Even if you've been down this road before, it's still a great trip.
I've never been a huge fan of the Blue Bomber's Battle Network games, but this eerily similar third installment is actually slightly better than the last two. The graphics haven't changed much, and the gameplay has had only a few nips and tucks. This time, though, the whole package just feels more cohesive. I still can't completely get into the collect-a-chip battle system, and I wish Capcom would make the multilevel stage layouts less confusing, but you can't have everything.