raycarter's Mega Man Star Force: Leo (Nintendo DS) review

Megaman Star Force: A tough call

When I watched the commercials of this game on YouTube, I thought that I should buy this game as soon as possible. However due to a lack of cash and supply at home, I had to wait for about a year or so to finally buy it. I had a lot of fun with Star Force and thought that reviewers might feel the same. But they didn't. After hearing their issues, I decided to form my own opinion. I've played the game long enough to make a full opinion, but I gotta say: This is a very difficult game to review. Do I compare it to the Battle Network game? Or do I simply review the game for what it is?

Story: About 200 years AL (after Lan), you take the character of Geo Stelar (or you could rename him), a boy who's mourning for his father who was lost in space. But his life completely turns into a wacko direction when FM alien Mega (or Omega-Xis) bumps into him. When Mega tells Geo that he has info about Geo's father, Geo cooperated with Mega to obtain the info... grudgingly... to form MegaMan, and now it's your job to stop the other FM-ians entering Earth Territory, because Mega has the Andromeda Key (a key to a big weapon) and the FM bubs want it back. 

Frankly, this is just a makeover of "Evil organization comes in. Megaman EXE stops them". The story is OK, but it's the same thing that me and other Mega Man fans have been hearing for over 5 years. Character development is less than average, and so I can sum up the story as "less than glorious" .

Gameplay: The gameplay of Star Force really hasn't separated itself from the Battle Network series. In fact, IGN said that this game "feels" like Battle Network. And I don't really blame the guys. You still move around 2 worlds (although the Net world is replaced by the EM wave world, solving a whole lot of puzzles. You get into fights with viruses, and then repeat. Yes, this is a complete re hash of the RPG side of Battle Network.

The obvious one thing that Capcom did decide to change is the combat. Instead of the 3 x 3 grid, you play on a 1x 3 grid in the view of Mega Man's back. Ya, that sounds bad, but Capcom added a shield and a homing attack to compensate. These 2 moves are a welcome break as it helps to speed the tempo. When using the homing attack constantly, you could feel very nimble. And althought the Star-Force powers (you get them later in game) is mediocre because they only give a medium boost to Megaman, I'm still pretty happy with the combat.

One more to mention are the brother-bands. These are electronic bonds that strengthen, and they are actually OK. You can share battlechips, Star Force powers and combos (the combos are pretty cool). But it feels more like a gimmick than anything else. Because I can't play star force with others, I am only left to make brothers with characters in the story. The only things that they do are small bonuses (like increase HP capacity) and a random selection of the brother's chips. Possibly the only thing I like about he brother-band is that as your HP grows, your brothers grows with you, and the bonuses that you get will improve. Even so, I could see the potential of brotherbands, especially the combos, because more brothers= more chips and combos= stronger MegaMan. 

So the bottom line: Good combat, rehashed RPG and OK Brother Bands.

Presentation: Although MegaMan Star Force of the NDS looks good and a whole lot different (and I actually like the new style), the game still looks the same as Battle Network ON THE GBA. The character models ultimately follow the same proportions to Battle Network characters, and the Wave world looks as if it came straight from the Net world: Same roads (mostly), same mystery datas, same dead ends etc.  The 3D graphics in battle actually fare better, although there should've been round edges in some sides (but hey, this is the NDS)

Thankfully, the soundtrack was completely original. It has a "starry" edge to it (hence the name) and my favorite soundtracks are the introduction and the music played in moving moments. Not too bad, I guess.

BRs (Bonuses and replay value): The game is mostly open-ended and you can go around, collect zennies (huh! same currency in Battle Network), battlechips and buster weapons. There are also chores that other people would like you to do to keep you busy and it can reward you bounty. However, I can't find out how to replay the game after beating the game (though I found out that there are certain conditions I need to follow). Yeah, lots to do after beating the game (or during the game). But that's pretty much the same as Battle Network replay value

Overall: Now, I already said that it was a tough call. I had fun with this game, no matter how much stuff it ripped off of from the Megaman EXE era. If this was the first action RPG of the Megaman franchise, this game could've gained 4-5 stars. But because there are already Battle Network games, this game has to be compared. The gameplay system in battle is "Battle Network-Lite" at best and I think that the battle system needed to be overhauled simply because it's very basic. We've seen a similar system before, and it's not going to cut it nowadays.

So if you are completely foreign to Mega Man, this is not a bad place to start. If you are a long time verteran of Mega Man Battle Network, however, you could mostly expect the same-old, boring same-old.

Gameplay: 3.5/5
Presentation: 3.5/5
BRs: 3.5/5
Overall: 14/20 (3 and a half stars)


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