Mega Man Battle Network 2

released on Dec 14, 2001

Enter the futuristic universe of Mega Man.EXE in this new adventure in the Battle Network series. Join him in his battle to fight cyber crimes in this mega role playing adventure. Now, there's a new net crime organization in town and its computer hacking has created a virus that's quickly gaining momentum. It's up to Mega Man.EXE, his pal Lan and friends to join the Net-Battlers and win this new cyber battle. Stop it before it spreads!

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An unfathomable upgrade to the original. Were it not for the Freezeman scenario, it would be a contender for the best in the series

A massive upgrade and step up from the first Battle Network in genuinely every single conceivable way. Everything that makes Mega Man (and especially Battle Network) so great is just better here from the narrative which is better written and more gripping right from the start and also pretty damn dark at times for a kid's game, I mean we literally fight the netmafia and eco-terrorists who are much more willing to kill innocents, there's still that 'monster of the week' formula, but with more emphasis on over-arching storytelling now too and the boss fights being more fun and having more than two attacks, to the chips and builds having even more variety and the combat getting extra added depth due to style changes and of course huge shoutout to whoever decided to add sub-chips especially the SneakRun repel-like item so now the encounter rate (Which is already much more balanced than in the first game) is nowhere near as annoying, the fact you can actually run from fights without having to use the escape chip is also nice. Finally even the level design is much less labyrinthine as well, however that doesn't stop the FreezeMan scenario from still sucking hardcore due to how cryptic it is and the absurd amount of backtracking. Overall still a very solid game which was vastly more enjoyable than the first and a good prelude before the perfection that is Battle Network 3.

i don't think there's a single other second mega man game that's as huge of a step up from the first game as this one is. shoutout to the deranged translation btw

This is the true start of the series IMO, as it's way better than the first game in almost every single way.
The story was also weirdly good. Well, not good per se, not in terms of the wider world of gaming, but off rip we're dealing the Netmafia killing a guy with a bomb and then it escalates to... uh... a bunch of servers giving off radiation and... uhhh... Bugs being spread through the net annnnnnd... other real corny 00s Internet stuff. I fucking love it, it's just fun. It's so goofy, so misguided on how the Internet and data and programs work, but it's my soft spot. Digimon also has a very 20th century outlook on the "net" and both of these series hold a very dear place in my heart.
But that said, it's still not a great game. As a major fan of MMBN, I had fun seeing how the series has progressed. I'm extremely excited to finally get past what I consider the weakest MMBN games by far and finally get to the later titles that excited me as a kid.
For MMBN2, I fired up the Max Buster for most of the adventure sans bosses and blasted through what I could, but goddamn, the lack of map (which continues for a long time, sadly), barely improved Net design, and often pointless L-button "help" had me looking up where to go for a good portion of this game, particularly the final 2 chapters. Absolutely terrible back-and-forth progression that often annoyed me, but thankfully being a GBA cartridge-based game there were zero load times to get in the way.
Seriously, for the older games and the dozens of random battles in between puzzle segments, turn on Max Buster. There's no EXP system in this series, so get the easy battles over with and get to the good stuff. Only play this once you're finished the other games and want to see how the series began and started growing.

The second in the series and man this game is leaps and bounds better than the first one. The music bops the combat is excellent with added features and a hundred extra battle chips added. Megaman can now evolve sort of withe style change feature which gives him a new upgrade and design depending on how you fight. The story is a lot more interesting than the first and pretty dark for a kids game lol there are some scenarios where I was thrown off lol even back then when I first played it. Boss battles are harder than the first and add a great level of challenge. Huge gripe with this game though. You will back track a lot and especially at the end with the infamous freezeman section that made me want to snap my gba in half. Even having played it recently I had to stop on three different occasions because of how tedious and stressful it is… but great end game. When you beat the game you get to go to a bonus area with added story elements and set up’s for the next game as well as bonus bosses and challenges. Overall it’s a good game without the excessive back tracking this game would be a master piece.

This review contains spoilers

Mega Man Battle Network was the start to an exciting adventure. Despite its shortcomings it does a good job establishing characters and the world that they live in. Mega Man Battle Network 2 takes that foundation and builds on it. We get to see the world expand beyond DenCity where we get to learn about other countries outside of our own Electopia. We see improvements to the battle system and one of the most important improvements we see is the redesign of the net.
The story picks up shortly after the events of the first game. Lan and his friends go excitedly into summer break from school only to get wrapped into another net terrorist conspiracy. This time Gospel is behind the scenes creating chaos. With new villains comes new enemy net navis. Each with their own battle patterns and gimmicks. The story generally follows a cause and effect pattern until you reach the last couple of chapters. It starts off pretty lighthearted and then quickly escalates into world ending peril. The part of the story where Lan travels to Netopia and gets robbed multiple times comes off as oddly racist. The characterization of their speech (despite a translation program that would cut out the “broken” english) doesn’t help either. It wouldn’t have been bad if there was a single instance in which Lan loses all of his money and battle chips but having it happen multiple times in a row gives off a bad impression that foreign countries are full of grifters. One part of the story was incredibly frustrating and that’s when you are trying to gain access to Gospel’s network. Finding the key and gaining the tools to clear the ice blocks was entirely too convoluted. Even with a guide it takes a lot of time and effort to do all of the back tracking and the fetch quests that it takes to progress the story. All the while getting vague hints about where to go and what to do. If the segment were condensed to fewer steps it would have been a more forgivable moment. The villain’s aims seem fitting for the setting but by the end feels hyperbolic. The character gives a sad backstory about how they grew up alone and this is their way of getting back at the world as his motivation. Then they give a vague indication that someone was pulling the strings in the background which kind of justifies the character’s actions? Having a plot twist concerning the main villains motives serves as a cliffhanger with another sequel obviously in the works. The issue for me is that it undercuts the current villain’s motives and gives a sense of incompletion to the narrative.
The dungeon and net design has seen phenomenal levels of improvement in this entry. The pathing makes more sense. They keep the labyrinthian idea of exploration while making places memorable to explore. Gone are the days of running around hoping to find things. Accessing parts of the net via a friend’s computer works even better this time. Places have more visual identity and we don’t have ridiculous ice puzzles either (despite having an ice themed boss battle). There is an early game sequence where you go camping with your friends and net terrorists (Gospel) were trying to blow up the damn that didn’t feel great. It wasn’t the worst since they had taught you the mechanic for the area (interacting with things you can’t see on the screen) leading up to that moment. I feel like they could have done better to implement finding the dungeon access points (bomb detonators). It wasn’t as damning of an experience as invisible walkways in the previous game but it didn’t leave me with a good impression of the area. The castle dungeon didn’t feel particularly great either as there were a lot of things to avoid and they weren’t always able to be avoided. The vampires don’t have as defined of a pattern as the thieves or the zombies and I often found myself being cornered by them. It might have softened the blow some had they done less damage but 100 damage is a lot even if you have all of the HP Memory that you can by then. The saving grace is that the pathing is more linear so it gives you a chance to memorize the path, jack out, and then run through with a plan to avoid the enemies. The boss navis in this game I feel are well balanced in this game. I have personal grievances against Quickman but I also recognize that I may not have adjusted my chips and play style to meet that challenge. I found the final boss to be appropriately challenging. I do wish he had a better time window of vulnerability or more health and being completely vulnerable.
The gameplay improvements are both natural, and well implemented. They changed the add system which I was apprehensive about at first but was satisfied with once I understood how the system worked. The replacement of armor with armor based on play style was a great change as well. I played most of the game with WoodGuts armor and dealing 10 damage with the mega buster was awesome. I do wish you could unlock more armor sets faster. The viruses in this game are more fair I would say. Less enemies with vertical elements that make them harder to bust while their attacks do a lot of damage. I found myself in situations where I was forced to take damage a lot less in this one and with MegaMan not healing after every battle like before that was a big positive for me. They introduce a new mechanic in this one where you can select a chip (based on how much regular memory it took and how much your capacity was) and that chip would always be in your starting hand. It made using advanced chips like Lifesword or Zeta cannon more accessible especially with them limiting you to 5 copies of a chip instead of 10. The other thing that I liked was how accessible the power ups were in this game. They were easier to find and you could obtain most (if not all) by the last couple of chapters in the story. I went into the final battles only missing 150 health and two buster upgrades. I don’t know how many regular memory ups I missed but I had a satisfactory amount for what I used it for.
The music was mostly fine in this one. I felt like I heard a lot more repetition in this one. Lots of short looped tracks that were clearly meant for areas that you are in and out of quickly. None of the tracks really stood out to me this time. Often times the tracks fit the locale or the tension of the moment. The music maintains its chippy style from the first game and it still fits the game as it is.
Overall this game is a vast improvement over the original entry and has left me feeling more positive about the series. I look forward to seeing what other improvements are made to the series as I tackle each entry.