First Impressions: Say hello to my Mega friend
To begin, it should be noted that I'm not the biggest RPG fan. That being said, I am a pretty loyal Nintendo franchise fan, so just the fact that Mega Man is the star of this game brings it up a couple points for me. And, while I don't enjoy most RPG's myself, I can recognize when a game is a good game, regardless of genre. I'm aware that the Mega Man Battle Network has become a fairly popular series, despite the change in style and gameplay from the original 8-bit Mega Man series.
Mega Man Battle Network 4 reunites Mega Man with his real-world counterpart Lan, and adopts a classic anime look for the characters. The look, while a bit unrecognizable as Mega Man, is nonetheless very hip. The enemies are very familiar, and the graphics of the environments are, well, stunning. The furniture in the various rooms of the houses and the storefronts look better than what you would think the GBA is capable of.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't at some point mention that the game is actually two games. That's right; taking a cue from the Pokemon series, Capcom is releasing two different Mega Man Battle Network 4 games, designated Blue Moon and Red Sun. The neat thing is that each version has its own characters, enemies and attainable powers (souls).
In each version of Battle Network 4 our heroes Lan and Mega Man travel through their respective worlds and interact with the population in a typical RPG format. There are six souls in each game, and your acquired souls are available in both versions. So, if you beat Red Sun, you can then take those six souls into Blue Moon, and vice versa.
The similarities to Pokemon don't stop at the Red and Blue version of the game; Battle Network 4 introduces a "Dark Soul" and "Dark Chip" idea that acts in much the same way as an unruly Pokemon (or Shadow Pokemon in the upcoming Colosseum game) would act. During battle, Mega Man will have the option during times of stress to use a Dark Chip that possesses strengths higher than those of Mega Man's regular powers. While powerful, these Dark Chips can have a negative impact on Mega Man, and his ability to perform vital "Soul Unisons" can be affected. Also, the more Dark Chips you use, the more towards the dark side of the Force you get, until you are no longer a good Jedi but rather a demented and evil Sith. Oops, wrong game!