This is me expanding on a podcast comment, so if you’ve already listened, this might be old news.
Recently I started playing the DS release of Mega Man Battle Network 5, which was thoughtful enough to contain both of the Game Boy Advance games released as Battle Network 5 (they started splitting them with 3). As I mentioned on the podcast, Battle Network 5 is pretty good. The Double Soul system returns from 4, and the Navi Customizer returns from the previous two games. Liberation Missions are kind of a drag, but it does kind of break up the Internet -> Dungeon -> Boss -> Repeat cycle of 2 and 3. (4 did something else, but 4 is not a good game.) The DS release also made a few changes to the game, and they aren’t all for the better.
“Battle Routine Set!”
For starters, they added voice acting. The Mega Man series has a bit of a history with the subject, and it’s not much better here. My #1 Objection is the “Jack-in! MegaMan! Execute!” every time you jack into something. It’s not just because it;’s a bit annoying, but because you have to wait for the line to finish, it’s slower than it used to be in the GBA version. It’s an action you do frequently, so this feels like it adds up. Also annoying is MegaMan’s tendency to shout when using chips in battle, especially if you are somewhat good at getting counterattacks in. One place that I actually mind less is the voice acting added to the standard boss battle intro. This is something that happens at climactic moments and not “every time I want to go to the internet” or “Every time I hit the L button by mistake”.
Party Battle System
It’s not all bad. Battle Network 5 is primarily about assembling a team, and Double Team allows you to actually switch between members of the team while on most of the internet. (It doesn’t work in Liberation Missions or in dungeons.) If you’re in Full Sync when you switch, you also get a special attack to go along with it (but this means you don’t get the double damage that Full Sync would normally give you). In addition, during Liberation missions, you have a limited ability to swap a character out for the one filling the same role in the other version of the game. For example: Team Colonel uses KnightMan for defense, so you can switch him with MagnetMan, the defensive option in Team Protoman.
Balance is a Fool’s Master
Battle Network 5 wasn’t exactly the most balanced game to start with, and this feels like it’s even farther out of line. The chip pictured above is new to the DS version, is accessible before you even have half of your team, and instantly ends random battles for a decent portion of the game. The Party Battle System features a Support program, that when installed will make party members show up in battle for specific effects. Instead of dropping the standard 40 damage “Cannon” chip expected near the start of the game, the familiar enemies drop the auto-targeting, 70 damage MarkCannon instead. If you’re playing Team Colonel, this will even be in S code, so you can use it with the Sword and WideSword chips you start with. (LongSword is available in the second dungeon, so you can have the 400 damage LifeSword PA extremely early.) I’m hoping for Battle Network 6 to show up at my doorstep at some point in the near future, but until it does, I’m finding this version of 5 pretty enjoyable.
Screenshot and video taken from the Let’s Play Archive.