Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rockman.EXE 4.5: Real Operation - Review


Rockman.EXE 4.5: Real Operation was a Megaman Battle Network (or Rockman.EXE) game that was released in between Battle Network 4 and 5 to serve as a kind of spin off. Following in the footsteps of the Chip Challenge game released in between Battle Network 3 and 4, Real Operation shifted the focus from the main story and battle set up, to the focus of what it might be like to have a real Navi. In this game YOU are the Operator of your Navi, you download battle chips to them, and you decide what you do and when you do it. The game is completely open for you, the player, to play however you want and it runs completely on real time.

Starting the game and getting your Navi:

When you first start up the game you will be asked to fill out a few simple questions. First the game will ask for the date and time, followed by your name, if you are male or female, your age, and then finally what you are. The game has a wide verity of options to pick from when you first start, and this will effect how your Navi views you and how they will treat you. You can be anything from a grade school student, to a college student, to a house wife, to even a bum who has no job and stays home all day (yeah, I'm not kidding, that's an option). Once all of that is said and done, the game will then ask you to verify your information, and you will then be sent to the Navi Select screen.

Now when you first start the game your Navi select screen will only allow you to select from Rockman (Megaman), Roll, Gutsman, and Numberman, but as you play the game, win tournaments, and buy real life Navi Chips, more become unlocked. If you play the game enough/get everything done, in the end you will be able to play as, Rockman (Megaman), Roll, Gutsman, Numberman, Fireman, Woodman, Windman, Searchman, Aquaman, Thunderman, Metalman, Junkman, Blues (Protoman), Starman, Napalmman, Iceman, Electman, Plantman, Knightman, Shadowman, and Forte (Bass). Each and every Navi has their own personality and abilities, and they all also have some different mini games to play as well. Once you select your character you will then be sent to the home screen and be ready to start the game.

All about Navis:

Although Rockman.EXE 4.5 is in fact a game that was created for fans of the series, fans aren't always the ones who get into these games and that can lead to a lot of unanswered questions. So, just what are Navis? Well in the Rockman.EXE/Megaman Battle Network world EVERYONE carries a hand held computer called a Personal Terminal (or PET for short) which has a built in AI known as a Net Navi. Net Navis are living virtual creatures that have become a very important aspect of everyone's life, and they can be used for many different things. While Personal Navis are normally customized with a set personality and features that go along well with the owner, there are also standard Navis which are simply created to get a job done. From managing TV show programs, to working street lights, to just keeping general networks running, these Navis are made specially for work, and they are normally generic.


In the Megaman world, Custom/Personal Navis are in fact expensive Navis, and because of this fact not everyone has one. Most Navis in the world, like the "Work Navis" are in fact generic, normally green, Navis which have very limited combat abilities, and once again, are normally only used for general use, while Custom Navis fill a wide verity of roles. Besides having their own unique looks/personalities, Custom Navis are also normally skilled in combat, and they excel more so in whatever area they were created for. So in short, Custom Navis are in fact the most interesting/strongest types of Navis out there, and THAT is what 4.5 Real Operation focuses on.

The Cyber World:

In the Battle Network world everything electronic is connected to what is known as the Cyber World. The Cyber World, in short, is a virtual world that is made from the internet. Just like in real life, everything is connected to this world, and Net Navis are just one of the many ways to navigate it. While web browsers and computers can be used to access websites, Navis actually allow you to see the true form of the internet, and this has become the main way of accessing it. Home computers and servers are connected to the network by warps, data roads allow you to travel from network to network, and virtual AI programs can be seen going about their daily "lives" as they do the job they were programed for.
Data is physical items you can pick up, other Net Navis can be seen traveling the very same roads, and message boards are in fact message BOARDS. Everything about the Cyber World is just like the internet in real life, but in a virtual form. It is, a world.

Although not every electroic device in the world is connected to the internet, everything DOES have a Cyber World. Car's computers have a Cyber World that help control the car, radios have a Cyber World that make the radio work, and so on. Basically the Cyber World is in everything electroic, and if anything were to go wrong in it, it could cause chaos for the real world.

The Home Screen:

When you first arrive at the home screen there are a few things you're going to notice. First of all if you are a long time Megaman/Rockman fan you should notice the background music right away. Each character actually has a remixed version of their classic character's theme song, and they all sound great! It is really nice fan service for the long time fans of the series, but even if you've not a longtime fan, you're sure to notice how great these songs sound.

The second thing you will notice about the home screen is the fact that there are a lot of options to pick from, and they are all important. By pressing right on the home screen you can actually access a real planner which will allow you to remind yourself of important events. You can set when birthdays are, holidays, or even in game events, it is completely up to you how you want to use this feature, but it also might be something you won't be using a lot. Since most cell phones now days have built in "planners," not many people will actually be digging out their copy of Rockman.EXE 4.5 to see what they have planned for the week (especially since it's a GBA title).

As for the other options, they are important to the game.

Tournament -

The first option is the "Tournament" option which allows you to enter Tournaments. If a tournament is scheduled for the day you are playing, you will be sent right to the battle stadium to fight.

Plug-In -

The "Plug-In" option is simply what you use to "Plug-In" (or Jack-In for the Western releases). Once you Plug-In your navi will be sent to your @HP (or @ Home Page) where you can access the rest of the net.

Equipment -

Under Equipment a lot of important settings can be customized, and it may end up becoming one of the most used options in the game. Once you select Equipment you can then either customize your Navi's Abilities or your Chip Folder. Like in past Battle Network games, there are 100s of battle chips to collect in game, and each and every single chip is a different special attack. These attacks range from cannons, swords, lightning strikes, bombs, chips that steal area on the battle field, recover chips, barriers, and even chips that summon other characters to appear on the field to attack for you. Battle Chips are your main source of attacking, but you are only limited to having 30 battle chips per chip folder (or deck), you can only have so many of the same type, and you can only have so many mega and giga chips in the folder as well (which are simply stronger rare chips). For the most part, you'll end up creating a main folder which you will then constantly edit as you gain more battle chips along the way.

As for the abilities, each navi has a few custom attacks which can be set to the L and R buttons, and here is where you can freely switch them out. Basically, in the end you'll find two special attacks you'll like, and you'll stick with them for the rest of the game.

Data Library -

Just like the Library in all of the other Battle Network games, the Data Library allows you to see a list of all of your collected battle chips, and nothing more. It's just a fast and easy way to see which chips you own/have owned, and which chips you still need to find.

E-Mail -
It's not real E-Mail but it works a lot like it. Every once in awhile you'll get E-Mail from characters you met in game which simply tell you what's going on in the world, and other times you'll get news updates about special events such as tournaments. Basically if something happens in the game, you will receive an E-Mail to let you know. The only down side is that E-Mails DO in fact have a limit, so you will have to delete them to make room, so you may actually want to use that day planner feature so you don't forget some important information learned here.

Communication -

Another feature that has been around since Battle Network 1. The "COM" feature allows you to connect two GBAs together so you can battle your friends and trade battle chips. You can also compare how your navis feel about you and your friend, but this feature is mostly just to show off and brag to your friends.

Save -

The save feature allows you to back up your Navi just encase something were to ever happen to him or her. In other words, this option allows you to save your game so you can load it up later and pick up where you left off... Nothing more.

PLUG IN ROCKMAN! TRANSMISSION!:

After you log into the Network the game truly begins. The net is a large place filled with other net Navis and viruses, and you just never know what to expect. When you first log in you will actually find yourself at your Home Page which will then allow you to access the main internet. At the home page you can customize settings you set when you first started the game, and it also acts as a safe haven.

While on the net, the game plays just like you would expect from a Battle Network game. The camera is at a top isometric view, you can control your character with the D-Pad, holding B allows you to run faster, and you can talk to other characters/interact with the world around you by pressing A. It's a very simple game to control, and almost anyone can pick it up.

Depending on who you decide to have as your Navi, and depending on when you play, a few different things can actually happen while you're on the net. Each Navi has their own unique way of gaining HP power ups, and each of these ways are actually built into the net. For example, if you decided to use Roll as your Navi you will be able to find pink hearts scattered across different maps. Each heart will give Roll an extra 20 HP to her max HP count, and finding them is the only way to increase it; however if you decide to play as Forte (Bass), things are a little bit different. In Forte's case special normal Navis will show up in different locations and it's up to Forte to delete/kill them due to his violent nature. Other Navis do in fact actually play out with mini games, or math in Numberman's case, but these mini games can be quite challenging and can get pretty old fast. Either way the mini games CANNOT be avoided, since you will be required to play other character's mini games to move on.

Besides the mini games that can be played, the true main part of the net is based around exploration and net battling. As you explore the world you will be pulled into random encounters, like in the other games, where you will be forced to fight against viruses. By fighting and defeating these viruses you will either gain Zenny to spend at the shop, or if you defeat them fast enough you can earn their battle chip. Some viruses are stronger than others, but they all have their own rewards to give you, so you may just find yourself fighting them over and over again just so you can master fighting them and get their rare chips.

Like past Battle Network games, 4.5 still does play in real time, but unlike most of the other games, you CANNOT actually control your Navi while in battle. Just like a real net Navi would, your net Navi will control themselves in battle, and dodge attacks, however your Navi will still be completely lost unless you are there to guide it. At any time you can command your Navi how far/close you them to stay from enemies, and you can also freely command them to use their buster/other special attacks which have been set to the L and R buttons; however the real combat comes from using battle chips.

At the top of the screen you will see a bar which will slowly fill up over time, the very same bar that was used to download chips to your Navi in the past; however this time it is actually USED to attack. At the bottom of the screen three battle chips will randomly appear and by clicking on them you can command your Navi to use them; however each chip uses so much of the custom bar to use, so you simply can't use them at will. Standard chips take up less of the bar and can be used quite often, while mega and giga chips take up almost the entire bar so they take awhile to use. It is completely up to you to decide which chips you should use, what chips you should save, and which ones you should simply swap out for others. Although you really don't have direct control over your Navi, the whole chip set up really does have quite a bit of depth, and it truly does make it feel like you're operating a real Navi; however this isn't the key combat feature that really makes this game shine.

Many of you may remember seeing the Megaman NT Warrior toys in the west and the Rockman.EXE toys in Japan, and you may also remember seeing other Megaman anime related toys as well. Most of these toys actually came with "real" battle chips which could then be used for the "real" Advance PET; however that wasn't their only use. Although it was never released in the US, a chip reader add on was developed for the Gameboy Advance which actually allowed you to download these real chips into your games, and Rockman.EXE 4.5 was the main game that used them. Yep that's right! Besides using the in game battle chips to command your Navi, you could actually take out your REAL chips and download the data into your game JUST like a real operator would! If you are willing to spend the extra money on the battle chip gate, and battle chip packs, this is a really great way to play the game, and it really helps you live out your dream of having a real Navi.

As I said before, the Battle Chip Gate was sadly never released in the US, despite the fact that most of the NT Warrior toys had an advertisement for it, and despite the fact that the Megaman Battle Network 4 US versions were set up to use it as well. Still, like the E-Reader cards which added special effects, add ons like this never really caught on outside of Japan and they remain locked features in many of the well known games, that most people will never even know about.

Tournaments also play a major role in 4.5, and they are actually one of the only ways you can progress through the game's "story." Each area has a locked gate which can only be opened by winning tournaments, and unless you unlock these gates you cannot move onto the next area of the game. In short if you want to advance to the next area where even more events, stronger enemies, and power ups await you, you MUST enter these tournaments and win. The only down side is that as soon as you jack out (or log out), these gates will be relocked and you will be required to enter the tournaments once again. These tournaments become a part of your daily routine, and you will find yourself beating them many, MANY, times.

Your Navi wants to get to know you:


("Who do you like?")

Just like any other "virtual pet" out there, your net Navi will actually try to get to know you. Even after your initial settings, your net Navi will always ask you questions about your personal life and how you feel to help get a better understanding of just who you are. Do you have any brothers or sisters? What's their name? What's your best friends name? What is/was your favorite subject in school? What do you struggle in? What are you good at? Your Navi will ask you just about every question under the sun as he/she gets to know you better. Sure you can just give your Navi a fake answer, but it really is better to answer truthfully. The good news is, if you did give a fake/random answer these questions can be changed at your home page, so you really don't have to worry about messing up.

The Real Operation:

Rockman.EXE 4.5: Real Operation is a great game if you're a Megaman Battle Network/Rockman.EXE fan, but it might not mean much to anyone else. The game allows you to live out your dream of having a real Net Navi, and it also allows you to play as some of your favorite characters from the Battle Network series as well! It is a type of "life sim" that lets you live the world you may have always wished you were a part of, and it is a LOT of fun! It is a must have game if you're a Battle Network fan, and I strongly recommend playing it if possible.

Since the GBA is in fact region free, it is an easy game to import, and it is also an easy game to play even if you don't know Japanese. Sure you would be missing out on what your Net Navi is asking you, but the gameplay is very simple, and it takes very little trial and error to figure out what to do. It is a very import friendly game, but it will at least require some effort to understand what is going on (mainly with the battle chips which names are fully in Japanese).

So in the end, Rockman.EXE 4.5: Real Operation is a great game, and a must have for series fans. If you know Japanese or not, the game is worth at least trying out, especially if you can get your hands on the Battle Chip Gate and some Battle Chips as well! Overall due to the character selection, the music, and the gameplay, I give it a 10/10. Still, keep in mind that not everyone will enjoy this style of gameplay, so make sure you know what you're getting into before playing.

No comments :

Post a Comment