Is Mega Man 11 worth it? Mega Man 11 is a game full of charm and challenges. While I may not be the biggest fan of the series, I definitely have my share of experiences with action shooter-platformers. For younger audiences and newer fans, its premise is not dissimilar to that of Cuphead or even Mighty No. 9. To the older ones, there’s not much to say. It’s more Mega Man, but with some cool new features! Upon finishing it, I can confidently say that it does not feel as cheap as Mighty No. 9, nor as boring. It’s quite the opposite! Let’s take a deeper look into what makes Mega Man 11 a mega fun game (wheeze). I’ll be starting with the best features of the game and move my way to the weaker ones, as there are not many aspects to delve deep into.
The nimble blue bomber is as polished as ever in this 11th mainline entry to the series. Controls feel very responsive. In terms of movement, you can run, jump, slide and even exploit some later weapons to dash. You also get a dog. That’s right, a robot dog named Rush that can give your jump a boost and fly you long distances. Levels design and enemy placement are done extremely well, with the exception of the Bounce Man’s level. This formula caters to various types of audiences. Whether you’re a speedrunner, a careful player or even a casual, you can thoroughly enjoy progressing through levels, in classic Mega Man fashion.
These, however, are returning features for the tenth mainline sequel to the Mega Man franchise. I myself, only having played Mega Man II, did not know that Rush was introduced in Mega Man III. Capcom applied the “don’t fix what ain’t broken” concept, which is great considering that mainline Mega Man has already established a great formula. Thankfully, they did add some cool new features for this eight-year awaited sequel.
While Mega Man has spawned several spin-off franchises with improved pixel graphics like Mega Man ZX and even properly done 3D models like in Mega Man Legends, the original franchise has mainly stuck to its traditional 2D pixel art. Some people don’t mind it, but I honestly felt like it hasn’t aged well.
When Mega Man introduced 3D graphics in Mega Man Powered Up, I can’t say much aside from “it hurts my eyes”. Mega Man 11, however, perfectly blends the aesthetic of the traditional games with modern 3D graphics. That, complimented with a smooth 60-fps gameplay, really let me enjoy the game without much excuse. I do prefer the pixel art from the original Mega Man X games, which they got rid of for the interest of more disgusting 3D models, but Mega Man 11‘s art and animations are quite good, let alone anything to complain about. I particularly enjoy watching the aura surrounding your projectiles. It’s just… pretty cool that I thought it’d be worth mentioning.
A major difference between Cuphead and Mega Man is the shooting aspect. While most modern shooter-platformers allow players to aim in eight directions (Cuphead, Metroid), Mega Man 11 still (by default) focuses on horizontal bullet trajectory. It is certainly disadvantageous, especially when there’s an enemy closing in on you from weird angles, but this only makes it even more rewarding when you manage to pull off some tricky evasion. It can get a little frustrating at first, but the learning curve is just right to that point you don’t really feel like giving up. Mistakes and deaths you encounter in the game are often an easy learn to overcome, which really keeps the game going at an enjoyable pace.
Double the Gears, Double the Fun
The highlighted mechanic in this new entry is the “Double-Gear System”, which is also one of the focuses of the story. This newly added mechanic has two functions;
- The Speed Gear
-Allows players to slow down time, making it easier to avoid enemy fire and attacks.
- The Power Gear
-Increases damage output. All weapons experience a massive upgrade in terms of damage and coverage.
You can use the speed gear to your advantage when caught in tight situations, but I don’t really feel that it was a necessity to use it to complete the game. The game does have its way of encouraging you to use, however, as you will often find your screen similar to that of a bullet-hell. The power gear is great for taking out enemies quickly, with certain weapons dealing full-screen damage under its influence. Should you find yourself in a pinch, you can activate both of them at the same time, allowing to abuse both features at once. The tool is balanced, not allowing Mega Man to go full OP by limiting the maximum duration of its usage. Utilizing the insanely powered “Double-Gear” mechanic also puts the said system at rest after a short period, and cannot be canceled to prevent overheating.
Like any classic Mega Man, beating a stage boss unlocks an additional weapon. The weapons you unlock give off different elemental properties, as well as projectile trajectory. This makes weapon-switching an ideal method of handling trickily-positioned enemies. Certain weapons also give you movement buffs. The trick, however, is quickly shifting through your arsenal of nine weapons. You move from one weapon to another by tapping L2 or R2, which makes it a slight hassle to reach the weapons in the middle of the list. You can pause the menu to equip your desired weapon, but it may feel a bit off-throwing, momentum-wise. Managing your ammunition for each weapon is also something you need to keep in mind.
It feels a lot like Devil May Cry in a sense. You can get by with just your basic weapons, but by exploiting all your weapons and resources efficiently, you get a smooth and stylish run. Specific bosses have specific weaknesses, and it’s always gratifying when you discover and exploit them.
Mega Man games are the denotations of “challenging”. Though I may be a casual scrub enjoying myself and dying repeatedly throughout the game, I think this game would be challenging for just about anybody at their first playthrough. The game offers four difficulties. I played on “Casual” and “Superhero”, which are the third and highest difficulties in the game. In terms of enemy layout both of them felt extremely similar, if not exactly the same. The added difficulty comes from increased damage from enemies as well a reduced damage dealt. This goes on to show that even on a lower difficulty, you’re getting the hard treatment.
To combat potential scrub reviews from scrub players (such as myself), the game offers “Dr. Light’s Lab”. In this between-level marketplace, players can purchase upgrades or perishable items to assist them throughout the game. Here you can purchase stuff like “Energy” which are potion equivalents, Ammunition Refills, weapon upgrades and much more. The game is completely beatable without them though, as I managed to reach the final stage without upgrading my character. To purchase these items, you need “Screws” which you can pick up by defeating enemies. Up until the final stage, I managed to collect around 7,000 in Screw currency, allowing me to upgrade a lot of useful features. There’s even an item that reduces your maximum health to buff your Double-Gear System. So if you’re a hardcore player, this is what you’re aiming for.
For everything Mega Man does well, it does have its low points. Thankfully, the only thing that really caught my negative attention was the story. It’s typical Mega Man. Wily argues with Light, Wily obtains evil robot, Mega Man beats the crap outta everyone, Wily gives his ‘you haven’t seen the last of me’ quote. It’s typical, weak, and un-engaging. I personally did not skip through it my first playthrough just to get this review done. If you are, however, are interested in the backstory of Mega Man 11, you get the option to watch it with English or Japanese dub. This is a nifty addition, as different people prefer different voices.
The game presents itself in a way that it focuses on gameplay, which is great because it has a great combat system to play. However, everything about the Double-Gear’s lore is, convoluted. If I were to write about it, it’d be spoiler content, so I’ll save it for another time, another article. Bottom line is, the story glorifies, in my opinion, a wrong human trait.
Everything in the game is complimented with good music, with an occasional sick track here and there. I never felt overwhelmed or extremely annoyed with all the sound going through my eardrums. The voice-acting in gameplay segments was quite alright. The characters’ grunting never unnerved me at any point. The cry Mega Man makes when he dies is also not terrible, which is great if you’re a casual like me and die a lot.
Mega Man 11 is great. It’s a fantastic, short game full of charm that will give you a sense of accomplishment upon beating it. Though it just barely reaches the three-hour mark for a complete playthrough, there is some replayability factor not only in its additional modes, but also in the player’s desire to master the game. Discovering boss weaknesses, experimenting the quickest traversals and just bombing away on your enemies is such an elating feeling. Don’t let its cheap price and overly cartoony graphics fool you, as you can easily play the game and make it worth more than you paid for. Is Mega Man 11 worth it ? It’s a definite yes from me. For more reviews, check out Best In Slot.