The long awaited sequel in the mainline Mega Man series, Mega Man 11, has finally touched down on Nintendo Switch. It’s time to find out how the blue bomber fares in 2018.
Mega Man 11 is an action platformer with all the mechanics you know and love from Mega Man games from the past. Mega Man can run, jump, slide, shoot, and utilize the robotic dog, Rush, to reach high up places. Mega Man also has the ability to absorb the powers of Robot Masters he defeats in the game.
When Mega Man 11 is first booted up, you’ll be greeted by a scene showing Mega Man creator Dr. Light and long time nemesis Dr. Wily in their younger days. Dr. Wily, who secretly engineered the Double Gear system, was asked to cease development of the project due to the danger it poses. The Double Gear system pushes robots beyond their limitations in exchange for dramatically increased abilities. Turns out Dr. Wily had remembered a painful memory from the past.
And so that’s how the story begins – Dr. Wily confronts Dr. Light and steals the Robot Masters and powers them up with the Double Gear System to conquer the world. To stop Dr. Wily, Dr. Light installs a prototype of the Double Gear System in Mega Man.
After the cutscene, instead of a hand-holding tutorial that are commonplace in many games today, all of the game’s controls were put out on a list, so I tested it out on my own in an empty room with enemies spawning regularly. The same applies to the brand new Double Gear System, which allows Mega Man to slow down time with the Speed Gear, charge the Mega Buster with the Power Gear, or do both at the same time with the Double Gear. You can use all three gears as long as you like until the meter runs out.
On paper, the Double Gear System sounds like a very useful mechanic that makes the life of players easier. I’ve tried using all three Gears at different times, from normal stages to fighting bosses, and felt they were more of a hindrance than help. So I did not employ the Double Gear system very often during my playthrough.
Before moving on, I’d like to talk a little about the different modes the game offers – Newcomer, Advanced, Original Spec., and Expert. As a newcomer to Mega Man, I decided to go along with Newcomer, and it’s something I highly recommend to anyone who’s new to Mega Man. Unlike the other three modes, Newcomer provides a lot of help to beginners who might struggle with Mega Man. You get infinite lives, many checkpoints, and Beat (the bird robot) saving you whenever you drop into the abyss.
Despite the generous amount of assistance provided in Newcomer mode, I encountered lots of difficulties, and even felt frustrated, while playing the Block Man stage. Yes, that’s the very first stage of Mega Man 11, and the one that’s available in the free demo. Surprisingly, things became easier in later stages, which I attribute to the abilities Mega Man absorbs from every Robot Master he defeats.
So what exactly makes Mega Man 11, an action platformer, so difficult? At certain times, it was the cleverly placed enemies, the great level design, and the most frustrating of all, stage obstacles that crush you from the left side of the screen if you don’t get out on time. I’ve died numerous times thanks to that!
On the topic of frustration, I’d like to touch a bit on Mega Man 11’s controls. Most of the time, controls are precise – when you press jump, Mega Man jumps. But at certain times, it does not work very well, especially in tricky stages when you’re trying to jump on balloons or attempting to slide into a tunnel.
Similar to past Mega Man games, there aren’t many stages in Mega Man 11, but they’re still really long stages. In the first part of the game, you have to complete 8 different stages, which can be completed at any order. Each stage has its own theme, obstacles, and are usually styled after their respective Robot Masters. You can expect to fight two mini bosses in every stage, and the Robot Master at the end. The second part of the game includes four stages, all of which are part of Wily Castle, just like the old games.
Assuming you do not die at all, it takes around 10 to 20 minutes to complete each stage, or around 2 hours to complete the entirety of Mega Man 11. Depending on the difficulty level, it may take a significantly longer time to clear the game, as we did not factor in the number of times you have to restart.
Stages are littered very many types of enemies – it’s hard to learn how to tackle them at first glance, since the game simply throws them in your face. You’ll find a lot of classic enemies making a return to Mega Man 11, and some new faces. Some of them are pretty annoying, such as the yellow flying robot thingy with one eye that stalks Mega Man.
The Robot Masters all have varying levels of difficulty. It took me several tries to defeat Block Man, but other bosses such as Fuse Man and Bounce Man were a piece of cake. Using the abilities acquired from previously defeated Robot Masters also help in future Robot Master battles, as each Robot Master has their own weaknesses. The Robot Master battles are very engaging and one of the best parts of the game.
The Robot Masters’ special weapons and abilities Mega Man can use are pretty useful, not just in boss battles but in regular stages. Some enemies become easier to defeat with different types of special weapons.
Now time to talk about the graphics and performance of Mega Man 11. The 2.5D art style looks good for a modern Mega Man game, and so are the different environments used in every stage. Works really well with the animations. I would love to see them using this art style again for a future Mega Man game, but with further polish. There’s something slightly off about it, which I couldn’t really pinpoint, but it’s not a big deal.
Mega Man 11 looks and feels the same in both Handheld Mode and TV Mode. It runs very smoothly. Things can get choppy at times such as numerous particle effects or too many enemies on the screen, but those are rare.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing to shout about Mega Man 11’s music and soundtrack, but one thing I do want to mention is the voice acting in the game. As I played the Japanese version, the Japanese voices was really good, on the same level as what you get from anime. I can also confirm that players will be able to play with Japanese voices even in the English version of the game.
Honestly, I’ve had a very difficult and frustrating time playing Mega Man 11, with the high number of deaths and all even in Newcomer mode. It feels like it has the difficulty of older NES games with a new modern look – not a bad thing given that many video games are becoming easier and easier.
I still had some fun with many of the unique boss battles and mastering the abilities Mega Man can acquire. The final boss battle wasn’t very tough though.
For a game of this length at USD29.99, Mega Man fans and veterans should definitely pick this up. I wouldn’t recommend it to gamers who are not very good with action platformers.
- Boss battles are unique and engaging
- Great stage layout, lots of enemies
- Newcomer Mode for beginners
- Robot Master abilities
- Very good price
- Very difficult, even at Newcomer Mode
- Controls don’t work really well at times
- It can become very frustrating to play
Soup Verdict: You need an acquired taste to appreciate it
A review copy was provided by the publisher for this review.