I had a strange relationship with the Mega Man games. When I was younger, this game series was something I had always admired for the game design, soundtrack, and colorful bosses, but never really enjoyed, due to the relentless difficulty that came with the stages. As I got older, I gradually began to master the mechanics and trial-and-error concepts of figuring things out of each Mega Man game. Mega Man holds a special place in my childhood because it was as fun as it was punishing.
It seems appropriate to mention that last year, Mega Man had its 30th anniversary. The first game came out in 1987, which is a year before I was born. This makes sense why it would be a big part of my childhood as that was the early age of video games when they were just picking up in popularity at the time.
I could offer more material to do a follow-up article to this explaining the rigid history of the Mega Man franchise, but just know that this is the first official Mega Man game in 2010. That’s an 8 year gap since the last Mega Man game, and it is a welcomed entry to all the global Mega fans everywhere.
Starting Mega Man 11 was interesting. It listed a couple of choices when it came to difficulty. Out of all the choices, I chose normal because I was an experienced player, but was nowhere near as good as the usual speed runners of the YouTube and Twitch domains. It also had other difficulties, such as newcomer for beginners and Superhero for advanced players that laughed at challenges. I was content with my mid ranged difficulty and settled with that.
Mega Man 11 brings new life to a genre that is experiencing a second life in the era of 4K graphics and innovation. It takes the familiar formula of action platformer, but throws in a couple of new ideas to keep things fresh for veteran players, as well as easing new players into the Mega Man universe with the story.
Similar to Mega Man games of the past, it’s the player’s job to take down the eight different robot masters. After that task has been accomplished, it’s off to the final showdown with the man that started it all, Dr. Wily.
Mega Man 11 is a game that is a crisp and articulate adventure, but yet still retains that nostalgic value of the past. The core game play of platforming and fighting robot bosses has remained the same, but this time, as mentioned earlier, there are a few welcomed additions to the game.
One added feature of Mega Man 11 that switches up the formula is the addition of passive power ups. When you start the first stage of whatever robot master you choose to take down, you have the core abilities of charging up your blaster, jumping, and sliding. The blaster charge is a signature power that originated from earlier entries of the Mega Man games, and would later be dominant in the X series as well.
In addition to the blaster charge, you are granted 2 new abilities to make your life easier. This is called double gear. The first ability is slowing down time. This is based on a meter, but if used effectively, can make the difference between dodging enemies, narrowly escaping questionable gaps, and dodging other dangers on your path to gain the powers of a robot master. It is balanced out by the meter and is extremely handy when making critical manoeuvres against a robot master.
The second ability that Mega Man will use is the damage boost. The base power of Mega Man is significant enough to deal overwhelming damage to most enemies. The damage boost ability, which is also metered like the slowing down time ability, allows you to map out a different strategy against enemies with added firepower. It is satisfying to unleash havoc upon your enemies, especially when you are farming for power ups in an area or are needing more health before facing a boss. Both of these abilities are balanced out by reducing your effectiveness of your blaster for a short period of time after depleting your double gear meter.
Another nice feature of Mega Man 11 is the use of the store. Dr. Light, who is your creator, welcomes you his lab, showing off all his basic research and upgrades he has available to you. Of course, this is tied to a currency system of bolts, but thankfully they are plentiful after downing a few enemies and players aren’t force fed micro transactions to get ahead in the main story.
Accompanying Dr. Light is Roll, your sister and Dr. Light’s helper. She will tell you about the power ups, which range from saving yourself from missing a gap with help from Beat, a bird that swoops in at the last second to pick you up. Or if you’re wanting to store up energy and life, you can purchase additional sub tanks(an item that can store extra energy from downed enemies while your health is full), more lives to try out on a stage, or an auto recharge feature for your blaster. Additionally, Rush, your pet robot dog, is an ability you can use for an extra jump boost. I did like the variety of power ups the shop offered and welcomed the fact I wasn’t forced to get them right away. I went at my own pace and when I had enough, I would buy power ups to give a failed stage another try.
Another great feature of Mega Man 11 is the soundtrack. It brings the familiarity of the chip tune nostalgia we all enjoyed of the earlier games. Though I fell to my doom many times in each robot master stage to gain their powers, I did enjoy the soundtrack that accompanied each area. I’m sure with time they’ll be as iconic as their previous Mega Man game entries.
The next addition made to Mega Man 11 are the online leader board and challenges. The challenges consist of 4 scenario based challenges, each fine tuned to specific skills. For example, one of them has the primary goal of just touching blue balloons. If you touch red balloons, you are given a penalty to your score. Other modes include score attack, focusing on destroying as many enemies as possible, or time attack, where it has you race through a stage in the fastest amount of time possible.
With the many things that Mega Man 11 did right, there were some minor drawbacks. The first drawback of this game is the relentless nature of the game. It can be said that Mega Man has always been a game of skill, as you have to time certain jumps and patterns to pass obstacles. On the other side, someone brand new to the series can always go to the lowest difficulty and enjoy it for what it is.
The last drawback of the game is more interactivity with the support characters. Mega Man has evolved so much over the years that he has a supporting cast of friends to bail him out against with his battles against Dr. Wily. I think it’d be interesting in the future if the creators involved Roll as a tactical tech assistant, pinpointing locations of power ups. Or utilizing Rush as a jet board more like in previous games. The possibilities are endless for where the creators could go with the Mega Man universe, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
I can reasonably say Mega Man 11 was a solid addition to the franchise. The company made the choice to go back to the platforming roots, but adding small snippets of refreshing additions to invite experienced players coming back for me. This combination of features puts Mega Man 11 up with other fan favorites such as the X series or Zero series in the handheld realm. As of this review, it is 29.99 USD. Fans of previous entries will enjoy this latest game. Newcomers of the series can also find enjoyment in it with its adjustable difficulty. For the price and content you get with this game, I’d strongly recommend Mega Man 11 to fans of action platformers, fans of the series, or anyone wanting something nostalgic of the 80s, but updated with the crisp visuals of today’s technology. If you don’t want to get it right away, you can wait for a holiday sale (Black Friday, Christmas, Spring and Summer sales) to add it to your collection.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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