It’s been a long wait for fans of the Blue Bomber. Aside from a few compilations and appearances in fighting games, Capcom has spent the better part of a decade all but denying his very existence. The highly anticipated (but critically panned) Mighty Number 9 seemed to bring Mega Man back into the public’s consciousness and may have been an inadvertent catalyst for Capcom to finally succumb to fan pressure and give us the new Mega Man title we’ve all been patiently waiting for. But can it erase the sour taste left by Mighty Number 9, and can it live up to the sizeable hype?
Graphically, the game immediately feels very different to anything we’ve seen Mega appear in before. The authentic retro 8-bit style sprite work of Mega Man 9 and 10 is gone, replaced by bright and vibrant hand-drawn characters on highly stylised 2.5D backgrounds. While it may be inevitable that this shift in tone will divide fans, the new art style is a breath of fresh air and fits the Mega Man universe perfectly.
Gameplay and presentation feel reassuringly familiar whilst also adding enough modern touches to keep things fresh and exciting. The main addition to the familiar set up is the “Double Gear” system. This lets you either slow down time (giving you an extra bit of leeway in particularly tricky boss fights or platform sections) or gives extra power to your weapons (also adding extra types of attack) until your gear meter runs down. If you’re after entirely new and innovative play mechanics and a fresh take on the platforming genre, you’ve probably come to the wrong place. If, however, you’re after tremendous level design and a new way of enjoying one of the most iconic and playable game series of all time, you’re in for a treat.
The other big change comes in the form of adjustable difficulty. Although the extreme challenge Mega Man games are so notorious for is still there (in abundance!), players now have the option of choosing novice difficulty which ensures that almost anyone will be able to breeze through the game. Traditionalists (and sadists) would be well advised to steer well clear of this setting, but there are plenty of more challenging options to keep even the most die-hard player happy.
Mega Man 11 is a fantastic addition to an already incredible franchise. If you’ve never played a Mega Man game or even if you’ve single credit speedrun every single one of them, we highly recommend this title.
MEGA MAN 11 / DEVELOPER: CAPCOM / PUBLISHER: CAPCOM / PLATFORM: NINTENDO SWITCH, PC, PLAYSTATION 4, XBOX ONE (REVIEWED) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW