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Mega Man 11 Review

Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

Still the Mightiest

I promise that’s the only dig at Mighty No. 9 that I’ll make throughout this review. Mega Man 11 is the latest mainline entry into the Mega Man franchise, eight years after Mega Man 10 and far after anyone’s hopes of ever seeing the Blue Bomber in any other game but a Smash Brothers title. Published and developed by Capcom, Mega Man 11 is sure to bring a smile to the face of any die-hard Mega Man fan while still being accessible to newcomers. There are, once more, eight Robot Masters which can be tackled in any order, jumping, shooting, and tricky platforming puzzles. Everything that fans of the classic series remember is here in force, just with a shiny new 2.5D perspective.

Powered Up

Mega Man 11 does bring a few new things to the table beyond a graphical upgrade. Firstly, there’s more of a story than there has been in prior Mega Man titles. It’s fully voice acted to boot. Veterans are probably equal parts shuddering and laughing, expecting a retread of the old meme of having to hunt down “Doctah Wahwee” (Dr. Wily) from Mega Man 8. Not so, this time around. The voice cast in this iteration is actually tolerable, if not good. Each lends an individual personality to the characters they portray. Mega Man himself has a voice you’d expect from a shounen protagonist, Dr. Wily is maniacal even in his moment-to-moment dialogue, and Dr. Light is grandfatherly and caring.

Dr. vs. Dr.

The story goes that, long ago, Drs. Wily and Light were colleagues competing for grant money back at Robot University. Dr. Light wanted to pursue truly autonomous AI and Dr. Wily wanted to create the aforementioned Double Gear system to improve existing robots’ strength and speed. The board green-lit Light’s project, and Wily stormed off to no doubt cackle maniacally in some corner. Years later, Wily decides the time for the Double Gear system is nigh and kidnaps eight of Dr. Light’s Robot Masters to test it on. Seeing the increased threat, Dr. Light then installs the Double Gear system in Mega Man to run off and fight them to the last.

New Look, Old Characters

Seeing the classic characters in 2.5D is truly a sight to behold. The Metalls, the classic behatted enemies of the series, pop up with a charming bit of surprise before attacking. Storks carrying eggs of ice detachedly fly by, dropping their payload on your head. All the animations are smooth and expressive, lending a Saturday-morning-cartoon feel to the entire game. If you just can’t get enough of the character models, there’s an unlockable gallery with all of the enemies and bosses. Further, the bosses have all their voice lines accessible, so you can listen to their callouts and bad puns whenever you want.

Kicked Into Gear

There are some new mechanics and quality-of-life improvements this time around. Most prominent among these is the aforementioned Double Gear system. Mechanically, the Double Gear system is the first ability you have, aside from the Rush Coil. With a press of one of the bumpers, you can either slow down time with the blue Speed Gear or augment Mega Man’s weapons with the red Power Gear. While these abilities technically never need to be used, they are certainly handy in some of the chase sequences and miniboss fights. Both abilities share the same cooldown, so you can’t toggle gears with impunity. If you let the timer wind down completely, you’ll be in for a long wait before you can use either again.

When you get down to about an eighth of your life, you can activate both gears at once. This is something of a last-gasp technique to finish off a tough room or boss because if you fail to deal the threat before the timer on your gears winds down, you’ll be restricted to having one bullet on the screen at a time instead of the usual three. Your enemies also get to use the Double Gear system. At around the halfway point of every battle, the boss will stop and activate either their own Speed or Power gear. Every boss has this capability, but if you’re quick, you’ll be able to shoot them down before they can activate it.

Loot

The Double Gear system isn’t the only tool at your disposal in solving the platforming puzzles Mega Man 11 presents. Once again, each Robot Master grants you a new weapon when they are defeated. Historically, each of these has always been an upgrade from your standard buster gun in some way, with some varying more than others. This entry is no exception. Each has a different firing arc and use in combat. This entry also brings back something of “half weaknesses.” Typically, the weakness of a given Robot Master deals roughly two to four times as much damage to the opponent as usual. These “half weaknesses” deal a little more damage than usual, but have some kind of mechanic to them that negates an otherwise difficult mechanic the boss presents.

Build-A-Bot

This “half weakness” mechanic is just one of the ways that Mega Man 11 is more accessible to newcomers. Namely, it allows the player to more broadly choose what order they face the bosses in. In previous titles, the “correct” path is usually pretty linear. You beat the ice guy, you might as well fight the fire guy next because you have his weakness now. Now, instead of going from Tundra Man to Torch Man, you can fight the Robot Master that stays above you throughout the fight.

While certainly not the first entry in the series to have it, Mega Man 11 has multiple difficulty options to choose from when you start a new game. These range from the Newcomer option, which is as easy as you anticipate, all the way to Superhero, which is designed for veterans of the series that want a harder challenge. I personally played on Classic mode which takes after the difficulty of the original games. If you’re looking for an even broader challenge, there’s a variety of Challenge modes. Most of these are simply just new ways to play the eight Robot Master levels and the first two Wily Castle levels, either token collection, speed runs, or other sorts of challenges. The standouts, however, are the Dr. Light challenges. These are a series of rooms punctuated by boss fights with minimal health pickups and extra lives. Each of these challenges has a bronze, silver, and gold medal associated with them, along with a leaderboard for each to compete for the number one slot of fastest time.

8

The Verdict: Excellent

Mega Man 11 is a worthy entry into the classic series. Merging old mechanics with new, it’s a great way to bring the Blue Bomber into the modern age and a worthy addition into any fan’s collection.

John Gerritzen
Written by
October 23, 2018
Published in Action

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John Gerritzen is a programmer by education, author by hobby, and game critic by occupation. While he usually favors RPGs, he will play anything that engages him narratively or mechanically. When he's not playing games for fun or profit, he's usually reading or watching anime.

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