Earlier last year, I had played the Mega Man 11 demo, and I wasn’t impressed with the game at the time. I think some of it was the level design, while the rest of it was the choice in graphical updates and voice acting. As such, I decided to put of acquiring the game and reviewing it till later. Since then, I got the game and managed to play through it. It appears that my first impression was somewhat incorrect on the game’s overall quality. I would like to let you know why this game is better than the demo.
Before I dive right into the game’s improvements, let me cover all the bases concerning what a Mega Man game is. Mega Man games are 2D platformers with shooting. You start off by choosing from any of the 8 main stages and take out the bosses in any order. When you clear a stage, you gain a special weapon based on the boss you fought. This weapon is effective against one of the other bosses, so you generally have to choose a boss that can be easily beaten with your starting weapon. This plays out like an 8 way rock paper scissors game where you have to guess which boss is weak to which weapon. After clearing the first 8 bosses, you go the final series of stages to fight Dr. Wiley in his fortress.
Now, one of the main changes to this game is the “double gear system”, which include a temporary power boost (through the power gear) or allow you to slow time (through the speed gear). Neither function adds a whole lot to the game, nor are they exclusive features in the gaming world. (It should be noted that Mega Man 11 is the only Mega Man game that uses this system.) I found that many obstacles required the speed gear to overcome them, but I rarely used the power gear, as it is only used to fight enemies faster. The use of either gear has a cool down limiting the frequency of the double gear system, which made me use the feature less than I might have. This cool down is still needed, as otherwise, I might have slowed time or used more power all the time.
Another improvement was to allow the player to try out boss weapons immediately after obtaining them. This way you aren’t caught off guard if the weapon is hard to use. Additionally, I found myself using some of these weapons more during a stage than in previous Mega Man games due to the different trajectories of these weapons. They are rarely required to progress, but at least I wasn’t using them only against bosses.
Speaking of bosses, I found that visually, they didn’t stand out in comparison to the rest of the Mega Man series. They are neither the best or the worst in terms of looks. Most of the bosses could be easily fought off with their weaknesses. Incidentally, I was initially confused when trying to discover which boss is weak to which weapon. For some reason, Brick Man’s weapon is strong against Acid Man. I would have thought that would be the other way around. I’m also unsure why Impact Man’s weapon is strong against Bounce Man, but the rest make some sense. (To be honest, the Mega Man series had this problem in some of the earlier games too).
I should note that the graphical update is one of the better attempts at modernizing Mega Man’s look. It still isn’t perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. The voice acting is anywhere from shaky to adequate. For some reason Brick Man’s voice is whiny, which makes his pun based “Get bricked!” quote sound campy, and out-of-place. All of the bosses make puns based on their theme, but some are worse than others. The rest of the cast sound the way they should, though I’m on the fence about Mega Man’s voice. He almost sounds too young. I know the main Mega Man series is more cartoonish than the Mega Man spin offs, but I would like to see a slightly cleaner choice of voice acting if the developers decide to include the feature.
The game’s level design is what makes this game what it is. For better or worse, this game feels like a classic 2D Mega Man game, complete with the occasional cheap death due to shaky design. There could be an obnoxiously placed enemy, a slightly too narrow platform, or even stage exclusive gimmicks that could make you lose a life in unfortunate ways. There are four difficulty settings to choose from, but you might not know which is right until you play a stage or two. (Author’s note: I played on casual, the second easiest difficulty, to ensure that I could complete this game quickly enough for review.)
Lastly, there are challenges with an online scoreboard to try after completing the game. You are ranked by time limits and other things such as limiting your jumps or attacks or some other condition that alters your score. Since most of these challenges appear in the game’s main levels, I really didn’t want to replay the game I just completed with arbitrary win conditions attached.
So, what kind of recommendations would I make for playing this game?
- Be cautious with the difficulty setting. The first two (newcomer and casual) are too easy, while the next higher difficulties (normal and super hero) may be too hard depending on your skill level.
- Try to find the easiest boss first: Brick Man and Bounce Man seem to be the easiest.
- Do your best to guess boss weaknesses early, and finish each stage based on which weapon you gained.
- In between levels, you should check out the in-game shop, it offers useful upgrades for much of the game.
- If you really liked this game, you can try the challenges or play the game on a higher difficulty.
Now, the pro’s and con’s of this game has a lot of debatable qualities. I will note if something is a possible pro or con as I list them.
- The graphical update is adequate. (possible pro)
- Voice acting is okay. (possible pro)
- The game controls are well designed.
- The double gear system doesn’t add enough to the game experience (possible con)
- The game is short, I got a little over 3 and 1/2 hours out of it.
- There isn’t enough compelling extra content after completing the game.
So what is the verdict?
7.2/10 Good, but needs some improvements
If the game released between 5-10 years ago, it might have been better by yesterday’s standards. This game might not be enough to comfortably bring back the Mega Man games. Considering the range of review scores I have seen for this game, some players might get a lot more out of this game than I have. I had even seen as high is a 9/10, so you might need to play a bit of the game to be sure if it is worth your time. I was initially unsure if the game deserved a 7/10 or a 7.5/10, so I decided to go with something in between those scores.
And that was my take on Mega Man 11. What did you think of this game? Do you want to see more Mega Man games like this in the future, or would you rather see more effort in the next game? Did you like the voice acting? Let me know in the comments below!