Mega Man is back in a brand new adventure for the first time in nearly a decade. Between Capcom’s efforts to keep our favorite Blue Bomber alive through the release of his legacy collections, and Comcept’s disgusting spiritual successor Mighty No. 9, fans of the series have had to endure quite the wait for a new outing. Now, however, that wait is finally over. The big question on the minds of just about everyone is, is Mega Man 11 any good? I can safely report that, despite some minor issues, Mega Man 11 is a fitting entry to the franchise.
Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let me go over what you’re getting in return for your cash. Outside of the fairly sizable campaign – and its vast replay value – those that invest will be glad to know that the game comes packed with additional side content. There’s a decent gallery present for those that enjoy concept art, leaderboard support for those that relish fighting for those all important bragging rights, and more importantly, a wealth of varying challenge modes that alone will keep you going for hours and hours (and hours) on end.
The challenge section is split into several different categories, ranging time trials, medal collecting, boss rushing, balloon hunting, score attacks, and many, many more. Each of these missions are tethered to a chart that will grant you bronze, silver and gold medals, based on your performance. There’s no denying that the game packs plenty of content, however, when weighing that content up with the somewhat steep cost, one has to question whether or not there’s enough value overall. That’s going to be very subjective.
If you’re the sort of gamer that will slam several hours worth of playtime into a game in order to max it out, you’re getting a fair return for your investment. If, on the other hand, you’re here just for the story and to merely dabble in a few challenges, you’re likely going to feel somewhat dissatisfied. I was able to run through a large number of challenges and complete the campaign in under three hours, and although I could see plenty of value beyond that, I don’t doubt that some players will feel just a little bit burnt in this regard.
Still, when all is said and done, this is very much Mega Man through and through. Having blasted hundreds of foes, overcome all of the game’s bosses, finished every stage and hit up some challenges, there was still quite a lot to see and do. Should I take on the campaign and modify the difficulty for an extra challenge? Should I browse the challenge modes and attempt to beat a boss in under thirty seconds? Should I try nuking all of the bosses one after the other without dying? Mega Man 11’s deep replay value all there for the taking.
Moving to the campaign, Mega Man 11 does a brilliant job at channeling the franchise’s long running vibes. The plot itself is as simplistic and as carefree as any other Mega Man plot before it. Though, all that matters is that you’re the Blue Bomber and you’re tasked with moving through a collection of stages, laying waste to a wide range of robot masters and enemies along the way. The bottom line? It fits in with the formula magnificently, though does so whilst making a small handful. Worry not, these changes are very well suited.
The first change is on the visual front. Mega Man 11 sports a 2.5D cel-shaded design, not too dissimilar to Sonic 4’s design. For the most part, the game looks and sounds great. The stage diversity does a good job at upholding this concept, and despite the occasional stage looking less impressive than others, I have to commend the developer for their choice here. The same can be said about the design of the game’s several enemies and boss encounters, all of which are sharp, well detailed and various from the get-go, together with their effects.
In fact, it’s the effects that helps to make Mega Man 11 the explosive experience that it is. Several occasions was I taken aback by how much action was present at any given time. Enemies and projectiles will regularly fill the screen at every turn, which when grouped with the flurry of explosions that ensue thanks to the Blue Bomber’s arm cannon, makes for some stunning moments of play. It helps, of course, that the game sounds equally as impressive as it looks, with audio cues and a soundtrack that sits well inline with the mood.
The next most notable change is the addition of the gear system. The “Double Gear” system allows Mega Man to either slow down time temporarily, or power up his weaponry – including that of any unlocked suit. You’re not required to utilize this at any point in the game, but it does oftentimes come in handy. Specifically the slowing down of time, which helped me out in a pinch against some of the game’s tougher opponents. Speaking more about the game’s difficulty, Mega Man 11 caters for newcomers and returning fans alike.
The newcomer difficulty is very lenient and practically holds your hand from start to finish. Switch that up to something more veteran, and you’re certainly going to feel the difference. It’s fair to say that if you’re looking for a challenge, you’re going to get more than you bargained for here. I found a few sections that were maybe a little too hard for my liking, and perhaps maybe even so for the die hard fans of the series, in particularly, some platforming sections that require precision that even Philippe Petit would be proud of.
That being said, this is what makes Mega Man what it is. It’s a series that rewards perseverance and accuracy, a series that requires your full attention each and every passing split-second, and with that in mind, Mega Man 11 brings exactly that, warts and all. Touching up on the actual gameplay, Mega Man 11 is super fluid. Everything from the platforming to the combat remains precise and spot on throughout the entirety of play. Group this with the decent level design within, and we’ve a recipe for a sound adventure.
The game’s stages can be played in whichever order you desire, with each granting you access to a new weapon and ability post-completion. These do indeed carry over from stage to stage, and you’re also able to use them in some of the challenge modes too. Nifty, right When you’re moving from stage to stage, you’ll likely want to pay a visit to Dr Light’s Lab. Here, you can purchase new parts, lives, energy and more, in return for the currency bolts that you’ll find littered across the game. It’s a simple yet effective system to lean on.
Whilst not quite the best in the series, Mega Man 11 hits the spot. The game does a good job at modernizing the Blue Bomber’s latest adventure, and although the few subtle changes may not be for everyone, I have to commend the game for being widely accessible at the same time as respecting its hardcore roots. Despite its issues, this is a must have for Mega Man newcomers and returning fans alike.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.