The Mega Man series is a timeless one and Mega Man the character is as iconic as Mario and Sonic. But just like those video game icons they’ve gone through a series of changes over the years some for the better and some for the worse. For the better part of the 2000’s it’s been for the worst. Bad attempts at refreshing the series or a cheesy collection is all that we would get from Mega Man. We were all waiting for something that reminded us of old Mega Man but new. We missed that nostalgia. Be it that I’m a kid from the 80’s this was especially true for me. I can remember what playing the first Mega Man was like. I knew that I had to survive 8 stages and defeat 8 evil bosses created by Dr.Wily. It was unlike anything that I had ever played at that time. At least until Mega Man 2 came out. Mega Man 2 was the perfect Mega Man game in my opinion and I thought that the series would get better and better subsequent to that game. I was wrong. It got worse, game after game and it was clear, Capcom was running out of ideas and the Mega Man story got old.
Alas, Super Nintendo arrived and with it came Mega Man X. Now Mega Man is in 16-bit with a ton of new gear and add-ons. Longer and more complex stages with drastically improved stage design made Mega Man feel new. The series was alive again and with a new big bad Sigma and new robots now called Mavericks I’m hyped up again. We got to Mega Man X3 and again, the story got old. So once again, the series kind of faded away. Here we are now in 2018 and after a long hiatus Mega Man is back in a revamped version with current gen graphics and a new power system that the Blue Bomber can use throughout the boss stages. Would new design and a new gear system enough to bring Mega Man back to prominence? Possibly, but it does leave room for future games? This Mega Man game may have you believe that because I think it does.
What’s good about Mega Man 11?
There are good things happening with Mega Man 11. Everything in Mega Man 11 is new from a visual perspective. It’s the best part of the game as it stands. The new boss stages are well designed, backgrounds are filled with detailed scenery and Mega Man with current gen graphics is stunning on console, even more so if you’re playing on PC. Each stage is full of enemies, baddies and things to dodge and slide under. There’s heavy emphasis to paying a price to getting to the boss so when you make it to the boss and you defeat him it’s an accomplishment. This is where the difficulty of Mega Man 11 comes into play. Mega Man’s new Double Gear system and Rush help you navigate your way through each stage to help alleviate that difficulty but timing and practice is required as each stage has a different mechanic. The power shot and speed up are essential to Mega Man’s survival but more on that later. Mega Man 11 isn’t just a cheap remake for the sake of making a remake. Capcom really spent some time in making this new Mega Man beautiful, nostalgic and fun. The original format and play style is preserved for Mega Man lovers to enjoy.
The way that you’ve always played Mega Man is how you’ll continue to play it. You’ll go through 8 stages and 8 bosses. You have Block Man, Acid Man, Torch Man, Impact Man, Fuse Man, Bounce Man and Blast Man. As you would expect each boss has a weakness and finding that weakness is part of the fun.
Unlike any Mega Man before you can actually grind out items and use them for purchasing upgrades for the Blue Bomber. Throughout the stages you’ll see small and large glowing bolts. The idea is to collect them and you can use them later to upgrade Mega Man. This makes Mega Man much more of a choice in how you like to play with the Blue Bomber. Traditionally upgrades were something you had to find within secret areas or hard to reach places. Now, this feature eliminates that and it’s so necessary. Definitely buy the armor build that reduces push back when you take a hit because more often than not you’ll end up getting killed from constantly respawning enemies.
Mega Man’s Double Gear system
Dr. Light has given Mega Man a new add-on unlike any he’s had in any game prior. While Mega Man always had strength in his Mega Buster, over the years he had to get stronger and stronger as the big bad boss and his minions got stronger. Aside from the power-ups that you would otherwise get from an end boss, The Double Gear system gives Mega Man a unique advantage. The speed gear allows Mega Man to be faster than everything in his environment so much so that it gives off the effect that time is actually being slowed down. You’ll find yourself more often than not using it because it’s a huge help on stages with a plethora of enemies and jumps to maneuver through (Bounce Man stage anyone?). The other gear, the Power gear strengthens the Mega Buster. Even though you can power up the Mega Buster by holding down the shoot button the power gear will give you that concentrated strength in each single shot for a limited time without having to waste valuable time charging. It’s a great asset for Mega Man to have especially in boss battles. If the situation gets really hectic you can use both gears at the same time and that way you can deal critical damage in slowed time and get out of a jam. The double gear system is a crucial part of Mega Man success in the stages and bosses.
What’s not to like about Mega Man 11
While the euphoric nostalgia can leave you loving Mega Man 11 just because it’s Mega Man, there are quite a few things about this game not to like. This of course is my own opinion and some may not see the problems I have as problems at all. I’m just speaking my mind as a long time Mega Man player so i’ll address it. First off, repetitive enemy spawns is the problem I hate the most. It sucks that enemies in the game continuously spawn and always in the “right” places where a critical jump is required. There are so many instances where I died in the game simply because an enemy re-spawns over and over again and god forbid I ever so slightly move out of the frame of play and then back. Here they come again. I understand the need for Capcom to maintain authenticity within Mega Man but come on. It was annoying then and it’s annoying now.
Mega Man 11’s difficulty can be a problem. Mega Man 11 comes across as difficult and even on the novice setting the game is challenging. For myself, I see the game no more challenging than any other Mega Man but if Capcom wants to lure some new players to the Mega Man franchise then the difficulty could discourage them away from it. The Bounce Man and the Acid Man stages are sure to piss anyone off and make them want to break their controller, there’s a difference between frustrating and challenging and for some of the stages in this game there wasn’t much of a balance.
Boss battles offer no nuance. Again, this is an issue of authenticity over new gameplay so it’s subjective. Boss battles in Mega Man 11 are fun but I would have liked to see boss battles have a little more depth and randomness. That’s really just it. The only real difficulty of the bosses in Mega Man 11 has more to do with order of the boss fights and not so much the bosses themselves.
The Double Gear system while being a great option is almost not an option more often than not because you can burn through it so fast. Sometimes there isn’t enough time with the Double Gear to plan out a direction and before you know it, time is restored to normal and you could now be in trouble.
The things that I dislike about Mega Man are mostly nitpicky but they’re things that I’ve always hated about Mega Man and I was hoping for a little bit of change in this regard except for maybe the difficulty element which to me wasn’t too bad. Ultimately as a player you’ll have to judge for yourself.
Should you buy this game?
Mega Man 11 is a worthy pickup because it’s Mega Man. Who doesn’t love Mega Man? He’s iconic. Capcom did a really good job in bringing this game out after such a long hiatus. This game did not disappoint. Mega Man lovers and enthusiasts can expect exactly what they always get from a Mega Man game. Cheesy story, boss stages and boss battles. It’s what has always made the series what it was. If Capcom can improve on some minor things it can make way for future Mega Man games that will reel in the younger generation who don’t really have an affinity for Mega Man just because they were too young.
Mega Man’s look is much improved and he’s more fluid. The Double Gear system is a welcome addition to Mega Man’s powerups and if there’s a way to enhance it in game through buying power-ups like you can with E-tanks then it gets that much better. There’s a ton of potential here and I’d love to see where it goes. Yes, I’m a little biased and yes I’m nostalgic because Mega Man was an important part of my video game upbringing. For me, it was a no-brainer to pick up this game. At $30 bucks it isn’t a bad investment because you can buy it for console and PC and and still have paid for one game that otherwise cost $60 bucks. I have it for PC and the Switch and I enjoy it on both. You don’t necessarily have to be a Mega Man fan to enjoy this game.