The blue bomber is finally back! Mega Man 11 is here and Capcom has outdone themselves with this one. The plot, originally established in 1987, hasn’t changed too much. Dr. Wily is up to no good and Dr. Light requests the aid of Mega Man to tackle nine different robot masters and then attempt to stop Dr. Wily himself. The only difference is that at the start of the game a cutscene plays from when Dr. Light and Dr. Wily were younger and still at Robot University and shows Wily showing off his new invention, the double gear system. The double gear system is the new mechanic that Capcom brought to Mega Man 11. It allows players to supercharge their weapons or lets Mega Man run incredibly fast, avoiding most hazards and adding a new challenge to those looking to 100% complete this game.
While the plot of Mega Man 11 is thin and inconsequentially, the controls are where the game truly shines. The controls are incredibly tight and responsive. Falling into a pit of spikes or getting hit by a projectile is truly the player’s fault. But with the introduction of the double gear system, most hazards become completely negligible. I hardly used the power gear, but the speed gear saved me more times than I liked to admit. Being able to slow everything down and have a chance to think about what’s happening is a god send with a screen full of stuff and a death wall coming straight for Mega Man. Being able to pull off impossible platforming with a screen full of projectiles feels incredible.
True to form, Mega Man 11 pits players against nine different robot masters, a couple of Wily Castle stages, and then Dr. Wily himself. Those who are new to Mega Man, this means there are nine bosses that have to be defeated. They can be tackled in any order. Each robot master is themed after a certain element, and the stage reflects who the robot master is. For instance, Block Man is a construction worker and his stage is a construction site with enemies reflected for construction work. Beating a robot master will grant players a power based on the robot master. Block Man gives Mega Man the ability to summon and drop a line of blocks from the sky.
Each robot master is weak against another robot master’s power. After beating one, the game becomes a guessing match to see if you guessed right for the weaknesses. This cycle continues throughout the rest of the game. Guess correct and the corresponding boss becomes trivial. But if you guess wrong, the battle could become more difficult than necessary. However, if players are new to Mega Man and want to get in, but the difficulty makes them a little nervous, Mega Man 11 offers several different difficulties, and once they clear the main game and want more, Mega Man 11 offers a plethora of challenges to keep players busy.
Visually, Mega Man 11 takes cues from Mega Man 6 and Mega Man 7. At first, the super cartoony style and weird animations turned me off a little, but after spending a couple of hours in the game, I grew to love it. It felt like a nice call back to the forgotten Mega Man titles and made Mega Man 11 feel like its own property. It took cues from Mega Man’s past, but also acts as a statement that Mega Man is back and is finding his own style in a world, where platformers are starting to pop up everywhere. But the one aspect that never grew on me and was a bit disappointing, was the music. Mega Man has always been known for the incredible music. Anyone would know the jingle to Wily’s Castle from Mega Man 2 or any of the robot master songs from the previous titles. Besides the main title, the rest of the music is forgettable unfortunately. I couldn’t hum or recall a single song from the entire game if you made me. That’s not too say that the music is bad. It just doesn’t have the same punch that I have come to expect in this series.
Mega Man 11 is an good time, but it feels a little shallow. Being put up against a plethora of fantastic platformers such as Celeste, Hollow Knight, and Shovel Knight. Mega Man 11 feels a little weak as a platformer, but in terms of its own series, it’s a strong stand out title. The music may let hardcore fans down, but the controls and entertainment the game offers more than makes up for it. Longtime fans will need to get this title, but even for newcomers to the series; this is a perfect entry point. Players get the best that the Mega Man series has to offer. Tight controls, interesting and fun levels, tough but rewarding boss fights, and the perfect amount of over-the-top cheesy story and dialogue. Mega Man 11 has something for everyone.
Mega Man 11 is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch and can be purchased here. This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version purchased by writer.