- Game: Mega Man 11
- Consoles: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Capcom
A Mega Man 11 review code was provided by the publisher.
The Blue Bomber is finally back in the good graces of Capcom. After a return guest appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and several classic collection releases, the Mega Man franchise is back in a respectable state. But the one thing fans requested the most was an all new rendition of the IP’s tough as nails but incredibly fun adventures of Mega Man. It may have taken far too long to get that wish fulfilled, but Capcom has finally provided an all new mainline entry in the series. The Blue Bomber’s classic mix of tricky platforming, robot master hunting, and weapon absorbing gets freshened up with a slick new mechanic. Mega Man 11 sticks to what worked before while also featuring something new for fans and newcomers to master.
As usual, Dr. Light and Dr. Wily’s differences of opinion on robot development results in a new conflict. And to no one’s surprise, the more vengeful of the two ends up pitting eight new Robot Masters against Mega Man. The premise behind this sequel isn’t extraordinary or any different from past installments in the series – it simply gives you another simple reason to thwart the efforts of Dr. Wily. The newest bosses that stand in Mega Man’s path to saving the world are as follows – Block Man, Fuse Man, Blast Man, Acid Man, Tundra Man, Torch Man, Impact Man, and Bounce Man. Each of these Robot Masters is backed by an appropriately themed stage that ends in a challenging final encounter. So in other words, it’s more of the same (which isn’t a knock on on this game’s familiar formula). The multitude of additional stage challenges lends some replay value to that approach anyways.
Mega Man 11 presents its main hero and the many robotic threats he confronts in a new 2.5D style. Mega Man’s movements are animated well, plus the multitude of old and new menaces you come across look appealing in their own right. Watching Mega Man pull off his throwback slide and ride an airborne Roll are the types of moments that will cause loyal fans to smile with glee. One of the best aspects behind the entire franchise is the memorable soundtrack backing some of the best games in the series. This sequel doesn’t have the audio chops to join that collection of classics, however. The music that backs each stage is sadly unmemorable, which will be quite the disappointment for longtime fans.
One of the elements that Mega Man is known for still plays a big part here and it happens to be its high difficulty. Each stage is filled with nail-biting platforming sections, plus numerous hazards to shoot and avoid. If you’ve managed to complete the other games in the series, then this news is more welcoming than intimidating. As for the newcomers trying out a Mega Man game for the first time, there’s no need to be afraid – several easier difficulty levels give you more of a fighting chance. The agony of defeat is lessened even more since you can purchase new powerups after completing a stage or losing all your lives for the umpteenth time. The sense of frustration that eventually comes over you dissipates as you unlock new abilities, such as an increase to Mega Man’s durability and an automatic Charge Shot mechanic.
With so many old school features still in play, Mega Man 11 throws in something fresh to keep things interesting. The new “Double Gear” system allows Mega Man to tap into two new attachments – the Speed Gear and Power Gear. The Speed Gear slows down time and makes it easier to avoid incoming attacks, while the Power Gear boosts Mega Man’s damage output. And whenever he’s on his last legs, Mega Man can activate both gears at once and become even more of a mini powerhouse. These new powers are put front and center when it comes to the game’s stage layouts and boss patterns.
You can choose to slow down time in order to blast mobile shielded foes, dodge fast projectiles, and catch up with enemies holding powerups. And you can also decide to boost Mega Man’s Mega Buster and his multitude of Robot Master weaponry in cool ways. The Double Gear system lends itself well to the traditional mechanics Mega Man 11 still employs. There’s a ton of satisfaction to be had from sliding underneath a jumping Robot Master in slow-mo and crushing him with a flood of mega bricks in one fell swoop. Cool instances such as this one make each boss fight a fun challenge worth mastering and finally conquering.
Mega Man 11 Takeways
Mega Man 11 plays the series’ greatest hits while still providing something fresh and new. Navigating each stage and battling Robot Masters is as hard as ever yet still fair. The side-scrolling and shoot ’em up gameplay remains as fun as ever. And there’s a multitude of hard-to-reach items to find and collect. The traditional elements of this latest entry come packaged with the clever Double Gear system, a welcome addition that impacts every aspect of the game in a positive way.
What you’re getting here is a fine return to form. It doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel or tell its ongoing storyline in a more intriguing way. And on the audio front, Mega Man 11 doesn’t offer a memorable soundtrack worth replaying outside of the game. Playing it safe while also providing a fun new mechanic works well enough for this long-awaited sequel. The Blue Bomber’s modern-day revival is largely a success.
Our Mega Man 11 Review Score: 8.5 out of 10