When it comes to classic video game series, Mega Man is one of the most popular. Mega Man has been featured in 10 main series games, inspired countless spin-offs, and has even become a playable character in the latest Super Smash Bros game. However, when it comes to those main series games, it had been eight years since there was an entry, but at the end of 2017, Mega Man 11 was announced. Now that it’s finally here, does it live up to eight years of expectations?
Mega Man games don’t usually involve too much of a story, and the ones that do are…less than appealing. However, Mega Man 11 strikes a good balance, as there’s some brief story moments, all of which can be skipped, and none of which are too over the top. They mostly focus on how, when Mega Man’s creator, Dr. Light, and Mega Man’s archenemy, Dr. Wily, were both in college, Dr. Light’s sentient robot project was chosen over Dr. Wily’s double gear system. But now, Dr. Wily is using the double gear system on robots to make Mega Man’s job harder, so Dr. Light gives Mega Man the double gear system to once again take out Dr. Wily. Just look any good Mega Man story it’s brief, simple, and not too intrusive.
The main focus of the story, the double gear system, is also a large part of the gameplay. The double gear system can either power up you shots or slow down time. The power gear makes each blast hit with more force, and can also boost the special weapons you get from defeating robot masters. This can make already great weapons completely unstoppable, or just make them more useful. The speed gear slows down time for everything around Mega Man, making it the best for tricky platforming, or to dodge large attacks. Once Mega Man’s health gets low enough though, he can use the double gear technique, which allows you to use both the strength and speed gears for a limited time. This is essentially a last ditch effort, as it can only be activated with low health. When you use all of the gears, there’s a bar that slowly fills up. Once it fully fills up you’ll be unable to use any gears for a small amount of time. However, once you finish using the double gear technique, you’ll only be able to shoot one blast, instead of the typical three, until the system cools off again.
When it comes to the returning gameplay though, everything feels spot on. Mega Man doesn’t feel too heavy or too light, making precise platforming an ease. Mega Man has also gotten his charge shot and slide back since Mega Man 10, which are both implemented well. Mega Man 11 also delivers on the new boss weapons, all of which are useful, and not just against the bosses. The weapons can be used to take out enemies in multiple different ways, whether it be weapons that can take out enemies close by, far away, or even those above you. And once you add in the power gear to some of the weapons, they become unstoppable, such as Tundra Man’s weapon becoming a screen nuke with the power gear in use.
But to get those weapons, you have to go through the robot master stages, which are the main portion of the game. Luckily though, these are amazing. Each stage not only fits with the robot master’s power, but they’re all creative. Instead of just a frozen wasteland, Tundra Man’s stage is an icy city. The same goes for Torch Man, which takes place in an abandoned camp, albeit one that’s being burned down.
Mega Man has also had great music across many of its games, but Mega Man 11 doesn’t quite hold up to those standards. There are a few good songs, but for the most part, the songs are bland and forgettable. However, the sound mixing itself is great, with sound effects not overpowering the music, but not being too quiet.
The graphics in most Mega Man games are generally 8-bit, but Mega Man 11 decide to use 3D graphics, and they honestly look great. Not only does it help things pop out more, but it also helps give this game its own identity, as opposed to it just being another 8-bit throwback game, such as Mega Man 9 and 10 were.
Overall, Mega Man 11 is a great return to a thought dead series, that updates old elements and brings in great new ones. The new robot masters are great, as is the double gear system, and everything just looks amazing with the more cartoon graphics. Mega Man 11 is a great game, and considering it’s only $30, it’s a game that everyone should give a chance.