Review: Mega Man 11

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes
This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)! Steam Trading Cards are available!

Summary of major issues
As usual, the Mega Man series is about robots fighting each other. No humans are harmed, and once the day is saved, the bad robots are rebuilt as good robots once again.

Screenshots

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A shocking obstacle course

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New minibosses to battle

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And old favorites to see again

General Information

Genre:Platform Shooter ESRB Rating:E10+ - Everyone (10+)
License:Commercial My Rating:Everyone
Played on:Thaddeus
Available from: Gamer's Gate, Humble Store, Steam
Save System:You need to save your game manually. This can be done from the stage select screen, and in case you forget, you'll be prompted to save before exiting the game.

To pause the game, view either your inventory or the game menu.

Game Overview

The Mega Man Classic franchise is known for being hard, formulaic, and extremely predictable. The major differences between the games has always been the gimmick of the day, which may or may not work out too well. But, even at its worst, this series has always managed to be a lot of fun, and Mega Man 11 lives up to expectations.

As expected, Dr. Wily is trying to conquer the world. However, this time around he didn't initially start out with a grand master plan. One night, he dreamt about the original falling out he'd had with Dr. Light. Long ago, during their university days, Dr. Wily had developed the Double Gear system, which allowed a robot to surpass their limitations for a brief time. This came at the cost of damage to their systems, and since this created a danger to society, his research was shutdown. Having remembered this, he set out to prove everyone wrong by perfecting the Double Gear system and declaring war on the world once again.

Now, every Mega Man game has their gimmick. This time, the gimmick of the day is the Double Gear system, as Dr. Light decided to even the playing field by installing Wily's old prototype into Mega Man. Thus, the player has the ability to temporarily give themselves a massive damage boost (via the Power Gear) or slow down time for everyone except the Blue Bomber (via the Speed Gear). Personally, I think this works rather well -- the benefits gained by using the Double Gear system are offset by its cooldown and the possibility of overheating Mega Man's systems, which leaves him very vulnerable for a long time.

If you're already a fan of Dr. Light's golden boy, this is another solid entry in the franchise for you to enjoy. On the other hand, if you've never played a Mega Man game before, this would be a great introduction to the games -- I'd just recommend following up this title with Mega Man Legacy Collection. Can't have too much of a good thing now.

Pros

Changes add to the game, rather than detract from it
This is the second time that the Mega Man Classic series has attempted to incorporate voice acting, and it seems that Capcom learned from their past mistakes. That is, the voice acting improves the experience this time around.

Another thing that's different is the art style. Previously, games in this series used sprites. This time the art style uses an on-the-fly 2.5D rendering engine. Despite this big technological leap, it still looks like a proper Mega Man game. This change allows the characters in the game to spin and move in very fluid ways that just looks dynamic and lively.

The new Double Gear mechanic also works really well. The gimmick-of-the-day doesn't always work out in Mega Man games, but this one feels like a natural development in the game's design. For example, other games in the series have experimented with time-dilation techniques before with mixed results, but the Speed Gear is the best implementation of such a thing I've seen in the series yet. Additionally, the bosses have and use their own Double Gear system. This makes battling them more engaging and fun, as they have more complex patterns than usual.


Nods to the past and future
If you're a fan of this franchise, then there are some treats waiting for you in Mega Man 11. For starters, many enemies from the old NES games make cameo appearances in various levels. In some cases, this is the first time we've seen these characters since the early 1990s. Of course, they don't really behave any differently than they did back in the day, but it's always fun to see some old favorites again.

There are also some hints at what's to come in the Mega Man timeline. Unlike the other games in the series, Mega Man's appearance changes when he equips a special weapon. Up to this point, the only characters that have done something like this are from the Mega Man X series. Another link with Mega Man X's timeline are the references to Dr. Light researching how to make robots more independent and intelligent -- research that will eventually produce Mega Man X and usher in the new Reploid era.


Challenges
There are a whole batch of special challenges for those players who want a little more. Many of these revolve around going through the main game's stages with special rules, though I'd give special attention to the time trial and medal collection challenges. How the former works is obvious: you simply try to clear a stage or defeat a boss as quickly as possible. The medal collection challenges are also a race against time, but with a different goal: you need to find and collect tokens as you go. If you miss any, then you get thrown back to an earlier part of the stage and need to try again. Since your score in this mode is based on the time it takes for you to obtain all of the medals, having to repeat any section of the game hurts your score a lot.

On a side note, your progress in the main game determines what special weapons are available in the challenge mode. Because of this, you might want to beat the game before you try the challenges.


Adjustable difficulty
If there is one thing that can be said about older games, it's that they tended to be difficult. Starting with Mega Man 9, the games in this series began to offer adjustable levels of difficulty, and Mega Man 11 continues the trend by having you choose a difficulty setting when you start a new game. In order, your options are Newcomer, Casual, Normal, and Superhero. While Casual just files the edge off, Newcomer makes things even easier by giving you infinite lives and unlimited powerups.


Steam community features
There are a grand total of 50 achievements to earn as you save the world from Dr. Wily. Surprisingly, only a few of these revolve around completing the game or earning high marks in the challenge mode. Most of the achievements involve going out of your way to do some obscure task, such as destroying part of a level. Many of the achievements also require you to complete them during a new game, but don't worry too much: only a handful of the achievements require you to be playing on Normal or Superhero difficulty.

Lastly, for those who are into collecting them, there are also some Steam trading cards available.


Cons

The price is a tad steep
Mega Man 11's price tag is a hefty $30. Back in the day, this was a reasonable price for a new game in the franchise, so for older fans this probably won't seem like a big deal. However, it's a lot of money when compared to the franchise's legacy collections. You can buy the first 10 games in the Mega Man Classic series for the same price as Mega Man 11, which makes paying that much harder to justify.


Concerns and Issues

Robots fighting robots, again
As with the other games in the Mega Man series, the gameplay revolves around destroying humanoid robots that have gone amok. But, no humans are ever harmed, and the robots are shown being repaired in the epilogue.

Again, these robots are not considered "people" and don't have true free will. While the introduction to this game does highlight that Dr. Light is trying to develop robots that can think for themselves (effectly making them "persons" in their own right), we know from other games in the franchise that it will be his final creation, Mega Man X, that will bridge this gap.