This Isn't Mega Man 2 But That's Ok
Beyond the 3D graphics at first blush Mega Man 11 looks and plays like the classic games we love. It's hard because... Read All I've always been an armchair fan of the Mega Man games but never played any of them regularly until I got an NES Classic. I latched on to Mega Man 2 and haven't let go since (expect an upcoming Cheerful Ghost Radio NES Review episode in the new year). As such, it was fairly natural that I took note of Mega Man 11 and then found it totally awesome that Travis got it for me this year as a gift on the Switch! I wanted to write down some of my early thoughts on the game and will check in regularly as I make progress with it.
This Isn't Mega Man 2 But That's Ok
Beyond the 3D graphics at first blush Mega Man 11 looks and plays like the classic games we love. It's hard because the game feels just like the classics but under the covers are a slew of new mechanics. In fact, these new mechanics I found annoying at first but after clocking about 3 hours into the game are finally working for me.
The new stages are much longer than any Mega Man stages I've played so far which is to say, they are much longer than the stages in Mega Man 2. At first this seemed odd to me, how can you have a Mega Man game with super long stages and get through it and then I realized that Mega Man 11 is aimed a much more modern audience. The stages in NES Mega Man were short due to cart limitations and password saves states and replay-ability. Mega Man 11 sticks It's flag firmly in the save state world and expects you to complete a stage one time and move on. Gone are the days where the game expects you to turn it on and replay each robot boss battle on your way to beating Dr Wily. Mega Man 11 expects your gonna pick a difficulty and play each stage until you complete it until the end of the game.
This focus on stage length, difficulty and your game progress is all tied together through a new mechanic i'd not seen in a Mega Man game focusing on an in game currency, screws. Fear not, this isn't tied to any micro-transactions and screws are something you can collect easily in each stage by finding them or killing enemies. Collect enough screws and you can visit Dr Light and buy a ton of items such as E-Tanks and Mega Man enhancements like the ability to get a wider buster shot, lessen your push back when you take damage and increase the amount of energy that drops from enemies. These power ups unlock at certain points in the game and each one is a different amount of screws to unlock. Say you are having a particularly hard time in the Block Man stage? Collect enough screws to max out on E-Tanks and other items to make the stage easier. The screw currency gives the game focus in that you can unlock abilities and power ups making subsequent playthroughs easier. If you want the game to be more difficult you can avoid all this entirely but I'm working my way through it the first time and it's nice to get a bit of help.
Block Man Down, Acid Man to Go
After about three hours I finally defeated Block Man. The Block Man stage is quite punishing and once you complete a section it tosses it back to you in a harder form until you master each section to finally confront Block Man. Turns out Block Man isn't too hard, or isn't if you use the Super Guard power-up and some E-Tanks (which I recommend) and as such is one of the best stages and bosses to take on first. According to some searching, Acid Man goes down smooth with the Block drop weapon so I'm now working on that stage.
Another part of Mega Man 11 worth a series of accolades is the level design. So far the Block Man and Acid Man stages are quite different and contain very clever puzzles that are hard but fair. I've taken a peek at a few other stages such as Bounce Man which feels like a level designed by people that love crazy bouncy castles.
So far Mega Man 11 takes the best elements of the series and solidly moves the game forward for a new audience. If you like Mega Man games and don't mind coming back to the same levels and slowly getting better a bit at a time, Mega Man 11 is for you. You can download a demo of the Block Man stage on PC, Switch, PS4 and XBone to give it a shot if you're not entirely sure if this is something you might be into. I've heard Mega Man 11 looks better on the PS4 and XBox One and all I can say is the game looks great on the Switch. It's a bit jaggy in handheld mode but once it pops to the TV it looks fantastic.