Don’t worry everyone, Mega Man 11’s full release fixed the animation on boss doors. You now freeze in midair again when they open, resolving one of the biggest problems people had with the demo released last month.
The most important thing aside, I’m sure you want to know how the rest of the game plays, right? How does it stack up against the classics?
In case you’ve never played a Mega Man game, they are the Dark Souls of platformers, and I’m only half joking. It’s a challenging platforming series defined by its tough boss fights and precision platforming. The joy of this kind of game is learning the patterns that present themselves to you and then mastering them, which is true of both the platforming itself and then the bosses that you must best in combat.
Overall, the platforming feels wonderfully responsive, which is essential given how demanding some of the sections are. Most of the time the platforming sections feel tough but fair. They teeter one pixel over the void of unfairness and remain firmly in the realm of challenging and entertaining.
More often than not a seemingly impossible section simply needs you to reevaluate the tools you have and how to use them. Activating the brand-new Speed Gear slows everything down, giving you a little more room to breath and blitz your way through the tricky mazes of projectiles and moving platforms. It makes the twitch gameplay more about planning than lightning fast reflexes.
Not everything feels entirely fair though, as there are sections where the instant death inflicted upon you by spikes or pits feels like utter nonsense. The underwater sections are particularly guilty of this, predominately due to the change in physics and the forced movements. There are also a couple of points in Bounce Man’s level that feel similarly nonsensical. Precision is everything here, but that’s so much harder when you are being flung off of the surfaces like a pinball. They are beatable, but a small stain on an otherwise reasonable game.
Thankfully the bosses don’t suffer from the same niggles. At the end of each level you come face-to-face with one of the various rogue robots, each of them built for something harmonious and now corrupted by Dr Wily to bring chaos. They have very different attacks from one another, but can all be defeated in the same way: shooting them a lot and at the right time. In practice it isn’t that simple, but if you can defeat one of them, you get their weapon to use against the others. Some of the weapons are fantastic, like Torch Man which gives a really powerful projectile that has a useful attack path, but others can feel somewhat lacklustre – Blast Man, I am looking at you dude.
Of course, if you are struggling to deal the damage, you can always use the other gear, the Power Gear. This boosts your damage and also allows you to overcharge you blaster to spit out an even larger projectile. Not only that, but in the event you are down to your last sliver of health you can activate both gears at the same time. This technique has its drawbacks of course, but it allows you to launch an immensely powerful shot that trashes pretty much anything it comes into contact with. It leaves your weapons weakened afterwards and you have to wait for the gears to cool-down before using them again, but it is a very effective trump card to pull out.
The graphics are sure to be polarising. They look pretty good, thankfully, but fans of the classic art style may feel a little uneasy with them. It never looks bad, it just evokes memories of broken promises and hearts from a certain less-than-mighty number. Thankfully, after spending a little time with Mega Man 11, memories of that horrible experience should be completely overwritten by this adventure. The music is also very reminiscent of the ‘good old days’ and is more than happy to sneak into your ear and set up camp for the foreseeable future.
It’s rare that a modern return of a classic gaming series hits the mark, but Mega Man 11 lets off a charged burster shot that obliterates any worries you might have had. It encapsulates much of what made the old games so great, but the new abilities feel fresh and more modern at the same time. This is a much needed return to form for the Blue Bomber. Can Battle Network come back now too?
Version Tested: PS4 – Also available for Xbox One, Switch & PC