Mega Man 11, What we know so far.
In the 1980's, and for a better portion of the 1990’s, the blue bomber stole my heart and kept me playing for hours on end. When you consider it has six titles on the NES alone, its success has floated it up into some very rare air. When I heard they announced Mega Man 11 I had mixed feelings. Being an NES enthusiast and speed runner, I am always happy to see new content being released with a retro feel or even a direct 8-bit style like Shovel Knight, but I have seen a lot of missteps in that space. What I got was something much more than a rehashed 8-bit Mega Man. Mega Man 11 features a 2.5D graphic style that blends the “X” series with some of the original PlayStation titles like Mega Man 8 (one of my least favorites) but it also brings a third, more modern-feeling element. While I have to wait until October 2nd to play the game when it’s released on consoles and PC, I can say without a doubt this is going to be one of the best Mega Man games released since the Super Nintendo.
There are some notable changes to the game which fans of the original series might not be used to. First off the game has difficulty settings. You can play the game on Newcomer, Casual, Normal, and Superhero mode. My research has uncovered that these will affect how much damage you take and how many checkpoints you have access to. Mega buster charging and sliding are back but sadly they did not include dashing or wall jumping which was prominently featured in the “X” series.
Rush is back as well and finally they mapped him to a button press so you don’t have to navigate a clunky menu every time you want him to spring you up higher.
The major changes though are two new mechanics that Mr. Mega and the player can take advantage of. They are called gear abilities and they allow for temporary power ups. The power gear ability strengthens your cannon attacks and is said to also work in conjunction with the robot powers you acquire. Then there is the speed gear, which allows the player to slow time down matrix style to help with platforming or difficult boss fights. When you turn each of these powers on a meter starts to fill up and if it fills completely it will burst and Mega Man will lose the gear powers temporarily until it recharges. Otherwise, the meter will drain down when you are not using it.
I applaud Capcom for releasing another Mega Man that seems to have a perfect balance of nostalgia and innovation while not taking a way too much from what made Mega Man great in the first place. The game play footage of this looks incredible and the power ups seem really fun and interesting. I hope the finished game that comes out in October hits the mark they have set for it because I now have really high expectations based on what I saw. I will be buying the game, completing it, and posting another blog review when I do. This game is 8-Bit Steve approved for use.