Mega Man 11 Preview

Mega Man 11 is a 2D action platformer developed and published by Capcom. It costs $30, and will release on October 2, 2018 on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and PC. This is my review of the demo.

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Full disclosure: this was my first ever taste of a Mega Man game. My older brother is an avid fan of the Blue Bomber and all his spinoffs. As a fan of platformers, I’ve been meaning to play the games for quite some time, and with the Legacy Collection out now, I’m hoping I’ll get to them soon. So I’m approaching this game with fresh eyes and an open mind.

Let’s start with what I enjoyed!

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I quite like the art direction. Mega Man 11 has a clean, cartoony art style that’s not quite cell-shaded but is similar enough to evoke comparisons. I’m delighted they took a risk with this game and put Mega Man into this 2.5-D style instead of doing the safe thing with another pixelated throwback. To me, a lot of the Mega Man games (including X and Zero) look so similar to each other that they all blend together. This visual change helps Mega Man 11 stand out. Each character, enemy, and boss have charming designs, and the backgrounds are great to look at.

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I also like the double gear system. One gear increases firepower, while the other slows time down. I didn’t use the power gear very much, but I found the speed gear very useful, especially during the tricky platforming segments and the boss fights. This mechanic definitely shows a lot of promise where you might want to weigh one option against the other.

However, even with the double gear system, I can’t help but feel like Mega Man 11 is a good but unremarkable 2D platformer. It’s not as sterile as, say, New Super Mario Bros., but it’s not as gripping as Celeste or Sonic Mania either.

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One small flaw I noticed was the controls. Mega Man’s running and jumping feel a bit too slow to me. It’s not a big problem, but it was noticeable. Games in other genres can get away with slightly looser controls, but in a platformer, moving is the whole point, so I’m more critical if the controls are not snappy and tight.

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But the main problem I have with Mega Man 11 is what I was saying earlier: as a 2D platformer it looks fun, and the level design looks good, but it’s just so… standard. It’s exactly what I would expect. It’s the same problem I have with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The double gear system is certainly unique, but I don’t think it does enough to make it stand out. Other 2D platformers like Plague of Shadows and Specter of Torment from the Shovel Knight games are much more innovative and interesting to me.

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In the end, I still enjoyed myself, but Mega Man 11 isn’t exactly a game I need to play right now. I think I’ll play the Legacy Collection first and gain an appreciation for the franchise, and then I’ll catch Mega Man 11 sometime later.

What do you think about the game? I’m particularly curious about what long-time fans think of the new art direction and the double gear system. Are you excited for a new game after an eight year hiatus?

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