NOTE: The opinions expressed in this review article are of my own opinions, and do NOT reflect those of Joycon Gamers as a whole or any of its’ other members. Let’s do this!
For 8 years, ever since the arrival of Megaman 10 on WiiWare, PS3’s PSN Store, and Xbox 360’s Xbox Live, fans were clamoring for more of Megaman. We had Megaman Legends 3 for the Nintendo 3ds announced in September 2010, and canceled despite the support of over 100,000 fans across the globe on July 18th, 2011. To make that year worse for us all, Rockman Online, a Korean MMORPG computer game, was announced during the same year of Megaman 10’s release, neared the final stages in 2012, then got canceled in 2013. How utterly disappointing. Making things less bad was Mega Man Universe, a PS3/Xbox 360 Megaman game I was highly unsure about, with a questionable art style, okay-ish gameplay, and not-too-necessary cameos from Street Fighter and Ghosts N Goblins in the forms of Ryu and Sir Arthur, respectively.
Then Maverick Hunter was announced. Not to be confused with the PSP port/”reboot” Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, Maverick Hunter was intended to be a First-Person Shooter, featuring a more cybernetic and “darker” Mega Man X working with a human officer partner (I wonder if that’s where SEGA and Sonic Team got the idea for the 2019 Sonic Movie xD). To achieve this “darker” tone, X would’ve become more powerful throughout this series (Yes, it would’ve been a trilogy if this went through and sold well, people), and Zero, who’d have been playable in Maverick Hunter 3, would’ve had to destroy an X corrupted by infinite knowledge and the immeasurable power he’d have gained over the course of the trilogy. Oh, dear sweet merciful Palutena! Thank Arceus that this Infernal atrocity was rightfully dead in 2010 and hidden for 3 years!
The bitter taste in my mouth since then still hasn’t gone away entirely. It has been somewhat alleviated with the 2014 arrival of a fan-made 8-bit demade version of the Rockman DASH 3 prototype. (Rockman DASH is the Japanese name for Megaman Legends.) However, it can’t make up for the real prototype we never got, so we as Mega Man fans had to wait and settle for appearances in games that were tedious and mediocre (*Ahem* Project X Zone and PS4 and Xbox One-exclusive Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite in particular *Ahem*), or collections of ports of older games in their glory days or decent crossovers. (Looking at you, Megaman Legacy Collection 1 + 2 and that Final Smash Cameo in Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3ds and Wii U alongside, MegaMan.EXE, Megaman Volnutt, and Star Force Mega Man – but in a good way.)
Those collections not only kept fan interest alive, but inspired new people, particularly Kazuhiro Tsuchiya, one of the game’s producers, to finally – FINALLY – step up in December 2017 during the Megaman 30th Anniversary live stream and reveal – through a very lovingly celebratory trailer combining 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit no less – that Megaman 11 was coming in Later 2018 for all platforms, including the Nintendo Switch. Shortly afterward, we got word that there’d be 2 Mega Man X Legacy Collection packs, each containing the 1st 4 games and the 2nd set of 4 games respectively. THAT was better than any material Christmas gift I’d ever gotten up to that point in my life.
Now, 10 months later, we FINALLY have Megaman 11 in our hands. As a rising contributor at Joycon Gamers (Having contributed nearly 30 articles at the time of writing this review), and as someone who’s gotten heavily attached to the franchise in such a short period of time. (I started in 2010 or so), I feel I should let you know about how I feel about Megaman 11, especially after 8 years of despaired waiting, 4 cancellations, and the departure of Keiji Inafune (One of the forefathers of Mega Man 1 (NES) who went on to make. . . Mighty No. 9. . . ugh!).
So, is this game a significant step up compared to what came beforehand? Let’s find out! This is my review of Megaman 11 for the Nintendo Switch!
WARNING: The following review is of a recently released game, and thus spoilers are bound to be revealed, so please either leave now and experience the story yourself, or experience the story yourself and come back after you finished the game, or just read along regardless. I won’t judge. (Out loud, of course.)
Story (Spoilers abound, of course)
So after it tells you about the autosave feature, the game interestingly opens up with a series of images detailing some never-before-seen insight into how the rivalry between Dr. Thomas Light and Dr. Albert W. Wily began and developed from their days in Robot University.
Dr. Wily reveals his Double Gear system, which can either enhance a robot’s powers, or improve their speed, but either being used causes great strains on the robot it’s used on. Dr. Light thought it was dangerous and nonsense and smartly decided to have the project shut down in favor of his own research regarding robots with independent thought. The committee approves of Light’s ideas and Wily in a fit of rage storms off and vows vengeance. Wily then wakes up from his nightmare and decides to use that research in another bid at world domination.
Before I continue, can I take a moment to describe how ingeniously subtle they made the connection and foreshadows towards the X series? Dr. Light’s desire for free-thinking robots would factor into his designs and intentions for his final creation, Mega Man X. Wily, wanting his last creation to overpower and destroy Mega Man (Classic), Bass, Proto Man, and possibly Mega Man X, focused on improving his last creation’s speed and power abilities to unimaginable heights, though it put great strain on his last creation (Zero), causing him to go violent and end up being sealed until the events of flashbacks in Mega Man X4, which then contradicts the Day of Σ OVA. (Unless you consider it a retcon, which by all accounts it is according to Capcom, and it would’ve been the case if Maverick Hunter X on the PSP had sold better.) However, if you take Zero being Zeroth-law compliant in terms of the Three Laws of Robotics into account, as well as him surviving the events of the X series, the Zero series, and arguably the ZX series in the form of Biometal Model Z, as well as the original plans for Dr. Light’s final creation, X, going evil due to most likely the same issues his copy ended up facing prior to that series, then Wily did indeed prove himself to be the superior between him and Light.
Either way, it’s an impressively subtle connection and nods towards setting up the Mega Man X series, which then sets up the Zero-ZX saga, and the Legends series, even if the connection isn’t obvious at first. (On a related note, if we can ever get a new ZX or Legends game, that’d be utterly fantastic, thank you very much!!) Also, interestingly enough, the Double Gear system model resembles the Red-Blue-Joycon-themed Nintendo Switch. Clever, Capcom.)
Anyways, going back to the main story, the actual story takes place some unknown time after Megaman 10. Wily busts into Light’s laboratory during a routine check-up of Light’s Robot Masters. (Fuse Man, Blast Man, Acid man, Tundra Man, Bounce Man, Torch Man, Impact Man, and Block Man), abduct the 8 Robot Masters using the Speed Gear he installed on his Wily UFO, and flees to brainwash them into causing havoc and destruction while Dr.Albert W Wily. . . hmm, plays Sudoku or something? I don’t know!
Before I go further, though, I gotta praise the Voice Acting. Keith Silverstein does a great job at voicing Wily He delivers in the deliciously hammy evil yet threatening villain that Wily tends to be. Dr. Light is voiced by Doug Stone, who does a good job at making Light sound a bit regretful about how his somewhat brash and dismissive attitude towards Wily’s Double Gear system led to so much devastation and destruction up to this point.
(Spoiler warning, Doc: It’s gonna MUCH worse in 21XX with the Rise of Sigma and the Mavericks that were based on X, courtesy of you, who made X, and Dr. Cain, who made the Reploids who’d go maverick initially, which lead to the Eurasia “bad ending” incident in X5, which then lead to Dr. Satan-Incarnate – bonus points for anyone who gets that reference – starting the Elf Wars, which killed 90% of the Reploids, and 60% of the humans after a disagreement between him and his rival – an ancestor of Zero Resistance leader Ciel – on how to end the Maverick Outbreaks and how to use the Cyber Elf, which led to him using the cyber elf, corrupting it into the Dark Elf at some point and the baby elves to corrupt Reploids into fighting each other, known as Project Elpizo, which Mega Man Zero 2 antagonist Elpizo named himself after and would then use Dr. Weil’s Dark Elf, kill X’s physical body, and subsequently allowing Dr. Weil and Omega to return in Zero 3 and Zero 4, causing him in turn to be exiled due to creating the judge reploids who tried him to begin with, donning a regenerating robotic body in the process, which then leads to the events of the Mega Man Zero series with him manipulating Elpizo into using the Dark Elf after a crushing loss to the Four Guardians, leading to X’s physical “death”, and Dr. Weil and Omega’s return, leading to Zero 3 and Zero 4, and at the end of Zero 4, was physically destroyed along with Ragnarok alongside Zero (physical form, though), with shards of their old selves and their past memories/data surviving, with Biometal Model W being so powerful that it can turn Mechaniloids and humans into mad-driven, evil beings alike. Model W was made by Master Albert (Based clearly on Wily in terms of evilness and extremeness), but Master Albert, and the antagonists of Mega Man ZX were mere pawns to Model W’s lingering will. Master Albert was one of three members of the Sage Trinity who formed Legion, the governing body of the timeline of the ZX series, though he would have his plans of having “this world be reset” by Master Thomas, as shown is ZX Advent’s Expert/Extreme Mode secret ending- a clear-as-day reference to how Wily and Thomas’s friendship during their Robot University days and their fallout after the Double Gear system debacle lead to the events of the franchise up to this point – which presumably involved flooding the world somehow and killing all his and having them be replaced by Carbons in the Legends series. Light, ya dun goofed, son! Also, great bookend on that note.)
*Ahem* Sorry about that tangent. Where was I.. .? Oh yeah, the voice acting. Mega Man himself is voiced by Ben Diskin, who I’m happy to say helps Mega Man/Rock sound more serious and grown-up than his (Mega Man’s) vocal depiction and tone in Mega Man 8. The rest of the cast, with the exception of maybe Bounce Man, sound fantastic and interesting.
Anyways, Dr. Light reluctantly gives a determined Mega Man/Rock the prototype version of the Double Gear system Wily worked on during his university days at Robot University. Several days later, Mega Man is suited up yet again to stop Dr. Wily’s newest ambitions at world domination and personal vengeance. After 4 of the 8 are defeated, Light reflects on the guilt he feels from not handling dealing with Wily’s dangerous ideas in a more supportive and friendly matter, which could’ve prevented MOST of this destruction and carnage in not just the classic series, but the rest of the mainline franchise that followed as well. (An example of evil NOT done by Wily is Rockman & Forte: Mirai Kara no Chōsensha, a Japan-only Wonderswan game where vertical levels were played by holding the system itself vertically, and had a villain and final boss named Rockman Shadow, which, while created by Wily due to meddling with the future in the Game Boy version of Mega Man II, was NOT used by present-day WIly nor was he intending to use the attack to plan another scheme in the shadows.) Also, on a related note. . . Hmm. Megaman had to be upgraded to even have a chance against a super powerful group of enemies. . . And in addition, Dr. Wily was behind the events of the game. . . Oh my Palutena, it’s a modern-day semi-retread of Megaman V on Game Boy!!
After all 8 Robot Masters are defeated, Wily foolishly – out of arrogance and egomania, gives Mega Man and crew the coordinates to his new Gear Fortress. There, Mega Man overcomes all challenges yet again, defeats the 8 Robot Masters once again, then takes on Wily in the Wily Machine 11, and then Wily challenges Mega Man again in a Double Gear-powered, Gear-shaped Wily Capsule. He can use Speed Gear to speed up his Movements and attacks, and Power Gear to power them up. He can also teleport, but after 12 Console platformers and 5 Game Boy games, I’m prepared for that inevitability.
For the 13th/18th (depending on preference) time, Wily is defeated and again begs for mercy. Dr. Light suddenly comes in and tries to get Wily to quit being evil and be his friend again. Wily refuses, staying persistent towards his goals of defeating Mega Man and humiliating Light, then sets the Gear Fortress to self-destruct. Auto shows up to get them out, Mega Man gets them all out with Rush Jet’s help, and the credits roll. and…it’s a blue scrolling background showing Mega Man and Rush heading home to Light Labs and then an enemy montage appears during the credits’ 2nd half instead of showing the fortress self-destruct like in Mega Man 4, 5, and 7. Then again, to be fair, the fortresses weren’t shown to be destroyed in 1, 2, 3, 8, maybe 9, and definitely 10. . . Ehh, maybe when Megaman 12 inevitably gets announced (provided that STUPID Live-action movie doesn’t ruin the franchise first), they’ll dedicate a scene showing the actual fortress explode on screen.
Anyways, in the epilogue, Auto is seen using Mega Man’s Double Gear to make getting the 8 Light Robot Masters back into commission and back on the side of justice by “Dinner time,” as Dr. Light puts it, easier, and the game ends on that light-hearted note.
Well, that was. . . interesting. It’s admittedly a somewhat-decent story if taken at face value and provided that you don’t know jack squat about the franchise’s history up to that point. It does its’ job at providing some character development and maturity for everyone other than Auto, no matter how minuscule it admittedly is in hindsight. The story mainly revolves around how Light and Wily’s days at Robot University and their disagreement about the Double Gear system led to Wily’s jealousy and resentment building up over the years to the point where WIly goes egomaniac and decides to conquer the world out of revenge and spite. Also, Roll happens to be voiced by the same Voice Actress named Erica Lindbeck, who happened to voice Futaba Sakura in last year’s hit ATLUS JRPG Persona 5 for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and the upcoming Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth for the Nintendo 3DS. Didn’t know that, did you?
That said, if you’re a long-time fan like me or say, uh, The Quarter Guy, or The Great Clement, or even Nick On Planet Ripple, then you’ll probably understand the incredible symbolism as to how each scientist’s differing views during their friendship would affect the world. X’s legacy got tarnished due to the real X having to imprison the Dark Elf in himself, leading to a copy version of him ruling Neo Arcadia but with none of the experience and leadership expertise that the real X had, which kinda tarnished his name, and his second and final, preceded by X’s final physical death in Zero 2 and succeeded by his final spiritual death in Zero 3 before returning somehow as a Biometal for the ZX saga, allowed Dr. Cyborg-Satan to control Neo Arcadia and eventually every other Reploid on the planet, while Wily’s final creation, Zero, saved humanity, and outlived X – TWICE, while Master Thomas ended up being as evil and manipulative as Master Albert, who in turn is based on Albert Wesker’s depiction in Resident Evil 5 – Another Capcom franchise – as shown in ZX Advent’s bonus, Expert-exclusive ending. The story is truly amazing if you take all of that into consideration.
That said, if you’re not into that deep symbolic stuff, then sorry, but I’m a huge video game nerd with a lot of time on my hands and am a huge fan of the Blue Bomber.
If you expected to see Proto Man and/or Bass in this game, then I’m sad to say that they aren’t in this game, possibly for the time being. I say “possibly” due to people clamoring for DLC that’d allow Proto Man and Bass to be playable. Seeing Super Bass with the Double Gear as a penultimate boss of this game would’ve been amazing as hell to watch, but Capcom played it safe. Yeah, I get it. They hadn’t successfully made a new game from beginning to completion in 8 years, but considering they changed things up regarding the art style, story, and weapons (more on that in the Gameplay section, which is coming really soon, I promise!), I felt that they could’ve done better. Also, considering the effort placed into the story and the subtle symbolism and all that good stuff, I felt that the scene where Megaman/Rock gets Rush Jet after the story scene involving a regretful Dr. Light could’ve easily been condensed into a simple “You unlocked Rush Jet” message. It just serves to kinda break the pace so that most people – except for dedicated speedrunners – don’t complete the game in less than one hour flat. That being said, it’s something I personally enjoyed, and I recommend you experience the story and not skip the cutscenes that you get more playtime into your game.
However, before I go on, I should point out that, barring Bass’s cameo in Megaman 9, this is the first (mainline) Classic Megaman game to not have Bass be either mentioned or make a physical appearance since Mega Man 7. This is also the first time since his debut in Mega Man III (NES) to not feature Proto Man at all, though he’s mentioned in the Sniper Joe’s entry in the Gallery section.
With all that said, however, It’s time I stopped rambling on about the story and its’ symbolism, and go right into the gameplay, the thing that most of you reading this lengthy as Hell review is probably much more worried about.
Let’s Gear up!
If you played Megaman 3-through Mega Man & Bass, you’ll feel right at home, people. Mega Man is the SOLE playable character in this game. I was admittedly hoping for something like in Powered Up for the PSP to occur where if you beat a Robot Master with the default Mega Buster, you’d get to play as that Robot Master in other stages. That gave the Powered Up PSP reboot/port of Megaman 1 a decent amount of replayability, at least if you’re playing the “New Style” version of Mega Man 1. Sadly we don’t get that here in Megaman 11, nor do we get any additional iconic characters to fight against, optional or otherwise, such as Optic Sunflower’s stage’s optional fight against an 8-bit Cut Man in Mega Man X8, which, in the original PS2 release, could be accessed by either inputting a secret code at the title screen, or having a save data file of Megaman X Command Mission on a PS2 memory card, while in the PC version of the game, you’d have to get every upper light in the Trola Base training sessions, and as for the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions of the Megaman X Legacy Collection 2 which contain Megaman X5-X8, you’d have to input a special secret code on the title screen. The image containing the code input will be displayed below for your convenience.
On a related note, the controls are pretty much what I expected, though I noted quite a good amount of times where I inadvertently would activate either the Power Gear or the Speed Gear by mistake via the L + R buttons. Rarely would I inadvertently activate Double Gear. It’s a bit of a somewhat decent complaint, but it’s nothing I’ll lose sleep over.
One thing to note is that Charge Shots in this game can stun enemies with annoying shields, such as Sniper Joes, Shield Attackers, etc., and then quickly hit them with another few regular shots if close enough and quick enough. Technically, the Rush Power Adaptor in mega Man VI for the NES gave its’ Charge Shots the ability to break enemy shields first, the regular Megaman Charge Shot couldn’t do that until this game. Still, I thought that was worth mentioning.
The real mechanic of the game and the main selling point of both the story and the gameplay itself is the Double Gear system.
When using Double Gear, you can use one of two gears. The read gear, known as the Power Gear and triggered with the L Button, allows you to Charge a Charge Shot which, when fired, can hit enemies for massive damage or – as I mentioned earlier – stun shielded enemies. In addition, however, it automatically fires a second charge shot to help finish off shielded enemies more easily and safely when your first shot is fully charged. This also allows your weapons to be overcharged with power. Block Man’s Block Dropper allows for 16 or so blocks to drop with the Power Gear, Bounce Man’s Bounce Ball can fire 6 shots that go in 3 different directions and rebound all back forth and forth all over the place and lasts a while longer than normal. Tundra Man’s Tundra Storm, when overclocked with the Power Gear, becomes a screen nuck similar to Toad Man’s Rain Flush from Mega Man IV (NES) and Centaur Man’s Centaur Flash in Mega Man VI, but it can also freeze Torch Man’s fiery walls of instadeath. Huh. . . Anyways, according to the Mega Man Wikia, “If the Mega Buster is fully charged when the meter reaches its limit, it will be possible to fire an extra-powerful Final Charge Shot (ファイナルチャージショット), but at the price that the cooldown period from overheating cannot be prevented. Notably, even if the gauge meter reaches the maximum, Mega Man will not enter cooldown mode while charging until he either fires the Charge Shot, deactivates the gear, or is damaged.”
This is a reference to how X’s various armors in the Mega Man X series allow him to charge up special weapons, but without having X use up more Special Weapon Energy to do so, unlike his Classic counterpart.
Up next is the blue-colored Speed Gear, which is activated by pressing the R button. Speed Game acts as Classic Megaman’s/Rock’s equivalent to PlatinumGames’ “Witch Time” mechanic from the Bayonetta series, in that it slows down everything on screen, makes Megaman move faster with afterimages, etc., allowing for more precise platforming, or to make getting away from Block Man’s instadeath Grinding Walls on a conveyor belt with puzzle platforming or Torch Man’s THREE fiery walls of doom significantly easier.
On an unrelated side note, The Speed Gear of Megaman 11 being similar to PlatinumGames’ Witch Time mechanic from the Bayonetta series makes sense, because PlatinumGames was founded after a merger between two companies; those being Seed Inc. and Odd Inc. Seed Inc. was founded by Shinji Mikami, Atsushi Inaba, and Hideki Kamiya after the closure of Capcom’s Clover Studio, while Odd Inc. was founded by Tatsuya Minami, at least according to Wikipedia. The more you know.
Anyways, The Double Gear’s full power can only be used when Mega Man is critically low on health (About 4-6 bars from my experience), and by pressing the L+R buttons simultaneously. Mega Man gains the benefits of the Speed Gear where everything slows down and the overcharged Special Weapons, the dual charge shot, and the -albeit easier-to-execute in this state – Final Charge Shot of the Power Gear. There are a few drawbacks, though. For one, you can’t use them with reckless abandon unless you purchase a specific part in the shop in Dr. Light’s Laboratory called the Cooling System ∞, which allows you to use the Speed and Power Gear – individually I might add – with reckless abandon as much as you Goddamn please. on the flip side, though, it costs 3,000 bolts to get, and you’d need to get the regular cooling system first (I think) anyways. Two more personally essential upgrades for first-time Megaman players are the Awakener Chip and the Energy Dispenser part. The Awakener Chip (Pictured below) lets you use Special Weapons and their Power Gear Supercharged variants with NO COST to your Special Weapon Energy Meter. Energy Dispenser reduces your Energy Gauge but makes it easier to use the Double Gear mechanic as a result. Second, you can’t deactivate the Double Gear once it’s used, and thirdly, once it inevitably overheats, you drop to one HP on your Health Energy Meter, and you can’t charge your shots until a significantly longer cooldown than the cooldown duration for the individual Power Gear or Speed Gear runs out. However, some of these nifty upgrades won’t be available until the game is beaten for the first time, or have really weird unlock conditions like playing on a Saturday which I discovered when playing the demo on my Switch on a Saturday by complete accident!
Hell, almost all items in the shop are eligible for discounts, and I still have no clue what causes the shop in Dr. Light’s Lab to have discounted prices on most/all items even after several playthroughs.
In a cool reference/nod to the X Series, Mega Man’s new ability with gaining a new Head and Arm Gear in addition to the color changes when using special weapons is similar to his successor’s Armor changes. In addition, Just like in Mega Man 7, Mega Man 8, and Powered Up, the Robot Masters make an animated entrance (such as Fuse Man dropping down onto the stage while inside a lightning bolt in this game’s case).
The 8 Robot Master Stages and the 3 Wily Gear Fortress stages in this game are pretty decent. The backgrounds of the stages are pretty decent, have beautiful animations in the case of the Gear Fortress stages and map screen, and look super gorgeous, especially in comparison to past games in the franchise like Mega Man VII, or Megaman 8.
The enemy variation in this game is pretty good as well. We got new ones such as mini-bosses Totemer and Dread Spark, variations of classic enemies like the Shield Attacker M in Acid Man’s stage, and Sniper Armor D. The enemy variation is pretty good. Seeing them, Mega Man/Rock and everyone else in a 2.5D setting is pretty cool, plus the enemies have good animations and in some cases unique reaction animations for when they’re using a shield and are hit by a Charge Shot. We even got new regular enemies such as the cowardly Anti-Eddie who steals items like Health/Energy Capsules, 1-Ups, etc., and runs away and can only be stopped by using Speed Gear, the Mawaru C, a small, round greenish robot who rolls/rides around in a metallic wheel-shield-thing with a small opening, and the Cannonpeller II, an improved version of the Cannonpeller enemy from Mega Man VI on NES.
There are stage hazards such as instadeath spikes in Acid Man and Tundra Man’s stages. Block Man, Torch Man, and WIly Gear Fortress 2’s stages all have segments where you’re either outrunning a series of THREE moving walls of Instadeath Fire which can be frozen with a Power Gear Tundra Storm, 3 instadeath Grinder walls on conveyor belts, or a horizontal-moving Skull-shaped spike wall of Instadeath or climbing a series of platforms while two Crushing spike walls of instadeath close in from either side of that room.
Couldn’t they make more original hazards instead of recycling one type of obstacle? When I saw Torch Man’s third firewall, I got bored and impatient. The soundtrack, except the title screen, stage select, and Wily instrumental stage themes are just rather uninteresting and boring compared to the classic 8-Bit soundtracks of Mega Man (NES), Mega Man II (NES), Mega Man III (NES), Mega Man IV (NES and GB), Mega Man V (NES and GB), and especially Mega Man VI. 16-bit themes like the title theme of X1, Boss Intro of X1, and Sigma Fortress Boss theme (X1), as well as the credits theme of Mega Man VII, are all pretty darn incredible to listen to.
There are 4 difficulty settings: Newcomer, Casual, Normal, and Superhero.
NOTE: The following synopses of each difficulty setting in this game comes from the r/Megaman thread on Reddit, specifically by user u/FlamingTails. All credit for this info goes to him.
Newcomer mode makes the game super easy. Dying is nearly impossible, Lives, Super Guards, Spike Guards and Beat Cells are infinite-use items in this mode, damage is reduced even more than on Casual mode, you get a free Energy Balancer to start out with, Special Weapon Energy refills on death much like in Megaman 8, Significantly reduced weapon energy consumption, Double Gear energy consumption is halved (from what I can tell), All enemies drop pickups, you deal double damage (tested on Brick Man; basic pellets did 2 units of damage), and Level design similar/exactly the same (from what I’ve noticed) as Casual. Basically, this difficulty is player’s first Mega Man/Megaman-esque title.
Casual Mode gives the following benefits: You Start with 5 lives, take reduced damage, slightly easier level design (And by that, I mean some enemies are removed and some extra health pickups are added), special weapon energy is fully refilled upon death just like Megaman 8, and extra checkpoints are added. It’s good for those who haven’t played a Megaman game in awhile and feels their skills are rusty.
Next up is Normal Mode. The standard experience you’d expect from a Megaman game (Classic or otherwise), and you get 2 extra lives (0 is a number, people).
Superhero mode. . . oh, boy… where do I begin with this difficulty setting? Basically, Bolts/Screws are all that drop from defeated enemies, Health pickups are unavailable in stages except in-between stages at the shop in Dr. Light’s Lab, enemies deal more damage, I think there’s fewer checkpoints, and a few other things. This difficulty will test your mastery of the Double Gear mechanic, your usage of Rush equipment, and how you utilize Special Weapons and your platforming skills. Playing conservatively and patiently, as SomecallmeJohnny said during the course of his Classic Console Megaman Marathon, “is the key to winning.” Reversely, playing liberally and recklessly will get you plenty of game overs in no time flat, and will leave you frustrated.
At any point in the game, you can try out the Challenge modes, accessible by picking the Extra section in the main menu. These Challenge missions require you to do various things, like clear a stage with as few jumps as possible. Another type of challenge, new to this game, is the Balloon Challenge, where you have to avoid hitting Red Balloons in order to avoid incurring a 10-second penalty on your timer. missing and/or avoiding Blue Balloons will also incur a time penalty. There’s also a score attack mode, where your task is to clear the stage as quickly as possible, kill as many enemies as possible, and chain enemy kills in order to rack up as high a score as possible. MOre challenges can be unlocked by completing the initial set given to you, with the most difficult ones being the Dr. Light Trials. The initial one only requires that you get through 30 rooms to get the Gold Medal. Yeah, these things appeared starting in the first Legacy Collection and have appeared ever since then. Go figure.
At least it’s not as bad as the Endless version of the Dr. Light Trials. It’s basically an endless gauntlet that lasts until you die. To get a Gold Medal, you’re gonna need to bring your A-game and have a lot of time, patience, and focus on your hands to attempt something like clearing 60 rooms in ONE life. Sheesh! Thankfully, the medals are optional, but if you’re a competitive World Record seeker, then you’re gonna want to go out of your way to do this grueling task.
One thing that you’ll probably get annoyed of quickly if you’re one who tends to during the Robot Master boss fights is their voice acting, specifically their In-battle quotes. Bounce Man and his lines sound rather high-pitched by male standards. (Go ask any male theater person you know, ask them if guys are supposed to sound like Bounce Man does in-game, then come back to tell me in the comments section if that’s the case or not.) Wily’s line about how “Wily always wins!” is plain silly, sounds annoying, and will be repeated on average every 3-10 seconds during the last part of the final phase where he’ll pull out his own Double Gear. Lose? You’ll have to face any of them again, and put up with their somewhat annoying battle quotes AGAIN!! GAHHHHHH!!!!
Conclusion + Final Score
Megaman 11 is a game that certainly lives up to the legacy of the first 10 Classic Megaman games. The transition from the retro 8-bit trend of retro revivals of 2008 in Megaman 9’s case and 2010 in Megaman 10’s case to a 2.5D cel-shaded art style somewhat reminiscent of either Megaman Powered Up for the PSP – albeit less cartoony – or more accurately, Mega Man X8. It’s pretty good. The story is pretty interesting and heavily symbolizes how each scientist’s differing views on Robotics (Light’s focus on Independent free-thinking Robots, and Wily’s original focus on building robots that could be “real heroes”, which ironically came true with the creation of his final creation – Zero – and the subsequent events of the X and Zero series, before the ZX series went and undid all of that progress, leading to the Legends series where thousands of years after the rest of the mainline franchise, humans have gone extinct, and the planet has been mostly flooded, presumably as a result of Master Albert and Master Thomas’s shared plan to “reset the world.”)
The soundtrack may be hit or miss, but the gameplay is top-notch, borrowing elements from the Mega Man X series and Platinum Games’ Bayonetta series. The Double Gear mechanic is pretty good and is, surprisingly, optional. The constant usage of Advancing Walls of Doom in Torch Man’s stage, Block Man’s stage, and Wily’s Gear Fortress stage 2 is a bit lazy and reeks of un-originality and all that, but the art style and 2.5D Cel-Shaded graphics, combined with the gameplay of MegaMan and the return of the Slide and Charge Shot abilities, more than makeup for its’ few shortcomings.
As I said in this review quite a number of times, the story and its’ symbolism of how Light and Thomas’s different opinions and Light’s cold dismissal of the Double Gear system that he later conceded was perfected when utilized by Mega Man and the genocidal tragedies and apocalypses that transpired as a result with Wily’s final creation being the true hero he originally envisioned making with that system is impressive as all Hell. It’s a great game that shouldn’t be missed out on, and it the Challenges achievements and various extra modes and difficulties add quite a bit to the mix in terms of replayability, especially for those of you, like me, who wanna be the best at Megaman and be a “Super Fighting Robot.” For $29.99 (Before taxes, of course), this is a good-valued game that you can not and should NOT miss out on if you want Megaman as a game franchise to continue. I give Megaman 11 a very high recommendation. Go buy it! Like, buy it right now!!
Megaman 11 for Nintendo Switch
This game, after an 8-year hiatus, is a true return to form for the Classic Blue Bomber. With a symbolic story that sheds Light (heh) on Dr. Light and Dr. Wily's Robot University days that led to the events of the entire mainline franchise (Classic-X-Zero-ZX-Legends), it sheds new revelations on old characters, gives the good guys some moral grayness, etc. The Double Gear system adds in an Overcharged Weapon mechanic first seen with X's armors in the Mega Man X series, and the Witch Time of PlatinumGames' Bayonetta series. The somewhat overabundance of Advancing Walls of Doom and the lack of fan-favorite characters and some annoying in-battle dialogue is a bit annoying, and the soundtrack is somewhat forgettable, but the rest of the game more than makes up for the few flaws it does have.