Megaman 11 sees Capcom’s blue bomber return to form after an 8 year hiatus. Megaman 10 was the last main series entry in the franchise and since Megaman creator, Keiji Inafune’s departure from Capcom, the company hasn’t built on the main series until now. There have been spin-offs and cameo appearances in other franchises such as Megaman outfits in Monster Hunter games but there hasn’t been a true successor and main series entry since 2010.
In Megaman 11, players will take on the role of the titular character himself albeit enhanced with a new systems upgrade. Dr. Wily wakes up from a nightmare about his early university career and remembers his first major breakthrough invention that was tossed aside. The Double Gear system was rejected by his peers in favour of his rival Dr. Light’s invention.
Fast forward back to the present and Dr. Wily revives his Double Gear system, breaks into Dr. Light’s lab and kidnaps Dr. Light’s robots for “enhancing”. Dr. Light is having none of that though and upgrades Megaman himself with the Double Gear system too. The Double Gear system is in reality pretty simplistic but its effects are invaluable for Megaman’s survival. One of the gears in the system activates a speed mode. This slows down time by immensely enhancing Megaman’s speed. The other gear in the system activates a power mode, increasing Megaman’s weapon damage beyond its conventional limits.
The Double Gear system also has the added benefit of activating both systems at once. This results in a sort of overpowered state where Megaman is able to perform at extremely enhanced capabilities. There is a however a downside to this in that it causes system overheating. What this means is that once Megaman overheats, he enters a reduced power state until his systems normalize again. Players will be able to monitor the system’s temperature thanks to the handy gauge that appears when using the Double Gear system.
Carefully using this system is key to victory in Megaman 11.
The gameplay in Megaman 11 is excellent. Being a 2.5D platformer, Megaman 11’s levels are each unique and while each is immediately accessible, progressing through some of these will be rather impossible without first playing through another level and gaining an upgrade. Gamers will, therefore, have to load up a level, play as far as they can get, collecting in-game currency parts for purchasing upgrades on the way, and then return back to Dr. Light’s lab to enhance themselves. Defeating a boss in a level also unlocks are a new upgrade for Megaman himself and you can choose whether or not to equip these upgrades in the in-game inventory screen.
The level of complexity in Megaman 11 is praiseworthy. This isn’t just another cash-grab game. Capcom has made the game accessible to both kids and adults and the upgrade system is definitely quite strategic in its implementation since different levels will require specific upgrades and abilities in order to enjoy them to the fullest. The difficulty levels on offer make a world of difference. Kids will be able to enjoy the game on it’s easiest while those that are Megaman purists will be able to get their souls crushed by the game’s normal to hard difficulties. Megaman 11 can be blatantly brutal at times.
There are some specific areas in levels that will make you think “Wow, that’s pretty nasty. I love it!” when faced with particular platforming challenges. This however also comes with the caveat that some areas will make you want to rage quit and throw your controller at the screen in frustration. Megaman 11 rewards patience and while the game is quite challenging on Normal and above, it’s not impossible to defeat. The sense of reward you feel upon completing a level is also incredibly satisfying in this regard.
Graphically, Megaman 11’s new 2.5D aesthetic is downright gorgeous. Levels are incredibly well designed and so are the enemies that populate it. Backgrounds are visually pleasing and the special effects of weapons are flashy enough to satisfy everyone. The character animations are also silky smooth and overall Capcom have outdone themselves with how great the game looks. It’s an artistic masterpiece that fans will love.
Being able to utilize different pieces of equipment in customizing your Megaman adds a more personal feel to the game. Players will definitely enjoy making use of this feature as they continuously play through levels and accumulate in-game currency to spend. There’s also a challenge mode available to really push you to your limits and the addition of online leaderboards rounds this off quite nicely.
The soundtrack is great too and there are a few tracks, in particular, that stand out above others. The sound of weapons and enemies are on point and the Double Gear system’s activation and effect sounds emphasize its importance in the game. Having fully voiced story segments is quite a welcome addition too.
Overall, Capcom has revived the Megaman franchise and reinvigorated it with modern day gaming platforming excellence. The graphics, the soundtrack, and the actual gameplay meld into one complete package that fans and newcomers alike can enjoy. While the game does carry a hefty price tag across all platforms, the sheer number of hours of enjoyment it’ll give you makes it all worthwhile if you’re a fan of 2.5D platformers.