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Megaman 11 Review: The Blue Bomber's Returnis a fun one, if not the most thought out or creative comeback

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    Mega Man 11

    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    Megaman 11 Review: The Blue Bomber's Returnis a fun one, if not the most thought out or creative comeback

    I’ve had a long fun relationship with the Blue Bomber. Megaman came out the same day I was born, and one of the first video games I saw was my cousin showing me Megaman 2. I even tried a little of it myself, and while I only managed to shoot a few enemies before I kept falling off a cliff I still had a blast with this blue dude and his laser gun.

    It was that coolness that helped me become a video game fan, and while I admit I have more of a bond with Megaman’s older brother, Megaman X, I still have fun with all of the games in classic series and it would seem I’m not the only one. Megaman may not be seen as a ¡° Superstar¡± these days, but in the 8 bit era he was one of the biggest stars right along side Mario, Link, and the others. Capcom had a winning formula that worked well for them, but alas confidence lead to overconfidence as the Blue Bomber’s games unfolded. Around Megaman 4 is when the robot’s adventures started to leave less and less of a impact, feeling like more of the same.

    By the time of Megaman 6 the series was fading, did not help that it was 8 bit games still being released now that the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, more powerful 16 bit games were now the super stars. Its because of this that Megaman took a backseat to Megaman X after 6.

    The Blue Bomber would try and keep up with the trends, but his newer games, Megaman 7 for the Super Nintendo, Megaman 8 for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn, and the for a time Japan only Megaman and Bass, while all quality games, for all of their improvements, never were able to make the same impact that the first three Megaman games made.

    Hence Megaman would take a backseat not only to X, but his ¡° other¡± brothers, AKA the Megaman Legends series, the Battle Network series, and more as it seemed that old school 2D Platforming was just to dull to be worth a investment anymore.

    But, as time passed, Megaman X, and all the other Megaman series fell into ruts, some ended their runs as planned like the Megaman Zero and Battle network series, while some are in a very long limbo like X and the Legends games.

    After so much time had passed, what was old was once more new, and Capcom, seeing the success of other old games making come backs like the New Super Mario bros, they decided to give Megaman a come back tour in the form of Megaman 9.

    To say Megaman Nine was back to basics was a understatement, Capcom took Megaman back to when it was ¡° hip¡± AKA making it look like the NES games, and even getting rid of moves the Blue Bomber would have like the Mega-Buster and the Slide to make it¡± extra¡± vintage.

    For the most part it worked, Megaman nine was well liked for ¡° going back to basics¡± and Capcom seemed to know what they were doing again. Alas they mostly smashed the good will Megaman Nine brought them with Megaman ten, yet another 8 bit game, also cashing in on nostalgia.

    However Megaman 10 had less heart to it, and more DLC. Thus while Megaman 10 was not a failure, it was not enough of a hit to impress the overlords and Megaman’s come back tour ended rather quickly.

    After this their was some, very bitter fallout between Megaman’s creator and Capcom and he left, all but turning all Megaman related things to the unwanted child at Capcom, and from 2011 to 2018 Megaman had no real games and the best he or X or the others could manage were cameos in things like Super Smash Bros or Project Cross Zone.

    Things were so anti Blue Bomber that Keiji Inafune, Megaman’s creator had to get a Kickstarter going to create the¡± Next¡± Megaman, Mighty No. 9. Their were hopes that Mighty No. 9 would be the new Megaman. Well, that’s a story for another review but the short version is¡­it did not quite work out that way. BUT capcom saw how much hype Mighty No.9 had and remembered they had the original so yah, Megaman was back.

    This time they did more then copy and paste the look of the old school Megaman games, it took making new, mostly modern graphics. As for the gameplay and story well, mostly new. But all in all is Megaman 11 yet another nostalgic bait to make up for the fact that it’s the same old blue song? Well, to find out its review time.

    Plot: Spinning the same old gears over and over.

    Now¡­Megaman was never a plot heavy series but 11’s plot is one step away from being as lazy as the New Super Mario Bros.

    Wily randomly remembers Light shot down his theory for how robots should be and got his tech buddies to fund him instead of Wily so, we got the REAL reason Wily got bitter at Light or, something. And since he magically remembers he brings back this Double Gear system for his new plan, which surely will get revenge on Megaman, long as everyone forgets times like Megaman 8 and others when his Robots had power ups that were a sure fire path to success.

    So yah that’s the gist of the plot, no twists or turns, just Wily taking over the world again with the power of the week in the vibe of a random cartoon episode. Yah Megaman’s not Final Fantasy or Persona or something but, this is clearly a plot that’s all about the game’s focus and little else. Sure, not the first time that happened in Megaman but, it feels even more forced here. Would be nice if they tried, but, that’s clearly not the agenda for this.

    Graphics: Looks as detailed as it can get without seeing Mega zits.

    Megaman had been out of the graphics game for so long that many even wondered how a modern Megaman game would look. The last 3D Megaman game, well, Megaman X8 had a odd thin look to it at times. Mighty No.9 had that look to, and it gave off a look that made it inferior to 2D look at times, a look that lacked life.

    Thankfully Cell Shaded style graphics have improved so now Megaman 11 managed to look as cartoonish and lively as Megaman 8 did. It works, everyone looks lively and fun. All the levels have their own look and are not dull to go through.

    The boss’s are without a doubt the most lively in a Megaman series with the most flashy to boot. I mean, its no like, Final Fantasy 15 or Halo Five in terms of looks but, you were misguided if you thought Megaman would be like that. Well, at least the main Megaman games, maybe Legends 3 if it ever comes out. So yah, everything’s as it should be so they get a A for the Graphics. But does the rest of the sections pass the grade?

    Music: Playing the same old song again¡­and again¡­and again.

    Megaman always had catchy tunes, and what makes catch music is not set in stone for everyone.

    That being said¡­to me the music in Megaman 11 falls short, quite short. Very song may not sound the same, but every song seems to have the same sound to it. Its true NES games, all 8 bit games had limits to what variety with music but even with those limitations the majority of the Megaman games manage to pull off having a good soundtrack.

    For me at least its just not feeling that way, all the songs have very, oh, stale noise to them and even if the songs are not all the same they do all have the same feel after a while. The Boss songs lack the intense vibe that many of the best battle songs have had, the final area lacks the intense feel of a approaching showdown. It does seem that for those who got the preorder bonus your able to obtain classical retakes of the soundtrack.

    And that’s nice but that’s not something everyone can get so I’m just judging the basic OST for now, and on its own it only gives me a meh feeling, its not good when not a single song in the game comes off as memorial to me. This is another Megaman game with voice acting, and the series has not had the best record with that.

    Megaman X last left off with top notch hot blooded action but his younger/ older brother has always flipped between cheesy and REALLY cheesy between Megaman 8 and the PSP remake of one. Here it, not to cheesy, just nothing to great either. Doctor Light does not sound like Elmer Fudd here but, nor is his acting going to win any awards either, same goes for the others. Megaman at last sounds like well, a man and not a girl. But, hardly as epic sounding as X sounded in X8 or others. Same with Wily and, everyone else in the game, not the worst but nothing to great either.

    As for the Robot Masters well, not the best either. They cut back them having full speech’s before the fight and its back to Megaman 8 where they just give zingers during the match. But, the vast majority of them are lame quips.

    At least Megaman 8 had the novelty of it being the first time that kind of thing happened, now it’s just, a handful of eyerolls really. Kind of a shame we regressed to that kind of thing but, clearly not the priority for Capcom.

    Fair enough that it was not their focus, but that does not mean it gets a pass so, the sound area is more of a B- at best really. But in the end while music is a nice bonus people are not playing Megaman to hear a music recital right? The core foundation is the gameplay, so how does that hold up?

    Time to get to that.

    Gameplay: After this Megaman should think about naming himself Matrix Man if this goes on.

    Megaman has his spin off’s to do the drastic changes so most in Capcom have been smart enough to not rock the boat with the classic series. Despite the facelift that’s mostly the case with 11. Though, it did get some new changes with the central new ¡° toy¡± the Double Gear system.

    Theses super epic gears allow Megaman to slow down time or have a ¡° burst’ mode where he can spam strong attacks for a limited time. Unlike the weapons Megaman gets from the Robot Masters this does not take energy but it DOES have a cool down system so if you abuse it you can screw yourself over.

    Of course, since it IS unlimited use as long as you plan things out, you can go most of the obstacles in slow motion, making it more then a tad easier to react in time to threats and what not. Once you unlock the upgrade to increase the time the Double Gear has it gets even easier.

    And when you beat the game once and buy the function to make it have no limit¡­then the game’s easier then having the Ultimate Armor in the X games by more then a bit. That being said the Double Gear is not the only stuff you have in the game.

    You have the usual eight Master Weapons, the gear you get from beating each boss. You also have the usual Rush Coil and Jet, though this time they share the same energy meter for some reason. Like in most of the more recent Megaman games you can buy items and upgrades at the shop by collecting bolts, not much new their aside from a few new toys.

    Aside from the Double Gear and the new look its mostly the same Megaman as before. To make sure current gen gamers are not left to far behind we got four difficulty modes this time. The most casual mode makes it so you take less damage, and things that would normally kill you in one hit like spikes no longer do so. In less casual mode you have five lives and more checkpoints and other advantages. In ¡° Normal¡± mode you start off with only two lives, though you can buy more lives in the shop to make up for that.

    But you can’t buy more checkpoints, and that can be a pain since the levels are a little longer then most Megaman games. The length is not wasted but it can be a drag to die just at the end only to start from the beginning. If even that’s not giving you enough fun you can go Superhero mode, AKA hardcore bragging rights mode.

    This mode goes all the stops, enemies don’t drop health, extra damage, extra hazards, extra taxes, you name it. Still not as crazy as say, X6 but a mode were you have to show your gaming skills. On top of that the game has extra challenges, the norm in this era of achievements. If you want to do all that then you will have plenty more things to do. However if you don’t care about getting all the achievements if you focus you can knock this game out in less then a week, for even with the extra length to the 8 main levels, between their not being a intro level and the final areas having some short levels this is far from the longest Megaman game.

    Of course, the problem is that they might try and artificially increase the length down the road with dreaded DLC. Its been quite noted that popular charters in the series like Megaman’s brother Protoman and rival Bass are completely absent in this game. Its not confirmed yet, but there are a few hints, and its infuriating that Capcom would resort to that to drag out sells but, they are hardly the norm so we can only hope it is not to expensive a bonus to buy.

    But for now the game is rather short, and I suppose that’s for the best so it would not out live its welcome, because while Megaman 11 is a solidly made game, its only new trick is the Double Gear system so having to many levels where it all depended on that would get old fast. I am let down in some ways that Megaman 7, 8, and Megaman and Bass all seemed more ambitious gameplay wise, but I guess after a long time away from the spotlight Capcom wanted to show they can still get the basics right. Megaman 11 has shown that, and I’m glad that its not another retro cash in like 10 was, but hopefully Megaman 12 will take at least some more risks, for if the series gets content to once more just pump out stagnate sequels the series can easily have yet another short return.

    We will see how the future goes, but to sum up the present, I would recommend Megaman 11 to anyone who enjoys quality action games long as you don’t mind old school fun and the ¡°Kiddy¡± look to it. It does not redefine action games, and does not really redefine Megaman games for that matter, but it does show that Megaman games are still fun even in the era of HD movie games.

    It’s too early to tell if Megaman 11 will do well enough for the Blue Bomber to stick around, but for all its faults Megaman shows he still is going strong thirty years later.Just don’t get cocky Rock, would hate for your return to be short lived. That’s why while I like the game, for its faults I still give it a B-, good, but needs more to be "special."

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