I'm a pretty longtime Mega Man fan. I mean, the first game was my introduction to the series way back when. And Mega Man has been a part of my gaming life since then. I've certainly played the vast majority of his major outings. And when 11 was announced, I was excited. But I've been putting off actually delving into it for a while.
The Switch has seen A LOT of Mega Man games come to its little screen, and I've gone back and played a bunch of them. But that's part of the problem. Over the past year or two I kind of burned myself out on these games. Don't get me wrong - it's always great to go back and replay stuff like 2 and 3 and X. But man... some of the OTHER games just don't hold up as well for me and after awhile I started to experience a Mega Man fatigue.
But I must say that Mega Man 11 is turning out to be a breath of fresh air. Maybe the biggest thing for me is that unlike 9 and 10 which attempted to hang onto Mega Man's retro roots, 11 is actually a "current gen" game. No throwback sprites. No artificial slowdown. No chiptunes. This is an honest to goodness new Mega Man game. One that looks and feels like it was made TODAY. And as it turns out, it's all the better for it.
I remember when Mighty No 9 was announced. Back then I looked at those screenshots and was just like, yeah - this is what Capcom needs to do. They need to make a MODERN Mega Man game. In HD. One not held back by nostalgia. And now we all know how Mighty No 9 turned out. But dudes, Mega Man 11 took cues from that project and delivered what seems to be (so far) an excellent new installment.
The other big surprise for me is the story. Normally I don't care about a story in Mega Man games. Or to be more precise, normally any Mega Man game story is cringe-worthy and I just skip it. But wow. In this game we have an honest to goodness story that's actually interesting and well delivered. I'm impressed.
There's also the introduction of a couple of new systems here. One allows you to briefly slow time, and the other allows you to briefly make your shots hit harder. Both have cooldowns so you'll need to use them wisely - if at all. So far, I feel like these are kind of there IF YOU NEED THEM. Like, extra tools to make a difficult game slightly easier. And yes, this game is TOUGH.
I managed to clear four stages last so far:
Block Man - This one felt like a pretty meat and potatoes Mega Man level, and Block Man wasn't too tough to take down. At first I thought his power was kind of dumb. It lets you drop a pile of blocks on an enemy. But after actually using it - wow. It's really cool.
Acid Man - This stage was tough. But Acid Man went down easy with the blocks. His power is kind of meh. It creates an acid shield around you and THEN shoots acid shots. I don't really get it.
Impact Man - His attack is pretty neat, as it lets you lash out with a melee attack which you can even do in the air.
Bounce Man - This level was infuriating. Like possibly one of the most frustrating Mega Man levels of all time. If I had played this one first, I'd probably have rage-quitted the game and said I hated Mega Man 11. So bullet dodged there.
Continuing on, I did the other four stages...
Fuse Man - cool level design. I had fun with this one. And his power is interesting, in that you drop two balls of electricity that climb the floor/walls in both directions.
Tundra Man - Another cool level. I liked this one a lot. The robotic snow was a neat touch. His weapon is an interesting tornado kind of storm that engulfs you.
Torch Man - This stage was cool, but a little frustrating. There's some parts with walls of fire chasing you, which makes the game feel like a runner. I did use the slowdown power thing here. His weapon shoots a flame thing in an arc which I don't really care for.
Blast Man - Is this supposed to be a knock on Bomberman? I don't know. This stage bugged me though. There were some platforming sections that took me forever to get through.
And then on to Wily's Castle...
This is quite often the make-it-or-break-it point for me in Mega Man games. I tend to have the most fun doing the robot stages, and then get frustrated or burnt out in Wily's castle and it's starting to feel that way here. I realize that this is like half the game, but it's usual the first half I enjoy more.
I got up to that boss that is made up of blocks - y'know the throwback to MM2? And he annoyed me so hard. He destroyed me over and over and that's where I stopped. For now.