The Mega Man series is a long and storied one, having started back in 1987. It has been about 8 years since we last got a Mega Man game and many fans feared the worst for the Blue Bomber, believing that after the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3, the series had finally run its course.
However in December of 2017, as part of the 30th anniversary announcement, Capcom announced that Mega Man 11 was in the works and would be released sometime in 2018.
Now with a firm release date of October 2nd, we finally got our first hands on experience with Mega Man 11 and it is absolutely every bit the Mega Man game fans have been hoping for. I was able to play through the Block Man stage earlier today on the E3 show floor.
After just a bit of coaching from the staff there (they basically just told me which triggers controlled Mega Mans new “Double Gear” system) I was finally able to demo a game I have been fairly excited for since it was announced late last year.
Rest assured, even with the addition of the “Double Gear” system, Mega Man 11 plays very very much like the previous entries in the series. The controls are absolutely fluid and even switching between the two different gear systems became almost second nature after a few tries against some the smaller enemies found through the stage.
I was playing on the Xbox One version and there was absolutely no input lag that I could discern, which is a great thing, because even though it was a demo stage, Capcom went all out with some fairly devious platforming elements and the infamous bottomless pits the series is known for.
This is where the strength of the Double Gear system comes in to play. During my time with the game, there were quite a few enemies around that could only take damage for a moment, either when they were stationary or when the hole in their shield showed up.
While these mechanics are really nothing new to long time players of the series, the addition of the Double Gear system makes tackling some of these enemies, and even the environmental hazards in the stages that much easier.
The first of the Double Gear attributes basically powers up Mega Mans blaster, allowing you to discharge two charged mega buster attacks in one go and it seemed as if it also powered up the regular shots of the mega buster.
The second gear is the Speed gear, which allows Mega Man to slow down time to a crawl, allowing him to make more precise jumps, hit enemies with a narrow target frame and so on.
Just like the slide ability when it was first introduced, it make take players a moment or two to really realize the advantages and disadvantages of these new abilities, but with practice, they will fit right in with Mega Mans current arsenal of abilities.
Be warned however, that extended use of either gear ability will cause an overheat status, where until you have cooled offed, you will be unable to use either of the gears. This can cause issues in stages when you will really want those abilities in a stage to make certain enemies or pitfalls easier to deal with.
There is a third and final Double Gear ability Mega Man can call upon when he is at critical health. The gear ability is aptly called, Double Gear. By combining the powers of the Attack and the Speed gears, Mega Man slows down time and fires off a massive blast from his Mega Buster.
This attack leaves Mega Man vulnerable however, leaving him at one life and unable to charge the Mega Buster or use either of either of the Double Gear abilities (Power and Speed) until the gears have had a chance to cool off.
Beyond that, Rush of course makes a come back in Mega Man 11. But now, instead of having to use him as a weapon ability, the Rush abilities are mapped to the top button on the controller (Y, triangle and X on the different systems).
I was only able to use the Rush Coil in the demo I played, but even then, he was extremely useful and players won’t need to cycle through different abilities or pause the game in order to choose the Rush mode that best suits their needs.
Besides just playing extremely well, the game just looks gorgeous as well. Mega Man looks better than ever and the stages are just absolutely amazing. You can see dust drop from the ceiling as blocks in the stage are about to drop down, giving added visuals cues on what is about to happen in the stage.
Mega Man visibly staggers when larger enemies and environmental hazards hit the stage and cause tremors. And the music is very very reminiscent of classic Mega Man, hitting all the right notes while not being overly intrusive during a stage.
That was the extent of what I was really able to play today during my time with the demo. There are several new abilities coming in with this game that will be interesting to see how they play out in later stages and especially the Wily Castle area.
I can’t wait to see what the other Robot Masters will be and to delve once again in to the world of Mega Man with a brand new game to explore. As it stands now, this really does seem like a must have and play for anyone who has ever played a Mega Man game before and for those new to the series.
One last thing: This game will feature different difficulty settings beyond just “normal”. There will be a casual, easy and hard modes for players to try out as well.
So if you’ve had issues with Mega Man games in the past, the additional easier difficulties (also found in MM10) should make it easier for new comers to find enjoyment with this most recent installment in this franchise.
Mega Man 11 is launching across Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch on October 2nd – worldwide. Be sure to check out our eventual review as we get closer to the launch date.