There’s a new Mega Man coming out this year. A new old Mega Man! And I got to play it!
Mega Man 11 is a mix of the old-style gameplay that I’ve played practically my whole life but with modern touches. While still being a 2D action platformer, it looks and controls like a modern-day game. I had the chance of playing Block Man’s stage at E3 yesterday.
At first glance, you would think that this stage was the tutorial stage. That it would be the stage you need to hit up first because it’s the easiest. But after playing it for a while I noticed something. The level design in Mega Man 11 (so far) is amazing! Sure, it starts easy, but that’s because it’s taking it’s time with you. The level wants to teach you how to beat it in the end.
At first, you’re jumping over a few pits while shooting at slow moving enemies. Then you’re having to avoid a hammer wielding robot. Nothing special. Then you’re fighting enemies on moving platforms. Not difficult especially for anyone who’s played Mega Man games. But by the end of the stage, you’re jumping over pits on moving platforms while dodging slow moving enemies as well as blocks that are falling from the ceiling all while keeping an eye out for near-invisible robots waiting for you to get near so it could revel itself and attack you. It may sound crazy, but by the time you get to it, you’re ready for it.
Then there’s the theme. The stage boss is Block Man. So naturally, there’s falling blocks, moving blocks, and destructible blocks. You get the feeling like you’re in the right spot. Like, “Of course Block Man lives here. Look at this place!”
The best part of the level was the fight with Block Man himself. He starts off like any old robot master. He runs towards you then he leaps over you so you can slide under him then he attacks you by dropping blocks on your head. Standard Mega Man boss style. When you get him around two-thirds health, he transforms. He turns into a giant robot that resembles our old friend the yellow devil. He even had a giant (weak spot) glowing eye. At this point, you need to be on the defensive. You can only really hit his eye when he stops moving or when you dodge his attacks (which are all different btw). Once you’ve whittled down his health, crumbles down to his normal self and he gets enraged and begins throwing block at you relentlessly until he’s dead. Fun times.
At this point, I would like to talk about the biggest changes that come with Mega Man 11. You can slow down time or overcharge your buster. You activate either abilities by pressing either shoulder buttons. When active, you’ll see a meter fill up. Once it’s filled, the ability you used goes away and you’ll have to take some time to recharge it. You can always just press the same shoulder button again to turn it off which recharges it faster.
These abilities are extremely useful. You just need to take time to remember they’re there. Veterans of the series just need to past a mental hurdle of being aware that you can use it practically at any time. It comes especially handy while fighting the second stage of Block Man’s fight.
There’s one thing I noticed about the game that I didn’t like and I don’t know if I’m just being picky or not. Mega Man has momentum when he runs. It’s not much, but I noticed it during the Block Man fight. At first, when you’re trying to avoid the blocks he’s dropping, I found myself getting hit a lot because my positioning was off. I realized that Mega Man wasn’t stopping immediately but kind of sliding for a smidge. I know it may not be a big deal, but I had to actively think of where Mega Man was when I was getting attacked because I couldn’t trust my muscle memory.
I know sound design and stage music is a big deal in Mega Man games, and I would love to tell you about them, but I was playing this on the E3 show floor and I really couldn’t hear anything. Sorry. That’s just how it is sometimes.
I can’t wait until Mega Man 11 is released in October.