Today I wanted to give you a quick roundup of my impressions after playing Mega Man 11 at PAX... for 11 minutes 😅... This is all from the top of my head, so please let me know in the comments if I missed anything that you are interested in.
First, and foremost, the controls: they made a few very welcomed additions, while keeping things pretty much the same for hard-core Mega Man veterans. For example: you can now select your master weapons simply by pushing the right analogue stick in any of the 8 directions to select the master weapon corresponding with the boss that lies in that direction in the stage select screen; however, you can still use L2 and R2 (or their equivalent in other controllers) to cycle through your weapons or pause the game to jump straight to the weapon you want. You can also push the right stick to go back to your M. Buster.
Also, seems like Rush is expected to be used more often, since they added a button to directly invoke him without having to press start. The button to call Rush is the one up-right from the shoot button, which is obviously in the traditional spot, next to the jump one. When you press it, Rush will come up immediately in his Rush Coil form. I don't know exactly how to invoke different Rush forms though (and didn't think to dig deep enough in the menus 😅).
One thing I have to mention here is that Mega Man felt a little heavy. He wasn't responding to actions as quickly as I am used too; his movement felt a bit on the laggy side. However, I am familiar with this laggy feeling and I am confident that it was more due to the TVs used at the booth not being configured for gaming mode rather than the game itself. I've had this same sensation before and in all cases it was due to the screen having too much of a lag, so, I hope that will be the case here too.
On that note: I'm worried that modern TVs may get in the way of proper gameplay because they all have much higher latency than old school CRTs. Time will tell.
By the game, and as you already know, the graphics are very good: colorful, animated and very lively. One thing I noticed is that they really did a great job at capturing a sense of scale: the way the backgrounds are presented on the stages give them a big feel of dept. Not much else to say here, big thumbs up!
As for the gameplay: it is definitely a Mega Man game. It's frustratingly hard, but just hard enough that you don't want to give up. You want to show the game that you know you can beat it! The addition of the double gear system adds another layer of complexity: it makes the game both easier and harder at the same time. On the one hand, when used properly, it makes the game easier. But precisely because of that, you want to be using it all the time... but you can't... you just caaaaaan't! 😭 The game is very well balanced in this regard... I'm not sure how they did this, but: when you see someone else using the double gear system, it gives the impression that they are just wasting it and letting the gauge fill up unnecessarily... but when YOU are playing, it feels like the damn thing doesn't last more than 1 second! 😭
The point with the double gear system, in case you don't know, is: you have a power gear that makes all your weapons stronger, including your M. Buster, and a speed gear, that slows down the game so that you can react faster. The effect is temporary and you can only have one gear active at a time. What makes it really interesting is that both gears share the same meter that builds up the more you use them and, when the meter is full, you have to wait until it completely cools off before you can use either gear again. Of course, the trick is to stop using the gears before the meter is completely filled up; this way, it will cool off, but you don't have to wait until it's fully empty before activating a gear again.
Also, I'm very happy that Mega Man can slide and charge his M. Buster again in this game. I missed those in 9 and 10.
Last, but definitely, not least: the music. It's as Mega Man as it gets. Don't know what else to say here either... though I'm a big fan of 8-bit Mega Man music, I'm very happy with the music on this game being made with actual instrument samples. They did a great job at capturing both the simplicity as well as memorability of the classic games.
My final verdict of the game: Familiar, yet fresh. I approve!
One last thing not related to the game: I have to say that getting to play the demo was a nightmare. Seems like there was some sort of miscommunication between CAPCOM departments: the booth only had 4 consoles to play the game on, which clearly wasn't enough because the line was always capped; and I mean ALWAYS. They would open the line for about 10 seconds before it would cap again... then wait for another 30-40 minutes just walking around the booth pretending to be watching, but hoping to be around when the line would open again... for 10 seconds before being capped...
I got to PAX at around 8:30 AM hoping to land a good spot in the line. Keep in mind that the convention doesn't open until 10 AM. So, I was waiting on a very long line of people who got there even earlier than me... I swear I made it to the CAPCOM booth by 10:05 and by that time the line for Mega Man 11 was already capped 😠. And once you finally manage to land a spot in the line, it takes approximately 3 and a half hours before you can play the game... So, I actually spent 6 hours waiting in different places in order to be able to play for those 11 minutes.
I'm pretty sure that this was all due to the exclusive pin they were giving (I saw people play the game literally for 10 seconds and then walk away very happy with their pin 😒), but I sure hope CAPCOM learns from this and makes adjustments for future events 😅.
Gash... that was a lot longer than I anticipated... Here is a quick video of some people playing the game at the booth to compensate. None of them is me, mind you... and neither is precisely good at it 😰