Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Review Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Capcom’s Mega Man 11 on the Nintendo Switch might just be the biggest case of “be careful what you wish for” that I’ve seen in a long time. The game is EXACTLY like the classic Mega Man titles in pretty much every way. The major differences are, of course, the graphics, and the fact that the Switch edition is portable.
Much like the PS4 and Xbox One edition of the game, Mega Man 11 on the Switch requires quite a lot of patience and guesswork. The game essentially works as a series of side-scrolling platformer levels with a few boss fights and some particularly brutal puzzles. Each final boss you defeat gets you an upgrade to your gear which allows you go make it through other levels more easily, which is exactly how classic Mega Man games play out since they never scaled to get harder as you gained more upgrades and better gear.
So, kudos to Capcom for sticking to the classic formula.
Unfortunately with the Switch version, because of how small the right and left bumper buttons are on the joy-cons, it is a bit hard to pop your dual gear playing in handheld mode. Half the time I’d get just speed or power gear, which is rather unfortunate in a game that is unforgiving in its early stages. Mega Man 11 doesn’t hold its punches, and because of the way the upgrade system works, it gets easier as you go. Making the first few stages of any Mega Man game the most painstaking levels of your life outside of the Souls series.
Despite the fact that the Switch’s biggest selling point is its portability, you really are better off playing Mega Man 11 with the console docked and hooked up to a TV. I also highly recommend the pro controller, as it makes popping your dual gear much, much easier.
Not that it saves you from the painstaking misery of playing a game that gets easier, not harder, as you go on.
As for the game’s story, well, its entirely forgettable. Except that the game opens with a rather lengthy cinematic giving you all the backstory you need for the game. So you’ll be forced to pay attention to that every time you boot up the game. You’ve got the usual setup of a long-standing grudge between Doctors Light and Wiley. The grudge eventually causes Wiley to go on a murderous rampage by causing a number of robots to turn evil when they visit Dr. Light for a tuneup. So of course Mega Man needs to step in to save the day from the various evil versions of his fellow ‘bots.
Mega Man 11 is almost too retro, but there are a lot of people who will absolutely revel in that. I’m just not one of them. The difficulty of getting your gear to work properly with the joy-cons is something that makes the Switch version even more painful than the PS4 or Xbox One edition, and that’s just bad design.