Mega Man is a crown jewel in the gaming industry. A franchise that sits, nearly perfect in execution from its heyday in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. In its many iterations since with the Mega Man X, ZX, and Starforce series (among others), nothing has touched the pure, unrelentingly difficulty of the originals. Now, the first main-timeline Mega Man in eight years has been announced in Mega Man 11, and it looks utterly beautiful. Hopefully, it’s hard as hell.
We need a Mega Man game that makes you want to tear your controller apart with the type of unknown strength that’s usually reserved for mothers with babies trapped underneath cars.
If Cuphead and the Souls series has taught us anything, it’s that a certain delightful masochism still exists in the game industry, and Mega Man is the pure embodiment of what’s great about video games. MM11 won’t have any use for loot boxes, it won’t be an XP grind to unlock the next possible upgrade so you can then “have more fun,” what Mega Man is all about is taking your skills and applying them to brutally tough platforming levels. Quick reflexes, blistered thumbs, and quick thinking is all you’ll need here. After eight years away, that seems downright novel.
In the early days, many gamers referred to beating a game as “solving” it. That’s because video games used to be challenging, filled with feats of thumb dexterity and wits. As we’ve seen in Star Wars: Battlefront II and way too many others, now games seems to depend on licenses and gorgeous visuals to get players to sink their teeth into a never-ending experience. You don’t solve games anymore, you play them until you’re bored or dissatisfied and move on. Maybe you grind away for an unlockable that can be shown off — look at how long and hard I played for.
But the beauty and horror of the Blue Bomber is true. You will miss jumps, and it will be your fault. Make no excuses — the controls are tight, the graphics supplement the package but only add, don’t detract from what’s going on, and every millimeter of the level is thought out perfectly.