REVIEW – It could have been a good idea to review Mighty No. 9 immediately after the release, but as the online segment didn’t work as it was supposed to be (despite it being the reason behind multiple delays). I wouldn’t have found it fair to look at the game in that form, but there are no horses held back today.
2013. Keiji Inafune, almost three years after the departure from Capcom, created the non-Megaman game’s Kickstarter, which racked in four million dollars. After three delays (there may have been even more), Mighty No. 9 is here.
The story revolves around mainly six characters. There’s Dr. Light, er, I mean Dr. White, who created ten robots, and eight out of them will join our side, with the 10th being the antagonist, there’s Beck, the 9th robot. There’s also Dr, Sanda, the apple-head, fat, easy-to-scare doc, who created Call, Mr. Cherry, who started the issue, and Dr. W… I mean, Dr. Blackwell, who’s not on the bad side.
The robots go haywire, and Beck goes to save them. There’s also R… Call, who’s the non-Megaman variant of Roll, and she’s playable on a stage in the campaign.
The gameplay is different from the Megaman games. After a fixed amount of hits on the enemy (it applies to the boss fights, too), it will have an aura, and Beck can dash into it. Beck can get points (at 100% Xel, aka the earliest possible time you react – if you keep pulling this move off, you can get combos, which lead to more points), plus it also assimilates those enemies, or it stops the boss’ HP regeneration.
Beck can dash infinitely, which shows how broken can that be on one the underwater segment of a level. Some colored auras can give you powerups, raising your speed, making your shots more powerful, things like that. The points, the powerups (the „E-Tanks”, which are called AcXel Recovers – you can have two HP-refills, and you can use one easily by using the touchpad on your DualShock 4), and the dashing can make the gameplay fast, and fun.
Stuck within its limits
The level design isn’t something that I haven’t seen in any of the previous ten Megaman games (and I’m only including the numbered installments). There’s an intro stage, one level for the eight Mighty Numbers each, a prison, a robot factory, and the final stage – 12 total. It’s not that much, but you can still spend five hours beating the game on Normal mode (or not – you can change the default amount of lives from three to ten in the options), especially due to the instant kill spikes on several levels.
Touch them once, and you are back to the previous checkpoint. If you grew up playing games like Megaman, you might appreciate this approach. The Comcept/Inti Creates duo didn’t try to revolutionize with the maps in Mighty No. 9. Not even the prison level (where you control Call) change that much: you just collected key cards, and that’s it.
Defeating each Mighty Number will grab you a new weapon, and you can wait to see that particular ability’s energy recovering. After beating the first boss, you can easily get the hang of the usual rock-paper-scissors weakness chain. If you pick a level where you own the weakness of that Mighty Number, the Advice point will appear in the menu, and one of the already defeated bosses will join you to the difficulty on a few points. (This help also points out which weapon to use on the next boss with some logic.)
Mighty No. 9‘s graphics are not memorable. I don’t understand why Inafune and co picked Unreal Engine 3 when the fourth variant was available in early 2014. Also, UE3 had no support anymore during development, so the online segment was harder to be developed into a functional state. During cutscenes, the characters have zero lip movement, which feels outdated.
In fact, graphically, the entire game is a few years behind. I was curious about the soundtrack, though. All Megaman games (including even 4!) had memorable tunes, but Mighty No. 9 only had one good song, the title theme – that’s all. What a shame. Also, maybe the ending rap. The voice acting is okay at best, but Call’s lifeless Holding. Jump. Grabbing. Error. lines while she does these moves are nerve wracking. The same can be said for Beck if you keep assimilating robots. Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. Here we go.
The ambiance can be decent, but the ending, which has a cliffhanger ending sentence, can be disappointing, especially if Mighty No. 9 flops because there will be no sequel in that case. What about the online?
Well, the cooperative segments didn’t work a month ago on the PS4: I waited for 4-5 minutes to get a partner, but I either got nobody, or the game crashed. (At least you can complete the challenges in solo.) Now, everything is working. There’s also a boss rush: you get two HP refills, and beat all bosses! The online race battle is self-explanatory. Who reaches the finish line first?
Recommended for Mega Man fans
While the Ray DLC, which costs five dollars, and provides a new character and a new stage, didn’t get included in the base game, the 20-dollar digital price is okay. I think the game is worth twenty dollars. Sure, the game could have been better, but mind you, the game is now out on PS4, PS3, X1, PC, and Wii U (this console has even more frame rate issues: on the PS4, only some explosions make it drop significantly). It’s still not available on X360, Mac, Linux, PS Vita, and 3DS. Let me ask a question: why is the PS3-only version more expensive than the PS4/3/V cross-buy edition? Why?
My rating is a 6/10, but if you are a Megaman-fan, it’s a 7/10 for you. It’s an alright game, but I went through it too fast (around 3 hours and 53 minutes – 12 deaths, 1 game over), but thankfully, there are harder difficulties as well. It’s alright, but let Mighty No. 9 be an example of how the development of a crowdfunded game can go awry.
+ For veterans, a part of the past is returning
+ More difficulty levels and challenges – replayability is there
+ Its gameplay can be fun for combo-fanatics
– The developers wanted too much
– Audiovisually, it’s average
– The level design isn’t brave enough
Publisher: Deep Silver, comcept Inc., Spike Chunsoft
Developer: Abstraction Games, Inti
Genre: 2D action-platformer
Release date: June 24, 2016 (PS4, PS3)