Mega Man 11 review: Switching gears

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Enlarge / Untitled Mega Man Unity Fan Project is coming along nicely.

Over decades of inconsistently timed, numbered releases, Capcom has generally been reluctant to tinker with the core Mega Man formula. Since the introduction of sliding back in Mega Man 3 and charged shots in Mega Man 4, the series has been content with new levels, new bosses, and only small tinkering around the edges regarding gameplay and visual style. Even the last decade's Mega Man 9 and 10 reboots hewed to the nostalgic NES style, almost to a fault.

With Mega Man 11, Capcom seems less afraid to play around with the formula. The basic run-and-jump-and-shoot gameplay is still there, but the new Gear system brings some major changes to the way the game plays, and new 3D graphics fundamentally change the way this game looks and feels.

Slow it down

Let's talk about the Gear system first. With the tap of a shoulder button, Mega Man can now get a time-limited boost that either powers up his standard weapon or slows down the world around him. At low health, Mega Man can activate both gears at once for a final desperate salvo.

The weapon-boosting Power Gear is nothing to get too excited about, amounting to a somewhat more awkward version of the Charge Shot in most situations. While this Gear adds some interesting, often enemy-annihilating power to Mega Man's special weapons, I didn't end up using it much in my playthrough.

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