Occasionally here at Player2.net.au, we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for a blockbusting amount of time (2 – 5 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Mighty No 9
Just about everyone my age has a fond memory or two of Mega Man. The blue bomber was such a staple of the NES/SNES eras that it is incredibly hard to find someone that hasn’t experienced the tight, brutal platforming that Mega Man offered. For me, my fondest memories are of Mega Man X, the franchise reboot on the SNES. Everything from the art design to the super secret “hudoken” special power brought a smile to my face. This was of course in the days before the internet so working out the correct order to beat the bosses in was a matter of pride, a special achievement worth celebrating. So when it was announced that Keiji Inafune would be creating a spiritual successor to the Mega Man series I was immediately interested. Mighty No 9 was to be the game to bring back the good old days and give the world a fresh taste on a classic formula. Sadly though Mighty No 9 just never reaches the lofty heights that Mega Man set all those years ago.
That isn’t to say there isn’t fun to be had with Mighty No 9 because there is. The game features tight platforming and some cool new ideas, most notably the new dash to assimilate damaged enemies, but it never goes beyond the level of countless other platform games out there. There is a long list of issues that hold back the game, stopping it from reaching its full potential. There are framerate issues, the graphics are rather simple and uninspired, some enemy design is lazy and level design is hardly original. The saddest thing about the game however, is its failure to replicate the old Mega Man formula of picking the correct level order so the right weapon could be used on the right boss. Here the boss battles are rather easy (in comparison to the Mega Man series anyway) and the standard blaster is quite often the best weapon to use. This classic Mega Man trope was something I was looking forward to and to find that it has been watered down to the point of it no longer being the most efficient way to play has disappointed me dearly.
I wondered when playing Mighty No 9 if I was being blinded by nostalgia, if my love for Mega Man X was unfairly making Mighty No 9 look worse. I wondered if the passing of time had made me think that Mega Man X was a better game than it actually was. So I decided to play it again (don’t ask how) and found my original assessment to be correct. Mega Man X just flowed better than Mighty No 9. It has a wonderful rhythm that, when coupled with its pitch perfect level design and wonderfully fair difficulty, set it apart from other games. Sadly Mighty No 9 doesn’t come close to this classic game.
If you have never played a Mega Man game then Mighty No 9 may be the perfect entry point. It is easier than the Blue Bomber and is available on every system known to man. However if you ever held any love for the Mega Man games of old then Mighty No 9 may end up being a disappointment. Not because it is bad, but because it so obviously tries to recapture the magic of old and at the same time so obviously fails to do so.