The announcement of Mega Man 11 gave me great joy. This is my favorite series of games. I love Mega Man since I can remember. Some of my first memories were seeing my brother play with the side scrolling originals on the NES.
And Mega Man 11 looks great. The debut trailer showed a classic run game – & # 39; n & # 39; -gun. But one thing stands out. For the first time, a classic-style Mega Man game uses character models in 3D, levels and backgrounds.
Of course, the action is still in 2D. We have seen many of these 2.5D games previously, including the recent Metroid: Samus Returns and the whole series New Super Mario Bros. Some people are not fans of this style on traditional sprites or handmade art . After watching the Mega Man 11 trailer, some players quickly criticized its appearance.
I'm here to say it's okay.
But it's not fantastic
In fact, it looks pretty good. I wish Mega Man 11 was as vibrant as Ori and the Blind Forest? Of course. Would it be nice if Mega Man 11 had an art drawn by hand like the recent remake of Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap? That would also have been good. But I do not think the appearance of Mega Man 11 deserves mockery.
The last two entries in the series used nostalgic 8-bit graphics. The effect was magical in Mega Man 9. It has already lost some of its brightness in Mega Man 10. Making another 8-bit Mega Man would have felt lazy. It's an iconic look, but eight of the top 10 Mega Man games use it. It's good for something new.
And the use of 3D graphics in a 2D game has its advantages. It can give the funds more depth, something we can see in the initial moments of the trailer with a large bridge that bends more towards the distance and a pyramid that rises behind it. It also makes it easier to show more details in the characters and add more special effects, such as smoke and sparks.
And Capcom still uses colors and designs that evoke the classic Mega Man. Everything looks bright, a light cel-shaded effect helps the characters stand out, and the camera retracts enough to allow so much space around Mega Man as possible (making it easier to avoid projectiles and plan the next jumps).
The reason for stiffness
I've seen people criticize Mega Man animation. They say it looks a little stiff. Yes, but I understand why. Unlike other platform stars, Mega Man has to be able to stop or turn immediately. Mario or Sonic transmit impulse. If you release the D-pad, they will move a little before stopping. If you are in a full race and change direction, they will slow down.
Mega Man does not work like that. Because you have to aim at weapons, dodge bullets and jump at the same time, it is important that your physics feel more accurate. This means that you can walk in one direction, but turn to the other side and jump with full impetus.
It also means that artists do not have the opportunity to insert transition animation frames for things like spin. It may be a little unsightly, but it is a necessary sacrifice to maintain the classic game of Mega Man.
No, it is not the next Mighty No. 9
There is a great point that I want to discuss. Mega Man 11 does not look like the next Power No. 9. It was assumed that the independent side-scrolling was a spiritual successor to Mega Man that ended up being a big disappointment. It is also a 2.5D game.
But Mighty No. 9 does not stink just because it uses 3D models. It has a bad boss design, performance problems (including many problems of frame rate and slowdown) and annoying voices in off. And even if we only focus on art, Mega Man 11 looks better than Mighty No. 9.
Just look at the shot above. The character style of anime portraits clashes with the steel beams, the city and the realistic sky. The character of the player, Mighty No. 9, does not appear. In fact, it's a bit difficult to even see it. Oh, and who could forget the embarrassing fire of the game?
Just look at that. It's not at all fair to compare Mega Man 11 with this.
I'm not saying that the art of Mega Man 11 is brave, impressive or beautiful. But it works. In addition, Mega Man 11 will fail or succeed depending on its gameplay. I'm more interested in putting my hands on it and seeing how the controls feel, what the levels are like and what the bosses can do.
I understand that I could be a defender here. And it's true that I have a great emotional attachment to Mega Man. But I'm not going to let something like the 3D character models get in the way of my enthusiasm for the first new game in this series since 2010.
The RetroBeat is a weekly column that analyzes the past of games, diving in classics, new retro titles, or looking at how old favorites – and their design techniques – inspire the market and the experiences of today. If you have any project or retro scoop you want to send me, contact me.