Might No. 9 has recently been released and it is dealing with a lot of people ripping on it. A quick summary for those of you who don’t know. Might No. 9 is created by Keiji Inafune (If you’re ready this, hi!) The ‘father’ of the Megaman series and producer of ReCore, who left Capcom in order to create a new IP, and kickstarted a spiritual successor to the Megaman franchise. Because we all know Capcom has literally done nothing with Megaman in who knows how long. The game has gotten so many bad reviews it became the reason why there haven’t been any new Megaman games. The purpose of me writing this? Well, the first reason, I do like to talk about video games. The second reason, a lot of these opinions feel very biased and unfair.
Two Things Before Reading This
1st. I did back the game on Kickstarter.
2nd. This game isn’t Megaman. It isn’t Megaman X. It isn’t Megaman anything. This is what fans struggle to understand. The reason why the game ‘sucks’ is due to expectations. I’ll be honest, it isn’t much of a successor to our blue bomber but it’s the closest thing we have to him being back. That is what we should really appreciate the most about it.
Because Inafune Gotta Keep that Plot Style
Yeah, the plot is as expected, one robot to fight several other robots due to them malfunctioning. However, instead of the whole ‘destroy them for the sake of humanity’, it actually focuses on actually saving them from this malfunction. That’s cool, Inafune. Props to you for making thing different. Which, honestly you can see why saving them would be a thousand times better when they serve ACTUAL in-game purposes. It’s nice, very nice. I appreciate the fact it emphasizes on the idea of these are your brothers and sisters, you can’t simply end them. Even one of them is concerned for your safety and hounds about staying away from them.
On top of that, these bosses/allies actually show personality, they don’t just sit in a room waiting for you to show up. They actually try to bother you, talk trash to you, and they even are the level design themselves! Even if… they don’t have the best voice acting out there. (except Avi, he’s wonderful.) The game even likes to stray away from being dark, even if it is just once. The closest thing we have to a dark theme is just the idea of who, what, or where is the source of the malfunctions coming from and to be honest, even when that detail is revealed, it’s nothing big or crazy. The story and acting are good enough to actually play but don’t expect any grade S material.
Now everyone cares about graphics
That’s the one thing I love about our gaming community, we are so quick to go back on our ideas and simply break them for the bandwagon. Especially when it comes to graphics! Which is what we could literally care less about, especially in a game that doesn’t need to heavily rely on storytelling. Mighty No. 9 doesn’t have the ultra unique art style, but what it does present and show is uniqueness in all the aspects of the game. It runs solid on max settings and 60FPS (on PC) especially on No. 1’s stage, which is basically explosions left and right with other things happening over it.
The stages are all unique, varying from factories, military bases, government builds, and even a radio broadcast tower. You understand that everything is clearly a part of the stage and has their own respective hazards. It’s clean to read and just registers right off the bat in your head. Even Polygon’s Mike McWhertor’s review (F**ing Polygon of all companies. I trusted you!) criticized the art style. I kid you not this is a part of the review McWhertor wrote “…One section of an underwater level was so murky and washed out that I momentarily considered that I’d hit a bug” McWhertor, you played a level in a water treatment facility don’t call it an underwater level because Mighty No. 2’s level consists of above, underwater, and ice play. It isn’t strictly underwater. A water treatment facility treats both ‘clean’ water and sewage water. You shouldn’t have to consider that jumping in nasty looking water is considered a bug when you’re playing a stage that is labeled as a water treatment center.
I’ll agree with you, the checkpoint designs are the worst. I want to agree with you on the wheel selection screen but seeing how you had a PS4 review copy and I got the game for PC. It really concerns me that you found an issue with the selection system of hitting L1 and/or R1 and then Triangle! Yes, the idea of having to confirm switching abilities is annoying but it’s not bad when you’re on a controller. I had to literally go and reassign the button assignments to my mouse because having to use Q & E to swap abilities while using WASD is frustrating. (Which might I add, is really nice that the game can pick up on assigning buttons on the mouse). You don’t even explain it, you just say “Worse, switching between powers is a hassle; I found myself wishing for a simplified weapon wheel menu” and just moved on. I’ll assume you played Megaman because you brought it up about teaching hazards. If so, then you really cannot complain about this format of weapon select when Megaman games have been doing this their whole time. I mean at least the selection wheel is the fact you can see the weapons and switch quickly. You made me bring in Megaman to compare Mighty No. 9 which I was hoping of not doing in this review! I wish I could throw a chair out the window because of this!
Now back to the main topic
So, just like I said the voice acting isn’t that great, well neither are the animations for when they talk. The game shows the subtitles with a character picture with the character’s in-game model as well. That wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that their mouths don’t move for the models. This is mostly for those who have an actual mouth. It just really takes you out of it. They do have some reaction movements and some emotion on their faces. I get the game doesn’t want to do the whole ‘wide shot and subtitles thing’, the different cuts gives some interest, but Comcept should have figured that not everyone enjoys the VN(Visual Novel) style. Even in Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, the characters’ mouths moved when they spoke and that whole thing was a big VN.
The ‘hub world’ is the plainest area out of the whole game. It is just three different selection screens with a blue background with each game’s character on it (One even has a map! “yay”). The separation of Graphics and Game controls is frustrating, I had to quit the game on the first level just so I can mess with the graphic settings. People are even nit picking little things such as the running animation, Beck runs fine and moves well. Unless you’re playing this game with 12FPS you can see a single problem. I can’t believe I spent 4 paragraphs writing about Presentation and Graphics, two of which were spent ranting at/about a Polygon employee. See what your high expectations do to me.
Now to the meat and potatoes, er, well nuts and bolts?
The game’s mechanic centers around a dashing ability that absorb enemies. Now the first assumption of playing a game with dash focused mechanics is that it’ll be pretty fast pace. (Thankfully) The game can be played on either fast or slow, just depends on how you read into it because I’m dashing left and right in this mofo and I love it. However, not every level can be played like this, some do force you to take it easy and some do really make it hard to whizz around, I’m looking at you Seismic.It does follow the old Inafune formula at the same time. The dash does a lot to help keep it ‘fresh’ in a sense. Boss battles are centered around absorbing their ‘Xel’, if not they slowly begin to regain health on any damage the receive after becoming vulnerable.
The reason why it keeps the game fresh because it does follow the old Inafune formula at the same time. Choose which robot you’re going to fight, kill until you get there, kill them, take their power, and repeat. If it didn’t, then it would feel more and more like the Megaman franchise (damn it, I had to compare it again!) because nothing new is added. The kicker to this absorption idea is like I said earlier, the bosses don’t die. Since the game doesn’t have a dark tone, the idea of killing isn’t needed. On top of the fact, the bosses were creations of Dr. White (You read that light- I mean right), they are in a sense Beck’s family members. I call it a Stretch Panic technique; can’t really kill your siblings, but you can beat the sense back into them. I bet there is some game developer or philosopher laughing at the fact there is a real name to this. You knew what kind of person was writing this, an uninformed one.
This can make everyone’s playthrough much different on the first playthrough. Allies usually work with stopping the environment from being an issue but they have stopped Bosses from causing you more problems while you’re trying to reach them. Sometimes, they don’t do anything. Once again, I’m looking at you Seismic. It really creates this odd feeling of working together and being glad to have these ‘bots back to normal instead of wiping them out of the world.
However, this mechanic can be a bit babyish, even at times NPCs stating the obvious. I liked the fact I could find a level in which one of my allies can help, but it bothered me that it was easy to tell which level I should go to because you now see an ‘advice’ option now show up on a stage. It registers immediately ‘Ah, so they’re weak to this’ and you just look for the next counter after that. I feel maybe the reason why is just to help get more people into the game, less having to figure things out and nonsense. Maybe it was aimed to help younger audiences. The bosses do become easy to defeat once you get the rhythm down, only a few are challenging such as Pyro when he enters that temporary one hit kill mode.
Just like McWhertor (We cool man?) said, the level designs can be unfair, at times. When you’re forced to fight a few waves of enemies, they would spawn on top of you and spawn more on top of the wave that just caught you off-guard. Even dropping down isn’t fair sometimes. During Bat’s level, I dropped down from a room and I dashed to the right when I could. However, I didn’t know there was mine waiting right there if I didn’t dash in time. I would have been furious if I got killed in a cheap manner. The final boss is definitely hard but is also unfair in how the way things work, it’s more constant trial and error, learning what you abilities you need at what times. Even taking unnecessary damages.
Anything ‘Mighty’ Different? (Please don’t kill me)
Well, most of the extra features in the game were from the Kickstarter. The game has a challenge mode. Complete tasks under different conditions, varying from; win/loss conditions, certain abilities you can use, level designs, restrictions, and buffs. The online modes have ‘versus’ and ‘co-op’ where you can pick who you’ll play. However, I have yet gotten anyone to play online with so I can’t really tell you how that experience goes. It has extra types of modes for a different and more challenging playthrough. There is a nice little Retro BGM setting to listen to the game in 8-Bit format, personally, did not like it.
Buy, Save, or Wait?
I’ll be honest, it was a hard choice between buying and waiting but I say buy it. The thing that made it a buy was the fact it is for $30 for physical and $20 for digital. The pricing is fair for what it has. If it was any higher then I would have said wait for a discount. It’s challenging, fun, and really keeps you going. If you get it for PC, just get a controller to make life easier. Although, it’s your money so do whatever you want. I’m not your dog.
The reason why this game gets ragged on so much is because everyone wanted an exact Megaman copy, which I don’t blame them because it was marketed as such. However, with the delays it suffered, there were probably good reasons why. The game has replayability with extras here and there to keep you from constantly having to play the story, giving you a nice ‘break’ once in a while.