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Review: Mighty No. 9

Like most of you, I was one of the people that was anticipating the release of Mighty No 9, a platforming shoot-em-up that was going to be a spiritual successor to the Mega Man games. I had seen the Kickstarter and watched trailers and gameplay of the private beta that was released to backers, but I had seen that a lot, and I do mean A LOT, of sites and YouTubers were giving rather harsh criticism to the game even though it was made by a team lead by game dev veteran Keiji Inafune who is known for his designs in the Mega Man series. Now I didn't pledge to the Kickstarter, but I did pre-order the game and I played through it a lot so I could get a decent opinion on this "spiritual successor" to the Mega Man games. Does it deliver that promise? Well let's see...

When I boot up the game, I first noticed something that completely threw me off; The "confirm" and "cancel" buttons, which on most controllers is normally "A" and "B" respectively, were swapped. This small detail (even though I could fix it in the options) made me realize that this was not going to be good. The loading times are absolutely abysmal as well. As you all know, this game was in development for three years. Any game that was being worked on for that freaking long should not have loading screens that last for 15-20 seconds, even if it is just so the game can respawn you at your last checkpoint. However the gameplay itself was at least pretty good. It had that simplistic style that you would expect from a Mega Man successor, but with a few things added, such as dashing and the "Xel" mechanic (pronounced cell), to give it a more modern feel. The story wasn't too bad either and I liked the personalities of the other Mighty Numbers, especially Mighty No 6. They gave the game some much needed personality.

How it looked and sounded was an entirely different beast altogether. The stage designs were pretty basic; not exactly bad, but not all that impressive either. The enemy designs were also okay, but they didn't really leave an impression on me. Also, I believe this should be brought to attention; in the Mining Facility stage when you are being chased by the gigantic drill, the FPS drops to an astoundingly horrendous 3-4FPS until I got to the next section. This one instance I encountered is absolutely inexcusable considering the length of the game's development cycle. Another thing I ran into that completely ruined the immersion for me happened in the DLC stage where a piece of the game's script wasn't properly replaced. I wish I could comment on the music though; even at it's maximum volume it was much too quiet for me to hear. This game's lack of polish is so disappointing, and the fact that this game got over $4 Million and it didn't even fulfill all of its stretch goals is a disgrace to the series it was trying to emulate.

Now the extras are a bit of an odd case. Because I purchased the physical version, it came with the Ray DLC and a small artbook. The artbook is nice, but it's pretty short. The Ray DLC adds a new stage for Beck, and a new playable character that has her own unique play style that is VERY different from the main campaign. This is all well and good, but the difficulty of the game was already unfair enough without the additional challenge that playing as Ray provides. The extra challenge missions are also nice, but ultimately they don't really add much as the game can be finished in roughly two hours; the credits alone are almost twice that length! I didn't even bother with the online race challenge and the online leader boards are really unnecessary for a game of this type.

Overall this game had a lot potential and I had fun when the game worked, but unless Comcept ever decides to goes back in and fix every glaring problem it has, I seriously doubt that this game will ever live up to the legacy that is Mega Man. This "Better than nothing" stuff that everyone is saying is just us lying to ourselves. Comcept, AND Inafune, have a lot to learn if they ever intend to make more games any time in the future. But until then, I'll be seeing you.



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