Mighty No. 9 Review
A Review by Jose Vega
Deep Silver didn’t provide me a review copy. Copy received by a special someone as a gift.
It was a game almost four years in the making. Four years and almost $4 million were put into this. Keiji Inafune stated that this would be the successor to Mega Man and fans were really excited to play it after the drought that Mega Man fans have gotten since 2011. Cancellations, exclusions, it was a horrible time to be a Mega Man fan. Now it’s 2016 and Mighty No. 9 has finally arrived. Will this be a second coming or will four years and four million dollars end up creating an absolute disaster?
Before I explain what the game is about, here’s a little bit of backstory on how Mighty No. 9 came about. In 2010, Keiji Inafune left Capcom to form his own company called Comcept. After he left, Capcom went and cancelled three Mega Man games that were in production, basically burying one of their popular franchises out of spite for the man and causing fans massive outrage. Three years later, Inafune announced Mighty No. 9, made to be as a successor to Mega Man. He opened a Kickstarter with a goal of $900,000 but it would be surpassed to reach $4 million. The success would set off many other Kickstarter campaigns to follow. To reach that amount, they offered a lot of stretch goals such as extra modes, online multiplayer, documentary and various ports. All of them were achieved but it would be a sign that trouble would soon follow. 2014 would be the starting point of that trouble but it isn’t until 2015 was where the trouble began.
In January of last year, Inafune made a video saying the game is finished. Three months later, Comcept formed a partnership with Deep Silver and announcing that they would publish the game. The game was delayed till September and it was due to the many ports they promised, including Deep Silver wanting to release a physical version. It then got delayed till February 2016, due to the game’s netcode for some minor modes. It got delayed again for a possible “Spring 2016” release with the blame being on online modes. In reality, it was rumored that the game was made using Unreal Engine 3 and they were unable to make changes. Then they announced that the final release date would be June 21st. Though it was official, things only went from bad to worse. Deep Silver released a trailer promoting the game and it was a massive embarrassment. So much so that Comcept took to twitter and saying that it was unforgivable. Heck even Sonic the Hedgehog’s official Twitter took potshots at it for good measure. The game eventually arrived but even more problems came in. Backers couldn’t get their codes, some ports got delayed and even a version ended up being unplayable. To summarize… it was a disaster.
Now that I got this out of the way, time to talk about what Mighty No. 9 is all about. The story takes place in America, sometime in the future where robots and humans live in harmony. But then trouble strikes as robots start causing havoc all over due to a virus, bringing chaos and destruction. Some of the robots called Mighty Numbers end up being corrupted. Only one robot, Beck is unaffected by the virus. With help from Dr. White, Dr. Sanda and a robot named Call, Beck aka Mighty No. 9 takes it upon himself to save his brothers and stop the threat before it ends up causing chaos all over the world.
The story is familiar and straightforward. Why I say this? Because it’s basically a cut & paste version of Mega Man’s original story. There are some differences between the two. One difference is that there is no main big bad controlling everything. I won’t spoil it but if you’ve played Mega Man, chances are you’ll find that the story is familiar to you. There’s really not much to say about it and the ending will probably lead to a sequel.
Mighty No. 9 is a platforming game, similar to Mega Man in some aspects. You go from point A to point B, shooting enemies and dodging obstacles. At the end is a boss fight and you need to beat the boss to clear the stage. Like Mega Man, in this game you can also obtain new powers after beating the boss. Now this is where I stop cause that’s where the similarities end. Mighty No. 9 has a gimmick that is unique and one of the things that sets it apart from other games. It’s gimmick is absorption. Beck has the ability to absorb enemies when they are weakened. About Beck, his gameplay is similar to Mega Man. He can run, jump, shoot and dash. He can air dash as well, something that Mega doesn’t have. But it’s his dash that gives him the option to absorb Xel from enemies. After damaging an enemy, they become different colored data and you need to absorb said enemy to defeat them. You have a set amount of time as the longer you wait, the less of a bonus you get. Doing it immediately will get 100% and start up a combo. Skilled players can pull off combos with ease, provided they don’t get careless. Some enemies also have various color properties. They come in four colors: blue, green, red and yellow. Blue builds up and after absorbing enough, you’ll get an E-tank that can help you recover your health. Green increases speed, red increases attack and yellow increases defense. Combine with the fact you need to obtain combos is efficient. Similar to Mega Man, you take on a boss at the end of the level. You won’t be able to figure out how to beat it at first but it takes practice and with a game like this, sometimes they can be outright unfair. When you beat a boss, you’ll obtain their ability that can be used to take down the next one. In some levels, the boss that you defeat previously will help you make some parts of the level easier. In addition, the bosses aka Mighty Numbers are no pushovers. You need to be real skilled if you want.
I also should mention that in one section of the game, you get to play as Call. She’s different from Beck. She can’t absorb Xel but she can crawl through spaces, has the ability to hover and can project an energy shield. The only catch is that she can’t move while using it. Call isn’t that bad but it makes me wish that she can be similar to Beck in some ways. The game has replay value with the inclusion of a character named Raychel aka Ray. Ray is basically the hard mode of the game as playing as her provides a different style of gameplay. She has access to claws that deal close range strikes and a dash attack that can go through anything. The only difference is that you lose health so you need to regain health constantly if you want to last. Beating the game will take you roughly about 2-4 hours and with multiple difficulties can add more hours onto the game. Ray will also add a few more hours as well along with a lot of skill.
I’ve already provided my thoughts on the gameplay and personally, it’s good if you’re in for a challenge. Makes me wish it could be spiffed up so the gameplay can be better. However I don’t have anything nice to say regarding the game’s presentation. I don’t, truthfully. It’s downhill from here. Since the game was running on an outdated engine, it ends up being more harm than good. The graphics are terrible, looking like they come from a previous generation or two. Most of the levels don’t have much in terms of atmosphere. They feel bland, lifeless and dull. Not to mention some of the stuff like explosions look lousy. Hell, the explosions look like pizzas and it became a meme of epic proportions. The character models aren’t great either. You can obviously tell that the people behind the game never even bothered to have their mouths move when they talk. They look like puppets. Mighty No. 9 has some talented voice actors but I feel they can’t bring any emotion to the roles they play. I feel bad for them. Call’s voice actor felt lifeless, reminding me of Samus from Other M. That’s all I’m saying about it. I do have a positive though and it’s the music. Some of the songs are very good while others are meh, at best. It’s mixed but at least in some levels, it can give you a bit of reprieve.
Also the game has its issues, many issues depending on what console you play them in. The Wii U version has the worst of it with frame rate issues, long load times and in some cases, the game can outright brick your console. It was fixed with a patch but not for the others. PS4 doesn’t have any of these issues and the load times are shortened to around 15 seconds. It’s acceptable at best. The level design is all over the place and even though they relate to the environment they’re in, it still feels poorly done, which can lead to some unfair instances. Oh and there’s online play. Yeah. Online implementation is the reason why this game had been delayed multiple times and even then, they can’t even fix it. I never tried it and from what I’m hearing, it isn’t good. There are races, co-op and the like but the online is bugged and broken. Sometimes they don’t work and can really be problematic. Personally they should have just released it first and then put time toward fixing the online and making it work. Since it doesn’t, it only hinders the game even more.
Inafune said it himself that the game is better than nothing. That is true but there’s no excuse for how the game is now. Four years and four million dollars went into this and what we got is a game that has a lot of promise but fails in everything else. The graphics are medicore, voice acting is a letdown despite having big name talent, unfair and uninspiring level design, broken online, long load times and a plethora of other issues hinder this game. However the game has solid gameplay, good music and a good amount of replay value with the different characters. Was this a full price game at around $50-60, I would judge it harshly. I am not however since the game is available at around $20-30, with cross play if its on a Sony console. Mighty No. 9 did have a lot of good ideas. It had a lot of potential to be a worthy successor to Mega Man and if the game had more time to be polished or maybe have better advertising then it would have been a success. Unfortunately it didn’t and I feel that four years and four million dollars contributed to one of the most disappointing games of 2016.
For what it’s worth, I enjoyed this game but I wish it could have been better. I wish it could have but this is what we got.
I give Mighty No. 9 a 5 out of 10. Do I recommend this game to someone? No… unless they want to see for themselves how much of a train wreck this is.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to play some Azure Striker Gunvolt, in preparation for the sequel.