Hey guys, welcome back! Last week Mighty No. 9 was finally released. Almost three years in development and three delays, it’s finally here. I was a backer of the Kickstarter, and I covered the backer-only trial last September. Now I have the final game on the PS4, and I played through the main story mode. Was it worth the wait?
Well, that question depends on how hyped you got. Let me get this out of the way, first. I like Mighty No. 9. I think it’s a good game. I know I said a few times on my Twitter that it’s “okay,” but as I played the game more, it grew on me. It really did. There’s a lot of hate on the game, and it’s “cool” to hate it right now, but I honestly think if you look beyond the surface you have a solid game that, while it may not live up to its full potential, is at least okay for a Mega Man successor.
Taking it for what it is, Mighty No. 9 is good. It’s not Mega Man, but few games are. The main thing people like to mock the game for is its graphics. Yes, its graphics aren’t that great. They’re using Unreal Engine 3 instead of UE4. And even for UE3, it’s not that great to look at. Some things look pretty bad, like explosions, but other things look quite good. But everyone is focused on what it does bad that they’re not bothering to pay attention to what it does good.
The gameplay is solid. And that’s what matters, right? It’s a platforming shooter, after all. Mighty No. 9 has a minor learning curve with the controls, but once you get the hang of how to control Beck, you’re good to go. Your blaster is used to attack and destabilize enemies. Once destabilized, you dash into them to absorb their Xels. Each enemy’s xels have different properties, which you’ll no doubt learn as the game goes along. Or you can look it up in the in-game tips section. Either or. But that’s the basic gameplay. Jump, shoot, dash.
I’m not an expert on level design, but the levels are mostly good. There are some annoying parts where a blind fall will lead to death, and you can’t know it’s going to happen until you’ve died. Mega Man had the same thing at times, too, so I guess I can’t complain too much. That’s part of the game’s DNA, so to speak. The best level of the game is probably the Capitol Building where you fight Mighty No. 8, Countershade. While all other levels are a mostly linear path from the start to the boss room, the Capitol Building is different. You have to search for Shade and damage him in the stage itself before you’re granted access to the boss room. You know where he is based on the directions his sniper fire comes from. You’re bound to backtrack over areas you’ve already been once or twice, and what’s nice is that the enemies you’ve killed remain dead. Making the Capitol Building the most unique stage in the game.
Like Mega Man, Beck can take on the powers of the other Mighty Nos. he defeats, and each Mighty No. has a weakness to one of those powers. Unlike Mega Man, defeated Mighty Nos. can come help you in stages. They will only assist you in a stage belonging to the Mighty No. who is weak to their weapon. So, Mighty No. 1, Pyrogen, will help you in the Water Works Bureau, which is taken over by Mighty No. 2, Cryosphere. Cryosphere is weak to Pyrogen’s weapon. So that’s basically how it works. It makes it a little too easy, then, to know what each Mighty No. is weak to, but I rarely needed the boss weakness, anyway. The only times I needed to use the weakness was against Brandish (Mighty No. 7), Aviator (Mighty No. 6), and the final boss. All others fell pretty easily to the standard blaster, though I’m sure they would have been easier with the weakness.
In terms of sound, the game is pretty good. The music is nice. There’s a “retro” soundtrack which I didn’t listen to, so I can’t judge that. The English voice acting is okay. Some lines are a little awkward, like most of Ray’s lines. But Ray is technically DLC. You can also choose Japanese or French voice acting. No idea why French is in there, but hey, why not? I stuck with English for the heck of it, but I know some people will switch to Japanese for reasons.
Backers got the Ray DLC for free. I played a little bit of Ray, and I have to say she’s kind of hard to play. See, her Xels are “unstable.” The longer you go without killing an enemy, the more damage Ray takes. Ray needs to kill and absorb enemies in order to keep herself stable. She absorbs them automatically, so no dashing is involved. But all her attacks are melee-range, which means getting up close. Which is often very deadly. I have no idea how to beat any of the Mighty Nos. when being that close. So yeah, Ray is really hard to play, in my opinion.
To finish, why does this game get so much hate? Well, like I said, it’s cool to hate on the game right now. The delays, the “anime fan on prom night” trailer, Keiji Inafune’s interpreter ad-libbing the “It’s better than nothing” line (making people assume Inafune said it), people comparing Mighty No. 9 and its $4M+ budget to other Kickstarter games like Yooka-Laylee, and so on. Comcept and Deep Silver made it easy to hate Mighty No. 9, but I honestly don’t think it deserves the hate.
But it really is just my opinion. If you played the game and you don’t like it, that’s fine. Maybe you were expecting something far different, and I don’t blame you. I liked the game for what it is. Hopefully they are able to make a sequel. Hopefully that sequel isn’t on ten platforms like this was, and they can put more effort into a much better looking, tighter game experience. Maybe my opinion on the game is more forgiving because of the difficulties they faced in development. I don’t know. What I do know is that I enjoyed Mighty No. 9.
That does it for me this week. I don’t know what I’ll be doing for July. No clue whatsoever. Hit me up on Twitter @vgramblings with some ideas.