Mighty No. 9 (Xbox One review)
Gameplay: 4½/5 – The controls ever so slightly remind me of Mega Man X but Mighty No. 9 does have a cool flair all its own. I think it’s sort of cool how you acquire new skills from sucking the enemies as you blast through them. At the same time, some of the features can be a bit annoying (the fireballs aren’t always all that useful) but beyond that the gameplay is excellent. The special weapons vary from pretty useful to slightly baffling but do add a nice variation to the game.
Graphics: 4½/5 – I think the game has a really charming graphic look and feel. The bosses are especially memorable and I think that most of the stages are pretty neat and have a cool design. I like the combination water/ice level for instance and the aerial level was also really nice. A small minus which I have to give to the game’s graphic look is that in Pyro’s stage, some of the enemies blend slightly into the background which is a bit annoying.
Animation: 4/5 – Character animations look great and the cutscenes are okay. There are moments of excellence but on the over-all the cinematics stay pretty low-key.
Music: 4/5 – Strong word of advice switch on the chip-tune (retro/8-bit) music before you start the game. Interestingly, I feel the music honestly stands out much better with the chip-tune sounds which help you distinguish the melodies and percussion much more easily. The normal instruments are just way too soft and make the music sound more like elevator fair for some reason. Even with that a few of the tracks aren’t that memorable (Pyro’s theme) but some were really neat (Dyna, Cryo, Counter).
Sound: 4/5 – The sound-effects are okay with the voice-acting being pretty okay. If you dislike the English voice cast you can just switch on the Japanese voice cast – but honestly, the Japanese voices just sound kind of generic to me.
Replay value: 4/5 – The game is just plain old fun and it actually gets better the longer you play it. I really get a kick out of it. Some of the level designs are a bit dickish, but I also like how the other robots come to help you once you beat them.
Difficulty: From Hard to Easy – The game is very much like a Mega Man game in that you’ll probably die a whole bunch at the start trying to learn the stage layouts and while you’re still getting used to the controls (as well as when you’re trying to learn all the robots’ weaknesses). That said, once you do, you’ll begin to find the game a breeze and I even learned how to beat several of the bosses with just my normal weapon long before I got the patterns down. The game may feel overwhelming for Mega Man newbies (I recommend maybe getting some practice in with Mega Man 3 or X before launching straight into this one) but veterans are probably going to enjoy themselves.
Score: 83% – While it has some rough patches, Mighty No. 9 is way more enjoyable than either Mega Man 9 or 10 and really does feel like a natural continuation of the classic series. I honestly hope we’ll actually see another entry in this series at some point because the game left me with a really good feeling.
Random warning: The load times are frustratingly long though.