Thursday 21 July 2016

Mighty No. 9

The Mega Man series is probably the most unused but beloved series there is. The Capcom series has been notably  neglected  in the last few years and the creator Keiji Inafune noticed this and decided to launch a Kickstarter to create a similar game and thus Mighty No. 9 was born. However, rather than the game becoming an advocate for refreshing old-fan favourites, Mighty No. 9 might be looked to as the breaking point for the trust between fans and Kickstarter Project creators.

Out now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and developed by Comcept, Mighty No. 9 is a massive disappointment. Jumping on the name of Mega Man, promising that classic hardcore  but smooth gameplay of those titles, Mighty No. 9 fails to capitalise on any of the aspects that have made Mega Man such a beloved series. From the moment you begin the game, you lose a lot of enthusiasm and you question so much about it all and none of the answers that come are comforting as you play further. 

Mighty No. 9 feels like it has an identity crisis as it attempts to satisfy all players rather than those that were looking for another Mega Man. This crisis is probably best felt in the level design which ranges from dull and unimpressive to furiously punishing, all with a control scheme which just isn’t responsive enough. Nothing you do feels satisfying. It doesn't know if it wants to be a hardcore throwback to the older days or a cakewalk to entice new fans to possibly enjoy a type of game that they may have never played before.

As its obvious inspiration is Mega Man, you may not be surprised to know that it's level select is very similar in the sense that you can tackle them in any order you'd like. There is an optimal path as defeating bosses offers boosts and abilities that is more effective against others but its just imitation rather than innovation.

The overall look of the game maybe the most baffling as it looks unimpressive but still has some massive technical problems. The game runs on the older Unreal Engine 3 which has been optimised over years to give the best quality for the smallest cost to CPU and GPU. There are moments in Mighty No. 9 where the frame rate falls almost in half. Given that the game wouldn’t even look impressive on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, having it perform so poorly on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is baffling. Still, it’s present, and makes the gameplay feel even worse. At certain sections, the framerate can reduce between 40-50% and is noticeable almost immediately. Weirdly though, it seems like those sections in particular has the frame rate lock to the lower number and stay there pretty consistently. Everything just feels that much more sluggish and makes the moments where precision may be needed even more frustrating.

Even when the frame rate is smooth and everything is optimal, the gameplay still lacks. It's a dull cycle of a couple of shots and then absorbing the enemy to defeat them. It just feels uninspired and although its contemporaries are equally simplistic, here it just feels like a chore rather than trying to perfect a run. Enemies cheap shot you and outnumber you to simply aggravate and kills any momentum you may be building.

If you were hoping for the next evolution in the genre then prepared to be bitterly disappointed and underwhelmed. This is definitely a game that doesn't come close to what was expected. But, hey, "It's better than nothing, right?" Actually. . .

Mighty No. 2/5.

Jason Redmond

Mighty No. 9 at CeX

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