|System: X360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 1, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
A little over a year ago we were introduced to Mega Man 9, the game that took the Mega Man series back to its roots. Coming after a long stretch of somewhat disappointing titles, Mega Man 9 seemed like exactly what the series needed. Its retro 8-bit visuals, classic design, and crushing difficulty were exactly what longtime fans of the series had been waiting for. Because of that title's success, there was little question as to the shape the next Mega Man entry would take. But, while Mega Man 10 shares many similarities with the game that came before it, there are also quite a few surprises to be had.
Once again taking place in the year 20XX, Mega Man 10's story kicks off with all of the world's robots coming down with a mysterious illness called Roboenza. With all of the robots falling ill and no longer being able to perform their tasks, the heavily robot-reliant world begins to fall apart. After a month goes by, the sick robots begin to get violent and attempt to take over the world. Even Dr. Wily himself seems concerned about this turn of events and teams up with Mega Man in order to try to find a cure for the Roboenza outbreak.
As one might expect, this set up results in a game with the same formula as previous entries in the series. This means facing off against eight boss robots, each with their own unique powers and themed levels. Players can choose to take on these bosses in any order they wish, gaining the use of their weapons upon their defeat. However, while you can take on these bosses in whichever order you like, there's always an optimal order that gives you a definite advantage. For instance, you'll likely want to take out Sheep Man, whose weapon emits clouds that rain down lightning, before taking on Pump Man. This isn't necessary by any means, but it sure makes taking down these bosses much easier.
I found the themed levels in Mega Man 10 to be more interesting, both in terms of visuals and design, than those found in the Blue Bomber's last outing. Many of the backgrounds in the previous Mega Man title were fairly bland, with a lot of blank spaces and very little detail. However, new levels such as Strike Man's, who is essentially a robotic baseball, have backgrounds full of color and objects. This helps to make multiple runs through the same level feel more interesting, since it no longer feels like running through a vacuum of empty space. One of my personal favorites comes towards the end of the game and involves a steady downpour of 8-bit rain.
While most of the game's levels can feel a little short, almost every single one feels well designed. The normal jumping and shooting challenges you'd expect abound, but there are also some unique segments that are sure to catch many players off guard the first time through. A couple good examples of this are a highway that sends vehicles barreling your direction that need to either be jumped over or ridden as well as one level that sends timed sand storms at you, either pushing or pulling you towards bottomless pits or deadly spikes. Also, you'll find many levels in the game that supply multiple possible paths through, giving you both good reason to play through more than once as well as alternative directions to try in case you're having difficulties with a particular part of the level.
One of the big surprises you'll find in Mega Man 10 is that you'll be able to play through the title as either Mega Man or Proto Man from the beginning. Proto Man is included from the outset this time around, instead of saving him as a downloadable offering as in Mega Man 9. This is definitely a nice option to have, although the implementation could have been a little better. You are only able to choose your character at the start of a play-through, having no ability to switch between the two once you've begun.
This seems like a pretty big oversight considering how each character has their own strengths and weaknesses that could work better in some levels than others. Mega Man is inherently quicker on the trigger and heartier, but Proto Man has a shield when he jumps, can slide, and can charge up shots. When fighting a boss such as Blade Man, Proto Man's jumping shield can be an invaluable tool, but the fact that he takes way more damage than Mega Man when hit can make using him a liability against others. Keeping the two characters completely separated does give you a good reason to play through the game more than once, but it still would have been better from a gameplay perspective if you were given the option to switch between the two at least in between levels and after deaths.