|System: X360, PS3||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: TBA||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Ever since the release of Mega Man 9, the Mega Man series has seen a resurgence in popularity. Though the original Mega Man series was an instant classic on retro consoles, some handheld misfires tarnished the Mega Man franchise in recent years. However, Mega Man 9 brought the series back to its retro roots and became quite the critical and commercial success. Mega Man Universe looks to continue the trend of retro-inspired Mega Man but only to a point.
Mega Man Universe was just unveiled only a few weeks ago, but we already know quite a bit about the game. First up, the game will feature a whole new visual style that walks the fine line between retro and modern. Much like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mega Man Universe will feature an updated style that has more modern conventions that have not appeared in preceding franchise entries. Instead of the blocky 8-bit look that popularized Mega Man 9 and 10, Mega Man Universe will use high-quality pixel art that has a smoothened texture to it, giving it almost a 3D effect. Although updating the visuals may sound good on paper, the retro look of Mega Man 9 and 10 was such an integral part of its success that I am not sure how fans will react to the new visuals.
But the visuals aren't the only major change that has fans buzzing. Mega Man Universe will also have a nifty feature that will allow players to create their own levels. This tool was shown off in an early gameplay footage trailer and lets users create levels using drag and drop tools to create surfaces, obstacles, and place enemies. The level creator looks like it will be the defining factor in Mega Man Universe, as the user-created levels will form a good majority of the game's content.
However, the user-created levels won't be the only content available in the game. Much like other creation-heavy titles like LittleBigPlanet, Mega Man Universe will feature several pre-created levels you can play through before taking your artistic vision online. Many of these levels will feature retro-inspired areas, familiar enemies, and, of course, plenty of environmental hazards. These simple obstacles have traditionally made up the backbone of the Mega Man series, and hopefully, there will be enough content in the pre-created level to satiate those who love Mega Man but don't quite have an intrinsic creative ability and prefer simply playing through Mega Man's classic platforming levels.
In addition to the level creator, there will also be a character creation element in the game. Instead of playing through the game as the titular Mega Man or any of his allies, you can create a character that has different "sections" of your favorite characters that can be swapped out sandwich-style. When you swap out the different parts, you can use the different abilities you have "equipped." So, if for instance, you put Quick Man's body at the bottom of your character sandwich, you will enjoy his speed. Putting together pieces of other characters in various orders will yield different benefits, so experimentation is definitely a prerequisite for success here. There will also be several cameo characters included in the game, although the only confirmed cameo at this time is Street Fighter's Ryu. However, I'm sure Capcom will enlist the help of some other familiar faces to help round out the game's playable roster, either as unlockables or post-release DLC.
Although further details on Mega Man Universe are scarce, the idea behind the game sounds solid. The game's new look is a tad jarring at first; hopefully, it will be something we can all get used to. We'll definitely have plenty of time to do that, as the game does not currently have a release date in Japan or the North American territories. All we know is the game will be distributed on the PlayStation Network/ Xbox Live at some point (no mention of the Wii was made) and when it is, it'll definitely be interesting to see not only how fans react to this new direction for the franchise, but also what kinds of levels they'll create!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor