Mega Man Universe Hands-On

We try out the first playable version of Capcom’s unique new entry in the Mega Man series at the Tokyo Game Show.

There’s been much speculation on just what kind of experience Mega Man Universe would offer in the wake of the stylized teaser trailer that revealed its existence a few months ago. Capcom’s finally offered a clearer picture of what to expect, thanks to the first playable version of the upcoming game in its booth at this year’s Tokyo Game Show. We tried out the three levels on display in the work-in-progress game and found the title to be surprising in a number of ways.

Before we dive in to the game, we should offer some context around the demo on display at TGS based on a chat with Capcom reps. The three levels on display were made especially for the show, and at the moment, they aren’t planned to be in the game, although they might be included as a bonus. The levels were intended to offer players an idea of what to expect from both the action and level creation in the upcoming title. It’s an interesting choice for the game’s debut, which covers a lot of ground.

The three levels are broken up by difficulty--easy, normal, and hard--with each being set in a unique area. The core gameplay is exactly what you would expect to find in a Mega Man game: You’re running, jumping, climbing, and shooting enemies while avoiding death. But, while this sounds run of the mill, things get interesting when you get to the small details. First off, the demo lets you choose one of six different Mega Mans (or Mega Men, as it were), each with unique attributes.

Three of your choices are in the more traditional Mega Man vein. There’s a classic anime-style Mega Man based on Keiji Inafune’s original designs, an all new design for the Blue Bomber specific for MMU that’s reminiscent of Tron (the Disney sci-fi flick), and a design based on the box art from the original Mega Man on the NES. The other three choices are representative of the kinds of creations you’ll be able to make using the game’s customization system. Two of the options, named Gust Man and Chop Man, retain most of the traditional Mega Man look in his head but feature new torsos, arms, and legs. The third option, Metto Man, is the most dramatic departure and features a totally different look that borrows heavily from elements seen on the mettaur enemies in the series. The demo lets you cycle through the six characters on a character selection menu where you get a look at their specific attributes. It turns out that the unique appearance of each Mega Man is more than just cosmetic because every version has different abilities. Each character will have different ratings for the life energy, weapon energy, shot, jump, and move categories. In addition, we were able to see a display of slots for their special weapons, item payload, and a “chip slot.” From the look of things, the chip slots are going to be central to tweaking your personal Mega Man. You’ll be able to equip different chips on Mega Man’s head, arms, torso, and legs--each of which have the potential to impact your character’s ratings.

It sounds pretty logical; legs impact your speed and jumps, while arms impact your base shot type and the like. The special weapon slots will let you equip boss weapons as they become available. Finally, the item payload will let you equip different items, such as the always vital e-tanks, to use during the adventure.

Things got a little bumpy once we started playing the actual demo. Each of the difficulties was well in line with the challenge the game is known for, but the game’s controls weren't as tight as we wanted. Things were a little too twitchy for us, which made the precise jumps that are key to staying alive pretty challenging. Using the D pad instead of the analog stick on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 helped, but we were definitely left wanting a more responsive experience.

We explored the three stages a bit more and found that they followed a pretty traditional Mega Man layout and had a decent array of ladders, spikes, enemies, jumps, and platforms. There were a few spots in the hard stage where it seemed like it was possible to get trapped if you missed a jump, which was actually in line with what can sometimes happen in user-generated content. The enemy mix was also on par with what you’d see in a Mega Man game and presented less of a problem than the actual jumping.

One thing we have to call out about the Mega Man Universe demo was the mix of art on display. All three of the levels featured a mix of polished art that’s in line with the look of the art in Mega Man 8, as well as pixelated sprite art that’s a nod to the classic NES games. It was an interesting blend of styles that showcased what was possible with the tools the game is set to offer. Our big hope is that there will be enough content in each of the styles to let fans create proper 8-bit style stages along with more modern-looking ones.

More importantly, we hope there’s content for each of the different eras in between so that dedicated fans can go to town. As for Mega Man himself, we have to say that we were a little disappointed in the level of detail and animation for the iconic blue hero--although we’re aware the game is a work in progress. After the trailer and the talk about what the game was going to be, we were hoping for something along the lines of Mega Man Powered Up in terms of art style and animation. Hopefully, the game will come closer to that title’s level of polish as it takes shape.

Based on what we played, we’re fans of the idea behind Mega Man Universe, but the execution is pretty rough right now. We like the customization of Mega Man and possibilities offered by stage creation. There’s a lot of potential here, but it seems like the game needs more time to cook before it can deliver on its promise due to its shaky controls. Look for more on Mega Man Universe in the months to come.

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Discussion

49 comments
OkamiWoodson
OkamiWoodson

So are we ever going to see the end of Rockman X? You know, the Dark Elf wars?

Gregorymaster
Gregorymaster

@oneEnigma yeah, i agree with you the MMX really rocks. why they don´t keeping the MMX series, like MMX8 it is a great game, with good graphics, but remain the old gameplay style

oneEnigma
oneEnigma

the levels and gfx style look really dead to me, it actually seems lke the style they used on the ne MVC3 game, i would have preferred something like the early MM X games

flamerhermy
flamerhermy

I don't think Ricardo had slept in days or he hates Mega Man.

ArmoredBreaker
ArmoredBreaker

They make a reboot of dmc series that doesnt need to be F*kin rebooted and the megaman series who they could easily make a Reboot, they dont damn......wht are your problem ?

advocacy
advocacy

Rough execution is a politically correct way of saying that the gameplay sucks.

Gabe447
Gabe447

Another 3d megaman rpg is the way to go,not this 2d crap.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

Great.... let's not do quality megaman games like Megaman Legends... Instead let's make stupid crap like this, and downgrade graphical versions of the old megaman games (which btw are total crap, always have been and always will be) God I hate you sometimes Capcom... Stupid Mother ****ers

Byaku524
Byaku524

Just show me next-gen version of of something like Megaman 64 and I'll be happy.

General_O
General_O

This game looks horrible I don't want it. Capcom should just create a new megaman with new graphics and a story. Stop trying to steal elements from little big planet and wrap it in a megaman skin.

ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

MegaMan 2 epicness in music please...

StanLords
StanLords

the translator in this video is AWSOME!!!!

Kazor
Kazor

@anthonycg Mega Man DID go 3D like Sonic. Don't tell me you've forgotten the abomination that was Mega Man X7!

idontlivehere11
idontlivehere11

Holy Crap! A gamespot preview NOT 100% positive? :incline: of gamespot?

xerberus
xerberus

@megawizard1 agreed. Legends 1 & 2 were awesome. Don't really remember what made them click for me, but they did. It felt like that 3d Mario in N64. IT just had this 3D charm in it. I wish they'd make more games like that. *looks at Link and Zelda* oh wait...

ZippyDSMLee
ZippyDSMLee

Capcom...... still the A number one laziest dev ever........

Rizer
Rizer

Oldschool fun. Good times. I'd play at.

calvinsora
calvinsora

Though I still don't like the visual styIe at all (8-bit or 16-bit would've been awesome), but this looks like it'll be good. I love the Mega Man series. :)

Kajiuro
Kajiuro

@zameen Protoman uses a shield, Zero uses a sword. Unless you're talking about those crappy network games.

zameen
zameen

where the fudge is protoman??!! I WANT HIS SWORD!!! TO CUT SOME GROINS!!!

nini200
nini200

MegaMan Zero Please!!! This game looks good too though and seems to offer lots of promise and replayability.

Supperdude9
Supperdude9

" no more just run jump an shoot!!" So...no more Halo games then? ;)

dovberg
dovberg

looks really good to me.

AnimeKen15
AnimeKen15

Ehh I have played too much Megaman games where you run, jump, and shoot. I want something different like the Battle Network series, I enjoyed that.

youngsexynerd
youngsexynerd

quit with all the old school megaman, an bring sum new to it, no more just run jump an shoot!!

smithers43
smithers43

Honestly i dont think its going to be very good....

Megawizard
Megawizard

"Just be glad that megaman hasn't gone 3d like you know... Sonic... Then you can worry." Legends 1 & 2. Although I liked those, and I think they were rather well-received all over anyway; heh.

anthonycg
anthonycg

Just be glad that megaman hasn't gone 3d like you know... Sonic... Then you can worry.

Egg99
Egg99

That's nice. Megaman X now please.

mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

i'm more interested in Rockman Online at the moment...

gabrielwoj
gabrielwoj

Looks cool but... The graphics are pretty weird... And looks the older megamans with remake-d levels

codewa
codewa

A nice megaman x platform game like megaman x4 would be nice. The textures on megaman x4,5, and 6 looked better than 7 and 8. Also the game-speed was reduced a lot. Just up the graphics and put a large amount of variations in character movements like animations for jumps and buster shots. More random spinning, flips, large assortments of customizable armor, etc. would make the next popular megaman x title hands down.

Megaforte
Megaforte

i see nothing wrong with this game, its just i care about the is the story when are they gonna finish the orginal megaman series, are they gonna fill in all the plotholes, they should really finish the X series and i would love megaman legends 3

DbzJohno
DbzJohno

I don't really see anything good about this game. They should of just made a next gen megaman game instead of this crap. If I wanted to make level designs, I would of buy little big planet. This type of stuff shouldn't be placed in a megaman title. Keiji Inafune what were you thinking???

da_illest101
da_illest101

enough with megaman, I want the megaman X or legend series back

ArcZerato
ArcZerato

This game look like crap. When a good megaman like ZX will appear on the consoles?

MegaPyroFlame
MegaPyroFlame

I like Mega Man, but I don't see the point in making so many of him. Especially in this playing genre.

LovePotionNo9
LovePotionNo9

I hope we can still use the 8-bit Mega Man sprite if we want. That's my favorite one.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

So this is LBP but with Megaman. I'm up for that.

Halloll
Halloll

I call dips on ugly man

Eclipse-015
Eclipse-015

Being a huge megaman fan i hope this turns out to be the best megaman yet.

Sento_brean
Sento_brean

I wanna see game play footage of them actually making there mega man, as well as how that newly made mega man works in combat, rather than footage of different versions of mega man doing their normal thing