When I was writing my review for Mighty No. 9, I found myself constantly adding and removing the expansion DLC from my cart. I eventually hesitantly purchased it and gave her campaign a try after completing Beck’s. Aptly titled, The Vermilion Destroyer, Raychel is introduced to the story as Beck’s rival and predates him as an earlier iteration. However, unlike Beck, she’s seeking answers as to why she was abandoned and must absorb xels constantly from robots, including the Mighty Numbers until she can confront Dr. White.
Raychel has the option to play through the exact same stages as Beck, but her gameplay is slightly different. As she travels through the stage, her life will slowly deplete and one of the key steps of staying alive is through killing robots and absorbing xels. It’s reminiscent to the life draining mechanic used in Shinobi and Nightshade, which is one of the reasons why I was attracted to the expansion. However, Raychel auto-absorbs her enemies and this method of absorbing xels completely kills the fun in score building. Sure, I’m rushing through each stage trying to survive, but the gameplay suddenly becomes dull and repetitive without the one thing that makes Mighty No. 9 fun.
Now there aren’t a lot of things that make Mighty No. 9 good, but one of the positive things that I enjoyed where the interactions between the Mighty Number siblings. As Beck went through each stage, one or multiple of the siblings would acknowledge his existence whether he was currently working with or against him. However in Raychel’s story, this is completely non-existent. All of the cutscenes during her stages are removed and the Mighty Numbers exchange zero dialogue with her, even when the Vermilion Destroyer challenges them. This extended story and Raychel as a character, seem like wonderful ideas, but it’s hard to connect with a character when her gameplay is monotonous and development falls short.
To sum it up, I kind of wish Raychel’s story was included with the game as unlockable content, because it’s not worth the purchase. In the beginning, I was intrigued by her story, because it somewhat reminded me of Bass and Zero. She provided an extra challenge, which seems fun on the outside, but ends up becoming stale and her story becomes muffled. Seriously, how many times can you reuse the “these are prototypes before Beck” trope before it grows old? I wouldn’t be so agitated about Raychel’s stages being the exact same as Beck’s if it was included in the game instead of DLC. With four million dollars in development funds, you’d expect something more, but her expansion comes off even lazier than the main game. If you enjoy being frustrated, then, by all means, purchase this DLC. Otherwise, if you received the DLC for free via the Kickstarter campaign or a physical copy, then play at your own risk.