Mega Man 2 is my earliest truly memorable gameplay experience, so it's a bizarre feeling to be getting hands-on time with a game that looks identical fifteen years later. Make no bones about it, though. Mega Man 9 looks identical to the old NES games from the series. Capcom said they were taking the series back to its roots, and that's what they've done; difficulty included.
If you've never played a NES Mega Man game, firstly -- shame on you! Secondly, you'll probably be confused by Mega Man 9's graphics. These are pixelated 8-bit sprite graphics at their finest. In fact, the game looks like it borrows assets from Mega Man 2. Particularly the forest level, where the background looks almost identical.
Speaking of levels, there were only two available and they were both hard as nails. Mega Man 9 is going to make you weep like no modern game has done in years. During the levels I played, Mega Man doesn't have any particularly special abilities. No charge beam and no slide tackle. Rush returns with a spring in his back, letting you reach higher ledges, but that's it. There's no indication whether you'll be able to pick up these skills later in the game or not, but I'm hoping so. Even Mega Man 4 had the charge beam.