The Wonderful 101 is the first game for the Wii U that more people should really be paying attention too. As it’s really the first original IP for a retail product that exists outside of the eShop, hopefully it the game will also herald in the rise of a flood of games that will keep coming at a consistent pace. So suit up and move out gamers, this is The Wonderful 101.
The Wonderful 101 is the latest game from Platinum Games and director Hideki Kamiya and Producer Atsushi Inaba. The game draws many elements from past titles like Devil May Cry, Okami, and especially Bayonetta. The game is about a team of secret agents that can become warriors with incredible powers, especially when they band together and unite. It’s like something out of Tokusatsu (think Power Rangers or Kamen Rider) TV Shows, come to life as a game, and it works quite well.
The gameplay has you controlling a character with their own special abilities and they can be swapped out at any time by performing ‘Unite’ abilities. These abilities involve drawing a specific shape on either the gamepad touchscreen or with the right analog stick. Draw a line for a sword, a curve for a fist, or an overturned L for a gun. These Unite powers aren’t just for combat though, as you will need to use them to advance in the game’s 32 levels. They can also be used to discover secrets. There are other aspects to combat than Unite attacks though. The team members that you gather over the course of the game can also do Team Attacks where they will gang up on an enemy and starts attacking. This also allows you to sometimes climb on the enemy to deliver more powerful ‘Unite’ blows. You can also purchase ‘Unites’ that will be essential to your survival. Abilities like ‘Unite Guts’ and ‘Unite Spring’ are the first skills players should get to make the rest of the game much easier. The game has an old school mentality where instead of shoving tutorial upon tutorial down the player’s throats, it treats the player’s with respect and encourages player experimentation and self-discovery. If the player’s doesn’t do these things, they will suffer for it.
Many players today might see this design choice as a flaw in the game, but it’s a definite strength. When you have played so many games that cram tutorials down the gullet, gamers tend to get too used to the idea that a game will be there to hand-hold you. Why bother to try things, right? This game says screw that, learn or die! It’s quite refreshing, and it can’t really be faulted for it. Nintendo can be faulted, however, for not printing a manual for reference on instructions of how to play. There is an e-manual, but shifting through those things is hardly an ideal alternative to picking up a physical manual. To be sure though, Platinum does deserve a bit of blame. They could have inserted an in-game optional tutorial mode. It would have alleviated some of the chaos that can sometimes happen when a lot is happening on screen. In fact you could learn more by going to the Platinum webpage blog at the bottom of this review.
In addition to the single player game, there are multiplayer options which are both competitive and co-operative. The campaign can’t be played cooperatively but there are a nice helping of custom maps. All multiplayer modes are local only which is expected but still unfortunate. There is a wealth of extra content to unlock though. Extra characters, galleries, and achievements are all there to give a great deal of replay value to bump up the first playthrough’s expected 15-20 hour timeframe. The story is goofy Power Rangers camp, also including nods to Kamiya’s previous works and even some not so subtle references to other classic games. When you get to that level, you will understand what I mean, but it’s a real treat folks. The voice acting for the game’s dub is fantastic, and the art direction looks great despite the game not pushing the hardware. There are also different gameplay switch-ups that keep the game fresh and exciting. Despite some of the game’s shortcomings like issues in the telling-you-how-to-play-or-play-better department, the game is a fantastic game that deserves to be played and I would whole heartedly recommend it. Get it now folks! Don’t be a ‘Jerk’!
Platinum Games Wonderful 101 Tips and Tricks: http://platinumgames.com/2013/09/16/w101-blog-ep-25-tips-tricks/