Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
Wonderful 101 has been an exciting prospect from the very start, due to the fact that it’s directors are the same ones that have worked on great titles of the past (Viewtiful Joe and Okami). wo breakthrough titles indeed. In the game players control a hoard of super heroes that can use the ability “Unite Morphs” to turn into inanimate objects to help them in their adventure throughout the game. Players also explore the levels and come to the rescue of the many citizens trapped in the melee. These citizens can then be recruited to join in the struggle. The more people you recruit, the greater your powers, and the more awesome the scope of what you can do evolves.
The characters of this game are a 10 out of 10. Not only are the heroes you control each individually appealing, but the enemies are just as witty and amazing. Regardless of if your focus is on the personality and dynamics of the heroes as they create sarcastic banter, or if it’s on the armor-plated living tank and robotic laser crab, there is no end to the art and creative nature of this title. Wonderful 101 gets mega points for the visual appeal and charm of the title. The voice acting in the game only added to the over-the-top comic-like feel of the title and it truly is wonderful.
Unfortunately the charm all but disappears once you are thrown into battle. The isometric viewpoint makes it almost impossible to see what you are getting hit by half the time. I gave the game time to adjust thinking it may be something that the player could adapt to and while it is true that I adapted a bit, I couldn’t help but continue to get frustrated at the difficulty of game-play in the title. Most of the time you pick a main hero that you’d like to use during battle, this hero has a tendency to get lost in the madness of battle and creates a layer effect of frustration.
While it was frustrating, the satisfaction of solving a puzzle or beating one of the greatly designed bosses while flying through the skies with your troop didn’t get old. The battles are visually spectacular and extremely long, making them true challenges and top-notch when it comes to their involvement in the game. Most of the time the game pad was used in absolutely genius ways, and it worked extremely well. Boss battles worked better with the view-point than simple combat. I believe there was one large focus with the boss battles, rather than several enemies on the screen, along with the large amount of heroes to keep track of.
The game pad of the Wii U was key in this title and as mentioned earlier worked very well the majority of the time. At times no matter how keenly you drew a certain shape on your game pad it just would not accept what you were trying to input. Considering most of the game was set in a fast paced environment that kept you moving forward and anxious to get to the next point, those hold-ups became unacceptable.
Another aspect of the game called “O parts” created a currency in the game to allow the player to buy upgrades and abilities. Once again this became a frustrating point due to the fact that it was quite unclear which of the upgrades and abilities would most benefit the player. Quite frequently messages would pop up across the screen which would give you some idea as to what you were supposed to be doing, although with the fast pace and insane action happening on the screen, it was nearly impossible to read them. Once the abilities were obtained the scope of them became quite impressive. They were fun to use and a huge part of what made the game so fun.
The co-op mode isn’t any better or any worse than the campaign mode. It has the same pros and cons as the campaign mode and unfortunately carries with it the same frustrations. The game can be played with up to five players, with one of the players solely using the game pad.
Once you are well into the game and have a hold of the giant learning curve associated with the gameplay and O parts, the game really does turn into an amazing title. While some of the frustration of the game could have been avoided by better design overall the title is fun and impressive in many ways. There are huge pros and cons to this title but it was worth the cons to me to have the experience of the game. It’s a game many of us have waited for a while, and unfortunately many of it’s faults were avoidable but I’m grateful that it didn’t turn into a total failure. Wonderful 101 is the kind of game that fans of Nintendo, Okami, and Viewtiful Joe will still enjoy, but most likely that a casual gamer wouldn’t be able to see past its many faults.
The Wonderful 101 Gets:
Out of Five
+Wonderful Level and Character Design
+Abilities and Upgrades
+Wii U Game Pad Usage
+Character Personality and Voice Acting
-Frustrating Game play
-Expert Learning Curve on Controls