Reviews

September 24, 2013

The Wonderful 101

Lasting First Impressions

The Wonderful 101 BoxartAt this stage of the game, Nintendo really needs a home run; a game that is the definitive system seller for the Wii U console.  For months now, Nintendo has been teasing and showing off The Wonderful 101, a game that, for all intents and purposes, looked like it was going to be that home run.  The Wonderful 101, developed by Platinum Games and published by Nintendo, is an all out action game that puts the player in charge of 100 heroes that can combine to create an increasing number of distinctly massive weapons.

I sat down to play The Wonderful 101 expecting to find something entirely unique, inspiring, and incredibly fun.  The Wonderful 100 is a team of multi-national heroes that are called upon to face threats against the earth.  In a great take on classic Japanese hero shows such as The Power Rangers, this games presents a team of heroes can unite when the player (who is actually the 101st member of the team) draws specific shapes with the right stick.  A straight line will create a massive sword consisting of a number of heroes standing on top of each other, while a circle creates a hug fist.  As the team fights off the alien invaders known as the Geathjerk, unassuming citizens can be called upon to make the team larger.  The larger the team, the more damage can be done.  The team can even be split into multiples by creating more than one weapon, with the other groups fighting the enemies automatically.

As the game began, there was an incredibly over the top humour found in the narration and the subsequent animations that made me believe this was going to be, well, wonderful.  As the hour progressed, and the game mechanics were brought to light, this enthusiasm took a sharp turn.  Using the right thumbstick to draw shapes to summon weapons became a frustrating ordeal as the shape you wanted did not materialize. This is especially bad when a specific action is required at a crucial moment in a battle.  The button mappings seemed clumsy as well, making the game feel more like a random button masher as I tried to hit the correct button for a specific action. I never truly felt like I was in control of anything happening on screen.

The Wonderful 101 Screenshot

The Wonderful 101 is a great looking game, though. It is like playing a Saturday morning cartoon full of fun, wild, and wacky characters.  Bright colours throughout and robotic enemies being pummelled by a massive team of heroes.  Who could ask for more?  Some camera control would be nice, actually.  In fact, there is absolutely no camera control at all which, at times, is a hindrance to the game play as enemies can move off screen to places they can’t be seen.  Until they attack and you had no time to prepare for them.  The missions are short but sometimes objectives are unclear or not possible.  In one instance, I was instructed to create a chain link using my heroes to cross over a gap between train cars.  While I performed the action correctly, the chain never actually reached the other side making the objective impossible.  A deliberate jump off the train to imminent death was the only way to reset the chapter and try again.  This happened so early in the game that I was already feeling let down by a title I was really looking forward to playing.

The ideas behind The Wonderful 101 are great, don’t get me wrong.  Commanding an immense fighting force akin to Pikmin Power Rangers is fun.  Creating massive weapons to pummel the enemies is something anyone loves to do.  Unfortunately, the mechanics behind controlling these actions are flawed from the outset.  The game itself could be hugely entertaining, but any great game is rendered less great if the controls are not intuitive and don’t feel natural.  This is, unfortunately, the case with The Wonderful 101.  In the end, the real flaw is the lack of intuitive and reactive controls making an otherwise great game into something of a chore to play.

Platinum Games, I gave you an hour and I am NOT IMPRESSED.

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About the Author

Sean
Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.




 
 

 

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