Last week I gave the general overview of the game. But I’m not satisfied with simply telling you people to buy the game. Oh no, I’m going to hammer this game into you. In these cynical times when the games market is flooded and our options of what to sink our time into are many, we often overlook content in favor of simply gorging through games as fast as possible so we can get to the next one, never truly understanding the games we play or what makes them good. I savored this game. Every minute of the 90 ours I plunked into this I digested with glee. I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered the game like some of the people I’ve seen on YouTube who pull off perfect scores in each level, but I definitely feel like I’ve got some skills to pay the games bills and I’ve grown in my gaming experience because of it.
When this game came out it was quickly written off as too difficult by famous gaming commentators who no doubt also have difficulty in opening pudding cans. This age of games is known for holding hands and dolloping out steaming doses of praise at even the most pedestrian of accomplishments. Not Platinum though. Platinum games demand experimentation but you’ve heard this spiel before from me. Point is, people were lost as to how to play Wonderful 101 and that’s pretty understandable. It’s a unique control scheme and fighting system that goes at hack and slash pace. It’s not required to be crazy to play the game but it will help.
SO WHATS SO GOOD?
- It’s a meaty game with a buttload of content
I’ve mentioned how it took me about 90 hours to 100% the game and in that time I never got bored. Angry? Yes, but not bored. You get 5 difficulty levels, 26 or so “Missions”, a super challenge “Bloody Palace-esque” bonus mission, 2 different kind of secret missions hidden in missions including the credits level, over a dozen boss fights, several kinds of collectables, and the games built in achievement system of “bottle caps” which contribute to earning various unlockables such as playable characters from Bayonetta and Viewtiful Joe.
- The story is bloody hilarious and as charming as an excited puppy
Like Viewtiful Joe and Bayonetta, Wonderful 101 is a deconstructive love letter to the super Sentai genre famously from Japan. Characters have simple personality types with cliched background and they are all just relishing in it. Only those with hearts of stone won’t feel just a little bit pumped up when faced with a game as charismatic as this. Musical cues drum up at just the right time to blast out the heroes theme song. The game is so wonderfully shot to make every cut scene, every battle, every moment possible feel dynamic. And it just keeps building and building on that. The last few levels are super tense as you just don’t know what crazy shit the game is going to pull out next. And the ending left me incredibly satisfied, if only a little sad that there wasn’t more.
- Deep combat and clear cues.
While the combat wasn’t as deep as titans of the hack and slash world like DMC3-4 and Bayonetta, the game still did an amazing job with what it had. Each weapon has multiple uses, like fists being able to resist fire or be set ablaze and throw fire, swords absorb lightning and so on. Nearly all weapons could be used to counter an attack if you were in the right position and saw the prompt to get ready. Most things could be blocked or expertly dodged to encourage you to get into the battle and not hide on the sidelines like some sort of COWARD! Most enemies you see are huge and their visual cues of how you should react to them are pretty obvious. All you need to learn is how you want to react. You will be challenged in this game, and you will grow.
- Even at its most frustrating its still fun.
It took me 3 days to beat one of the secret missions as well as a few doses of anti-anxiety meds. There was much snarling and gnashing of teeth. Fortunately my roommate was out of town at the time. Or maybe she was here, I can’t tell when I’m really mad. Anyway, the secret missions are hard, and they only show up on normal difficulty or above and are different on each difficulty setting. Also you need to do all 3 different difficulty versions of them to get the achievement for doing them. And boy oh boy did they get hard. But, in the process, they did teach me new ways to take things down. By severely limiting my powers for specific battles they taught me new ways to approach things that came in handy in the main game. And that’s what makes them great.
Well whats the downside?
- Takes a bit to figure out.
Like I said, this game doesn’t hold your hand and wants you to experiment. That can scare some people away, typically the more casually inclined. Expect to get frustrated, expect to be confused and to not “get it” right away. This isn’t even necessarily a bad thing but I can see it turning people off.
- If your skills are lacking in the shoot-em-up and Punch-out kind of games then you may have some problems.
While the game never outright gives you a game over it is possible to die and that will give you the condescending consolation prize at the end of the level as well as your commanding officer scorning you for not being better. Don’t take it personally you’ll be seeing these a lot even if you ARE good at schmups and Punch Out.
I love this game. I haven’t loved a game like this in a while. And I want you all to share in that love. So get out there, challenge yourself, and play this game. Otherwise, Diplomacy has failed. (to understand that reference play the game)
Kimo is a contemptuous old coot. With experience in video games dating back to 1988 and a schizophrenic range of games he boasts an impressive range of knowledge of gamings best, and worst. Dwelling in the desolate wastes of the American Midwest he brings to Z1Gaming a perspective that looks for positive qualities in even the worst games.