The Wonderful 101

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The Wonderful 101
Wonderful 101 box artwork.jpg
Packaging artwork released in North America.
Developer(s)Platinum Games
Development support:
Nintendo SPD
Publisher(s)Nintendo
Director(s)Hideki Kamiya
Producer(s)Atsushi Inaba
Hitoshi Yamagami
Artist(s)Yuka Kotaki
Ryo Koizumi
Writer(s)Hideki Kamiya
Composer(s)Hiroshi Yamaguchi
Akira Takizawa
Hitomi Kurokawa
Norihiko Hibino
Masato Kouda
Rei Kondoh
Platform(s)Wii U
Release date(s)
  • JP August 24, 2013
    Genre(s)Action
    Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
    DistributionOptical disc, download
     
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    The Wonderful 101
    Wonderful 101 box artwork.jpg
    Packaging artwork released in North America.
    Developer(s)Platinum Games
    Development support:
    Nintendo SPD
    Publisher(s)Nintendo
    Director(s)Hideki Kamiya
    Producer(s)Atsushi Inaba
    Hitoshi Yamagami
    Artist(s)Yuka Kotaki
    Ryo Koizumi
    Writer(s)Hideki Kamiya
    Composer(s)Hiroshi Yamaguchi
    Akira Takizawa
    Hitomi Kurokawa
    Norihiko Hibino
    Masato Kouda
    Rei Kondoh
    Platform(s)Wii U
    Release date(s)
    • JP August 24, 2013
      Genre(s)Action
      Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
      DistributionOptical disc, download

      The Wonderful 101 (ザ・ワンダフル・ワン・オー・ワン Za Wandafuru Wan Ō Wan?) is an action video game developed by Platinum Games and published by Nintendo exclusively for the Wii U. The game was directed by Hideki Kamiya and produced by Atsushi Inaba, who worked on the Viewtiful Joe series and Ōkami together. It was initially set to release during the Wii U's launch window (which lasted from the console's launch until the end of March 2013) in North America and Japan,[2] but instead was released at the end of August 2013 in all territories except North America, where it was released on September 15.

      On May 5, 2014, it is revealed that Wonder Red will be a trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. There will also be trophies for some of other Wonders in the game.

      Gameplay[edit]

      Screenshot depicting a "Unite Morph" ability used to battle an opponent. The heroes have combined to form "Unite Hand", which is shown punching a large enemy called the Diedough-Goo.

      In The Wonderful 101, players control a horde of superheroes from an isometric viewpoint and can turn them into various objects called "Unite Morphs". As levels progress, players must explore each stage to find helpless citizens and recruit them to join their army of heroes. The more heroes gathered, the greater the special morph powers can be. Players can use "Unite Morph" forms to battle off enemies, solve puzzles or traverse the environment at the cost of depleting the player's battery meter. The meter can be recharged by performing normal attacks or by picking up batteries dropped by a defeated enemy. Enemies will also drop "O parts", the in-game currency used to buy upgrades, new "Unite Morph" abilities and items. To transform the horde of heroes, shapes are drawn on the Wii U GamePad's touchscreen or right analog stick the corresponding symbol of a form, such as an “L” for a gun or a squiggly line for a whip. The GamePad can also be used to see things from a traditional third person angle and explore tighter environments better, such as indoors.[3][4][5]

      Modes[edit]

      The single-player campaign is broken between levels. Each level ends with a grade depending on a number of factors, such as how long it takes the player to complete and how much damage the player takes. In addition to a single-player mode, The Wonderful 101 has a cooperative mode that supports up to five players, with one person utilizing the GamePad and the four others using their own Wii U Pro Controller.[4][6]

      Plot[edit]

      The game takes place in a futuristic setting where vehicles, architecture, and technology have all become advanced and enlarged. The most complex of this technology was used to defend the entire Earth with a gigantic force-field from the invading alien terrorist organization, "The GEATHJERK Federation". In order to combat the invaders, the CENTINELs, an advanced military group created in secret by the United Nations, created CENTINEL-Suits, a super-powered mask that transforms the wearer into a powerful superhero with unique abilities.

      60 years after the initial GEATHJERK encounter (known as Earth Defense War I, with II happening 20 years later), the enemy has resurfaced, prompting the CENTINELs to take action. William Wedgewood, an elementary school teacher and latest recruit of the CENTINEL's special combat group, The Wonderful Ones, is tasked with managing the team, much to the chagrin of some of the team's more experienced members. Despite the ridicule he receives from his teammates and the pressure of being put in charge of saving the world, William (now known as Wonder-Red) keeps his cool and sets his eyes on his mission. Together, he and his team manage to defeat all of GEATHJERK's leading commanders, protecting the generators powering the Margarita force-field protecting Earth, but soon learn that Mother Platinum, the computer network in charge of generating the force-field, has been compromised, exposing the entire planet to the GEARTHJERK's massive armada.

      In a last-ditch attempt to save the Earth, they head directly for the GEATHJERK's moon-sized base of operations. Upon infiltrating it, they are greeted by Jergingha, the leader of the GEATHJERK, who reveals himself to be a sentient brain-like machine who monitors the entire base. Jergingha gloats as he tells the heroes that he has activated his own self-destruct mechanism as a means of destroying Earth by crashing into it. However, knowing not to underestimate them, Jergingha challenges them to a final battle. During the final battle, Jergingha reveals that the GEATHJERK come from 1500 years into the future, where an Earth-founded coalition had become so advanced that they threatened to annihilate the GEATHJERK's homeworlds, revealing the reason they came to the past to attack Earth. When the Wonderful Ones refuse to believe him, he presents them with a futuristic, evil version of the CENTINEL-Suit. He then equips it, becoming Wonder-Jergingha and nearly defeats them until Luka, one of Will's rebellious students who initially hated the Wonderful Ones for being unable to save his mother, reforms himself and saves Will at the last moment, allowing him to turn back into Wonder-Red and defeat Jergingha by destroying his CENTINEL-Suit. They manage to escape the fortress before it is engulfed in a massive explosion. However, Jergingha reminds the group that he is the entire fortress, and reveals himself to have a larger, more mobile form, who then threatens to use a massive laser to destroy the entire Earth. Using all of CENTINEL's strength, combined with their reformed allies and the last surviving remnant of Mother Platinum, the Wonderful Ones deflect the beam back at Jergingha using a beam known as "Final Ultimate Legendary Earth Power Super Max Justice Future Miracle Dream Beautiful Galaxy Big Bang Little Bang Sunrise Starlight Infinite Fabulous Totally Final Wonderful Arrow." Jergingha is completely vaporized by the blast, and all the remaining GEATHKJERK forces on Earth simultaneously cease operating and expire. With the Earth finally safe, the Wonderful Ones have completed their mission. As they head back to Earth, Wonder-Red tells Luka to inspire the future generation of humanity in order to prevent them from becoming what Jergingha had warned about.

      In the game's epilogue, it is revealed that the GEATHJERK have somehow returned a year after the defeat of Jergingha. However, the Wonderful Ones are prepared for everything this time, and have even recruited a new member: Luka, who is now known as "Wonder-Goggles". The children of the nearby school then celebrate as the Wonderful Ones fly off to fight the enemy once more.

      Development[edit]

      Development of what would become The Wonderful 101 began during the lifetime of the Wii. The original idea came from Platinum Games' president, Tatsuya Minami, who wanted to bring a group of popular or iconic video game characters together in one game. Because different gamers would prefer certain characters over others, being forced to play as a certain character at a certain point in the game was quickly scrapped. Instead, all of the characters would be on-screen at once so the player could choose between them at any time. Platinum Games initially thought of using Nintendo first-party characters who would work together to get past obstacles, but when the idea was presented to Nintendo, they questioned how the mechanic would fill an entire game. Director Hideki Kamiya also doubted that the "conflicting elements" of the different Nintendo characters could be "put into a consistent formula" successfully like in the Super Smash Bros. series. Further brainstorming was put on hold while he worked on another game, but when that game was put on hiatus a year later, work on The Wonderful 101 resumed. Kamiya decided to use the Japanese henshin theme with a group of five original heroes who could unite and transform into various weapons. Soon the group expanded to one hundred heroes, and the Japanese superhero style changed to "an American comic book vibe." Although the developers had been thinking of making the game for the Wii, when Platinum Games and Nintendo finalized their partnership, it became Wii U-exclusive. The developers wanted to use the console's unique features effectively, so they came up with drawing on the Gamepad as a way to activate the "Unite Morphs".[7][8]

      Much like Hideki Kamiya's Viewtiful Joe, The Wonderful 101 is inspired by tokusatsu—Japanese live-action films or television drama with a heavy emphasis on special effects. The main heroes’ outfits resemble those found in tokusatsu shows like Super Sentai, its American counterpart Power Rangers, and Kamen Rider, while the enemies resemble the giant monsters found in kaiju films, such as Godzilla and Gamera.

      Marketing[edit]

      The Wonderful 101 was revealed at E3 2012 on the conference floor, codenamed Project P-100. On July 3, 2013, Nintendo introduced their "Wonderful Wednesday" social networking campaign to promote The Wonderful 101, where each Wednesday leading up to the game, they release a new character portrait. However, two days later, Kamiya posted how he worried about the lack of marketing for The Wonderful 101 on Twitter, mostly referring to the lack of information in magazines or websites, and claiming that the game took almost 1.5 times the resources and manpower as Platinum’s biggest game, Bayonetta. During the August 7, 2013 Nintendo Direct, Satoru Iwata announced that on August 9, 2013 a Nintendo Direct presentation would be made exclusively for The Wonderful 101.

      Reception[edit]

      Reception
      Aggregate scores
      AggregatorScore
      GameRankings78.02%[9]
      Metacritic78/100[10]
      Review scores
      PublicationScore
      Edge6/10[11]
      Eurogamer8/10[12]
      Famitsu39/40[13][14]
      GameSpot8.0/10[15]
      IGN7.4/10[16]
      Joystiq4/5 stars[17]
      NintendoLife9/10[18]
      VideoGamer.com8/10[19]

      The Wonderful 101 received generally positive reviews from critics. It has an aggregate score of 78.02% on GameRankings[9] and 78/100 on Metacritic.[10] The game received comments from some game critics concerning its hard learning curve, while others, such as Nintendo Enthusiast's Michael Nelson, praised the game for requiring a certain amount of skill.[20]

      Most reviewers enjoyed the ridiculously nonsensical story, characters, and humor, but found the few sexual jokes out-of-place in a perceived kid-friendly game, although it retains a Teen rating.[12][15][16][17][21] The Wonderful 101's length and pacing seemed a bit drawn-out to some reviewers due to repetitive enemies and boss fights,[11][15][19] while others thought they were alright thanks to the even distribution of new moves and upgrades.[12][18]

      Forming weapons by drawing on the touchscreen garnered mixed reception. Many reviewers found that the GamePad worked fine for straight lines or circles (to make a sword or a fist), but that it sometimes interpreted the wrong weapon for more complex shapes.[11][12][16] Others thought that drawing simple shapes on the GamePad while using the right analogue stick for others was more reliable,[15] or that the GamePad worked perfectly and it was simply a matter of practice.[18][21] The camera was criticized for being too zoomed-out to keep track of all of the characters during battle but also too zoomed-in to see the occasional out-of-view enemy.[11][16][17] Reviewers agreed that the game lived up to Platinum Games' trademark high difficulty, with some citing the controls and camera as contributing factors.[11]

      Nearly all reviewers were pleased with the creative uses of the GamePad's second screen.[11][15][16] However, a few thought that navigating inside of a building using the controller's gyroscope was clunky.[18]

      Reviewers thought the multiplayer mode was enjoyable, but often lost track of their own group of characters. Most agreed that it felt "tacked on."[15][21]

      Reviewers praised The Wonderful 101's cartoony art style and flashy effects in battle,[12] but also thought the character models looked low-polygon if the view zoomed in.[18] The set-pieces and giant bosses were likewise well-received, as were the voice acting and soundtrack.[12][16]

      Sales[edit]

      The game sold 5,258 copies in its first week in Japan[22] and reached 22nd place in its first week of the UK sales chart.[22]

      References[edit]

      1. ^ a b Luke Karmali (May 17, 2013). "The Wonderful 101 Release Date Announced". IGN. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
      2. ^ "We try to make sense out of Nintendo's launch windows. But it got delayed.". Nintendo World Report. 2012-09-19. 
      3. ^ "Nintendo All-Access @ E3 2012 - Games". E3.nintendo.com. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
      4. ^ a b Meyer, Lee (June 26, 2013). "Hands On: The Wonderful 101". nintendolife. Retrieved July 7, 2013. 
      5. ^ "The Wonderful 101". nintendo.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
      6. ^ "The Wonderful 101 : Nintendo @ E3 2013". E3.nintendo.com. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
      7. ^ Parish, Jeremy (September 9, 2013). "Wonderful 101 and a World Without Genres". US Gamer. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
      8. ^ "Hideki Kamiya Interview: Wonderful 101, the Bayonetta 2 Controversy, His Twitter Account and More...". VideoGamer.com. Pro-G Media. August 22, 2013. Archived from the original on August 23, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
      9. ^ a b "The Wonderful 101 for Wii U". GameRankings. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
      10. ^ a b "The Wonderful 101 for Wii U Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
      11. ^ a b c d e f "The Wonderful 101 Review". Edge. Future Publishing. August 19, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
      12. ^ a b c d e f Stanton, Rich (August 18, 2013). "Give It a Big Hand!". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
      13. ^ Gifford, Kevin (August 21, 2013). "Japan Review Check: Wonderful 101, Lost Planet 3". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
      14. ^ "The Wonderful 101". Famitsu. Enterbrain. Retrieved August 25, 2013. (Japanese)
      15. ^ a b c d e f Gaston, Martin (August 18, 2013). "The Wonderful 101 Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
      16. ^ a b c d e f MacDonald, Keza (August 18, 2013). "Unite and Conquer". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
      17. ^ a b c Martin, Garrett. "The Wonderful 101 review: Barrel of superheroes". Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
      18. ^ a b c d e Whitehead, Thomas (August 18, 2013). "Chaos and Colour Multiplied by 101". Nintendo Life. Nlife. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
      19. ^ a b Cairns, Daniel (August 18, 2013). "The Wonderful 101 Review". Video Gamer. Pro-G Media. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
      20. ^ Nelson, Michael (September 12, 2013). "Review: The Wonderful 101". Nintendo Enthusiast. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
      21. ^ a b c Holmes, Jonathan (10 September 2013). "More than the sum of its parts". Destructoid. ModernMethod/Independent. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
      22. ^ a b Miller, Simon (2013-08-28). "The Wonderful 101 slows down Wii U sales in Japan". Videogamer.com. Retrieved 2013-08-28. 

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