The Wonderful 101: Remastered

released on May 19, 2020

A remaster of The Wonderful 101

A team of heroes from around the world must unite to protect the earth from vicious alien invaders!
This band of 100 Wonderful Ones works together using their fantastic abilities to create a variety of forms. Whether it be a giant fist or a sharp blade, they'll use their wits and power to overcome the enemy’s pitfalls and perils!
And the final member of this team of courageous heroes - is you.

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If you can get past its many eccentricities and its made-for-Wii U interface, you'll find a fiercely original take on the Kamiya character-action formula, with continuous mind-boggling set pieces and a real passion about its tokusatsu inspirations.

This review contains spoilers

Once upon a time, Hideki Kamiya had the resumé to back up his ego.
The Wonderful 101 is not only a pastiche of superhero comics and old tokusatsu shows, but also a celebration of PlatinumGames's achievements up to its initial Wii U release, coming off of a near-perfect streak of four beloved action games.
The story wears camp on its sleeve, with an amusing cast of characters and over-the-top setpieces. Overall, it's decent, but it's bloated by some unhinged plot twists, inappropriate tonal shifts, and the most pathetic antagonist you'll ever meet.
The combat is finely crafted, with extra-versatile weapons and highly intricate enemy design. Only one enemy forces you to play by its rules, but even that one will give up on gating you eventually. Even just standing still with certain weapons will auto-block some attacks, making your arsenal feel like much more than just strength and speed.
The actual gameplay, however, seems to value spectacle above anything else.
Although W101 has great combat, about 1/3 of the game plays in entirely different genres. There are so many shoot 'em up sections, it made me wonder if Kamiya would rather be directing that instead of action games; and there are entire ten-minute segments that mimic Zaxxon and Space Harrier, severely disrupting the flow of their levels and making the game a poor replay. And that's a shame, because in spite of its obnoxious pacing, W101 is probably the most passionate game in Platinum's library.
The Wonderful 101 is the end of an era in many ways. It is the last game directed by Hideki Kamiya before he atrophied his frontal lobe rage-baiting randoms on Twitter, and the last great game from PlatinumGames. It is absolutely worth your time.

Before growing up and having to embrace adulthood, and all the reality that came with it, there was a time where you could turn on your television and be whisked away into a world of colorful heroes, giant robots, cheesy fights and enough transformation poses to guarantee that you accidentally break at least something in your house when you mimicked them. But, just for that half an hour, you could imagine yourself as a hero, a stalwart defender of justice and peace, fighting monsters, aliens, mutated creatures and really anything that seems evil. It's a wonderful feeling, and the Wonderful 101 wants you to relive the days of doing silly poses to the rainbow adorned heroes taking on the bad of the week.
Here, alien invaders, the GEATHJERK, have launched their assault on our great planet Earth. And here, you take control of not one, not two, but an legion of 100 heroes united to take them on.
Essentially, imagine Pikmin, Super Sentai, and Kamen Rider were blended together into a wonderful, over the top, challenging, but obtuse action game. Don't let it's appearance fool you: this is a Platinum Games game, and as such, it's all about the frenetic, stylish, and challenging action gameplay.
The main attraction here is the system known as the Wonder Liner. By drawing a shape(in the case of this remaster, using the right stick), you can form a specific weapon called a Unite Morph such as a fist, a sword, a gun, and much more. The bigger the shape, the bigger the damage and the bigger the morph. But this comes at a cost: the 100 heroes in your group are essentially your resources, and by drawing a circle around helpless civilians on each level, you can recruit more and more to your ranks, including unique heroes. The Liner also uses the Unite Gauge, your battery level, as the size of the morph is also determined as such.
The Wonderful 101 is a hard game to get into at times. Something that likely precedes it's own reputation as an underlooked gem, and something indicative of Platinum's brand of game. However, W101 can be obtuse for the wrong reasons. The game at times simply does not clue the player into enough information to make judgments on what they encounter. While this allows players to discover new techniques and ways to play on their own, certain info feels it should be divulged. For example, the block ability of the game, Unite Guts, is only effective against specific types of attacks. Guts is shaped like a pudding, so it gives you a clue as to what it can block, but it still feels as if the game's logic is overriding what the player expects. The Guts, since the game doesn't say this outright, can be bigger or smaller depending on how big the current Unite Morph is, and as such can deflect bigger attacks. There's certain illogical aspects throughout the game that can make it frustrating at times. The game's learning curve is also notoriously high, but, when this game clicks, it becomes an wonderful classic.
More than just the satisfying and intricate gameplay, is the pure spectacle, passion and heroic spirit emanating from every piece of W101. From results screens for each fight taking the form of a newspaper congratulating our great heroes for their valiance, to the insane presentation of boss fights through(a rare sight) fun quick time events that endow the heroic action unfolding before you.
The characters are also fun and surprisingly likable despite being essentially parodies. The game is also really, really funny with Platinum's goofy and earnest sense of humor that shines even beyond character interactions and to the gameplay itself in many surprising ways.
Passion is in it's purest form in this game. It's a passion project from Platinum, and it feels as such that you can't help but love it. If you can surpass the game's learning curve and ride with the game instead of fighting it, there's a truly unforgettable experience here.
Most of all, the game whisks you back to that innocent time, where you with all your heart cheered on the great heroes to defeat the cartoon bad guy. Wonderful indeed, and a wonderful game of pure heroic passion. Give it a try, you may just be surprised.

As much as I appreciate Kamiya as a game developer, ranking him as one of the best video game directors in the industry, I feel like I'm playing the same game since DMC1. I recently beat Bayonetta for the first time and felt no desire to replay it, so staring this game made my burn-out much more sensible. It's not to say that the game isn't fun, I'm willing to bet that The Wonderful 101 is the best Kamiya work and the most passion he has put into the project.

Funny small french fat power ranger with a gun is my favourite character

Team, diplomacy has failed, remove half a star from Bayonetta for not being as fun.
I cannot see my character. He is very small. His hitbox is very big. When I get hit I run around in circles on the floor. I cannot comprehend this. I try to make a whip, they turn into claws. I try to make a hammer, it turns into a whip. My character is behind a 50 gigaton robot. Where is he. I cannot imagine trying to 100% this and having to master the shooter sections. I hit a giant turtle with a big weapon. It works. I hit it again. This time it doesn't, and my amorphous blob is spread over an area the size of DMC 1's map.
A metallic clang reverberates inside my skull.
My Platinum™ damage metal instantly goes to a silver. By the time I finish mopping the floor, the giant turtle has already hit me again. The Kamiyagamers sit in the audience and they laugh at me - "You should have already played it when you do your first playthrough" - my smile turns into a frown. I wish I was playing Ōkami. Where is my character. I do a jumping action by pressing the A button. My character is instantly thrown into the isometric pit between two cliffs that looked like they were 1 nanometer apart. The turtle hits me again - it looked like this attack could be blocked, but unfortunately I either didn't properly understand the physics of jelly or I misjudged the weight of the attack to be 80 megatons instead of 120 megatons, which everyone knows is the lethal limit for cartoon gelatine. Except when it isn't. "I should have already played it" I think to myself.
I cannot find my character.
I have a lot of issues with this, but ultimately once you get past those comboing enemies is in fact really enjoyable (especially when you get several morphs going at once) and the setpieces are by far the best Kamiya has ever stood for, and probably some of the best in any character action game. The plot is fun, I laughed several times and the characters are all both enjoyable and cool. The wonderline is a Wonderful™ mechanic (the 90% of the time where it works as expected). I had a good amount of fun with this despite the admittedly pretty frequent frustrations. Where is Wonder Red. I cannot see him on my screen