Many classic gaming titles have engraved their names on the top of the lists of the best games in their time. If old Wii U players are asked about the best game they have played on that console, you’d probably be hearing about ‘The Wonderful 101’ numerously. As time passed by, many popular titles turned cross-platform compatible and that’s how Wii U started losing its massive gamer audience. Of the many games like ‘Viewtiful Joe’, ‘NieR: Automata’ and ‘Okami’ etc. ’Wonderful 101’ also decided to go on other platforms. On May 19, 2020, Platinum Games with their Game Designer, Hideki Kamiya released ‘The Wonderful 101: Remastered’. The game is available on PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.
If you have an idea of an action game having a tiny army of plentifully skilled heroes, ask Platinum for it and they won’t disappoint you! The ‘Remastered’ version sets itself aside from other games due to its aesthetic and gameplay perspective. As for the gameplay, all you have to do is control a crowd of superheroes and fight battles with it. Seems easy? Well, it isn’t! You would battle with the Geathjerk Federation, an evil alien army that comes to invade the Earth, and they need to be stopped by someone. To turn the Geathjerk Federation’s plans to dust, United Nations sends an international confidential team of 100 guardians who will battle the alien army in different parts of the planet Earth. This superhero force is guided by Wonder-Red, a fighter who also teaches at elementary school. You weren’t expecting this! Right? The whole game basis is on light hammy touches smack of old school sci-fi and spy Americana, immersed with a Japanese-tinted Kaiju spin. The narrative is mostly in the background noise with some dose of madness and chaotic gameplay. The unique idea of ‘swarm combat’ and its mechanics is what makes the game very special.
It is a very simple story, but you feel an aura of imagination and excitement that you can expect from this game. It didn’t need to have any complex story for entertainment as the entire tone of the whole title reflects comedy more than seriousness. The style of comedy implementation in the game is different from Platinum than what players are used to. They even added some silliness by adding comedic elements like heroes falling over themselves during elated victories and in between fighting among the crew. You will find some adult jokes along with ridiculous humor due to excessive action gameplay.
To combat the Geathjerk army, you will curl and crease your swarm of heroes in lines to craft them as weapons. The straight line represents sword, the twist is a whip: longer lines unveil stronger weapons. You can also make some auxiliary stuff like hand gliders etc. Blocking and Dodging moves are also unique adding calculated action tropes within the crazy gameplay. Ability to move to new areas using a double jump, find hidden locations, hurriedly solving light puzzles, and the ‘cherry on top’, the secret missions, who can you expect all of this from rather than Platinum? Except for the 15 to 20-hour campaign/story mode, you can also play multiplayer missions either solo or with a squad of ‘less than 5’ players. The game would be using the left stick or touch panel of the PS4 controller.
Wonderful 101: Remastered is all about wholeness. One of its greatest attractions is that a group of diverse characters gather and turn into a team as you advance through the map. You would find civilians, law enforcement personnel, and military building a unit of 101 operators, requiring each’s collaboration and effort. As you change other superheroes and transform ordinary citizens into temporary-masked heroes, your chosen team joins you in each attacking move you make. Your squad consists of a large number of support operators, each with its color: green, pink, yellow, white and black, etc. emerging like that of Power Rangers and can take the shape of different destructive items, like a ‘Unite Morph’, starting with a giant fist and extending the collection to hammer, sword, gun, and other necessary items, even a giant jelly! My favorite one though! You form these shapes to hit bad guys. Platinum Games has always emphasized the importance of timing, placement, and blocking. If you lose control, you are certainly going to be strictly punished as your health would dwindle at a fatal rate.
The Wonderful 101 wasn’t a niche game. The reality and life behind the title and the extreme rise in ‘Remastered’ popularity were that everyone couldn’t adjust itself to its game mechanics. Players had to struggle to get used to it by playing more and get better at it. It has a combat system and humor of its type. In the present times, as the world has gotten more audience and gaming styles relating to dodging and parry have got broadened, the wharf and flan mechanics of the game now comprise a greater meaning and challenges players from different game genres to try this one too.
Even with all these uniqueness and unlikeness mechanics, features and storyline, this in-game madness made some Platinum’s finer touches vanish. Some game sections allow you to be free and reinvent your story according to the way you approach your game, but the enemy’s selection demands some strategic planning as it can get tiring at 101’s longer levels. The mechanical department, comprising all its variety and charm, also lacks periodically. In a combat extensive game like The Wonderful 101: Remastered, imprecision is your enemy. At first, it would be a lot of fun to switch controls between single, ranged, or crowd targets, but along with the time it forms a routine and you don’t get to try any new move as there isn’t left any. Furthermore, drawing lines around citizens to assemble them is still unstable and imprecise. The crafting system also feels witless and useless. Menu-Based hang-ups and lags may ruin your taste of the action. There are various other flaws; some in design and others in the compatibility of the game with other platforms. The game camera, for example, is very disturbing. When there are circles, drawing is easy but when you need to draw complex symbols, the task becomes tedium. Due to this, the isometric perspective in the platforms section goes completely against. The game consists of a lot of vehicle sections, which when adding some variety don’t feel as smooth and gratifying as normal combat. Many puzzles require a dual-screen to be solved, so the ‘Remastered’ version as a solution uses a picture-in-picture plugin that contaminates the visual experience of an already loaded game screen.
When it comes to remastering, the game integrates rightful and necessary features within. The frame rate and resolution are exactly like one would expect in a new game, although some 3D models are detailed and show their years by dropping the FPS below 60. The Kickstarter campaign has promised some new content and plugins in the form of 2D levels and rendering, though they haven’t arrived yet. DLCs can be expected in the future. It’s still debatable if the game was actually ever meant to be technically precise. Its funny side will even make the cold-tempered folks smile. Remaster does justice to the original game by brightening and sharpening the gameplay, and some smooth transitions, with very less occasions of a slowdown. Except for all of this, it doesn’t bring anything unexpected or extraordinary at the table.
The Wonderful 101: Remastered comprises approach and charisma but escaping the perfect integration of its with the Wii U did make it lose some of its charms. With some further remastering tweaks and solutions to the dual-screen problem, players can then find the most inquisitive work of Platinum Games. With all its flaws, it still has a big heart.