The Wonderful 101 Review - One Hundred Tiny Annoyances

The Wonderful 101 Review - One Hundred Tiny Annoyances

Bizarre concept and inventive gameplay don't quite make up for the other problems.

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You do know you can zoom the camera out with 'L', right?

I never really had any problems with it.

Daystar Clarion:
You do know you can zoom the camera out with 'L', right?

I never really had any problems with it.

I do. I still think the fixed camera that zooms in and out of its own will is a poor design choice.

JonB:

Daystar Clarion:
You do know you can zoom the camera out with 'L', right?

I never really had any problems with it.

I do. I still think the fixed camera that zooms in and out of its own will is a poor design choice.

Understandable.

It was certainly a lot more difficult to draw shapes in the confined areas, when the action goes to the WiiU pad.

Daystar Clarion:

JonB:

Daystar Clarion:
You do know you can zoom the camera out with 'L', right?

I never really had any problems with it.

I do. I still think the fixed camera that zooms in and out of its own will is a poor design choice.

Understandable.

It was certainly a lot more difficult to draw shapes in the confined areas, when the action goes to the WiiU pad.

Quite frustrating!

This is definitely one of those games that I could tell I personally enjoyed, but was letting my preferences gloss over the realities of the gameplay. Realistically, this game could be a lot better. Hopefully Bayonetta 2 is awesome. Platinum certainly deserves it for all the innovative work they do.

JonB:

Daystar Clarion:

JonB:

I do. I still think the fixed camera that zooms in and out of its own will is a poor design choice.

Understandable.

It was certainly a lot more difficult to draw shapes in the confined areas, when the action goes to the WiiU pad.

Quite frustrating!

This is definitely one of those games that I could tell I personally enjoyed, but was letting my preferences gloss over the realities of the gameplay. Realistically, this game could be a lot better. Hopefully Bayonetta 2 is awesome. Platinum certainly deserves it for all the innovative work they do.

From what I've read, the game has sold really poorly in both Japan and Europe.

Here's hoping the American market laps this up, because dammit, Platinum deserve to be successful at least once :D

Bayonetta 2 will be that game, hopefully.

This is genuinely the first time I've heard anyone criticise the boss fights in general. I don't understand why you'd count the gameplay of combo + QTE finisher as a negative when that is pretty much how every action game now does boss fights, and that in W101 they do somewhat tie the QTEs into gameplay (ie, you're doing actual game moves, rather than pressing random unrelated buttons in sequence). But hey ho. Glad to see you didn't struggle with the controls at least. The best way to think of the controls is as being similar to fighting games: it takes practise before you're able to pull off those quarter circles, after all.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
This is genuinely the first time I've heard anyone criticise the boss fights in general. I don't understand why you'd count the gameplay of combo + QTE finisher as a negative when that is pretty much how every action game now does boss fights,

Because "every" game does it doesn't make it a positive or mean that it should be ignored, does it? I'd personally disagree with your premise that every action game does that but I think the main point is sufficient.

Lightknight:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
This is genuinely the first time I've heard anyone criticise the boss fights in general. I don't understand why you'd count the gameplay of combo + QTE finisher as a negative when that is pretty much how every action game now does boss fights,

Because "every" game does it doesn't make it a positive or mean that it should be ignored, does it? I'd personally disagree with your premise that every action game does that but I think the main point is sufficient.

Ninja Gaiden 2 had you using regular combat to fight bosses, then using QTEs as a way to finish them. Ninja Gaiden 3 carried that idea on. God Of War's boss fights usually have you wailing on a certain chunk of a boss with your blades, until you finish them off with a QTE. This was present in both III and Ascension. Bayonetta combined real-time combat with QTE finishers regarding bosses, as did Metal Gear Rising. Asura's Wrath was pretty much nothing but QTEs, bosses or no. The only recent action game I'm aware of that didn't have QTEs was DMC, and that game's combat had plenty of other problems. They're an established part of the genre now.

The way Platinum uses QTEs is fine: as a way to boost your score by hammering on a button, or in W101's case, by having you put in the same commands you would in regular gameplay, but in the context of a cutscene. That is infinitely better than randomly asking the player to press L1 + R2 + X + X + O + L2R2.

Had my eye on this mainly because I am holding out for more Wii-U games (planning on getting one this Christmas) I might check it out, but not at full price.

Lightknight:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
This is genuinely the first time I've heard anyone criticise the boss fights in general. I don't understand why you'd count the gameplay of combo + QTE finisher as a negative when that is pretty much how every action game now does boss fights,

Because "every" game does it doesn't make it a positive or mean that it should be ignored, does it? I'd personally disagree with your premise that every action game does that but I think the main point is sufficient.

I commented similarly in my Puppeteer review. I'll say the same thing about using boring QTEs to finish otherwise interesting boss fights until the end of time. It's not particularly compelling gameplay, and it detracts from what could probably be fun, cinematically done cutscenes.

JonB:

Lightknight:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
This is genuinely the first time I've heard anyone criticise the boss fights in general. I don't understand why you'd count the gameplay of combo + QTE finisher as a negative when that is pretty much how every action game now does boss fights,

Because "every" game does it doesn't make it a positive or mean that it should be ignored, does it? I'd personally disagree with your premise that every action game does that but I think the main point is sufficient.

I commented similarly in my Puppeteer review. I'll say the same thing about using boring QTEs to finish otherwise interesting boss fights until the end of time. It's not particularly compelling gameplay, and it detracts from what could probably be fun, cinematically done cutscenes.

I disagree, the hypest moments in the game where the boss finisher QTE moments. The final showdown is top contender for my all time hype moments.

DaViller:
I disagree, the hypest moments in the game where the boss finisher QTE moments. The final showdown is top contender for my all time hype moments.

Yes, but when it's a QTE, you're distracted from all the awesome by worrying over/looking for whatever button prompt comes next.

It really detracts from the experience to be forced to ignore most of the background occurrences so that you don't miss the correct prompt and lose horribly.

JonB:

Lightknight:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
This is genuinely the first time I've heard anyone criticise the boss fights in general. I don't understand why you'd count the gameplay of combo + QTE finisher as a negative when that is pretty much how every action game now does boss fights,

Because "every" game does it doesn't make it a positive or mean that it should be ignored, does it? I'd personally disagree with your premise that every action game does that but I think the main point is sufficient.

I commented similarly in my Puppeteer review. I'll say the same thing about using boring QTEs to finish otherwise interesting boss fights until the end of time. It's not particularly compelling gameplay, and it detracts from what could probably be fun, cinematically done cutscenes.

I'm in complete agreement here. Just because other games do it doesn't mean it's a good design decision on any level. It should be called out as such with W101 and it should be called out in any game that does it.

I personally feel that if you can't create the moment you're trying to create in actual gameplay, then you're just not trying hard enough. If, however, you ultimately decide you just can't do it, then you might as well make it a cutscene without requiring silly button presses.

Agayek:

DaViller:
I disagree, the hypest moments in the game where the boss finisher QTE moments. The final showdown is top contender for my all time hype moments.

Yes, but when it's a QTE, you're distracted from all the awesome by worrying over/looking for whatever button prompt comes next.

It really detracts from the experience to be forced to ignore most of the background occurrences so that you don't miss the correct prompt and lose horribly.

I never got that in a Platinum Game... the detracting from the spectacle that is the QTE finish I mean. Its so over the top and flashy that I'm left there in awe even if 1 lousy second of MY PRECIOUS IMMERSION is lost just to press 1-2 buttons. Much better then lets saaaaaay Capcom with RE4 where you're punished for not being prepared for it whatsoever, whereas W101 does it during the gameplay (like most other Platinum Games).

As for the game, I love it, problems aside it makes the WiiU look like a God-send and I can't wait for Bayonetta 2.

Agayek:

DaViller:
I disagree, the hypest moments in the game where the boss finisher QTE moments. The final showdown is top contender for my all time hype moments.

Yes, but when it's a QTE, you're distracted from all the awesome by worrying over/looking for whatever button prompt comes next.

It really detracts from the experience to be forced to ignore most of the background occurrences so that you don't miss the correct prompt and lose horribly.

Thats not how the QTE in this game work though. It's not those blink for a second and you miss em button prompts like in bayonetta or GoW. I would not have been as invested in the action without these QTE. I never got the feeling of being distracted.

I'm not even a fan of QTE, overall i got the same opinion you do, but in this game theyr implemented very well.

Xcell935:

Agayek:

DaViller:
I disagree, the hypest moments in the game where the boss finisher QTE moments. The final showdown is top contender for my all time hype moments.

Yes, but when it's a QTE, you're distracted from all the awesome by worrying over/looking for whatever button prompt comes next.

It really detracts from the experience to be forced to ignore most of the background occurrences so that you don't miss the correct prompt and lose horribly.

I never got that in a Platinum Game... the detracting from the spectacle that is the QTE finish I mean. Its so over the top and flashy that I'm left there in awe even if 1 lousy second of MY PRECIOUS IMMERSION is lost just to press 1-2 buttons. Much better then lets saaaaaay Capcom with RE4 where you're punished for not being prepared for it whatsoever, whereas W101 does it during the gameplay (like most other Platinum Games).

While I can't comment on W101 and it's implementation of QTE's, I will say that one of the few issues I had with Bayonetta was exactly what you described with RE4: QTE's out of nowhere that if you mess up result in an instant game-over. Now, true, when you restart it's usually a few seconds before the QTE event, but you still receive a death penalty for it, and you still have to wait for the loading to finish in order to get back in. So now the flow is broken because I have to wait for everything to set back up, the impact of the cutscene as a whole feels undercut by the fact that we're starting in the middle, and I'm made to feel like an idiot at the end screen because I missed that QTE that was active for only half a second. So while I like some Platinum Games (only really like Bayonetta and MGR:R) I think you're lapping a bit too much praise saying they never do something like that.

As for W101 itself: while I get why people were excited, I never really got that feeling when looking at it. At the very least I didn't see myself buying a WiiU just for this game (and honestly I'm not sure any game, or a string of games, may change my mind on the matter)

Eternal_Lament:

Xcell935:

Agayek:

Yes, but when it's a QTE, you're distracted from all the awesome by worrying over/looking for whatever button prompt comes next.

It really detracts from the experience to be forced to ignore most of the background occurrences so that you don't miss the correct prompt and lose horribly.

I never got that in a Platinum Game... the detracting from the spectacle that is the QTE finish I mean. Its so over the top and flashy that I'm left there in awe even if 1 lousy second of MY PRECIOUS IMMERSION is lost just to press 1-2 buttons. Much better then lets saaaaaay Capcom with RE4 where you're punished for not being prepared for it whatsoever, whereas W101 does it during the gameplay (like most other Platinum Games).

While I can't comment on W101 and it's implementation of QTE's, I will say that one of the few issues I had with Bayonetta was exactly what you described with RE4: QTE's out of nowhere that if you mess up result in an instant game-over. Now, true, when you restart it's usually a few seconds before the QTE event, but you still receive a death penalty for it, and you still have to wait for the loading to finish in order to get back in. So now the flow is broken because I have to wait for everything to set back up, the impact of the cutscene as a whole feels undercut by the fact that we're starting in the middle, and I'm made to feel like an idiot at the end screen because I missed that QTE that was active for only half a second. So while I like some Platinum Games (only really like Bayonetta and MGR:R) I think you're lapping a bit too much praise saying they never do something like that.

As for W101 itself: while I get why people were excited, I never really got that feeling when looking at it. At the very least I didn't see myself buying a WiiU just for this game (and honestly I'm not sure any game, or a string of games, may change my mind on the matter)

I'm giving them praise because in my experiences with their older titles I never had a problem with their method QTEs. I play a lot of fast paced games that require fast thinking and good reaction time when I was younger thus I usually avoid being bamboozled by QTEs cause like I said, Platinum prepares them for you via gameplay that flows directly into said QTEs. But I do agree with you on Bayonetta having the most ridiculous of them and I was an unfortunate soul of having the PS3 port so imagine how badly I had to step my game up to avoid the dreaded loading screens. And I brought up RE4, a much slower paced game, the QTEs feeling jarring at times especially the ones in cinematic cutscenes that are supposed to make you feel safe and move the pl... PRESS X ND SQUARE NOW... whoops there goes the exposition, try again.

JonB:

Lightknight:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
This is genuinely the first time I've heard anyone criticise the boss fights in general. I don't understand why you'd count the gameplay of combo + QTE finisher as a negative when that is pretty much how every action game now does boss fights,

Because "every" game does it doesn't make it a positive or mean that it should be ignored, does it? I'd personally disagree with your premise that every action game does that but I think the main point is sufficient.

I commented similarly in my Puppeteer review. I'll say the same thing about using boring QTEs to finish otherwise interesting boss fights until the end of time. It's not particularly compelling gameplay, and it detracts from what could probably be fun, cinematically done cutscenes.

I'd agree. I'd much rather see a great cinematic cutscene than being forced to walk their arbitrary narrow line during the cutscene I should be watching and enjoying. Either that, or the actual finish move should be up to me.

If you, as a reviewer, don't like them. Then it's important that this be mentioned consistently as people who follow your work will be able to rely on your opinions. Being swayed by how common the use of QTE's wouldn't make you a stable reviewer and ergo less reliable. So, keep it up. Please keep in mind that there are posters on this forum who would defend anything Nintendo to the death.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
This is genuinely the first time I've heard anyone criticise the boss fights in general. I don't understand why you'd count the gameplay of combo + QTE finisher as a negative when that is pretty much how every action game now does boss fights, and that in W101 they do somewhat tie the QTEs into gameplay (ie, you're doing actual game moves, rather than pressing random unrelated buttons in sequence). But hey ho. Glad to see you didn't struggle with the controls at least. The best way to think of the controls is as being similar to fighting games: it takes practise before you're able to pull off those quarter circles, after all.

As much as I like the game, I kind of know the feeling that the bosses are really, really resilient. I've actually seen it crop up in both professional and user reviews quite often so while you might not mind, there are people out there who expect the bosses to not take as long as they do. As for QTEs, practically every game has them and it's a bit of a tired trope by now, although I think W101 is ahead of the curve by injecting some humour into each event.

Personally I think the biggest flaw is the steep, steep learning curve. To make any fight reasonable, you have to figure out the best time to expend your gauge but the tutorial is basically a trial-by-fire that only teaches the very basics, and not even all that well. It's a lot to information to digest at any given point and is hard to understand for the better part of an hour, if not longer. You can win without learning anything as it leaves enemy HP as it was when you died, but it does require more finesse than you think it would from first glance. Even the demo requires several playthroughs to form a real understanding of what you're doing. Slap this on top of a marketing campaign that makes it unclear what kind of game this actually is, AND the fact Nintendo barely shipped enough copies to cover preorders with no off-the-shelf boxes to speak of, and unfortunately I don't think this game will do that well. I wish it were easier to recommend as something unique, but the very concept is also very foreign and impenetrable without some serious devotion. The reality is this game has mixed reviews for this very reason. Like Jim on this site says, there's no point in whining about a game you like getting "bad" reviews, because all that really matters at the end of the day is that you enjoyed the game yourself.

I just found it really clunky. And the flashiness of the presentation combined with the camera made it hard for me to figure out what the hell was going on where, and I say that as a lover of Dynasty Warriors and Bayonetta. Found the combo system to be kinda clunky and the drawing shapes thing to be infuriating to do with the right analog and impossible to decently utilize during fights with the touch-screen.

I want to practice with it a little more and see, because I'm still kinda drawn to it, but I must say that it was pissing me off when I first tried the demo.

Agayek:

DaViller:
I disagree, the hypest moments in the game where the boss finisher QTE moments. The final showdown is top contender for my all time hype moments.

Yes, but when it's a QTE, you're distracted from all the awesome by worrying over/looking for whatever button prompt comes next.

It really detracts from the experience to be forced to ignore most of the background occurrences so that you don't miss the correct prompt and lose horribly.

Wasn't an issue for me in this game, because the QTEs were exceedingly simple, and announced in advance.

I wasn't just like a Triangle appeared onscreen and you have 1 second to press it. A character will start yelling "UNITE ...." during a cutscene, letting you know a QTE is about to start. Plus you already know what shape to draw by the sound of their voice (surfer dude - straight line ; cap'n tightpants - circle ; Twilight Sparkle - draw an S) Then they call out their shape, and then you get five full seconds to draw the shape.

To me, it wasn't ever any more difficult than just watching a cut scene, but it made you feel like YOU actually did the thing. *I* made the sword and dueled that boss. *I* made the hammer and crushed the floor. I made the fist to ... um ... tickle the giant robot so he would let go.

That's not to say the game is perfect... the whole shape drawing thing is finicky at best. I somehow manage to screw up "draw a straight line" with alarming regularity. Drawing a circle makes a fist, unless it's a circle around people, then it's a rainbow ... or if it's around hidden things, which you don't notice because they're hidden.

Blocking in general is an exercise in futility. Some attacks you can block with "Unite Guts/Fruitcake" some are simply unblockable and will crush right through your jello mold self. No indication (that I noticed) of which ones's which until after you've been crushed. Some attacks are telegraphed so that you can block them, but the telegraph comes about 3 weeks in advance. Your block only lasts a few seconds before it automatically relaxes, so I ended up blocking and having it wear off before the attack landed, often more than once (attack incoming *BLOCK* ... *wears off* *BLOCK* ... *wears off* attack lands)

All in all, I'd put the game in a similar category with Mirror's Edge. It tried something fun and new, wasn't exactly perfect, but I enjoyed the game, and applaud the creators for trying something outside the box. I would much rather have a game that's fun but flawed, instead of something perfectly formula, even if it executes that formula well.

 

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