I was planning to go into detail about The Wonderful 101 today, as I've finally beaten the game after having waited months to play it. However, then I had to spend the entirety of today gathering all my stuff and disassembling furniture (god bless Ikea) because I'm moving out of my student room tomorrow, so that kind of put a damper on things. I only made it through the day by the combined force of video game OSTs and LotR - Extended Edition running in the background. (for reference, when I was done The Two Towers had just finished)
But you know what? Fuck it, I'm going to talk about The Wonderful 101 anyway.
As most of you should know, The Wonderful 101 is a WiiU-exclusive action game by Platinum Games. And let me tell you, it more than earns its place in between the other Platinum titles that most people will probably be more familiar with. Everything about this game centers around being as awesome as it possibly can, while still being delightfully silly. It works fantastically well with the gameplay, but I imagine that it would also be lots of fun to just watch someone else play with the 101 heroes.
Gameplay-wise, I've heard this game described as Pikmin meets Viewtiful Joe, which I think is pretty accurate all in all. You play as a team of up to 100 pseudo Power Rangers. These guys can combine their powers to transform Green Lantern style into all sorts of objects and weapons. You get 7 main heroes who each have their own signature weapon, such as a giant fist, sword, Wolverine claws (yes, I'm experimenting to see how many famous heroes I can get into these -isms), and a whip. You activate these powers by drawing a specific symbol either on the the GamePad or with the Right Stick, after which you can use your newly formed weapon to put the hurt on whatever baddies you may face.
The system works pretty well, but I often felt like things got too chaotic too fast. It's not easy keeping track of your lead character among those 99 other guys, for one. Even if you do manage to do so, enemies tend to attack you without much warning and sometimes even from off-screen. The Wonderful 101 is not an easy game, and not always for the right reasons. Beyond that, the game also likes to change up the gameplay at certain parts, which doesn't always work out well. There are shmup-levels, one-on-one fights, and even Punch-out matches (and I mean that quite literally) with giant robots. It all looks cool, sure, but it doesn't always play optimally. I remember one shmup-level toward the end of the game where I kept taking damage even if for the life of me I couldn't find out what was hitting me. And when your endstage score gets significantly lowered for your poor performance, that starts to sting a little bit.
It's a good thing then, that this game is absolutely oozing which both charm and Platinum's signature awesomeness. Giant robots aplenty in this game, and they keep getting bigger and bigger as the game progresses. It feels very Gurren Lagann, actually. That's always a plus in my book. Other than that the game has lots of quicktime events (the good kind) where our heroes are able to show off their powers in all sorts of creative ways. The cutscenes are definitely the highlight of this game, especially for someone like me who wasn't entirely sold on the combat. It also helps that each of the 10 or so main characters have wonderful personalities and quirks. They're voice-acted quite well too (although with very heavy fake accents), so it's a joy to listen to them spout their nonsense throughout their missions. Each of the character's introductions is really fun as well, and almost perfectly captures the essence of what they are going to bring to your party.
Ultimately, I haven't had the chance to play many Platinum games. I played some of their games when they were still Clover, such as Viewtiful Joe and Okami, I played MadWorld (which I fucking love to bits), but unfortunately no Vanquish, no Anarchy Reigns, no Metal Gear Rising, and worst of all: no Bayonetta (but soon!). If nothing else The Wonderful 101 has shown me that I'm totally down with their style of games, and it's making me ever more excited about the upcoming Bayonetta 2. Now that we know it's going to include the original as well, I quite simply can't wait to play it.
Oh, and also: Lucina and Robin in Brawl, fuck yeah! A Fire Emblem mage (specifically Soren) has been my Smash Bros. wet dream for ages now, so it's great to see this guy/girl make an entrance. Who the hell is this "Robin" person though? I only know a guy named Shade.
Oh, and also also: the Wind Waker as a weapon in Hyrule Warriors. This wasn't exactly what I meant when I said that I wanted more The Wind Waker representation, but I'll take it!
It feels like it's been a decade since we've seen the rise of the crowdfunded game. I'm always surprised when I remind myself that crowdfunding has been a thing long before the first crowdfunded video game, but nowadays a crowdfunded game seems like a dime a dozen.
Of course such a phrase is an incredible disservice to some of the great games that have come out thanks to websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Games like FTL, Shovel Knight, and even Undertale are around thanks to crowdfunding; thanks to people gathering around and literally putting their money where their mouth is, a game they want gets funded and inevitably the greater landscape of gaming benefits from it. Most of the time the landscape gets to benefit from it anyways.
Don't worry though, this month's bloggers wanted prompt isn't an exploratory thesis on the effects of crowdfunding on video game development. We just want you to talk about your favorite games, as long as they were crowdfunded. This topic can be simultaneously broad and narrow, because you can talk about whatever game you want, however you want, as long as it was crowdfunded.
For me, FTL is the original crowdfunded game, and it was great. It was somehow minimalist and incredibly detailed at the same time, and it was all done because a man wanted to do it, but needed the money, and thousands of other people wanted to see where his idea would go. Shovel Knight to me feels like this natural evolution of the classic 8-bit gaming of yore without also throwing myself back to a time when gaming was honestly comparatively archaic. And everyone's talked to death about Undertale, so we all know where I'd go with that.
To participate in this month's bloggers wanted, just start a blog! Oh, and title it "Crowdfunded: [your blog title here]." I bet this month is going to be pretty diverse, since it's basically writing about your favorite crowdfunded game. So I hope to hear about some good games revisited or amazing games no one has heard about.
Remember: Persona 5 was not crowdfunded, but excuse me as I plow through it.
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