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!
Villains in all media, not just video games, can end up being a dime a dozen. Far too often, a villain's motives boil down to "I am a bad, and so I do bad things. Fear me." While this format has worked for countless stories, at this point in my life (the ripe old age of 20) Iâ€™ve become jaded and grumpy, finding myself rolling my eyes when I see yet another antagonist wreaking havoc with no background or reasoning presented as to why theyâ€™re being such a butthole.
Whatâ€™s far more interesting to me is when a villainâ€™s motives or actions come across as justified, perhaps leaving you rooting for them to defeat the protagonist [insert Elder God Tier villain meme here].
My favorite example of this would be Meruem from the Chimera Ant arc of Hunter x Hunter. While he doesnâ€™t necessarily fit the exact mold I laid out above, heâ€™s easily one of the most dynamic and curious villains Iâ€™ve ever come across. For the sake of not spoiling what is perhaps one of the most exciting, action-packed, and tear-inducing arcs in anime history, I wonâ€™t delve into the details of what makes Meruem so great. Instead I encourage anyone who hasnâ€™t seen Hunter x Hunter to set aside some time and plow through the series. Really, itâ€™s that good.
But hey, thatâ€™s just how I feel. Iâ€™m sure there are folks out there who prefer their villains to be simple. If I ever met one of these theoretical people I might have a panic attack, but Iâ€™ll deal with that should the time come. Iâ€™m sure after some deep breaths we would get along. Maybe we could even snuggle, should my husband allow such an event to transpire.
All said and done, we arrive at the topic of this monthâ€™s Bloggers Wanted: Villains that did nothing wrong. Due to communication errors, this entry in the hallowed halls of Bloggers Wanted is a tad late. Regardless, all you have to do is head over to the Community Blog section of the site, and whip up a Cblog about a villain who you feel was secretly the good guy all along.
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