The Wonderful 101 Preview
Newsflash: Citizens Become Super Heroes and Morph together to Form Giant Weapons Against Evil
Project P-100 was Nintendo's best kept secret at E3 2012. It was so well kept, in fact, that it wasn't even shown at the Nintendo press conference. One would think that an exclusive game designed by hotshot Japanese developer Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance) would be something that Nintendo would want to shout about, but instead the game got a quiet reveal on Spike TV after the press conference.
In Project P-100, hundreds of super heroes use their powers to counteract an alien invasion. Played from a psuedo-isometric camera angle ala Pikmin, players will control a whole host of characters at once. In an evolution on the heroic formula, all of the recruited heroes can band together to become even more powerful than by themselves. Not only can these heroes use ‘Team Attacks’ like Street Fighter styled uppercuts, not only can their powers cooperate with a couple of other heroes like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, but they can also morph from hundreds of heroes into one gigantic weapon.
Throughout Platinum Games’ showcase of these powers at an E3 2012 gameplay demo, these nameless heroes were able to transform into a multitude of weaponry combinations. All of these transformative abilities don the name ‘Unite Attacks.’ Switching effortlessly with a variety of swipes on the Wii U’s GamePad, the player can morph the super heroes into giant guns, swords and pudding. Yes, the marvelous, nightly pudding.
All of the Unite Attacks require a battery meter to charge the attacks. Once charged, they can all be used with artistic license. Since there are multiple batteries that charge on the top of the screen, each power has the ability to unleash more lethality by utilizing added battery. There's a remarkable amount of depth in the way that abilities can be combined by different heroes. By launching into the air these little guys can string together combinations of attacks with blazing speed, until gravity brings them to the ground again.
Intellectually, the recap of each battle happens on the front page of a faux newspaper after the heroes finish their foes. As the heroes leave the scene of their victory, they are graded and have the opportunity to recruit nearby citizens. If only it were so easy to influence citizens into becoming powerful super heroes!
Even with all of these interesting gameplay mechanics, the astute gamer must question the level of GamePad functionality on the Wii U. The early report has detailed a fairly innovative change of perspective through the use of this new peripheral: when the player navigates his super heroes into a building, the action moves from the big screen to the tablet. The position of the camera also changes from an eagle eye view of the map to an over-the-shoulder perspective of the main hero in the player’s group of characters. At the ease of the experienced player, the shift in perspective appears to increase the level of immersion.
Toward the end of the demo, Platinum showed off a boss fight of a grand scale. The battle developed in a conventional manner akin to taking down one of the colossi in Shadow of the Colossus. Overall, influences like these take small strides for Project P-100 to become a must have title during the WiiU’s launch window.
Look for more updates on Project P-100’s story in the coming months, which could clinch Platinum Games’ bid at creating the Wii U’s first killer app.