Nintendo offered a limited number of copies of The Wonderful 101 up for sale at PAX Prime this past weekend (101 copies per day, to be precise), and I got in early enough to snag a copy for myself on the first day. With all of the madness surrounding the show, I didn't have time to properly try the game out until this evening. And all I can say right now is that from what I've played, it's pretty damn good. You might say...wonderful. (Obvious compliment, I know.)
It also has a learning curve to get over to really get the feel of the game. As someone that didn't bother with the downloadable demo, I'm getting there. Still need to iron out a few things, but I'm getting there. A lot of that has to do with learning to properly use the unite morphs and the flow of combat. I've missed more blocks than I could count by just misjudging timing, which is entirely my fault. That being said, the game does offer some decent warm up in the prologue chapter prior to the first proper mission. And even as I've gotten the hang of things, the game can be fairly challenging. I'm playing on Normal (the game also offers Easy and Very Easy at the outset), and the enemies that they throw at you ramp up pretty fast. I'm not sure how the game handles continues on the higher difficulties, but whenever I died, I would be dropped right back where I was at with full health to continue then and there. Though it certainly didn't do any wonders for my end-of-mission rank. "Consolation Prize." Not even a bronze. Ouch.
That being said, the game is really structured around striving for the best mission scores you can get. Each mission is divided into a series of sub-missions you come across during the stage, and each one is individually graded, from Consolation to Platinum. You can go back and play previously cleared missions, earn currency for the shop to buy items and upgrades, or continue on to the next mission in the story. There are also special challenges that offer rewards for clearing, though I'm still not good enough to clear the first one found in Mission 001. (As a side-note, there's a directly link to Miiverse on the touch screen for easy uploading of results screens, but this isn't operating yet as the W101 Miiverse community won't be open until the game is officially released in a couple of weeks.
As for the story, it is really entertaining, with these ridiculous moments like the way characters or even objects will start to wobble with fatigue when they're supposed to stand still while the narrator drones on and on. Still too early to see where it's going, aside from having to deal with the evil guys, but there's some definite tension between Wonder-Red (the rookie) and Wonder-Blue (jackass Californian show-off). The voice acting is fantastic and fits the characters, too.
I also like the way that the Wii U GamePad works with the game. Not just in tracing shapes for unite morphs and so on, but the way it throws puzzles at you like an oversized combination lock where you have to look both at the touch screen and the TV to see what's going on both inside and outside the building.
So in short, I'm having a blast with it so far. Definitely worth a purchase. But the question remains, can I unlock Wonder-Bayonetta?