The Wonderful 101 is truly bonkers

Chaos is the dominant theme of The Wonderful 101, an over-riding sense of senselessness splintering a kaleidoscopic array of color, action, confusion.

The nice man who is spending his entire E3 on his feet, showing initiates how to play the game, says, "Yeah, I've spent most of these demos talking, telling people what to do," before directing me across yet another obstacle.

Normally, in game design terms, this is A Bad Thing, because games are supposed to be 'intuitive'. But, in The Wonderful 101's case, developer Platinum Games has a valid excuse. We're not here playing through any tutorials, we're looking at the game in its fulsome disorder. And that's the whole point.

You are controlling a pack of dozens of characters and superheroes, and you're always looking for ways to increase that number. You're also required to utilize a significant number of special moves that 'unite' your gaggle of individuals into a single weapon. These are summoned by drawing a shape onto the GamePad. There's always tons of things to do and see, and multiple ways to get into trouble. The eye pops from screen to GamePad, across the bubbling landscape of insanity, seeking paths and resolutions.

This is a game by Hideki Kamiya, whose work includes Viewtiful Joe, Devil May Cry, Okami and Bayonetta. As you would expect, it's a feast of ideas. Clarity comes with discovery that beneath the chaos, there lurks order. The man at Nintendo's booth says, "There's a lot going on here, but it does make sense, eventually."

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