Hands-On Preview: Project P-100
Project P-100 probably won’t end up being the final title, but that didn’t stop us from sampling about 15 minutes of the game.
“What do you get when you crowdsource Viewtiful Joe? Project P-100, that’s what. Whereas Jason (see below) wasn’t too impressed it with it, I did admire it for its quirky charm. It’s loud, frantic, and disorienting at times, yet oddly addictive too. Project P-100 feels like Hideki Kamiya’s attempt to goad the same lightning that struck with Viewtiful Joe back on the PlayStation 2 and GameCube into striking again on the Wii U, and to that I say all the power to him. It has the soul and style of a Viewtiful Joe spin-off, but only time will tell if it has the heart too.
The basic setup of the game is this: aliens are invading and it’s up to a team of screwball superheroes to save the day and restore order to the world. Project P-100 takes that, by now, trite premise and does something rather peculiar with it. Instead of individual characters, Project P-100 puts you in command of an entire horde of moderately super superheroes—all at the same time—who combine their powers to gangbeat the living daylights out the much larger alien invaders. It’s sort of like a brawler version of Pikmin; you maneuver your swarm of heroes around the city, pummeling enemies with light attacks to charge up your special attack batteries, and then unleash said special attacks for massive damage. The Wii U GamePad is used to select these attacks (a giant fist, sword, and gun) by drawing various shapes on its touch screen. You can also draft NPCs into your throng by lassoing them with the touch screen. This pays off big, because the more manpower you have, the more batteries you unlock, letting you use your abilities more often and do more damage with them.
There were also a few puzzle sections included in the P-100 demo we sampled that make use of the GamePad. I thought they broke up the flow of the gameplay a little too much, grinding its frantic pace to a halt just to shoehorn in a few more gimmicks in order to justify the GamePad’s existence. They don’t really add anything in return for the few seconds of your time they take up, and the way they use the GamePad feels more like a distraction than an actual gameplay mechanic.
In all, Project P-100 looks intriguing and enticing, but it also feels disquietingly like a novelty title, an ADHD-addled blur in line with one of Platinum’s previous works, the M-rated Wii exclusive MadWorld. Despite its attempts to recreate the look and feel of a Viewtiful Joe game, it just doesn’t look like it will have any of its staying power or lasting appeal. Though I played through it once, and then watched Jason play through it too, it was easily overshadowed by the other games we sampled that day; it made a decent first impression, but ultimately got lost in its own dust cloud as we tried the other titles on display. I wouldn’t go rushing out to make a day one purchase on this one unless it was holding back a major surprise or two from us.”
“From Platinum Games, the guys behind Bayonetta and MadWorld, comes this crazy Pikmin-esque beat’em up tentatively called Project P-100. There wasn’t much backstory given in the demo aside from aliens have invaded and you must destroy them. In order to do that, you control a bunch of little characters and can deal out small bits of damage by mashing the attack button, or you can swipe on the GamePad to create a special Unite attack that deals lots of damage.
Attacking the enemies can be fun at times, especially with big bosses popping up over the game world, but it all felt very repetitive and the uses of the Wii U are very miniscule. The graphics are rather basic and the GamePad screen is really only used to activate your Unite attack, except when you go inside a building, then the gameplay appears on the screen.
If Project P-100 ends up as a $30 budget title or a downloadable game, I could see that making sense. If it’s a full $60 game though, the final product needs a lot more.”
“Considering their previous titles, I have to say I was a bit surprised at Platinum Game’s latest demo. It’s a super-stylish looking cel-shaded game reminiscent of MadWorld, yet without all the ultra-violence and saturated with colours reminiscent of Viewtiful Joe. It looks pretty cool, but it doesn’t play as fun as it looks. The on-screen action is nuts, difficult to follow, and is cluttered with a multitude of icons. On top of that, controlling a mass of heroes is more complex and awkward than it should be for a game that is, presumably, going to require quick reflexes and precise movement. I wasn’t that impressed.”