Friday, October 5, 2012

The 50 Best Nintendo Wii Games - Part Three

We've already had two weeks totaling twenty unique Wii titles that are the best the system has to offer. We continue our look back at the Wii's library with ten more games spanning various genres and franchises like Donkey Kong, Kirby, Final Fantasy, and Resident Evil. It is my hope that with this list of fifty that the mindset of the Wii having a weak library is, well, weakened. It's a console with an overwhelming amount of variety and mass diversification within its collection of games. Let us see what the next ten highlights of the Wii's library are.

Once again, I remind people that only North American releases will be listed here. Sorry, Fatal Frame, Disaster, and Pandora's Tower fans. 

Wii Sports


Not just a game but a phenomenon, Wii Sports is one of the primary reasons for the Wii system's sensational success. The game transcended gaming, showing up on TV shows, talk shows, commercials, movies, and award shows. And this is all for good reason to, Wii Sports has the gameplay to back up the hype. Containing five sports: tennis, baseball, bowling, golf, and boxing, Wii Sports introduced a majority to motion control gaming. The simplicity of the controls allowed even grandparents to get in on the action, using the Wii remote as an extension of their body as a golf club, as a baseball bat, or as a tennis racket. Each sport had three modes: a standard mode, a training mode, and a multiplayer mode. Solo players could compete for medals which were earned through satisfying certain in-game conditions. Training mode would give a player a fitness test based on their stamina, skill, and ability. By far the most popular part of the Wii Sports package, though, was the multiplayer. Parties and family functions focused on playing the game took place. Wii Sports is without a doubt one of the most revolutionary games of the generation, and its title as best-selling game of all time (bundles included) is well earned.

Donkey Kong Country Returns


It seemed with Twycross-based developer Rare's departure from Nintendo that the Donkey Kong Country series would never be returned to. That was until another Western collaborator with Nintendo, Retro Studios, was given the task to create a brand new entry in the franchise. The end result was Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii. The game featured all the throwbacks to the original trilogy that you might expect: mine cart levels, KONG letters (though these did more than just give the player an extra life this time around), secret areas, vine-swinging, and banana-nabbing. However, there were several changes made to the formula. For one, the Kremlings were nowhere to be found. Instead, a group known as the Tiki Tak Tribe were the antagonists after DK's precious banana hoard. Also new to this installment of the Donkey Kong Country franchise was the ability for two players to cooperatively play through levels simultaneously. In solo mode, Diddy Kong would ride on DK's back, giving him jet pack support. Donkey Kong Country Returns was a great *ahem* return to retro sensibilities. The game was mighty challenging and fans of the great ape can be rest assured that if the DKC line continues with Retro Studios, the series is in quite capable hands.

Kirby's Epic Yarn 


It had been ten full years since a Kirby platformer arrived on a home console (the last was Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards in 2000). Despite it being an atypical Kirby adventure, Kirby's Epic Yarn was a spectacular addition to the franchise nonetheless. I said the game was atypical, and that is most certainly true. Kirby's traditional ability to copy the powers of foes through inhaling and then digesting them was gone. Instead, his primary form of attack was unwinding his arm like a whip to lash at enemies, turn them into balls of yarn, and toss them at other baddies. Kirby could transform into a number of forms such a gliding parachute to replace his ability to float, a car which allows Kirby to traverse the ground at a faster rate than normal, a dolphin for underwater exploration, and even a toy train. This Good Feel and HAL Laboratory collaboration does not have health or lives for Kirby. The sole penalty for taking damage or falling down a bottomless pit was the loss of valuable beads that Kirby had collected. These beads unlocked new, more challenging levels as well as were used to purchase furniture for Kirby's pad in Quilty Square, so holding onto them was paramount. Finally, like Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby's Epic Yarn could be played with two players cooperatively. A charming game with one of the most interesting art styles this generation, Kirby's Epic Yarn is a terrific title that oozes with visual and gameplay delights.

Excitebots: Trick Racing


Part One of The 50 Best Nintendo Wii Games had Excite Truck being represented in the first batch of ten excellent Wii games. Now, what I consider to be the superior game as well as one of the best arcade racers this generation, Excitebots: Trick Racing gets its chance to shine. No doubt the game was overlooked by many as it was released with no fanfare whatsoever by Nintendo, was not released in PAL territories, and was only given the opportunity to be owned by Japanese gamers via Club Nintendo. Despite these mitigating factors, Excitebots: Trick Racing is worth tracking down. The game was solely controlled by tilting the Wii remote in a horizontal position. The 20+ courses offeedr plenty of opportunities for going off the beaten path, finding places to score big air and big points in the process. You see, getting first place wasn't the sole goal in Excitebots. No, getting the most points (or as they are referred to withing the game, stars) possible was the objective here. By performing tricks, spins, stunts, beating the rest of the bots across the finish line, and participating in short mini-games mid-race, players earned stars. At the end of the race the stars were tallied and the racer with the most was deemed the winner. So while one was racing they could gain stars by smashing into another racer, kicking a football through the uprights, hitting a soccer ball into the net, slamming into a set of bowling pins for a strike, throwing a pie into a clown's face, and many other tasks. The replay value of the game came from getting S ranks in every track in every difficulty, as well as online races. Excitebots: Trick Racing is not your average racer, and that is most definitely what makes it an outstanding game.

Endless Ocean: Blue World


Known as Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep in PAL territories, Endless Ocean: Blue World put players within the waters of oceans, seas, and rivers in search of aquatic life, treasure, and ancient lore with increased graphical fidelity and much grander in scale areas to explore than in the original hard-to-find 2007 game. Blue World was primarily a scuba diving adventure game with a major focus on plundering the deep, though the ability to swim in the river of a South American jungle was added, in addition to a new polar area. The waters were home to a wide variety of animals like whales, manatees, sea lions, penguins, and dolphins -- the latter of which could be rode to traverse through the waters much more quickly. However, the waters of Endless Ocean: Blue World weren't habituated by all friendly creatures. Sharks, piranha, and crocodiles also called various sectors of water their home, and while things wouldn't get violent, they would take a good portion of your oxygen away, cutting a dive short if a player wasn't careful. Aside from the single player story, Endless Ocean: Blue World also featured multiplayer functionality for two players to communicate with each other online via Wii Speak, taking pictures, and exploring the vast blue together. A soothing and relaxing experience, Endless Ocean: Blue World will pour waves of intriguing gameplay onto those that are open enough to try it.

The Munchables


No. Really. Take a trip to the planet of Star Ving as this is where The Munchables call their home. The eponymous characters are embattled with the evil space pirates known as the Tabemon. The Munchables was a game that was similar to Katamari Damacy in how levels were completed. The basic premise had either heroes Chomper or Munchy starting at a certain, predetermined size and let loose within a level. At the start, smaller enemies could be eaten up easily, but larger scale and larger level foes could not. By gulping down smaller or enemies of the size, your Munchable could grow more and more until it could chomp the previously mentioned larger leveled baddies. Every enemy devoured would give you a meal point. At the conclusion of a level, the meal points added up to reward you with a letter grade. The more your Munchable ate in succession without much of a breather, the higher your meal point total would be. There were eight worlds within The Munchables, and the game takes about five to six hours to complete the first go 'round. However, if you want to see everything there is to the game, that total amount of time could exponentially increase. Namco Bandai quietly slipped out this low-budget Wii exclusive onto stores shelves for a budget price, but if you can get over the wacky and zany look of the game, you are bound to find a title that is appetizing. 

Little King's Story


One part real-time strategy, one part life simulation, and one part role-playing game, Little King's Story was a title that encapsulated charm and ingenuity. Players took control of a young boy named Corobo who became king of a place called Alpoko. The kingdom does not look like much to begin with, but with some ordering around of the faithful denizens, Corobo could start making them create buildings and training places for new citizen types. As the little king sauntered around Alpoko, he could enlist the help of various citizens to accompany him in and around the kingdom or out into uncharted lands. The citizens of Alpoko start off weak, but Corobo could send them into various training facilities to turn them into different types of workers such as farmers, hunters, soldiers, and carpenters. Each type of worker had their own strengths and weaknesses and helpful abilities such as being able to build bridges or do well in combat. When the little king and his followers left the safety of Alpoko, they were greeted with monsters and creatures of all shapes and sizes. The main story had them trying to conquer the seven surrounding rival kingdoms, but there were also a wide breadth of side quests to partake in within Little King's Story's world. Little King's Story got new life recently as it was made available in remake form on the PlayStation Vita in New Little King's Story. Which ever version you decide upon, you are destined with greatness when you are in the presence of the little king.

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon


A roguelike game that is perfect for beginners and especially fans of the Final Fantasy franchise, Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon offered a light-hearted story revolving around a town of Lostime and the city's citizens' forgotten memories. When Chocobo entered the mind of a citizen, he entered a peril-filled, multi-floor dungeon. Each dungeon was made up of a number of floors which ranged from small to large. The later dungeons in the game being the lengthiest, some of which lasted 100 floors. Each dungeon was randomly generated, so no two trips to a single dungeon were ever the same. Monsters filled the halls and rooms of each dungeon, having Chocobo participate in turn-based battles. New to this installment of the Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon series was the ability for Chocobo to join the working class and get one of ten jobs such as Thief, White Mage, Black Mage, and so forth. One of the reasons I love Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon, outside of the accessible gameplay, is the wide array of Final Fantasy touches the game has such as memorable monsters, bosses, items, and spells, as well as remixed music (some of the best Final Fantasy remixes of any spin-off). What you are left with is one tremendous Final Fantasy spin-off that is immensely enjoyable (mechanics and presentation), simple enough to learn, hard enough and deep enough to feel rewarding, and anchored by compelling gameplay.

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles


A rail shooter might not be your idea of an exciting genre, but the Wii made them popular once again. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles is one of the deepest rail-shooting experiences on any platform. The game featured scenarios from Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil Code: Veronica, and all-new scenario starring Leon S. Kennedy and Jack Krauser, prior to their appearances in Resident Evil 4. There are a myriad of missions within Darkside Chronicles, having Resident Evil fans relive moments from past games. Pulling off head shots was much easier and much more satisfying. At the end of every mission, players were rewarded a ranking detailing how well they performed. Overall score, time taken, enemies blown away, head shots achieved, and more were taken into account. The rating system not only encouraged multiple play-throughs of missions, but it also unlocked cool costumes for player's characters. Along with rankings, gold was earned for completing missions. This could be spent on new upgrades to preexisting weaponry such as better rate of fire and strength. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles and its predecessor, The Umbrella Chronicles, would be ported and placed in glorious high-definition on the PlayStation 3 last year (Move recommended). Regardless of the version you choose, this rail shooter is one of the best on the market.

The House of the Dead: Overkill


The final game for this batch of ten Wii games is The House of the Dead: Overkill, a game that had the claim to fame of having a Guinness World Record for most expletives in a video game (the record would be beaten a year later by Mafia II). I find Overkill to most definitely be a guilty pleasure with content that is more immature than mature. Regardless, The House of the Dead: Overkill's seven chapters took players through a bayou mansion, a hospital, a carnival, a train, a swampland, a prison, and an underground lab in search of mutants to mutilate. Like Darkside Chronicles, grades were awarded for a player's performance, and money could be spent on new guns, new upgrades, and new content. A combo could be achieved through attaining multiple head shots and killing as many mutants as possible without missing a shot. Additionally, the game could also be played with a second person for double the mutant destroying fun. The House of the Dead: Overkill had a distinctive grindhouse feel to it with grainy film reel graphics, the aforementioned excessive expletives, and bizarre story. The end result is a title that is unabashedly unapologetic, full of point and shoot fun, and is entertaining from the title screen to the closing credits.

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If you missed a previous part of my list of the fifty best Nintendo Wii games, no need to panic. I have the article listed as part of my feature catalog for the site. Also, they're right here for your viewing and reading pleasure:

The 50 Best Nintendo Wii Games - Part One
The 50 Best Nintendo Wii Games - Part Two

Next week we will see ten more Wii games as Part Four of The 50 Best Nintendo Wii Games is posted.

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