Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Top Ten Third-Party Exclusives on Wii

The third-party exclusive, at least on consoles, is going the way of the dodo, but the Wii differentiated itself from the competition immediately through having motion controls. Now, with Microsoft and Sony frantically playing catchup with Kinect and Move respectively (to different degrees of success), the Wii is now coasting as it most likely lies down and dies this year while the PS3 and 360 keep on chugging. Let's look back on the underrated (at least when it comes to the highly fickle gamer market) console this gen by taking a glimpse at the system's best third-party exclusives.

Since the Wii was so underpowered, many games from the HD consoles weren't ported to it. Instead, what the Wii received were exclusives. Some were great (but didn't make the list like A Boy and His Blob, Blast Works, Rabbids Go Home and Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure) while others were not so great (see: awful) like Ninjabread Man and Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire. This list is of the best Wii third-party exclusives, so titles that were previously exclusive but are not anymore like GoldenEye 007, the duo of Resident Evil rail-shooters, and The House of the Dead: Overkill are disqualified from this list.

10) MadWorld

Platinum Games' only Wii title, MadWorld was decidedly not for the family-friendly Wii audience, but for those in the mood for some macabre fun found something to enjoy about the game. Slamming signposts through the skulls of opponents, revving one's chainsaw and carving a foe in half, and throwing a baddie into a wall of spikes were just a few activities one could participate in the Deathwatch competition. The black and white aesthetic of the game was heightened by the trail of blood "protagonist" Jack left behind of his victims. Then throw in a kick-ass soundtrack of rap and rock, and you have a solid action game on your hands.

9) Kororinpa: Marble Mania

It's marble madness up in here! I was not pleased with Sega's attempt at bringing Super Monkey Ball to the Wii with its Banana Blitz launch title (though the music was awesome, I'll give it that). Then a little-known game from the soon-to-be defunct Hudson Soft came the Wii's way in Kororinpa: Marble Mania. The game had players tilting the Wii remote to tilt the Kororinpa, or labyrinth, around. In doing so you guided a marble from the start of the level to the goal. Along the way you could pick up gems which unlocked new marbles like a soccer ball or a pig and locked levels. You could also compete against the clock to beat the target time set for each level. Kororinpa: Marble Mania is most likely out-of-print by now, but if you somehow track down a copy either in a secondhand store or online, do not hesitate to roll up a copy.

8) No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

The original No More Heroes was a breath of fresh air on Wii, and it was later ported to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with limited success there, too. The much better sequel, however, remains a Wii exclusive. Travis Touchdown is in the market for revenge after one of his friends is mercilessly murdered in cold blood. Touchdown might have made it to number one in the United Assassins Association rankings last time, but he'll have to start the climb anew this go around. The whole getting around Santa Destroy has been streamlined. Gone is the relatively empty open world from the first game. Instead there's a map that you choose locations from. Aside from slicing up enemies with Touchdown's beam katana, you can also opt to partake in 8-bit mini-games to earn mad cash. While not perfect, No More Heroes 2 is a modern marvel from the twisted mind of director Suda 51.

7) Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon

I had a hard time choosing between this game and The Crystal Bearers, but I made my decision with some trepidation. The Final Fantasy series appeared for the first time on the Nintendo Wii with Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon. This beginner roguelike featured Chocobo as the main character on its journey to restore the memories of a broken town. A young boy named Rafaello has the ability to create dungeons out of the townspeople's memories for Chocobo to enter and hopefully reach the end to restore what the villagers forgot. Chocobo can learn different jobs like Black Mage, White Mage, Thief, and Dragoon in his quest to resolve the town's problems. The difficulty is just right for even the worst roguelike player to enjoy Chocobo's Dungeon, the remixes are some of the series's best, and the gameplay rewards forward-thinking and smart planning. It's the perfect Final Fantasy game for not only fans of the series but fans of the genre.

6) Red Steel 2

One of the first games to put Nintendo's should-have-been-there-at-the-Wii's-launch MotionPlus peripheral to great use, Red Steel 2 was a completely different beast from the launch title original. Unlike the original, Red Steel 2 didn't rely on launch day hype and bullshots to trick people into buying it. In fact, no one really bought Red Steel 2. Perhaps the foul taste of the original permeated in people's mouths and made them avoid the much superior sequel. Regardless, you were the wild west swordsman in Red Steel 2. You could deflect attacks (this was indeed necessary to survive), switch between your gun and your sword on the fly, and take down a swarm of foes effortlessly. Red Steel 2 is an underrated, overlooked gem in the Wii's library, and it is a shame that more of the gaming masses did not get the opportunity to try the game out.

5) We Love Golf!

There's no denying that the PlayStation 3's mainline installment of Hot Shots Golf disappointed me with its lack of features, content, and courses when compared to the PlayStation 2 entries. I did not know what to expect when it came to Camelot's We Love Golf!, but the developer knows how to make a good golf game. Who was I question them? Thus, I took the proverbial plunge and picked up a copy of the game. Armed with eight unique courses spanning the globe and consisting of various environments, multiple characters (including a dead ringer for both President Barack Obama and the woman that wouldn't go away Sarah Palin), unlockable Capcom costumes like Ryu of Street Fighter fame, Arthur from Ghost 'n Goblins, and Apollo Justice, online play that is unfortunately empty as the vegetable aisle on Super Bowl Sunday, and an intuitive swing system that actually works for once, We Love Golf! amazed and astonished with its entertaining gameplay and charm.

4) Boom Blox Bash Party

EA's partnership with director and producer Steven Spielberg rolls on with Boom Blox Bash Party, a game that somehow eclipsed the original. There are over 400 levels to enjoy, and with the ability to create your own and share them with your friends, it's a real Boom Blox boon. There's multiple styles of play that I enjoyed from simple chucking balls to topple towers of blocks worth varying amounts of points to carefully pulling blocks out of tower Jenga-style. New environments and gravity elements like space and underwater meant new physics entirely to take into consideration. While online play would have put this game into a whole 'nother stratosphere, what EA has in Boom Blox Bash Party is one sensational multiplayer game perfect for the Wii audience.

3) Sonic Colors

The daytime stages of Sonic Unleashed started a trend with 3D Sonic games. Who knew that they could be considered great? Then Sonic Colors came out for Wii, and it was truly an excellent game-- not just an excellent Sonic game, mind you, but an excellent game in general. Exploring Eggman's interstellar amusement park, hearing his quips over the various loudspeakers, speeding through levels in both 2D and 3D, bashing baddies, battling bosses, collecting red rings, and listening to the outstanding soundtrack were all parts of Sonic Colors that when added together made for one of Sonic the Hedgehog's best 3D excursions. Sonic Team went with an old-school mindset by having the story be as unobtrusive as possible. In fact, when you started a game, instead of seeing an intro cinematic, you were plopped right into the first level, ready to roar. Sonic Colors wasn't a one-time bout of greatness either as Sonic Generations showed that perhaps Sonic Team is learning a lesson about attractive game design.

2) Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars

Many said that the day where Tatsunoko VS. Capcom wouldn't come over to the West. What are these people to say now? In a gaming miracle, Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars released on Wii with minimal changes save for the replacement of a character. The two-on-two team fighting was fast and fun no matter which controller you chose to use. The cast of familiar Capcom characters like Ryu, Chun-li, Roll, Zero, and Viewtiful Joe and not-so-familiar characters from the Tatsunoko side like Ken the Eagle, Jun the Swan, Polimar, and Ippatsuman made for a diverse and entertaining roster. The combat system was easy to use and made for some intense battles. Yes, it is in Japanese arcades, but it is console-exclusive to Wii. Throw in lots of items to buy in the shop, an unlockable shooter mini-game, and online play, and you have the Wii's best third-party fighter (though that isn't that difficult of a title to take).

1) Monster Hunter Tri

When Capcom announced that Monster Hunter Tri was going to the Wii, many fans of the series were bewildered. Why on Wii? Why now? The game had been said to have been in development of the PlayStation 3, but then it was for some reason transferred over to the Wii. Nonetheless, Monster Hunter Tri has players either going it alone in the wild or teaming up online with friends or total strangers to take down behemoth-sized monsters. The fun is farming for rare items that can be turned into new and more powerful armor for your character. The game isn't simply about hacking and slashing. You'll get nowhere fast with that kind of attitude. Monster Hunter Tri is about waiting for an opening and then taking advantage of it to attack. Starting off taming wild Jaggis is fine and all, but when the Royal Ludroth starts breathing down your neck, you best be ready to do battle... or flee. Whichever is considered saner to do. The multiplayer entertainment, 100+ hours of content, and numerous quests make Monster Hunter Tri the ultimate Wii third-party exclusive.


Just from telling by this list you can see that third-parties definitely bet on the wrong pair of horses this gen, and they suffered for it through studio closures and mass layoffs. They were so stubborn and set in their ways that most did little to rectify their mistake. They still put their B, C, and even D teams on Wii exclusives. This might be one of the biggest wastes of potential of a system considering how badly third-parties dropped the ball when it concerned the Wii. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. "Our games don't sell because we didn't put much effort into them, so that means that third-party games obviously don't sell on Nintendo systems." I cannot wait for third-party excuses as to why they won't put their games on Nintendo's next console. What a silly industry this is.

What are your favorite third-party Wii exclusives?


Parko said...

I still need to play Red Steel 2 and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, plus We Love Golf and Final Fantasy Fables look great as well.

Overall, this list sums up just about every great third party game on the Wii. There are a few more that are ok, but these are definitely the cream of the crop.

Matt Sainsbury said...

So glad to see love for Chocobo's Dungeon there.

After Samurai Warriors 3, Chocobo Dungeon is, by some margin, my most played Wii game. An incredibly charming, badly overlooked, masterpiece.

The DS game, which was Japan-only, was a whole lot of fun too.

Reggie White Jr. said...

Well, well, it looks like I have even more Wii titles to pick up now. I'm surprised that I only have four games on that list (Sonic Colors, MadWorld, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and No More Heroes 2).

Looking at my collection of Wii games, I really do enjoy MadWorld, and I need to finish it. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is some of the best money I've spent on a Wii game, even if it did take me a while to find it.

Chalgyr said...

I so do not play my Wii enough. The only game on this list I have is Monster Hunter. I probably would make a case for Silent Hill too, I really liked that one on the Wii

Zack said...

I want to get No More Heroes 2 and Madworld but since I'm 14 they are somewhat out of the question since I would be playing them on a TV infront of everyone in my house.

Unknown said...

"I probably would make a case for Silent Hill too"

That's on PS2 as well, though.