Friday, October 12, 2012

The 50 Best Nintendo Wii Games - Part Four

Over the past several weeks we have looked into and analyzed many Wii games. This fourth week of the best the Wii has to offer (in this writer's opinion, of course) enters into several well known franchises and lesser known franchises. The Wii is an often mocked console, called kiddy, casual, or whatever insult-of-the-day is considered cool by a vocal minority of gamers. This list of fifty terrific Wii titles is meant to show the console's library as quite competent and worthwhile. No, you won't just be seeing Mario and Zelda games on this list. The library is much more exhaustive than that as this list of fifty has proven. We now roll on to part four of The 50 Best Nintendo Wii Games. Which games have you played and enjoyed?

Metroid: Other M

An infamous title to Metroid diehards, but even if its plot, script, and cutscenes are under heavy fire by critics, I overall enjoyed this first game on the list immensely, Metroid: Other M. What I came to enjoy in the end was the brilliant gameplay with all-new never-before-seen melee moves in a Metroid game. The combat system was fast-paced and incredibly intuitive, and the ambiance was as good as ever with some great level design. Unlike past Metroid titles, Other M was a more linear affair, sort of similar in structure to Metroid Fusion. However, rather than be in 2D, Other M allowed Samus to explore in three-dimensional areas, albeit with a fixed position camera. At any time during the game, the Wii remote could be pointed towards the screen, entering the player into a first-person viewpoint where she could aim at enemies more easily and scope out her surroundings. Despite the linearity within the game, Metroid: Other M did open up quite a bit near the end, giving the player a marvelous sense of freedom as they explored the Galactic Federation Bottle Ship. New moves would be given to Samus or accessed with the word of her former commanding officer, allowing her to visit previously inaccessible areas. Missile tanks, energy tanks, and power bomb tanks were hidden all around the innards of the ship, giving the player a reason to explore. Metroid: Other M may have its missteps, but overall it is a quite competent game.

GoldenEye 007

A re-imagining of the 1995 GoldenEye movie as well as one of the Rare's classic and revolutionary FPS of the same name, Eurocom's 2010 effort, GoldenEye 007, transplanted Daniel Craig's likeness and voice over Pierce Brosnan's for the game. The game featured modified levels because of the updated story. What I love about first-person shooters on the Wii is the ability to point and shoot with the Wii remote. It feels much more precise than dual analog, but not quite in the same league as a keyboard and mouse combo. Regardless, if you don't care for the Wii remote/nunchuk combination, you can opt to play the game with the Classic Controller (Pro) or the GameCube controller. The multiplayer is still popular and frequented by many online to this day. Similar to the Call of Duty franchise, XP is gained for kills and performing various tasks, and players level up, allowing them new skills and weaponry. The offline multiplayer is available for up to four players with four different modes to choose from. Online, however, ups the available modes to nine. A PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version would come out to their respective systems a year later, but good luck finding anyone to play against online; it's a ghost town.

Animal Crossing: City Folk  

The Wii edition of Animal Crossing was called Animal Crossing: City Folk, and it was an all-around wonderful game. You wouldn't think a game where you do chores and live your life virtually would be any fun, but Animal Crossing proves time and time again that this thought is wrong to most people. Catching bugs and fish, watering flowers to prevent them from perishing, paying off your debt to Tom Nook, expanding your house, decorating it with furniture, flooring, and wallpaper, chatting with your fellow villagers, participating in holidays, designing your own clothing, wallpaper, and flooring, and living every City Folk minute as a real life minute are just some of the activities that can be done in your individual randomly-designed village. The "City" in City Folk alludes to the ability to enter the city for various shopping needs. The game was the first online Wii title to be compatible with Nintendo's rarely used Wii Speak peripheral, offering voice chat for friends who visited your village via Wi-Fi. One of the most common criticisms with City Folk was how it was too similar to Wild World, the Nintendo DS entry in the series. Those criticisms were founded, as I feel that City Folk is a half step forward rather than a full step. That said, being able to play Animal Crossing once more on a home console with new features was something that I cherished greatly, and the 3DS installment of the franchise looks to actually reinvent the wheel somewhat with the entire Animal Crossing series.


A remake of the PlayStation 1 classic, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, the simply titled Klonoa pushed the floppy-eared character's first adventure into new graphical heights on the Nintendo Wii. New to this installment included unlockable costumes such as Klonoa's attire from Lunatea's Veil, as well as much more difficult challenge stages for hardcore fans of the game. As someone who had never played the original Door to Phantomile, this Wii remake was a sensational, albeit relatively easy platforming romp. The game was played in a 2.5D perspective. Klonoa ran along a 2D plain, but the world around him was animated and rendered in full 3D. The game wasn't your typical platformer either. It had its own original mechanic to separate itself from the pack. Klonoa was equipped with a Wind Bullet, allowing him to shoot it out at a foe, and then grab the baddies over his head. He could then toss the foe forward or use it to double jump. The game's story was like the world of Phantomile, bright and bouncy, colorful and whimsical, but look out for that ending that comes out of nowhere! For a budget title that is far from feeling like a budget affair, check out Klonoa on Wii, or if you prefer to go it old-school, track down the PS1 original or download it on the PlayStation Store.


A new installment of Nintendo's Punch-Out!! series entered the ring in 2009, courtesy of Next Level Games. Right away players were treated with a gorgeous cel-shaded Saturday morning cartoon style that was perfect for the Wii's limited power. The game still looks splendid, showing what a glorious art style can do for a title. The Wii edition of Punch-Out!! brought back all of the cast from the NES and Super Nintendo installments of the series, and also included several new opponents such as Disco Kid and a super secret boss that players went ape for. The mechanics of the game are the same as previous entries. Little Mac, the star of the show, enters numerous boxing matches where he must dodge the choreographed attacks of his opponent and then punch back when the adversary leaves an opening. One might think that Punch-Out!! would not have a lot of replay value in this day and age, but Next Level Games added a lot to the package to make it appealing for long-term playing. After boxing up the ranks in Career Mode, earning the championship belt, Little Mac would enter Title Defense Mode, where the boxers that he previously K.O.'d returned with new tricks, new moves, and new weaknesses. If you haven't yet checked out Punch-Out's Wii debut, the game is only twenty dollars now MSRP, so take a chance and enter the ring.

A Boy and His Blob

This list is full of re-imaginings it seems. From GoldenEye 007 to Klonoa, we're certainly representing the future and the past with this list of ten games. The next re-imagining we're taking a look at is 2009's A Boy and His Blob, modeled after and influenced by original Nintendo Entertainment System title, A Boy and His Blob: Trouble in Bloblonia, in celebration of the game's twentieth anniversary. The end result on Wii was this touching, beautiful, and highly rewarding 2D platforming featuring abundant amounts of puzzles. The titular boy feeds the eponymous blob jelly beans in order to turn his amorphous friend into one of fifteen forms such as a rocket ship or block. Each level gave the player a set amount of forms they could use to get through the many obstacles in the boy and blob's path to the goal. There were 80 individual levels within this remarkable rebirth including 40 traditional stages and 40 challenge stages, unlocked through discovering three treasure chests within a given traditional stage. For those who shy away from any Wii game with motion controls, A Boy and His Blob might be for you, if you can overcome the deliciously adorable art style and themes. Any game with a hug button is indeed a game worth playing. Couple that with the more forgiving gameplay than seen in the NES original and the engaging and endearing art style, and you have the makings of a Wii game that should certainly be in an open-minded gamer's library.

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Mini-game collections are not favored or thought of too fondly by the typical internet gamer. However, there is huge market for them, and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games is a capable title featuring multiple events both realistic and nontraditional. If you played the original Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, get those memories out of your head. This 2012 Olympiad romp was nothing short of a good time, unlike the first Nintendo-Sega mascot collaboration. Alongside new events like badminton, soccer, and horse riding (equestrian), there were improved iterations of previous summer events such as sprint races, cycling, and table tennis. To add to the fun were Dream Events where took ordinary Olympic events and threw them into the worlds and locales of Mario and Sonic games and added a twist to the rules. Imagine a hurdle race set in Super Mario Galaxy's Battlerock Galaxy where items were used, or a trampoline competition set in Sonic Adventure 2's Crazy Gadget stage where you could perform as many tricks as you wanted as you fell hundreds of feet to the trampoline. Making this package more enticing were remixed songs from Sega's wonderful set of composers and arrangers as well as unlockable costumes for the player's various Miis. The game is great for local multiplayer fun (Party mode was exceptional) and even solo fun (earning medals and awards was enjoyable). The real Olympics may be over, but Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games can last you long up until we're talking about the Olympics in 2014.

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor

The sequel to the Japan-only Sin & Punishment on Nintendo 64 (until the game was released on the Wii's Virtual Console service for a special promotion), the Wii's Sin & Punishment: Star Successor put players in the shoes of either Isa Jo or Kachi. The game was set on-rails, but the player can move around while the screen scrolls. The action was always hot and heated with bullets, missiles, and lasers flying at you in every which direction (though missiles can be deflected with a sword, which can also be used for strong melee damage). The game also was never shy about throwing a boss at the beginning, middle, or end of a given level. Learning patterns was the key to success. Online leaderboards added to the fun. By destroying enemies and not getting hit, a player's score multiplier would continually rise. Like IGN UK said in their review, "Forget bullet hell - Treasure has created an awesome slice of bullet heaven." And indeed they did. Treasure is known for their work on such cult favorites as Gunstar Heroes, Guardian Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, Wario World, Ikaruaga, Mischief Makers, among many others. Add Sin & Punishment: Star Successor not only to the list of Treasure's... treasures, but also a game that should be in any self-respecting Wii owner's library.

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

If you are in any way familiar with Fire Emblem or turn-based tactical RPGs, you should feel right at home with the Wii installment of the long-running series. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn keeps with it the standard gameplay the series is known and loved for, but introduces new elements as well such as new field units and an elevation advantage between units. What many Fire Emblem fans enjoy about the franchise is its difficulty, something that a lot of Nintendo series cannot say. The games are punishing in that in many of the entries deceased party members stay deceased and can in no way be revived. This can be a real turn-off to more casual players who wish for a more relaxing experience. How many times have Fire Emblem fanatics had to reset a game because one of their units died in battle? Regardless, the upcoming Nintendo 3DS game Fire Emblem: Awakening is the game for them as it not only has the normal difficulty, but it has a mode where party members that perish return after battle. Continuing on with Radiant Dawn, the game was a masterful tactical RPG that demanded of the player strong strategy and foresight in thought. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn might not be the best the series has to offer, but it is still a welcomed addition to the franchise.

Bully: Scholarship Edition

The original Bully debuted on the PlayStation 2 in 2006. A new version of the game with updated visuals and content was released on the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii two years later called Bully: Scholarship Edition. We're focusing on the latter version of the game, particularly the one I prefer, the Wii game. The idea behind Bully has players entering Bullworth Academy as the forever rebellious teen Jimmy Hopkins. The game is essentially an open world experience, though not to the degree of a Grand Theft Auto game. You're limited to the campus and the town around it. Through completing missions the story progresses, and through completing optional classes (four new ones were added to the Scholarship Edition) Jimmy learns new helpful skills and abilities. The fun of the Wii version comes from the pointer controls and other Wii remote-exclusive features. The Xbox 360 version of the game was littered with bugs and glitches that ruined the experience for most owners. Regardless, despite the lack of HD, I prefer the Wii version and consider it to be the definitive version of Bully. Here's hoping that we finally see a sequel from Rockstar.


And with that we have but one more part to The 50 Best Nintendo Wii Games to go. Have your favorite Wii games been mentioned as of yet? Well, there's ten more titles to be listed, so you still have a chance to see your favorites yet! Next week we conclude this special series of five articles naming the most superior Wii games in the system's under-appreciated library. If you somehow missed a previous part of my ongoing series, look no further than these links:

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

Until next week, have a splendid weekend, everybody.

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