Nope, not another rant. I just thought I’d post a few words on what I think are some pretty underrated games for the Wii that many of you have probably overlooked for some of the more high profile titles, ignored because of reviews, or just plain skipped over.
The Godfather: Blackhand Edition
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary
I never understood why reviewers complained about the Wii controls in this game. Granted, the camera might’ve been handled better if it followed the reticle with a bounding box or something, but holding C and moving the remote is not the worst way it could be handled. Aside from that, I don’t really have any complaints about the controls. IR aiming works well, swinging the nunchuk to launch the grappling hook feels natural and everything pretty much works the way it should.
The game looks pretty good on the Wii. Considering that most developers don’t bother to do anything with the Wii in terms of graphics, I think the game looks genuinely good. The added mini-games don’t make the game a brand new experience, but I also don’t think they detract from the game at all. Finding the solution to a puzzle and then making a rubbing of it so you can reference it when actually working the puzzle is a nice little addition, I think.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
Judging by the game’s massive sales (nearing five million units) I wonder how many people badmouthing the game own it. The game was pretty much looked down on since its announcement since it was yet another mini-game compilation for the Wii. While I admit that the Wii has quite a few mini-game compilations, I wonder why people never say yet another FPS for the 360. I’m not saying I want the Wii to be flooded with mini-game collections (the same way I don’t want the 360 flooded with FPSs) but just because they’re cheap to make for the developer doesn’t mean they all must lack quality or fun.
I personally think Mario & Sonic is right up there with Raving Rabbids as some of my favorites mini-game compilations. I think most of the mini-games are fairly good adaptations of the sport they emulate. I know a lot of people aren’t fans of the arm-pumping = running mechanic a lot of games have, but I figure, why shouldn’t a game based on the Olympics make you sweat a little here and there? I love the archery mini-game myself. It has so many elements to it and proves that a mini-game doesn’t have to be shallow. On top of that, you have Dream Events, that put the Mario spin on a few events and online leaderboards, which can get just as competitive as any head-to-head game.
The game does have a few minor faults, I think. I would’ve loved if the characters donned the gear for their respected events. Fencing gear on the characters would’ve looked nice and giving each character a swimsuit for the water events would’ve made more sense than Mario swimming with his boots. More Dream Events would also have helped add a bit more variety and I really wonder why the hell the game doesn’t save high scores during multiplayer games. Game breakers? Hardly. Still a great game.
NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
NiGHTS was highly anticipated after it was announced, but it seemed like the game was condemned just as quickly. Comparisons were immediately drawn up with the original and complaints were launched against everything from the music to the graphics. When the reviews came in, they were decent, but far from perfect and the gaming community immediately overblew it and thus its considered a terrible game by many, a lot of which probably haven’t even played it.
I had played the original a bit on my cousin’s Sega Saturn and I loved it back then and I was there on day one to buy the sequel. I honestly think its a great game.
The thing is, this game is not for the jaded gamer. No, the game doesn’t have cutting edge graphics. No the game doesn’t have a brilliantly written, epic storlyine. No the game’s controls aren’t perfect. What’s left then? Well, for the jaded gamer that thinks a game must have all of these to be a good game, well nothing. The game really requires an innocence about the player. Its hard to describe, really. The game honestly made me feel like a kid at times. It has some brilliant moments, and at times I think can rival the best of Mario Galaxy. The Bell Bridge stage and the Sky Concert stage are just two examples.
Scarface: The World is Yours
Scarface is in much the same boat as The Godfather. People think lst gen GTA clone and immediately pass it up. The game certainly does have its own vibe and, like the Godfather, benefits greatly from the Wii’s remote input for aiming. Granted, if you played this game last gen then you might not care so much, but if you haven’t and you have a Wii then its a good title to help beef up your library, especially if you’re looking for a hardcore game for the console.
Sonic and the Secret Rings
Ah, the Sonic hate. So fashionable nowadays, I find it hard to pinpoint how it started. Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 were well recieved. Sonic Heroes also garnered some pretty good reviews. Yes, Shadow the Hedgehog wasn’t great, and Sonic the Hedgehog (PS3/360) was god awful thanks mostly to the rediculous number of load times. However, by the time those last two games were released, Sonic’s reputation was already in the dumps. Regardless, when Sonic and the Secret Rings was announced, there was some ressurrection of hope that it would bring Sonic back to its former glory.
Like NiGHTS, I don’t think this game was given a fair chance. Again, it wasn’t a perfect game so it was immediately considered a dismal failure by many for the franchise and the Wii. After playing through most of it though, I can honestly say that I am very happy with the way the game turned out. The sense of speed is there, it might be on rails, but I think it works. The game doesn’t feel responsive if you try to play it like an older Sonic game. It requires something of a rythm and once you learn it you can get through areas without breaking Sonic’s stride. The controls take some getting used to, but they work well for the game.
The upcoming Sonic Unleashed that once again has players excited also seems to take a cue from Secret Rings as the videos have shown that the gameplay switches to Secret Rings-style occassionaly throughout the course of the game. The game may not be perfect but its very much a big step in the right direction.
While SSX Tricky remains my favorite game in the franchise (although I recognize that SSX 3 was technically better, I really enjoyed the characterization that Tricky had) Blur was definitely a worthy sequel. Released early in the Wii’s lifetime, Blur embraced the Wii’s controls and put them to use in a game born and raised on the button combos of the last generation. While the game might have a more limited set of regular moves the same spirit from the previous titles was at play here with huge drops and big tricks, this time pulled off by gestures performed with the remote and nunchuk. The Uber Tricks in particular troubled many gamers, but this is a practice makes perfect situation and your patience is rewarded.
Also, amidst the criticisms of dumbed down, kiddy games for the Wii, Blur stands out as one of this generation’s blistering hard games. It may not be up there with Ninja Gaiden or F-Zero, but I respect any person that can best this title.
Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam
Like SSX, the Tony Hawk games were cultivated on the control schemes of the last few generations. Downhill Jam was pretty much written off as a disappointment or a pretender when it was released in the shadow of the much more traditional Project 8. Really though, Downhill Jam doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be the previous Tony Hawk games. This is a racing game with a Tony Hawk twist. The racing itself is fun, there are a variety of tracks, each with multiple routes and some some crazy drops and trick opportunities and a sense of humor to boot.
Alright, I think I’ll cut it here. These are by no means the only games I’d recommend for the Wii. For all those out there that keep saying the Wii has no good games except Mario and BLANK, you’re really not looking at the library. For those with Wii’s, take a chance with some games that may not be triple A. The Wii itself was a huge chance for Nintendo and the games that come out for it must be different. They may not be perfect, but there are plenty of fun games out there that are being ignored because they’re not hardcore enough or their Metacritic rating isn’t high enough but are worth spending time with. If your Wii is collecting dust, then you’re really not looking hard enough or are just afraid to play some of the less critically acclaimed titles out there.
Oh, and just for fun. Enjoy!