The Wii U is literally days away and everybody here at Meodia can’t wait to usher in the next generation of consoles, seems like this gen has lasted forever. Released back in 2006 the Wii was the butt of many a joke, the name first of all; Wii, it sounds like “wee”. Oh the hours of jokes and crudely drawn images of people with Wii controllers as penises… and I’m sure the rest of the internet had some fun too. It was also the console to bring forth the fabled motion controls which a great many people said was nothing but a fad and/or a pointless gimmick. However something happened, something nobody could have expected! Normal people ended up buying the Wii; young kids, overworked parents and even the elderly were all lining up to buy this here gaming console made by some Chinese fella called Nintendo! This new group were called “Causal Gamers” by the so called “Hardcore Gamers” but this demographic was spending a lot of money and the industry had to take notice. Well suddenly motion controls where no longer a gimmick and the Wii controller was no longer a lollypop for kids; Sony suddenly announced the Sixaxis to compete for this previously untapped market. Of course that wasn’t the end of the motion control movement and the Wii has ultimately lead to the development of the Playstation Move and Microsoft’s Kinect. Not bad for a little white box, “underpowered” and “filled with shovelware”.
So today we celebrate Nintendo’s seventh generation console and take a look back at what we think are the best games out on the Wii. What’s even better is that the Wii U will be backwards compatible so you can play any Wii game on it. So without further ado in ascending order Meodia’s Top 10 Wii Games:
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was the long awaited second Zelda title on the Wii, released in late 2011. Fans were really excited for this game because Shigeru Miyamoto said it would be completely different type of Zelda game, turns out he was lying, but who cared? It was a brand new Zelda game! What’s more is that Skyward Sword was the first Zelda game to be tailor made for the Wii, everything was focused around the motion controls and for the first time in Zelda history we could control our sword movement with 1:1 controls. This meant combat became a much more intimate affair which, to Mr Miyamoto’s credit, did create a brand new Zelda experience.
Aside from the controls Skyward Sword has a fantastic art direction, merging the cartoonist styling’s of Wind Waker with the more realistic approach of Twilight Princess. It worked really well and it would have been nice to see Nintendo stick to this style for the next game, but they’re not. Other than that the game is classic Zelda game filled with dungeons, puzzles, heart pieces and an annoying sidekick that “helps” Link on his journey.
No More Heroes is a game from the disturbed mind of Goichi Suda, aka Suda 51, and developed by Grasshopper Manufacture in late 2007. It follows the story of one Travis Touchdown; an otaku loser, who won a “beam katana” *coughLightsabercough* on a popular internet auction site *coughE-baycough*. He then decided to join the United Assassins Association, which appears to be a group of assassin’s that only assassinate each other to determine who the best assassin in the world is. Not 100% that’s what assassins do, oh well. The plot isn’t as simple as it sounds which a couple of confusing twists an allusions; but it’s a lot easier to understand than Suda 51’s previous game Killer 7, so there’s that.
Gameplay wise the game is split into two distinctive sections; fun missions and not so fun side-missions. The missions are the meat of the game with a third-person slasher combat system and at the end of each level is one of the ranked assassins, who were always a joy to meet and fight against. The side-missions where quirky mini-games that were fun for a while but you were required to play through these many times in order to get enough money to enter the next mission, which was less of fun. However the sense of humour and the bosses themselves were enough to make this game incredibility popular. A sequel was released on the Wii in 2010 called No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (also a good game) and ports of the original game made their way onto the Xbox 360 and PS3 in April 2010 with the title No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise.
2D gaming was dead for a very long time, with the onset of the Fifth generation of consoles the only games that could get away with being 2D where those appearing on handheld consoles. Sure there were a few titles like Viewtiful Joe but nobody really expected 2D games to ever really sell. Well almost nobody, with the success of New Super Mario Bros. on the DS in 2006 Nintendo though “why wouldn’t that sell on a home console as well?” So New Super Mario Bros. Wii was born in late 2009, a fully fledged 2D game released on a Seventh generation console, and boy did it sell; selling 3 million units in the first seven weeks in Japan alone, and later going on to be the fastest selling game in history! Suddenly everybody who had a 2D mascot back in the day dusted them off and launched a new 2D platformer. 2D games are a thing again thanks to this game, and we couldn’t be happier about that fact.
But what of the game itself? Well it took the classic Mario formula and modernised it with a retro twist. Makes it sound like a nice cocktail. It took a simplistic approach to the game, having the player only use two buttons, the D-pad and some minor motion controls. The thing is the game didn’t need any complication because the core of the game was just platforming bliss. Throw in interesting and varied levels to explore and you’ve got yourself an almost perfect game. Oh and the game allowed you to play with three other friends which always resulted in hectic fun, screams, shouts and time-outs.
Back in 2006 Ubisoft launched a new IP called Red Steel; it was one of the first games to be released on the white box and it was probably while playing this game when everybody realised the limitations of the Wii. The ambitious gunplay, swordplay and graphics of the game where just that; ambitious but ultimately disappointing. It seemed to everybody that the Red Steel IP was gone for good. But in 2009 Nintendo release the Wii Motion Plus, a little box that attached to the end of the Wii controller that added much wanted precision to the motion controls. In 2010 to the surprise of the gaming community Red Steel 2 was released and even more of a shock, the game was good!
Taking a departure of the modern day setting of the original, Red Steel 2 took place in a futuristic, steam-punk, cowboy setting with interesting visuals and a very basic story. The gunplay was vastly improved over the original, taking cues from Retro Studio’s game Metroid Prime 3. The swordplay was also back, and while not 1:1, it provided a nuanced gameplay mechanic. The game provided a fun, fluid combat system and is by far the best FPS on the Wii.
As already stated 2D was dead on consoles and then brought back from the brink due to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the company to most benefit from this was of course Nintendo but in more ways than one. See Nintendo had numerous other franchises that could benefit from another 2D game on home consoles. One such franchise was Donkey Kong, who was relegated to portable consoles and bizarre musical spin-offs since Donkey Kong 64. So Donkey Kong returned in 2010 with Donkey Kong Country Returns.
And what a return it was? Following the simplistic approach of New Super Mario Bros. Wii the game could be played with only the Wii controller using the D-pad, a couple of buttons and some motion controls. The game has precession controls and drop dead gorgeous levels but what really sets this apart from 2D Mario titles is the difficulty; this game was hard. It provides enough challenge to keep you coming back time and time again, possibly with less hair with each successive death. The difficulty scaled perfectly; the game was never unfair, never cheap, you failed due to your own skills…or rather lack of. As such we believe this game to be the pinnacle of 2D platforming on the Wii.