Rounding out our Wii week, I think it might be best to look back at some of the best games on the current Wii. I was going to post a more direct evaluation of the Wii’s lifecycle today, but the time doesn’t seem that right, and, in light of all of the excellent Wii U news, I thought it would be best to keep on the positive train for now. The Wii has a huge library, probably close to three times as big as the PS3 and 360. Unfortunately, the vast, vast, vast majority of games that have been released on the Wii have been miserable shovelware. As such, the Wii has far fewer games worth owning than either other console. Most of these games are from Nintendo’s major franchises, with precious few games being brought to the Wii from third parties. Among the third party games, the vast majority are ports from the PS2, Gamecube, or a precious few downgraded ports from the PS3/360. In this list, I will not be considering ports, only games that are unique, or initially unique to the Wii. This disregards games such as Resident Evil 4, whose Wii version is the absolute best way to play the game, but this is necessary in order to highlight the best of the console, and not just the best on the console.
|As long as it’s not in your pants.|
5 – Super Smash Bros: Brawl
Super Smash Bros: Brawl gets my fifth slot. It is oft criticized by those who are overly serious concerning Super Smash Bros. Melee, as it slowed the gameplay down, and reduced competitiveness of the game by removing certain features. Brawl is the latest Smash Bros. game, a series so popular that it has prompted Sony to follow suit with its terribly named Playstation All-Stars Battle Royal. Brawl added a plethora of new characters from major series such as Meta Knight, and Pokemon Trainer, while keeping the majority of Melee’s roster intact. Brawl is the epitome of a Wii game. For better or worse, Brawl was aimed far more at casuals than hardcore gamers, with the inclusion of Smash Ball attacks among other things. The biggest change in the formula was the addition of third party characters into the roster. Solid Snake and Sonic set a very interesting precedent, which will likely be followed in future instalments.
4 – Donkey Kong Country Returns
Retro gaming has been a major trend, but never as much as since the release of Mega Man 9. Ever since then, many major series has dallied with looking back at its roots. No retro game made has been as well made as Donkey Kong Country Returns. Despite the unfortunate addition of motion controls, Returns gets it right. Most retro games play it way to safe adding absolutely nothing to the classic gameplay or concept like The New Super Mario Bros. or Final Fantasy: Dimensions. These games are fine, but cannot stand on their own as they just don’t add anything to the cannon. Returns brings Donkey Kong back where he was most popular: the Country series. Returns’ biggest addition is the inclusion of time trials, which add an insane amount of replayability and play on the biggest inherent strengths of the genre: speed and flow. In addition, Returns is a very, very hard game. Unlike Mega Man 9, which maintained the series’ difficulty, Returns made the series difficult, something it had never been before. For being Donkey Kong’s first successful outing in years, Donkey Kong Country Returns takes my number 4.
|Just die already you horrible monster!|
3 – The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Wii saw the release of two Zelda games in its lifecycle. Unfortunately, Twilight Princess could hardly be considered a Wii game. Built pretty much from the ground up on the Gamecube, with some pretty egregious forced motion controls, it showed to all early on the weaknesses of a half-assed Wii port. Due to this, Skyward Sword was the first real Wii Zelda game and one of the finest Wii games ever made. Being made for the Wii made a huge difference in terms of how well the motion controls were implemented. Skyward Sword also happens to be one of the most heartfelt and focused Zelda games in years. Instead of taking the Twilight Princess route of trying to mimic Ocarina of time, Skyward Sword brings a unique stylized art style and take on the famous series, doing away with cumbersome series mainstays. For showing that Zelda can still bring fresh ideas, Skyward Sword is my number 3.
|At least 3 times more fabulous than Wind Waker.|
2 – Super Mario Galaxy 2
The Wii was lucky that it actually received two Mario games, three if you include The New Super Mario Wii, which you shouldn’t. Super Mario Galaxy had some really great ideas behind it such as the use of gravity in platforming, which made it more than worthy of being a Mario game. However, it was hampered by several cumbersome design choices such as the horrifically boring Rosalina story, or poor, unnecessary hub-world in a vain attempt to fit in with Sunshine and 64. Galaxy 2 brought in even more great ideas and refined and utilized a lot of half thought out concepts of the original Galaxy. Yoshi makes an appearance, but is hardly the only improvement. The game is quicker and easier to play and get into. While Galaxy 2 is the most unoriginal main series Mario game ever made, it is also one of the most refined Mario experiences you will ever have. Personally, I consider it Mario’s finest 3D outing, and for that, it gets my number 2.
|Am I the only one who would rather kill a turtle than waste may time on Rosalina’s sob story?|
1 – Xenoblade Chronicles
This should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who read my Xenoblade Chronicles. Calling Xenoblade Chronicles the best game on the Wii demeans the game. It is the only game on the Wii that will be worth remembering twenty years from now and is one of the finest games made in recent history. Boasting a staggeringly long storyline full of well developed characters, and a wonderfully complex yet easy to pick up battle system, Xenoblade Chronicles is an amazing game. Coming at the end of the Wii’s lifecycle long after most developers, including Nintendo, had abandoned the system, Xenoblade Chronicles came as a shock. North American gamers had to fight for its release, and it’s good they did. Had the Wii gotten games of this caliber before everyone had stopped caring, maybe it would have faired better this generation.
|One of those precious few games that will be remembered as a classic.|
The Wii has had a pretty bad run of things in all fairness; however, enough great games have been released to make it a system definitely worth owning. I stand by the fact that any system housing Nintendo’s first party is worth owning. Unfortunately, this generation, Nintendo has had little else to show. Fortunately, games such as Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story have allowed Wii gamers to hold their heads up high, as the Wii currently houses the best JRPGs of this generation, with no real chance of being unseated in the near future.
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer