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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

IN EXCRUCIATING DETAIL! Or, let's talk about the top ten Wii games you've never heard of...

So, I'm bored. I decided to have some fun shedding some light on the "worst" console of the seventh generation, the Wii. I have a Wii, and I love it, very dearly. I recognize its merits, and I also recognize its flaws. But I am in love with the library of games, which fascinates me in many ways, and also disappoints me. The Wii had very little third party support, meaning, outside of Nintendo, a lot of game developers chose not to waste their time with the console because of its underpowered graphics and hardware, and weak online functionality. Well, there's more reasons, too, but we'll leave it at that.

However, that didn't stop the Wii from having a solid library of games that is varied and filled with enjoyable experiences. If you didn't stray from the path of Wii X games or first party Nintendo titles, you might have missed out on some of them. That's where I come in- to make you feel like you haven't spent enough money. Well, not exactly- but just remember, with the Wii U on the horizon and its backwards compatibility with Wii games and peripherals, you may want to pick up a few of these titles if you ever feel a drought coming on.

This top ten list will be TEN LISTS. Of the top ten games in each category. So let's get this train wreck-a-rollin', shall we?! 

The Top Ten Wii Games You've Never Heard of...
Heh. *Pushes glasses up nose* I'm kind of underground. But really, these are the Wii games that are actually really good, but you've probably not heard of them. So let's take a look!

1) Ivy the Kiwi?
What's that? You think you don't want to play a game about a Kiwi? GUESS AGAIN. Featuring a beautiful art style and innovative platforming, Ivy the Kiwi? Is a cute, addictive game with mechanics that work very well on both Wii and DS. And every purchase promotes the "save the Kiwis" cause! Awesome!
2) Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
A deliciously atmospheric game about "human drama" set in a post-apocalyptic world, Fragile Dreams ups the feeling of seclusion as you search for other survivors as a fifteen-year old boy. The art style and audio are haunting and wonderful, and though some feel the gameplay is a little unbalanced, it really is a game worth experiencing.
3) Muramasa: The Demon Blade
With a number of role-playing elements, several different endings, and a Metroid-scale environment, Muramasa tells the story of a boy and girl wrapped up in the tale of the legendary demon blade. As you traverse the beautiful landscapes, you'll find the game embodies the idea of a moving-painting in its art style and combat- it is truly a sight to behold.
4) Xenoblade Chronicles
This is one of the greatest RPGs of all time. OF ALL TIME. So, yeah. Deal with it. 
5) Lost in Shadow
An interesting platformer where you play as the disembodied shadow of a boy attempting to climb a tower in search of his body. Featuring interesting light- and shadow-based gameplay concepts, the story may be light, but the idea is solid, and it works. 
6) Bully: Scholarship Edition
Essentially school-age GTA, especially since it's made by Rockstar games. No really, it's school-age GTA. 
7) Fishing Resort
Hold up- this game is about motion fishing, right? But it has DLC FISH, and some are from the prehistoric era. It's casual fare, but it's so ridiculously fun, you can't help but enjoy it. By the way, fish rankings are on Nintendo Wi-Fi!
8) Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep
An extremely serene ocean exploration title- I mention the sequel to the original only because it improves upon the already-great original. Plus, SHARK BATTLES!
9) Rhythm Heaven Fever
The sequel to the awesome and addicting title on the DS, Rhythm Heaven takes music games a step further by making you actually respond to the rhythm of a track instead of pushing the buttons when an arbitrary listing tells you that you should. The gameplay is intense and really fun, and the first title is also worth a look. 
10) Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Point and click fun using the Wii motion controls, along with a quirky story . Probably one of the most fun games on the Wii. So DON'T overlook it.

The Top Ten Wii FPS
Uh... yeah. Contrary to popular belief, the Wii actually HAD First Person Shooter games! Some with online, some that were rail shooters. But shooters, even so.

1) Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Technically a "First Person Adventure", Metroid Prime 3 does what the first two do, but with voice acting, more worlds, and motion controls that are absolutely wonderful.
2) Goldeneye
YOU REMEMBER GOLDENEYE, RIGHT? This is not it. However, it is a very well-balanced and supported FPS for the Wii. A re-imagining of the Goldeneye story with Craig's Bond at the helm, it's a bit more future-y and has SKY BRIGGS, the most badass mofo ever. Good multiplayer, especially when local, playing great N64 throwback modes.
3) The Conduit/Conduit 2
The first was an attempt to have nice things on the Wii, like an FPS with online that didn't suck. And it worked! The story was brief though, but what FPS isn't, amirite? It's now extremely hacked though, but the sequel, Counduit 2, pretty much improved upon its successor in every way. Multiplayer's a blast, and indeed... it features one of the best video game endings ever. Look it up.
4) Elebits
One of the weirder FPS on the list, you launch adorable critters from a first-person view. It's weird! But bright and colorful, so it makes sense as a Wii FPS.
5) Red Steel 2
Red Steel was a terrible attempt at trying to use the Wii motion control, and don't you forget it. However, Red Steel 2, which has cel-like graphics, Wii Motion Plus, and a story involving you fighting as a NINJA COWBOY is awesome. Slicing and dicing is top-notch, and you also get to shoot the crap out of people when you launch them in the air with a slice!
6) House of the Dead: Overkill
Oh man, this game is violent. And it held the record for the most f-bombs in a video game for a brief period of time. It's lightgun style action, but totally awesome in every way, and features a co-op mode and DUAL CHAINGUNS. 
7) Ghost Squad
Lightgun style action- you're fighting terrorists! With a large amount of content, guns with different modes, and expansive level design (you know, for a lightgun game), this is a very unique offering, indeed. For a lightgun-style game. 
8) Medal of Honor: Heroes 2
Why does this game deserve a spot? 32 person online multiplayer without friendcodes. Need I say more?
9) Dead Space: Extraction
Light gun style action, Dead Space-y atmosphere with a number of different weapons and very nice graphics. Is actually very effective at being scary, which is weird for a lightgun game. Sold horribly, so pick up a copy if you aren't soulless.
10) Call of Duty: Black Ops/MW: Reflex/MW3
You know. It's Call of Duty on the Wii. I bet you didn't know that existed, huh? Well, it does.


The Top Ten Wii RPGs
Hold on to your pants, kids. This section is worth the read.

1) Xenoblade Chronicles
I may be a little biased, but haven't I already mentioned this is the GREATEST RPG OF ALL TIME?
2) The Last Story
Where Xenoblade is the perfect realization of massive field size with an emphasis on exploration and fast-travel (as well as a unique story and being TGRPGOAT), The Last Story takes all that stuff you loved about Final Fantasy before... you know... and injects it with some much-needed life. From the music, to the squad-based RPG gameplay, this and Xenoblade push the envelope in regards to RPG design.
3) Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
So the Gamecube got this cool Fire Emblem game called Path of Radiance. But the Wii got the sequel, which features all the characters you know and love from the original, plus some new ones, and a story that's ridiculously epic. Yes, it does what most RPG's do towards the end (if you know what I mean), but it's still awesome.
4) Pandora's Tower
An action RPG, while it doesn't do much with its characters and story, the gameplay is solid and has a God-of-War-ish feel, though you can use any sort of weapon you'd like. Collecting items and killing monsters is fun.
5) Rune Factory Frontier
You know, when you take a game like Harvest Moon- a relatively boring life-sim (unless you're into that, don't yell at me!) and combine it with dungeon crawling, RPG happiness, you're bound to get a good game.
6) Super Paper Mario
Though less of an RPG than its predecessors, it still has a leveling system and the charm of the Paper Mario series intact. Just get used to hearing that "flip" sound a lot. 
7) Tales of Graces
A game some of you will never play on Wii, it's still one of the better Tales installments. Created for the Wii... ruthlessly ported to the PS3. 
8) Tales of Symphonia:Dawn of the New World
Arguably the best Tales game, Tales of Symphonia had a wonderful, lengthy story, and Lloyd was voiced by Robin from Teen Titans. While this sequel doesn't reach the heights that the first did, it's still a great journey back into the world of Symphonia, and has a cool Monster-collectin' battle feature! Also, Lloyd's a dick. 
9) Arc Rise Fantasia
It's a "typical" RPG, with a pretty by-the-numbers plot and battle system- but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Still a solid entry.
10) Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time
The original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles will always be the best, but Echoes of Time nailed down the formula pretty well, and featured cross-platform gameplay from the Wii to the DS. Echoes of Time features a number of interesting dungeons, simplistic character creation (which can lead to much more complex choices), and an equipment system that has a load of depth. Also, it has a ridiculous story. Best if played online with friends, but also a really fun single player experience as well.


The Top Ten... Most Interesting... Franchise Installments
I don't really know how else to say this, but the Wii has a lot of quality titles from franchises... and some that you would never see coming.

1) Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
After Sin and Punishment was not seen on the Gamecube, many wondered if it would ever return. It did, and it was awesome. This installment is interesting if only because it is an action packed thrill-ride that will keep you and your buzz words on the edge of your seat.
2) Sonic Colors
Sonic's seen better days. After the atrocity that was Sonic 2006 and the hopeful-but-disappointing Sonic Unleashed, I wasn't too sure about Sonic Colors. But after walking away from the game at New York Comic Con, my faith in the franchise was (somewhat) restored. Sonic Colors is mostly 2D, but even the 3D portions have a bit of exploration and the powerup system is very well-implemented.
3) Kirby's Epic Yarn
Some people may be a little "what the hell?" about this game, but it's really good. The difficulty is not the draw- getting to the goal is easy enough- it's getting the high-ranks and all the collectibles that's the real challenge. One of those games that you really have to see in motion to believe, the yarn mechanics are a lot of fun.
4) Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands 
I know you probably think "reboot Prince of Persia" with crazy scarf, or the sequels to the lovely Sands of Time, this game says close to the Sands of Time mechanics and fun level, and is the best version of the game.
5) Punch Out!
It's back, and with a vengeance. However, with only one new character, there's not much new content, but the high difficulty modes make this game ridiculously hard. A great revival of a classic franchise, built on how the original works.
6) A Boy and His Blob
It's got a lovely art style, a hug button, and some great platforming- not many may remember this title, but this installment will make you want to play the original. BECAUSE IT'S ADORABLE. 
7) Metroid: Other M
Remember when I said these installments were "interesting"? This one is- in ALL THE WRONG WAYS! Voice acting, a contrived plot, and wonky controls mapped to the Wii Remote, Other M works when the action is fluid, which is pretty much whenever you're Force-Sensing and NOT using the first-person mode. Still, just because it's not as good as Metroid Prime doesn't mean it's bad- you can actually have a lot of fun with the game. 
8) Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
If you've already read my review of the Crystal Bearers, you know how I feel about this game. While Layle's voice acting can be a little stale at times, the art direction, lovely environments, and lack of map make this game one that you can really lose yourself in- and the interesting story is an added bonus. It's pre-Skyward Sword, Skyward Sword.
9) Tatsunoko vs. Capcom
2D fighters are generally awesome when handled by Capcom, and this one is no different. Sure, you may only recognize a handful of the Tatsunoko gang, but the arcade-y style gameplay and decent online matchmaking are a blast. This one is interesting because of Capcom's choice of opposition, and also because it's a pretty damn good fighter for the Wii.
10) Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
This installment attempts to retell the original story of Silent Hill, with a couple of twists and really cool mechanics. Mostly a puzzle game, Shattered Memories has few moments that are really scary and more that are just "WTF" but the extremely reactive psychological profiling system makes it so that the game is never played the same way by two people. With subtle changes to alternate endings and plot twists, the game's mechanic of profiling the player might make the story more intimate, gripping, or weird, but that means it's a game that benefits from several playthroughs.

The Top Ten Best Multiplayer Games
I'm not talking about online multiplayer, but that's in here, too. Check it out.

1) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Huh. It comes as no surprise that one of Nintendo's most critically acclaimed series of all time should top this list. While is may be a step back for the extremely technical fans of Melee's fighting system, Brawl offers a slew of new characters, stages, and collectibles, and adds new elements to boost its fun as a party fighting game with madcap battles. Has online, but it's pretty mediocre. 
2) Monster Hunter Tri
This game is the superior online title in comparison to Brawl, but its mechanics and playstyle may be a little specific. However, if you like killing dinosaurs in spectacular fashion, this is the game for you. Online is smooth and a blast to play, allowing four players to take on buffed monsters and fight exclusive creatures not found in the story mode. You may end up dedicating a lot of hours to this title, but it's certainly fun enough to feel worth it. 
3) New Super Mario Bros. Wii
With wonderful 2-4 player co-op, this game is a blast to play through with your friends. You can also pick people up and throw them into hazards, which makes it trollicious. The level design is nice, though propeller-based levels are a little too open, you've got a solid platforming romp. 
4) Donkey Kong Country Returns 
If you thought NSMBWii was too easy, try playing through co-op on this one. Tight level design and crushing difficulty, this game is a pretty faithful to the DKC legacy, but get ready to die. A LOT. 
5) Warioware: Smooth Moves
Party-based multiplayer that shuffles through a series of five-second minigames, Warioware gets points for just being ludicrous and madcap while having a great time with motion controls. It really is a great party game. 
6) Mario Kart Wii
Oh, wait... this is some of the best multiplayer on the Wii, and very fun online as well. Standard Mario Kart fare, but the motion controls are extremely responsive and fun as hell to play. Karts and Bikes are wonderfully balanced, except that Blue Falcon... but overall, this could be the definitive multiplayer game for the Wii, if only for its accessibility and addicting gameplay. 
7) Wii Sports Resort
Takes what was good about Wii Sports and adds a bunch of other minigames to it. With a number of single and multiplayer games, this game is good, clean fun. Some games only have two player multiplayer, but the special modes for a number of games like 100 pin bowling are very welcome. 
8) Guilty Gear XX Accent Core
Just a fantastic fighter, in all ways. Has the Guilty Gear fighting balance but gameplay alterations make it really competitive. It's a very good 2D fighter that, if you're into that whole thang, you'll enjoy it a ton! 
9) Tatsunoko vs. Capcom
Huh. Yeah. Did I mention this has online matchmaking? It's pretty sweet. 
10) One of those FPS
With a number of online options in the FPS area, especially with some sweet player-numbers and nice balance in weapons, you could always pick one of these up.

The Top Ten Wii Games You'll Probably Never Play...
What can I say? Some of them just don't make the cut. Which sucks. Check out videos of the unreleased games here, and I have no doubt you'll find yourself wishing they existed.

1) The Grinder
There was a time when High Voltage Studios made FPS's for the Wii and people liked them, because they were responsive, and had modifiable control schemes. They had a project for the Wii called the Grinder, essentially a Left for Dead with a more supernatural vibe. Vampires, werewolves, and stalker-stabbers hunted down the protagonist, but... when the title appeared again, it was a top-down shooter that would be coming to PS360 as well, when the FPS would be for Wii. But we haven't heard a thing since... and that's sad, because this game looked awesome.
2) Rodea: The Sky Soldier
I wrote an article on this. Sky-high Super Mario Galaxy-like platforming and shooting seemed promising, and it was gonna come to the 3DS, too! But it's in limbo now, and with the Wii dying, I doubt it's going to be coming out for the platform.
3) Earth Seeker
A Japanese exclusive, it's kinda like Kingdom Hearts-ish mixed with Xenoblade, with gorgeous environments and a battle system that allows you to switch weapons and combine spells on the fly. If you live in the west, you will never play it.
4) Captain Rainbow
Another Japan exclusive, where the eponymous Captain is shipwrecked on a remote island that's apparently inhabited by less-popular Nintendo characters. Helping them out will cause you to get closer to the top of the mountain so you can wish to get off. It's bizarre, but amazing. 
5) Project H.A.M.M.E.R.
It was a game about a man with a hammer. Originally shown right after the Wii's launch, it dissolved into nothingness. But it looked fun. Killing robots with a massive hammer is fun, right?
6) Red Faction: B.E.A.S.T.
A third person shooter with precise aiming and pretty much everything else you like about Red Faction, THQ cancelled this one after they had to restructure and closed down the developers working on it. Looked cool, though.
7) Sword of Legendia
Announced by Namco Bandai way back in 2006, this one is in no way related to the Tales series, and was revealed to be cancelled about five years later. That's a shame- I hope Namco doesn't pull out of any other games. (coughsmashbroscough). 
8) Sadness 
It was supposed to be beautiful. A survival horror game based on psychological scares rather than gore, with multiple endings and an interesting story concept, set in the old Ukraine with slavic folklore. Too bad the developers couldn't agree on jack. It's black and white art style would have been cool, too. You'll just have to play Silent Hill: Shattered Memories without color, I guess.
9) Zangeki no Reginleiv
I've realized, by now, this list is half Japan exclusives, half cancelled games. This is an on-rails hack and slash with tons of blood and dismemberment because that kind of thing is awesome.
10) Winter
You know n-Space, right? Yeah, they've got a mixed track record. But they sought to change the survival horror genre for the better, considering it's become a high-octane shootfest instead of being really scary. They started developing Winter, a game that graphically pushed the Wii and dealt with actually SURVIVING a cold winter storm. But publishers were finnicky and didn't trust the game's success, so it's currently in development hell. However, n-Space has teased at Winter for Wii U... so keep those fingers crossed.

The Top Ten Most Intense Wii Games
The Wii has some pretty hardcore games.

1) No More Heroes/No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Blood, swearing, and babes, No More Heroes is a quirky beat em up that utilizes the Wii Remote very well in its combat system. It's dynamic art style and weird characters mix with the aforementioned elements result in a very intense experience. 
2) Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
Part rail shooter, part bullet hell, part crazy Japanese ridiculousness, you'll go from abandoned underground cities to underwater tunnels with giant turtles and creepy villains shooting a number of ridiculous projectiles at you. It's frantic and brief, but definitely in a good way, and provides an action-packed experience.
3) Cursed Mountain
Wha-hey! Apparently people actually liked the Wii enough to release a number of survival games for it, and Cursed Mountain. You go exploring for your brother in the Himalayas but find out that there's some spooky stuff going on. Survival horror rules apply, except you can also get a LASER PICKAXE which is awesome.
4) House of the Dead: Overkill 
How do you take an on-rail shooter and make it more intense? You break the record for the amount of f-bombs in a video game and create an experience that's pulpy and ridiculous. With a plot and villain that are both suitably crazy, Overkill is... well, overkill, but when you have a mini chaingun and you're shooting up a giant zombie mom, you're not really gonna care, you're just gonna have a great effin' time.  
5) MadWorld
With a hilarious script featuring in-game commentary, MadWorld is a delightfully violent beat em up with style and substance, allowing free roaming and beating as well as boss-fights with power struggles, and backtracking allows challenges and new objectives to be unlocked. It's also really bloody. By the way, some say this was originally Project H.A.M.M.E.R.. 
6) Megaman 9
If you're a fan of the series- or even if you aren't- Megaman 9 is a wonderful return to form and features some freaking HARD levels. It's top-notch platforming but it's got a lot to throw at you, and you may benefit from playing the older games first. 
7) Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers
Yeah. Soak that title in for a second. A beat em up where you play as a pair girls wearing bikinis and carrying katana. The combat may be a little slow, but it features some awesome combo linking and, of course, you kill zombies.  
8) Contra ReBirth
CONTRA! Yep, a new side-scrolling game that's hard as nails and features no lives cheat. It's exclusively for the Wii, so if you want that Contra goodness, you're gonna have to get this.  
9) Onslaught 
A full length FPS on Wiiware? That's pretty intense, but the game also features some very good FPS alien killing action, and even some decent action sequences. That's why you're still a kid.  
10) Muscle March 
AWWW YEAH. You want intense? Check out shirtless guys strutting around and being uber-sexy shirtless. Don't deny its intensity. It's also a Wiiware title.

The Top Ten Wii Platformers
Just remember, the platformer is what good-old Mario did best, and they come back in full-force on the Wii.

1) Those two 3D Mario Games.
Yeah, Galaxy is Mario in top form, even if you'd rather have the plumber traversing grounded environments. It features some tough and memorable levels, and Galaxy 2 may seem uninspired, but it only improves upon the formula set up with Galaxy 1- the developers did not skimp on this one. Also, orchestrated music.  
2) Kirby's Return to Dreamland
Featuring four player co-op as either the rest of the Dreamland cast or different colored Kirby's, this "beginner's platformer" is more like a crash course of interesting, Kirby-ish ideas, new and old powerups, and fun! The challenge is more about getting those treasure chests, but you may also find yourself challenged a fair bit here!  
3) Sonic Colors
Though Sonic's most recent Nintendo outing is his best in a while, it's much more of a 2D platformer than it is 3D, though there are good sections here and there. The whole goal is to keep up your speed as you attempt to navigate the varied worlds and challenges. You have to wonder why even Sonic 4 doesn't have platforming like this game.  
4) Warioland: Shake It!
What an interesting, hand drawn little platformer we have here! Much like the previous Warioland's with a few new mechanics thrown in, this game is tough as nails if you want to complete it 100%!  
5) Kirby's Epic Yarn
Yarn. It's cute. And Kirby mixed with yarn is adorable. Featuring some wonderful transformations that make good use of the Wii remote's motion controls as well as just plain fun level design, this game is ultimately a winner. Again, it's only as difficult as you want it to be!  
6) Disney's Epic Mickey
Though the camera may suck, this epic romp through the Wasteland features some classic 3D platforming elements as well as an interesting paint/thinner mechanic. There's even 2D levels, though they're not as hard.
7) De Blob/De Blob 2
A fresh and interesting platformer with it's own painting mechanics, De Blob is a third party you'd never expect to be so good. There's lots of fun to be had in both games, and we can only hope that the awesome platformer returns on Wii U. Also has a kickin' soundtrack.  
8) Donkey Kong Country Returns
It's precise, unforgiving platforming is much harder than Kirby and Mario, but the satisfaction of getting everything just right is pretty rewarding. Just don't expect to do it that often.  
9) Ivy the Kiwi?
Again, Ivy's platforming may be different from the others up here, but that doesn't make it just as engaging and clever. Tackling a number of levels with the interesting skill set that Ivy and her vines possess is just as rewarding and puzzling as other games, and the challenge of getting high scores and red feathers is a great challenge. 
10) Klonoa
The original was awesome, there's no doubt about that- and this updated version of the game is just as good. Now, the 2D-mixed-with-3D is gone and the game is completely redone in 3D models. The gameplay is virtually unchanged, the music is still awesome, and there's some new post-game content to keep you playing. It sure is a "return" of a platformer.

The Top Ten Games that have Appeared More than Once on this List
Well, if they've showed up more than once, you know they must be good. Out of the Eighty-four released games on this list, nine appear twice and one appears three times- meaning there's Seventy-three games on this list that could be played. I'm not including the unreleased games from the Top Ten Wii Games You'll Probably Never Play, I'm talking straight-up game releases. So there's Seventy-three games for you, here. I hope you're happy with that.

1) Xenoblade Chronicles
2) Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
3) House of the Dead: Overkill
4) Sonic Colors
5) Kirby's Epic Yarn
6) Donkey Kong Country Returns
7) Ivy the Kiwi?
8) Super Mario Galaxy
9) Super Mario Galaxy 2
10) Super Smash Bros. Brawl

The Top Ten Highest Rated Games
This is it, folks- the list that matters most, if you believe what critics and numbers say. This is also, by far, the least surprising list, with all the games you'd expect... right?
1) Super Mario Galaxy
2) Super Mario Galaxy 2
3) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
4) World of Goo
5) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
6) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
7) Metroid Prime Trilogy
8) Xenoblade Chronicles
9) Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
10) Rock Band 2

Well, that took entirely too long to write. Hope you enjoy it. Now that I've finished it, I can get one with my life and start posting more interesting things!

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