Monday, April 11, 2016

My Favorite Wii Games

 Here's the gist of it, in this world there's only one constant I'm entirely subjected to: Change. I am a person, and right now I'm not the same man that I was when I first began writing, heck, that guy wasn't even the same guy that wanted to write this in the first place! What I want to get to, once I stop digressing, is that this list is how I feel right now, at this very moment, so when and if I feel like making this list again, and knowing myself I probably will, it might change.

 So, what is that list? These are the games I liked the most on each particular system, this time around the Nintendo Wii. These are not necessarily the games I consider best, but the ones I liked the most and the ones I have the fondest memories of. For these lists I tried to stay away from multiplatform games, or from ports. I tried to, but in a few cases it was impossible to.

10) Red Steel 2
 So, I never really liked Motion controls, which begs the question just why did I buy a Wii, and said reason is entry number 4 on this list, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Red Steel 2 was the first game I truly, really adored despite it being built around the motion controls. But it works. I remember feeling my arms sore after some sessions with this game, but I always felt like it was worth it. The art direction is fantastic, and the moves look so cool, and it feels good to pull them off. And... I can't believe I'm gonna say this, but I think the motion controls actually do add to the overall experience.

9) Mario Kart Wii
 Mario Kart DS might be the Mario Kart I like the most, but Mario Kart Wii is, easily, the Mario Kart I've spent the most time with. I've played this game with most of my buddies, I've played it online, and I even played it online with and against some of my friends. The amount of fun I've had with this game is undeniable... at least when not trying to unlock everything and having to deal with the blue shells!

8) The Legend of Zelda - Skyward Sword
 Apparently, it's cool to dislike Skyward Sword now, but that's alright, my views are not as flimsy as most of Zelda's fanboys. If only it wasn't for the motion controls, this would've been my favorite Zelda ever. Not only do you get the usual assortment of puzzles and goodies to find, not only does it have a fantastic new water-colored art-direction, but for the first time ever in a Zelda game, it made me care about the characters. Zelda was loveable, Impa had a surprising amount of depth and some of the best moments in the game, and it made me care about Groose. It made me care about flippin' Groose. It's the newest Zelda out there, I've only finished it once, unlike the hundreds of times I finished Ocarina of Time or the three times I finished Twilight Princess, and even then, it has more memorable moments and characters than both of those games combined. I should probably mention that I did finish other Zelda games, but I don't really like 2D Zelda games, don't even let me get started on how much A Link to the Past bored me...

7) The Last Story
 Ah, The Last Story, you poor thing you. Victim of mixed opinions, heck, as a matter of fact, my two favorite critics, ProJared and Jim Sterling, the latter with whom I usually agree with on his reviews, hated it. I remember after reading a few more reviews I came to the conclusion that your enjoyment of the game is directly related to the CPU allies, those that found them useful usually liked it, but those that found them useless usually hated it. I had no problems with the CPU allies, and I really, really enjoyed it. I liked the loveable cast of characters, I liked the story, even if a few twists were a bit predictable, I liked the customization and I liked the art direction.

6) Xenoblade Chronicles
 Operation Rainfall: Success. There was a lot of weight heaving on Xenoblade's shoulders, a game that had been released in Japan and Europe years prior, which made it outdated by default. But Xenoblade pulled through. Featuring a massive world, where if you can see it, you can reach it. Featuring a decent combat system built around changing the future and comboing skills together, which while not perfect(I hated the fact that your attacks would miss 90% of the time against enemies that overleveled you), worked great. There was also a ton of little neat touches, like the armors reflecting on the character models, and when flashbacks played, the characters would wear the armors they wore back then!
 I was particularly fond of the story, since it was very reminiscent of Xenogears', as a matter of fact, it felt like a remake of sorts. Much more of a spiritual sequel to it than the terrible, terrible Xenosaga series.

5) Arc Rise Fantasia
 Oh, Arc Rise Fantasia, you poor, poor thing you. As soon as the first English trailer dropped, most people completely forsook about the game due to its terrible voice-acting. And it is terrible, but all the people that refused to give it a chance because of that missed out on a fantastic JRPG. Clearly inspired on the Tales of series, which shows, they even borrowed the skits! The game has a somewhat original combat system, and it gets really tough, really fast unless you learn to rely on Magic.
 Regardless, where it really shines, and where it matters most in an RPG, is in its story. There's this particular moment in the game where half your party betrays you for different reasons, which is one of my favorite moments in a JRPG ever. EVER. It was there and then that I realized just how much this game engaged me, and it only got better and better afterwards. It's hard to be original, particularly now a days, where JRPGs go full anime and try to cover as many waifu stereotypes and cliche scenes as possible, but then there's Arc Rise Fantasia, doing its own thing, even deconstructing a few tropes along the way.

4) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
 This is single handedly the reason I decided to get a Wii. And I adored this game, spending over 200 hours in it. In hindsight, it's probably among the weakest entries in the franchise, and whoever came up with tripping, even while playing at a casual level, needs to revise his priorities. But even, even taking tripping into account, this is Smash Bros, and it's still a damn fun game, with the largest character roster to date(At the time), and countless forms of fan service, from hundreds of trophies with colorful descriptions, stickers, timed demos, to a ton of achievements to clear! Few games pack as much stuff to do as Brawl, and it's all fun to play through. And say what you will about Sub-Space Emissary, I liked it, and the cutscenes were damn good.

3) Tatsunoko VS Capcom
 When it comes to 2-D fighting games, I love them. I have a few favorites, Street Fighter III, Garou - Mark of the Wolves, NeoGeo Battle Coliseum, Capcom VS SNK 2... but one of them stands tall above the rest: Tatsunoko VS Capcom. I even consider it a superior game to its successor, Marvel VS Capcom 3. I could go on and on about how much I love the mechanics, the Baroque system, the character roster or the stylized graphics... but I think this sums everything up pretty nicely: I bought an Arcade Stick just for this one game. And I regret nothing, I used to rock that Soki/ Tekkaman Blade team like there was no tomorrow. And I even took the game online against a couple of buddies.

2) Resident Evil 4
 Alright, so I've pretty much tiptoed around the 'No Ports' rule I decided to use all throughout my lists, by shielding myself with excuses. But, but, I think the Wii's unique control scheme makes the game feel different enough from the other versions of the game, and I'd argue, that it plays much better than the other versions. Alright, so the gameplay is an absolute blast, I mean, this game did change third person shooters forever(Or at least up to 2016, where its influence is still felt to this very day), but it's more than just that. It's about the fantastic setpieces, like having to survive a zombie raid inside a little house, not unlike a few horror movies. Or what about infiltrating a castle full of Ganado? Like, seriously, I could sing this game praises all day long and it still wouldn't be enough.

1) No More Heroes/ No More Heroes 2
 It's tough having to pick between both games. While No More Heroes 1 has more personality. you just can't deny just how much better the combat is on the second game. Still, personality is half the reason why these games are so good. Suda 51 games have a certain quality to them, a certain insanity that makes each game he directs an absolute pleasure to go through. At face value, the story in the first game makes no sense, but it's built around its unique personality, its characters, its fantastic dialogue, its truly hilarious moments. No More Heroes 2 toned down the insanity a bit, a few of the bosses weren't quite as memorable as NMH 1's, but the gameplay got polished immensely. The way the different beam sabers work, how much more smoothly the combos flowed, or even letting you switch between beam sabers at will. Both are unforgettable games that showcase Suda 51's style perfectly, a style that, on the surface, favors style over substance, but if you're willing to look, hides a surprising amount of depth. Both to the stories and as to the gameplay, hiding a few mechanics that are up to the player to discover by himself.
 Oh, and Robin Atkin Downes did a stellar job with the role of Travis Touchdown, it introduced me to his voice, and it's a pleasure getting to discover him on plenty of other games, easily becoming my favorite voice actor in the gamingdom.

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