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In retrospect, the Wii has actually had a DAMNED good year.
Editorial by 
Editor
October 30, 2009, 21:55:18
 
Now that I've actually played the games.

I spent much of this year on 360 stuff, because I had just picked the system up. Also, many 360 games have more of a shorter expiration date, depending on online play as they do. Single-player games, I always figure I can pick up whenever (and I have too many games to HAVE to pick any of them up).

Anyway, with the embarrassment of Buy 2 Get 1 Free sales these days, I've kind of become... unhinged, just buying shit left and right. Wii Fit Plus, Muramasa, Grand Slam Tennis, Let's Tap, even Metroid Prime Trilogy (I'm a weak, weak man)!

I am loving the shit out of the games that I've tried so far (Let's Tap, Grand Slam, Muramasa). The Wii has had a really, really good year. An exciting year. An interesting year. It's really bringing the quirk. And I still haven't played A Boy and His Blob, Little King Story, or tons of promising WiiWare games yet. 2009 for the Wii has been a long, consistent run of excellent, bold software that doesn't fit neatly into genre definitions. It's a shame that 'hardcore' gamers still won't give it a chance. Perhaps it is exactly because that software doesn't fit neatly into genre definitions.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just a biased Nintendo fanboy, or whatever. But I don't give a shit about Forza 3. What I played of Uncharted 2 seemed tedious. And I love Ratchet and Clank, but I'm not really aching to play a sixth take on the same formula. The Wii is finally delivering a variety of quality gaming experiences, many of them completely unlike anything before. Now, we are not only just getting promising third-party games, we are finally getting third-party games that actually deliver on that promise. It's an exciting time, I think. If 'gamers' would only give the system a chance, I think it could have a really promising future.

On the other hand, maybe the advent of Natal and the Sony Wand will ensure that the Wii's bid for third-party gold won't come to fruition. On the other hand, maybe WiiHD will help. There are easily enough tentpole titles from Nintendo for 2010. Hopefully, third-parties can continue to fill the gaps (and are rewarded for doing so).

Also, New Super Mario Bros. looks to be the bee's knees.

Repurposed from my IGN thread. Yep.

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Posted: 10/30/09, 21:55:18    
 
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I certainly cannot disagree man. I've stil lgot a shit-ton of games from 2009 yet to play, let alone buy, for Wii alone.

Adding in 360 games and DS games is overwhelming me...


Posted by 
 on: 10/31/09, 06:09:20
Honestly, I think if late 2008 hadn't been so horrible, more people would have realized what you just posted. It has been a good year for the Wii and it has officially passed the point where I'll never be able to buy all the games that I'd like to play on it. And that's sweet!

Also: Don't forget to give props to Ye Holy Wii Sports Resort.


Posted by 
 on: 10/31/09, 06:49:41
I feel like that and I didn't buy Let's Tap, Grand Slam or Muramasa. So there clearly was choice as far as some of us are concerned. Some people define games by how high-def and sandboxy they are though. They start from a position of never being able to be pleased with Wii software.

Me, I'm doing great with my Wii - I'll buy three more games this year and early 2010 looks awesome: Red Steel2, Other M, No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle.

The only area I'm not happy is the tiny amount of information coming out of Nintendo. We didn't even get our October sizzle reel of games NOA won't release this year! :(


Posted by 
 on: 10/31/09, 18:48:42
Yeah, the Wii has a good helping of some really fun games. You should definitely look into WIiWare when you can. Contra ReBirth and Lost Winds 2 really help round out the library even more!


Posted by 
 on: 10/31/09, 19:17:32
Yep, WiiWare has some real gems.

Oh farts. I forgot Fragile is coming early next year too. I'm calling it, my wallet time of death: 2010.


Posted by 
 on: 11/01/09, 02:27:13
LOL, what the heck did you buy the Metroid Prime Trilogy for? Finally see the light?!

I think this has definitely been the best year as far as 3rd party titles is concerned. But of course, a lot of people ignore anything that isn't either from Nintendo or some major killer AAA 3rd party game. The weird thing is people always say "Nintendo fans only buy Nintendo games" but all of the Nintendo fans I know buy all kinds of 3rd party games, it's more the haters that buy the Nintendo consoles for Mario, Zelda and Metroid and ignore everything else.

I do think this year has kind of lacked that one killer title on the Wii, though New Super Mario Brothers may or may not be it.


Posted by 
 on: 11/01/09, 04:22:26
NSMB Wii absolutely will be that title. Am I the only one who sees it? The blob posts gushing about the game? The comments on podcasts about how the game just makes them happy? The reports on how difficult it is "in a good way"?

I've never seen a game from a popular franchise get such great buzz from the press and get such a tepid reaction from gamers. It's such a downer.


Anyway, it's been an interesting year for sure.

The Bit. Trip series.
Let's Catch.
Nyxquest
You, Me and the Cubes
Rock N' Roll Climber

And that's just Wiiware. I don't really follow what's on Live Arcade, but IMO Wiiware compares favorably to the PSN, to say the least.

As for retail releases, there's room for improvement. I don't think Little King's Story lived up to its promise, to be honest. And Overlord: Dark Legend really let me down. But A Boy and His Blob is very impressive, reminding me of Out of this World in a way. Punch-Out!! rocks. And I just got Wii Sports Resort today, very promising. Spent two hours doing the sword stuff and had to stop. A definite step up from Wii Sports.


Posted by 
 on: 11/01/09, 07:51:33
NSMB Wii IS getting some mad love. Have you played Rock'n'Roll Climber? How is it?

I haven't played enough WiiWare to say how it compares to XBLA. XBLA has had an okay year. Some fantastic games, but they seemed kind of few and far between.

I didn't like Overlord Wii, either. I fell asleep twice on my rental. Surprising that you didn't like LKS. Everyone else seemed to love it.

Also: Don't forget to give props to Ye Holy Wii Sports Resort.

Yeah, I was just talking about the titles that I've seen or played recently. Should we make a comprehensive list of cool/great 2009 Wii-exclusive (retail) games? Let's see...

A Boy and His Blob
Another Code R? :(
Arc Rise Fantasia?
Boom Blox: Bash Party (that name...)
Dead Space: Extraction?
Deadly Creatures?
Excitebots
Fragile?
Grand Slam Tennis
Groovin' Blocks?
House of the Dead: Overkill
Klonoa?
Let's Tap
Little King Story
Madworld
Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympics?
Metroid Prime Trilogy (?)
Monster Hunter Tri
Muramasa
Punch Out!!
Rune Factory Frontier
Sin & Punshiment 2
Tiger Woods '10
Wii Fit Plus
Wii Sports Resort

Maybe some questionable picks (and I haven't personally verified the quality of all of them), but that's not too shabby.

Yeah, the Wii has a good helping of some really fun games. You should definitely look into WIiWare when you can. Contra ReBirth and Lost Winds 2 really help round out the library even more!

Contra ReBirth is number one on my list (along with the unreleased Castlevania ReBirth), followed by Let's Catch, Bit.Trip, Nyxquest, You, Me, and the Cubes, Rock'n'Roll Climber, Lost Winds 2, etc., etc., etc.

LOL, what the heck did you buy the Metroid Prime Trilogy for? Finally see the light?!

No, I'm just stupid and have no self-control. I needed a third $50 title, and I knew that wouldn't drop quickly.


Posted by 
 on: 11/01/09, 16:17:44
Hmm, not big on Little King's Story Panda? I'm, like 8 or 9 hours in and I definitely think it lived up to and even went beyond what I expected. But then again, I wasn't expecting a killer ap. It's a very good B-level Pikmin alternative.

New Super Mario Brothers could be a killer ap. We'll have to wait and see. It's getting a lot of great early press but I try not to buy into into press too much, they hype EVERYTHING. Hell, I remember multiple sites getting all whipped up over their hands-on with The Conduit, and then it released and they all gave it mediocre scores. You have to remember that hands-on are always limited and very, very controlled settings... controlled by the publishers and developers and presenting exactly what they think will make their game look the best. Not that I think Nintendo needs to play the smoke and mirrors game very often, but still... I've seen massive shifts from pre-release hands-on impressions to final impressions so I don't put much stake into them.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/09, 06:27:18
Agreed, it's not as rich or refined in gameplay as Pikmin. But Pikmin is deceptively simple, as so often are the works of a master.

I really enjoy Little King's Story for its flavor and charm. It's quite challenging too.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/09, 13:51:46
Yeah, reviewers have the final copy of NSMB Wii now, and the previews are still incredibly upbeat and the people talking about it on podcast still gush (within the limits of the NDA) about how pure fun it is. I think it's alright now to get excited about it. I mean, I too was lukewarm to it when we didn't know much about it and it looked like kind of a multiplayer rehash of the DS game, but now I can't ignore the people who actually played it and sound like the game made them feel like they were 12 again.

As for LKS, I don't know. I played for about 4 hrs before just moving on to something else. The controls do bother me for the reasons Simba mentioned, and it seems like kind of a grind. I think I'll set the game to Easy when I get back to it because whenever I lose, I feel it's the game's fault and not mine.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/09, 17:21:40
People just have different definitions of 'deep', like 'casual' and 'hardcore'. It's not really agreed upon. In their minds, 'deep' means a game with a relatively 'deep' story. That might actually be the dominant usage of the word, since it has been used that way for so long in other media. You might have to use 'deep gameplay' when you're actually talking about the actual mechanics.

Deep is a funny-looking word.

I just saw the Edge review for NSMB. 7. I'm not going to say that Edge is biased against Nintendo, but I do think that the reviewers are bitter, pretentious cranks, in general, who seem to have chips on their shoulders about certain high-profile franchises (but still fellate others). People say that they use the whole scale, but the real problem is that they nitpick most games so harshly that the times they do award high scores seem like real WTF moments. Like, "Really? That game?" And their goalposts are always shifting, and frequently wrongheaded. I think they gave Excitebots a 4 because of the lack of context for the action, or some bullshit like that? I know that different reviews are by different people, but shouldn't they have fucking bylines, then? Why mash together all of those extreme, radical opinions under a generic banner?

If Nintendo really wants that coveted 9+ from, Edge, then they'll just have to relocate to England and make a racing game that is at least partially grounded in reality.

But they're just scores. Whatever. I just think their scoring seems arbitrary, to the point where their reviews are worthless to me.

By the way, I actually think IGN's scoring system is more useful than others. The 100-point scale, I mean. Because if you're going to make 7 the average, then you have to fit all of the gradation for games that people would actually want to play into those last 3 points. At least using the 100-point scale means they have 30 points to play around with.

If you think about it, it should logically be the OTHER way. 3 should be an average score. Why should 70 percent of the scale be shades of awful (I know, the familiarity of the school system, or whatever)? Then again, think of the Metacritic!! (Why has nobody figured out their formula, by the way? It seems like it would be really easy.)


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/09, 18:10:25

People just have different definitions of 'deep', like 'casual' and 'hardcore'. It's not really agreed upon. In their minds, 'deep' means a game with a relatively 'deep' story. That might actually be the dominant usage of the word, since it has been used that way for so long in other media. You might have to use 'deep gameplay' when you're actually talking about the actual mechanics.

Deep is a funny-looking word.



That's a good point actually, it's another one of those words that just really doesn't have a clear definition and varies from person to person when talking abut games. Personally, I tend to equate "deep" with - as you stated - "deep gameplay". By that, I don't that it can't be simple ir easy to get into. In fact, some of the games that I think are pretty deep are imple to play or easy to get in to.

What makes them deep, is how that simplicity is used and played around with throughout the game, and obviously how it challenges you or rewards you for "mastering" the game's control system and scoring (with scoring being a really open term in this case that could be anything from getting an actual high score via combos and chains, or gaining experience points, or quicker times, etc.). Ihoenstly haven't played a game with a "deep" story, or at least not one that I felt was really conveyed that well. Two of my favorite JRPGs - FFVI and Chrono Trigger - weren't really that deep story-wise; in FFVI it was the characters that sold me more than the overall story (not to say the story wasn't intersting because I awas glued to my seat the entire game!).

In fact though, Chrono Trigger's story was fairly simple and didn't try to be too much of a psychologically or morally questioning epic. Apparently they tried to save that for Chrono Cross. Key word being "tried..."



I just saw the Edge review for NSMB. 7. I'm not going to say that Edge is biased against Nintendo, but I do think that the reviewers are bitter, pretentious cranks, in general, who seem to have chips on their shoulders about certain high-profile franchises (but still fellate others). People say that they use the whole scale, but the real problem is that they nitpick most games so harshly that the times they do award high scores seem like real WTF moments. Like, "Really? That game?" And their goalposts are always shifting, and frequently wrongheaded. I think they gave Excitebots a 4 because of the lack of context for the action, or some bullshit like that? I know that different reviews are by different people, but shouldn't they have fucking bylines, then? Why mash together all of those extreme, radical opinions under a generic banner?


I know this is really premature, but I just CANNOT see HOW NSMBW could earn a 7, even from the most jaded gamer out there. If it averages that score across the board (which won't deter me from buying it, btw!), then I am seriously going to question all these so-called journalists because 90% of them have been singing its praises.


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/09, 03:43:18
Doesn't Edge give out 7s to all kinds of big games though? I think they are one of the few reviewers who actually uses a full 10 point scale.

Anyhow, I think the game is going to be one of those "pure fun" games that reviewers who need pretty graphics and cinematics may enjoy, but will never, ever put on the same level as games with pretty graphics and cinematics. I can even see certain reviewers saying something like "the most pure fun you will have all year" and STILL giving it lower scores than a bunch of cinematic games. Kind of like how some people won't take Punch-Out!! seriously, and some people will.

What annoys me about Little King's Story is how everybody is saying it's "way deeper" than Pikmin when it's actually much, much shallower.

Was everyone saying that?! The core gameplay is definitely shallower. The battles are fun and all but without the ability to separate troops easily I just end up throwing everyone into the battle without putting much thought into it. On occasion I will use just my archers... on occasion. It is a bit "deeper" outside of that with all of the various upgrades and town building and such, but most of that stuff is almost more Sim/RPG-ish and doesn't really affect your ability to do well in the battle portions all that much other than buffing your stats and giving you some new formations and such. And it doesn't have anything like the Challenge stages in Pikmin 2, which were pretty nuts. And no multiplayer. I still love it though, but in no way, shape, or form do I consider it a replacement for Pikmin 3.


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/09, 05:58:54
If people start talking about depth for cosmetic stuff, where is gaming going ?

The same place is has been going since Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII? Except faster and faster. "Depth" almost always means some kind of story/character related thing nowadays. People on IGN always rail on me when I say this generation hasn't really progressed gaming at all, but really, outside of graphics / story / etc. what gaming progression has been made? Motion controls I suppose, but not enough has been done there to really speak of yet. And online infrastructure (on consoles) is moving forward. But core gameplay mechanics... not so much.

Heavy Rain is probably going to be praised as one of the "deepest" video games ever made. And I bet you the gameplay itself will be B level at BEST.


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/09, 06:10:25
Heavy Rain is probably going to be praised as one of the "deepest" video games ever made. And I bet you the gameplay itself will be B level at BEST.

I have to say... and I don't know if I was watching the wrong portions or not... but I found it... uninviting. It just looks... uninteresting. It looks like a life simulator? I don't know. I'm just the type that likes to be taken to a different realm in a game, something that just looks artistically fascinating, and Heavy Rain just looks like it's going for this strange realism. The idea behind it is a cool concept, but I guess it really just doesn't "grab" me, you know?

I dunno', maybe I'm weird.


Posted by 
 on: 11/04/09, 07:18:41
I'm gonna get it ASAP, as an adventure fan I find it really interesting. I haven't played Indigo Prophecy, however, I admit. But I'm intrigued by this game that lets you progress no matter if you keep failing what you're trying to do. You just need to accept the consequences.

The comments from the director are also interesting, for instance the fact that he'd ideally want gamers to play through it only once. Eh, not gonna happen, but I get where he's coming from: play it often enough (or worse, keep reloading your game when you fail) and the magic will disappear.


Posted by 
 on: 11/04/09, 07:47:04
High ideals. Let's see how far they get him. Peter Molyneaux always talks about consequence, and such, and then removes it from the final game.

At the end of the day, people don't WANT other players to be able to come into their world and murder their wife while they're sleeping. Go figure.

That Heavy Rain guy makes for an interesting interview, though. I'll say that much for him. I haven't opened Indigo Prophecy, yet, so I can't say much more. But Heavy Rain looks humorless. That's kind of a turn-off for me. And, like DynaRooki, I'm more interested in games that transport you to another place, rather than a wetter, grittier version of reality where everyone's eyes are blank and dead.


Posted by 
 on: 11/04/09, 17:56:35
How topical. Someone posted this interview with Heavy Rain's director on the PS3GB. I like his style.

But I have to say... this is the game everyone is praising the graphics of? They really look nothing special to me. I think I can't get impressed by photorealism anymore, especially with games that fall so short of it.


Posted by 
 on: 11/04/09, 21:18:32
High ideals. Let's see how far they get him. Peter Molyneaux always talks about consequence, and such, and then removes it from the final game.

At the end of the day, people don't WANT other players to be able to come into their world and murder their wife while they're sleeping. Go figure.


This ties into our morality in games discussion. It's tough to build real morality into games without any truly negative consequences. But who would want to play games with truly negative consequences, that's not entertainment.

The comments from the director are also interesting, for instance the fact that he'd ideally want gamers to play through it only once. Eh, not gonna happen, but I get where he's coming from: play it often enough (or worse, keep reloading your game when you fail) and the magic will disappear.

And so does this. One of the main reasons choices in games are kind of dulled, you can just keep redoing it until you find the one you like.


Posted by 
 on: 11/05/09, 08:09:20
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