Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nintendo Wii - The Long Dry Spell Is Over

I spent a long summer with growing regret of my decision to get a Nintendo Wii. After I was pretty much done with The Legend of Zelda : Twilight Princess, and after I had beaten Super Paper Mario, all that was left was Wii Sports and Wii Play, usually enjoyed when Monique (my fiancee') and I both had the time to play. I tried several other Wii games over the summer - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Rayman Raving Rabbids to name a few, but none were really any good.

When Metroid Prime 3 hit the Wii back in August, I passed on it too. I was still smarting from the frustration of the Gamecube Metroid Prime to trust that franchise again.

This week, however, everything has changed.

Super Mario Galaxy
Nintendo has launched their big gun, their system-seller, and man they got everything right. Mario is back in a whole new star-spanning adventure that has perfect controls, a huge number of levels, mind-bending gravity and vertigo effects and gameplay, and of course lots of those little touches that indicate a level of craftsmanship unparalelled in the game design world.

I've barely scratched the surface of this title, and like a fine bottle of wine, I'm gonna savor every moment of this instant classic.

Medal of Honor Heroes 2
At last, That's all I can say about the arrival of this game.

Not that I've been counting down the months until it's release. On the contrary, I just found about Medal of Honor Heroes 2 last weekend when I was looking for upcoming releases for the Wii on It's the first first person shooter for the Wii to get it right...for me at least. Fans of Metroid will of course disagree.

What it got right are perfect controls, using the Wii remote to aim and shoot and the nunchuck to move. Here's a few other cool examples of the controls on this thing:

Using the bazooka : You flip the Wii remote over your shoulder, pointing behind you, and aim with the nunchuck.

Throwing a grenade : Press B to set the target, and motion with the Wii remote like you were really throwing it.

The Radio : When you encounter a radio in the game, it zooms in to the dial and you turn the Wii remote clockwise and counterclockwise to try to tune into the OSS secret frequency. Sometimes you get real WWII era music or a broadcast. Very cool.

What it really got right is 32 PLAYER ONLINE ! WOOOOHOOOO! Finally, FINALLY, a Wi-Fi enabled Wii First Person Shooter that I can play online. I just got done with a few matches, and while I certainly didn't "pwn", I held my own.

Especially with the sniper rifle.

The game also has a rail-shooter arcade mode, and tons of control customization that will take me weeks to tailor to my own preferences.

Bust A Move Bash
Monique picked up this game used. It actually came out in April or May I think. It's the old Bust A Move game, which she and I used to enjoy on the Playstation until one of our controllers bit the dust, with a whole new bunch of bells and whistles.

We had some fun with this last night, but sadly the controls are not quite that precise. In fact, they can be jumpy at times. Not enough to make the game unplayable, but enough to cause occasional irritation. The game itself has some weird new things going on in terms of powerups - so much so that it often seems unnecessary to shoot one's bubbles at the same color (the normal way to score points and win).

I think I need to spend some more time with this title to understand it better, though, so take my initial impressions of the game as just that - initial impressions.

I'm not going to get much time to do that, though, since Super Mario Galaxy and Medal of Honor Heroes 2 both kick some major ass on the Wii. It's been a long time coming for Wii owners, but this holiday season is off to a great start. These two games might even have enough lasting playability that they could keep me entertained through another such dry spell of titles.

Let's not test that, though. Keep them coming, I say.

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