Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Both Extremes on the Wii

I'm a gamer of varying tastes - I like cutesy, fun games as well as gritty, hardcore ones. No more was this evident to me when last week, I picked up two games for the Wii that were about as far apart in this scale as is possible.

After beating the campaign mode in Medal of Honor Heroes 2, I decided to treat myself to a new game. Since all I own of the modern generation is a Wii, my options were limited. So I choose Boom Blox, an ultra-sugary but very challenging puzzle game, and (used for $20) Manhunt 2, an over-the-top stealth-and-kill game.

Boom Blox, which was developed by (of all people) Steven Spielberg in conjunction with EA, has players playing with blocks, throwing balls at them, or pulling them out of complex towers Jenga-style. The simple graphics belie the complex gameplay. Precision with the Wii remote is required to solve the increasingly complex puzzles, and to get the "Gold" ranking in them.

The physics of the falling blocks are very realistic and quite impressive. It's a lot of fun playing Boom Blox, and when we get the time, I look forward to playing some of the multiplayer games with Monique, as well as trying out the game's level editor and designing my own levels.

Manhunt 2 is about an escapee from a mental hospital who is looking for clues to his past or something. You sneak around, hide in shadows, and use various items and environemental objects to kill people. The level I just finished featured some sort of kinky S + M club with enemies wearing leather masks and other fetish garb.

It's an interesting game with a few glitches - one enemy I encountered was frozen into place until I started wailing on him with an electric cattle prod - but its story seems like it expects me to make up a lot of it. Maybe I'll discover it along with the character as the game unfolds, but right now it's hard to sympathize with someone who bludgeoned his way out of a mental hospital.

Another baffling thing about Manhunt 2 is the sidekick, another escapee named Leo (I think), who prods me on to do all these killings, but is never actually there to, I don't know, HELP OUT, when it's time to take out guards and hunters. He only physically shows up in the cinematic cut-scenes between levels, where he whines about things. He feels like that kid in Bully who did the same thing, and later betrayed me and became the game's main antagonist.

These two extremely different games on the Wii should keep me busy (with the limited game time I have) up to the wedding. After the wedding and the honeymoon, it's very likely that the Wii will begin to gather dust, as I at long last move on to the fertile gaming pastures offered on the XBox 360. So many big changes are about to happen in my life, but thankfully, there will always be time for some gaming.

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