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Top 10 Games of this Generation: Wii

With this generation of console gaming winding down, I thought I’d look back and reminisce on the lifespan of the Wii and the PS3 (I do not own an Xbox 360). I’ll be listing what I think are the top 10 best games for those systems. These are the must-own, best titles to have if you own these systems. I’ll be starting with the Nintendo Wii, as both the 360 and PS3 still have big games coming out this fall.

Wii

Thanks to the Wii Motion Plus, swordfighting becomes precise and accurate.

Thanks to the Wii Motion Plus, swordfighting becomes precise and accurate.

10. Wii Sports Resort

The sequel to what kicked-off the motion control craze, Wii Sports Resort features 12 exciting sports for you to take part in. Included is the Wii Motion Plus accessory, enhancing the motion control, and making each of the games feel precise and on-point. The island setting makes each game unique, and some of the games are a blast with friends, such as canoeing and swordfighting.

9. Mario Kart Wii

The Mario Kart franchise is a staple for each Nintendo console, and the Wii version totes exciting new features such as motorbikes and trick ramps. It also comes bundled with the Wii Wheel, a plastic shell to hold your Wiimote and make it feel more like a steering wheel. The Mario Kart formula hasn’t been tampered with, and MK Wii has some of the most outrageous courses and karts. While the AI can be insanely frustrating at times, Mario Kart Wii lets you take your game online, and race with 11 other players around the globe. I’ve logged many hours into the online play, as it’s the most fleshed-out online mode you’ll find in any Wii game.

8. Punch-Out!!

Punch-Out's puzzle-oriented gameplay make it more than just a boxing game.

Punch-Out’s puzzle-oriented gameplay make it more than just a boxing game.

Next Level Games surprised everyone when they put out a new title in the Punch-Out!! series, aptly titled Punch-Out!! You play as Little Mac, rising the ranks of the worldwide boxing tournament taking down many fighters to become the champion. More than just a boxing game, Punch-Out!! is a puzzle game at heart, requiring quick reactions and pattern recognition to take down your foes. Very difficult and rewarding, Punch-Out!! is a treat for fans of the original, and new players looking to get in on the fun.

7. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Although initially a Gamecube release, Twilight Princess made the switch to the Wii as well, being one of the system’s launch titles. In this adventure, Link is aided by shadowy imp Midna, as he must navigate the shadowy world of Hyrule that has been taken over by Zant and the Twilli. Along the way you’ll meet crazy companions, solve big environmental puzzles, and explore many dungeons in traditional Zelda fashion. Although I wasn’t crazy about the game initially, it has the best overworld in any Zelda game, and features an emotional story and a lot to do after the main quest. If you like lengthly adventure games, Twilight Princess is for you.

6. New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Although today, the New Super Mario Bros series isn’t as groundbreaking as it used to be, NSMB Wii was the best of the New series, adding new power ups and new modes that make the traditional platforming as fun as ever. The 8 worlds have well-scaled difficulty, and are never infuriatingly hard. The four-player co-op is a welcome addition, allowing four players to play through any of the game’s levels as Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad, and Yellow Toad. It allows for some awesome cooperative play, or some uncooperative play if you enjoy that. It’s great for beginners or young players, and something that every Wii owner should have on their shelf.

Brawl's huge cast of characters make it easy to learn and fun to master.

Brawl’s huge cast of characters make it easy to learn and fun to master.

5. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

The hugely anticipated fighting series is in very high regard today, and as we anticipate every bit of news on the fourth entry on 3Ds and Wii U, it’s easy to look back on Brawl and dismiss it as not as good as its predecessor, Melee. Although that may be true, Super Smash Bros Brawl is an exciting addition to the franchise, featuring a surprisingly deep story mode titled Subspace Emissary.┬áThe game’s 40-some characters are all unique, and there are some wild cards here, like Solid Snake or R.O.B. The levels, items, and mechanics are as tight as ever, and although the online mode is one of the worst in recent memory, Brawl is still a fun game to come back to and play with friends late at night.

4. Donkey Kong Country Returns

The Donkey Kong Country series returns in the best side-scrolling platformer on the Wii. Once again, DK’s banana stash has been stolen, prompting him and Diddy Kong to spring into action and get them back. Navigating the game’s 8 worlds is very rewarding, as DKCR is one of the hardest platformers I’ve played. People say games are getting easier, but then I point them towards DKCR and they cower in fear. The tight platforming can be brutal at times, and the Mine Cart and new Rocket Barrel levels can be punishing. No game comes close to producing that kind of frustration, and even I haven’t found every K-O-N-G letter or puzzle piece. If you like challenging 2D platformers, DKCR is a must-have.

3. Super Mario Galaxy

Mario is back, this time in space, in one the best Mario games ever made. Bowser takes Peach into space, and Mario gives chase, coming across an observatory, where he meets Rosalina, a mysterious space queen, and her band of Lumas. The hub world isn’t as cool as Delfino Plaza, but Galaxy’s level design is astounding. The gravity defying worlds all feature crazy mechanics that we’ve never seen before, like fling stars or a Bee Suit. The varied gameplay never lets up, and even towards the end you’re still experiencing new things. If Super Mario Galaxy isn’t regarded as having some of the best-designed levels in gaming history, then I don’t know what is.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword took motion controls to a whole new level.

Skyward Sword took motion controls to a whole new level.

I had a hard time deciding between these next two games for the top spot. Both are some of the best modern games today, but ultimately it came down to this: Skyward Sword is the Wii’s last hurrah. It reimagines motion controls, and with the Wii Motion Plus accessory, your sword swings become Link’s sword swings. Every Zelda game from now in will feel inferior without motion controls. They are that good. Besides that, Skyward Sword features a story of epic proportions, as Link, a citizen of the sky city Skyloft, must spring into action and save Zelda, who has been kidnapped by a mysterious man Ghirahim and taken to the world below the clouds. No other Nintendo game features a story this captivating. Skyward Sword also changes around the Zelda formula for the better. Twilight Princess was fun, but a lot of the time I was wandering around wasting time. Skyward Sword changes that, as dungeons aren’t as restricted as they used to be. The overworld is huge, yet linear, but this allows for new puzzles and challenging dungeon-like locations, even before you step into an actual “temple.” In addition, the items this time around are great at changing how we play Zelda, with new mechanics like the Beetle and rolling bombs. Visually, Skyward Sword is astounding, featuring the best visual style I’ve ever seen in a Zelda game.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 boasts some of the best level design of all time.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 boasts some of the best level design of all time.

1. Super Mario Galaxy 2

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an achievement in 3D Mario. More than just a sequel to an already-fantastic game, Super Mario Galaxy 2 ditches what was bad about the first game (HUB world, cheeky story), adds more platforming perfection, and changes things for the better. New power-ups include Rock Mario and Cloud Mario, and even Yoshi gets in on the fun. SMG 2 is fun yet challenging, but never to the point of frustration. Like other platforming games like Portal 2 or Super Meat Boy, Galaxy 2 is very, very rewarding. You never feel like your deaths were cheap or due to bad design, but it’s all on you. The tight controls make navigating the new galaxies work like a charm. Like Galaxy 1, there is new stuff around every corner. One would have thought that Nintendo exhausted their platforming ideas in the first game, but they’d be wrong. Galaxy 2’s level design is brilliant, allowing for a lot of fun exploration. After the main game, there are 120 more Green Stars to collect, and these are great, as they make you look at the levels in ways you hadn’t before, because they are scattered throughout the galaxies in crazy locations. Galaxy 2’s soundtrack should also be noted, as Koji Kondo took some of the best tunes from the first game, and added to that some beautiful new pieces that all fit the atmosphere perfectly. The best game for Wii, the best 3D Mario game, and one of Nintendo’s best games ever made, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the pinnacle of Mario platforming, and I can’t recommend it enough.

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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in Other

 

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Mario Kart 7 Review

Mario Karts have always been a staple on every new Nintendo platform. Way back in the SNES days, Super Mario Kart revolutionized the kart racing genre, and each installment to date has added something new to the series. The gimmick this time: gliders and propellers, allowing you to fly in the air or swim in the sea. But do these additions bring enough to the formula?

Since it’s a racing game, there’s no evident plot. You simply race through the Grand Prix, unlocking new characters as you make your way through each engine class. You race as the recognized residents of the Mushroom Kingdom, so you’ve got Mario, Peach, Yoshi, the gang’s all here. Some characters were cut from Mario Kart Wii, like Waluigi and Dry Bones, and the character roster has dropped significantly in number. I liked this because MKWii had an insane number of Baby characters, none of which are present here. There’s less choices, but more recognized faces. Some odd additions made it in like Honey Queen and Wiggler, but I doubt they’ll stick around for successive installments. One thing that let me down with the characters was that there aren’t any weight classes anymore, so no “light, medium, or heavy”, which kind of downgrades the strategy in character selection. The tracks this time around are excellent, some of the best of the series. Like past games, there are 16 new courses, and 16 old ones which have been edited to feature the new additions. These courses, new and old, are stellar, with plenty of shortcuts and opportunities to shave off time, greatly extending the replay value.

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You can now take to the air, with gliders that deploy upon hitting ramps.

Everyone knows the Mario Kart formula, and it hasn’t changed here. There have been many new additions to the series, like I said above. Karts are now customizable (to an extent), allowing you to choose the kart’s chassis, wheels, and its glider for air segments. You unlock new parts by collecting coins along each track, something we haven’t seen since the SNES title. These unlockables change the stats of your kart. For example, putting monster truck tires on your kart makes your kart handle better off-road, so there’s a new layer of strategy as you prepare your kart prior to each race. I wish the customization was taken further, however, allowing you to change the color, or even design your own new karts, akin to ModNation Racers. The air and water segments are the best parts of the game. When your kart goes over blue boost pads, a glider automatically deploys, and you can control your kart in the air. There’s a lot of strategy here, in adjusting pitch and yaw, also in skipping parts of the course through flight. Whereas past games focused a lot on luck, MK7 is focused more towards skill, even if blue shells still hit you seconds before the finish line. The underwater portions, though not as plentiful, are still fun, but they don’t change the game too much other than provide cool new visual cues. There are new power-ups as well, and these are among the best. The Fire Flower allows you to barrage your enemies with unlimited fireballs until it runs out, while the Tanooki Tail can be used to swat at other racers or deflect incoming shells. Lucky 7 is a brand new idea, giving you 7 items at your disposal, turning you into a tool of destruction.

Other than racing in Grand Prix or VS, Time Trials also return, and these are still a blast, made even better by the kart customization. You can save best records as ghosts and send them to other racers, and you can even race 7 other ghost records at a time. Balloon Battles and Coin Runners are back, in full form, as well. Multiplayer can be found in the form of local, where you and 7 friends can team up locally and race or battle, and online, where you can hop onto the Nintendo Network and race against friends or strangers. Online is easily the best, and is probably the best online play I’ve ever seen in a Nintendo game. You can race against 7 other players in worldwide racers, but the real fun comes with Communities.

Mario Kart 7 lets you join online racing communities, allowing you further customization in how you race.

Mario Kart 7 lets you join online racing communities, allowing you further customization in how you race.

Communities allow you to create groups that have special rules. For example, you can have a race with only shells, or only bananas, allowing you to customize what items appear in each race or battle. These are very fun, but I wish that, instead of turning some items on, you could turn specific items off (cough cough BLUE SHELL), but this is a small complaint for what is the best online mode since Mario Kart Wii.

Mario Kart 7 is the best installment of the series since Mario Kart: Double Dash. It adds plenty of new ideas to the series, without sacrificing old favorites. It’s the best reason to own a 3DS, and I’ll be playing this one for years to come.

Overall: 9.5/10

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Game Reviews

 

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