A lot of people ditched the Nintendo Wii a very long time ago – too many people, in my view. Amongst the hardcore, it’s a system that quickly became synonymous with the reams of money-grabbing shovelware that appeared on it; all of it aimed squarely at the huge demographic of people who’d never owned a videogame console before. As a devout Wii fan – an apologist, some might say – this has been incredibly frustrating. Yes, we have the Nintendo Wii to thank for the scandalous likes of Pong Toss: Frat Party Games and Jenga World Tour, but there are way too many absolute classics buried underneath them.
Quite a few people I know – all of whom gave up on the Wii aeons ago – now appear to be getting right behind Nintendo’s latest console. For them (and anyone else in a similar boat) here are five essential Wii experiences that no hardcore gamer should miss out on. I’ve put the most obvious candidates to one side, but know this: Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel are the two best 3D platform videogames ever made, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess are a duo of cast-iron masterpieces. But aside from these…
5. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
The definitive version of a revolutionary classic. No matter how many times you’ve played Resident Evil 4 (and I’d played it to completion six times on the GameCube before this version appeared) you should ignore the Wii redux at your peril: it’s a different game. The faultless control method – replicated since but never equalled – allows you to use firearms with pin-point accuracy and all of the content from previous versions is included here: Separate Ways, Assignment Ada and Mercenaries along with a massive bevy of compulsive unlocks. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition is so much more than a standard port, and stands as a reminder that Capcom used to treat their back catalogue with real love and respect. Instead of outright contempt.
4. Donkey Kong Country Returns
In the arena of Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) platform videogames RARE’s original Donkey Kong Country was, for some, a superior proposition to Nintendo’s own Super Mario World. In 2010, rather than self-consciously attempt to update the series – or lumber it with totally unnecessarily motion control foibles – Retro Studios instead made a straight sequel. Everything that was brilliant about the SNES original is brilliant here: ingenious level design, longevity, wit and impossibly slick controls. However, unlike its moderately challenging predecessors, Donkey Kong Country Returns is devilishly hard. It’s not quite ‘Donkey Kong Dark Souls’ but in truth it really isn’t that far off… which only makes it all the more invigorating.
3. Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Skies
A sequel to the cult 2000 Nintendo 64 hit – only released digitally in the west in 2007 – Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Skies is a blistering symphony of brilliant ideas, without a single lull in between them. It’s fantastically barmy throughout: you do battle with aimless swarming pilchards, performing dolphins and a cloak-wearing playboy who taunts you between attacks by calling you a “filthy perv.” It rewards defensive play much more than the original did, supports co-operative gameplay and could almost be an advertisement for the Wii Remote & Nunchuck combination… and it runs at a scorching sxity frames per second. The most overlooked videogame of 2010, and unquestionably up there with legendary developer Treasure’s finest work. Shooter fan? Forget about it.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
A predictable inclusion, but The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is – in my view – the finest The Legend of Zelda videogame of all time. Watching it drown during the pre-Christmas silly season last year was heartbreaking, and I spent much of that time trying to force some friends of mine to borrow my copy – and my Wii! – so that they could play it. Not only does The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword give you your first chance to actually care about the crown princess of Hyrule – more than ever, story is at the forefront here – it’s also a seminal action videogame to boot. You’ll never have to resort to any of the half-baked, clownish windmilling that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess’ shoe-horned control scheme sometimes demanded of you, because The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has bona fide 1:1 swordplay. We waited a long time for 1:1 combat, and Nintendo brought it to the world alongside an utterly superlative videogame.
1. Ghost Squad
A straight port of a forgettable arcade light-gun videogame? You’d better believe it. Ghost Squad on the Wii is the killer app that almost nobody knows about. If you’ve played a light-gun videogame on the console before – and there are a handful of very good ones out there – it won’t prepare you for how gratifying, addictive and downright exciting Ghost Squad is. Control is so responsive that one of the bare necessities of light-gun ports – the inclusion of a permanent on-screen reticule – is chucked straight in the bin. When you lay down a fearsome high score you’ll feel as if you’re wholly responsible for it, hence the inclusion of some (still bustling) online leaderboards. Multiple pathways, innumerable (occasionally hilarious) unlocks and a brilliant four-player party mode. For what it is, Ghost Squad is as close to perfect as home console conversions of light-gun videogames have come.
About the Author: Chet Roivas has been writing about games professionally for several years, and now contributes primarily to the zavvi.com blog.