2010 (and early 2011) is shaping up to be a big year for the Wii. Already, we've seen the debut of Super Mario Galaxy 2, as well as Monster Hunter Tri. But the games I'm really excited about aren't yet out. In fact, some of these games could be the best yet for the system, including the return of some Nintendo franchise favorites. I've added my thoughts to generate discussion and excitement on Lunch.
Metroid has always been my favorite game franchise, from Super Metroid's dramatic ending to Metroid Prime's beautiful graphics. The designers of Metroid: Other M (Nintendo is working in collaboration with Team Ninja) seem to be really going outside the box. First, Samus speaks! In fact, the game supposedly has a rich story laced with cutscenes. Of course, the gameplay has received much attention as well, combining Super Metroid and Metroid Prime in a "2.5-D" style. The style is partly an attempt to recreate the "retro" feel, but also taking advantage of the ability to have 3-D environments. From all the pictures I've seen thus far, it looks like a beautiful game and gamers who have tried it out say the play controls work smoothly. I've already pre-ordered it online and am anxiously counting down the days until it comes out (less than a month!).
I've loved the Zelda series, but unlike Metroid this franchise has had its hits and misses. A Link to the Past was a classic (I recently replayed it and found it just as wonderful a second time around). I discovered Twilight Princess only earlier this year, but fell in love with the realistic graphics and boss battles (I love Argorok in the cloud city). However, Wind Waker's cartoonish graphics turned me off. I gave it a try, but found the game frustrating as well. So, the big question is whether Skyward Sword will be a hit or miss. The Wii Motion Plus promises to make controlling your sword more challenging and fun with (allegedly) one-to-one control. However, there's already debate on the internet, with some fans disappointed with the games "impressionistic" graphic style. I for one am excited, but not yet sure where this will rate in the Zelda franchise. There are more details in the new issue of Nintendo Power here.
The first Force Unleashed received mixed reviews, but was generally a fun foray into the Star Wars universe. The brains behind this sequel claim to have learned from their mistakes and are working on improving everything about this game (there's a lengthy interview in a recent issue of Gamepro). So far, I like what I'm seeing. However, I've placed FU2 third on the list because it seems like the game designers are focusing more on creative new force powers and the plot than what I saw as the game's main problems - namely, too much slash and hack, not enough puzzles. That being said, I'm definitely getting this game and am hoping for the best.
Mickey Mouse as a video game hero? Yes, it's true. Epic Mickey is one of the most anticipated Wii games of the year. The beautiful graphics, thoughtful story (Mickey has to save a wasteland for cartoon rejects), and incorporation of cartoon classics like Steamboat WIllie show that this is a product of love, not mass commercialism (as so many movie tie-in games are). Warren Specter, the man behind the game, stresses that the game will present players with "moral choices" and there will often be more than one solution to a particular puzzle. Why didn't I rank this game higher? As tempting as this game is, I just don't have the time to play every game that's coming out, and that means Mickey gets the axe. If I have extra time and money, I might check it out, but not at the expense of Metroid, Zelda, or Star Wars.
Nintendo has really gone retro this year! Donkey Kong Country Returns promises to be a souped up version of the SNES DKC games. From the trailers I've seen, this does look like a fun game. I've ranked it a bit lower though for two reasons. First, there are no Kremlins! The game is going to need a fun villain, and so far I haven't seen it (the only boss I've seen is a big toad). Second, I'm not sure the game adds enough to make me want to spend $50 on it, especially when I could download the SNES versions for $8 each on Virtual Console. I'm going to check out the reviews when it comes up and decide whether I want to take a journey back to DK's banana pad later this year. Here's a brief preview article from IGN.
See the full review, "Fun and frustrating".
I love both the Lord of the Rings books and movies. Unfortunately, this game hasn't excited me quite as much as I'd hoped. It seems geared more toward kids, with quasi-cartoonish graphics. Also, the game has been delayed repeatedly and is being released on Wii and PS2, but not Xbox, which makes me wonder. I hope the game gets good reviews because I really would love to go back to Middle Earth, but I'm a bit skeptical at this point.
I am a recent law school grad with an interest in Southeast Asia legal issues. Unfortunately for my checkbook, ever since high school I have been addicted to good books. I have eclectic tastes, although … more