Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting Into Their Stride...

This week has been a huge week with the release of 2 top tier titles dropping on the same day for the Wii. We had Tatsunoko vs Capcom and NMH2, which both have Metacritic scores of 86 and 89 respectively. It finally seems that some developers have found their comfort zone where they are not only utilizing the Wii's capabilities, but are also putting out quality content. It's only taken 3 & 1/2 years, but here's why this may be Wii's best year yet.

1. It's the year of the sequel
Ok '08 brought us Smash, Mario Kart Wii, and Wii Fit, but other than those heavy hitters from the Big N, there wasn't much else. Sure de Blob and Boom Blox were fantastic and there were a few other gems, but it felt empty from the 3rd party side overall. 2009 was much better with games like Mad World, Punch Out, EA's motion plus efforts, and even the Nintendo's own NSMB, but it still felt blah blah blah. The games releasing this year benefit because developers simply have better knowledge of the hardware for their sequels. If all the glowing reviews are correct, No More Heroes 2 is a more polished, focused, and prettier experience than the first. The same will probably be said for Red Steel 2 as well as Super Mario Galaxy 2, which would collectively represent 3 of the console's more notable exclusives. If Travis Touchdown's 2nd run in Santa Destroy is an early indictation of what's to come, we're in for a fantastic year.

2. They're finally coming out
There are only a few Wii games that have had significant development cycles and they'll finally hit store shelves including the aforementioned Red Steel sequel, Montser Hunter, and a few others. Thank goodness. It's great to see Tatsunoko make it to the West with improvements. It's promising to think Warren Spector wants to outdo Nintendo with Epic Mickey. It's amazing to see quality WiiWare games finally come out at a partially decent rate with some heavy hitters like Cave Story still around the corner. Not to mention, there must be some surprises we're unaware of. (I personally think Capcom is going to unveil a Wii version of Lost Planet running on the RE4 engine, but that's my guess) It's a good time to be a Wii owner.

3. Could it be true
Ok, it may not happen, but maybe we're in some weird Twilight Zone episode where 2010 will see the pillars of Nintendo iconography come together and cause one huge Nintendorgasm. That's right...the megaton. Could Zelda, Metroid, and Mario all be released in the same year? Maybe not, but we'll almost positively get 2 out of the 3which is still epic. Even if the odds are against us, with solid releases early in the year, some highly anticipated titles mid year, and the promise of some popular N franchises, we'll be great.

Here's to hoping I'm right, and that NBA Jam Wii becomes a system seller for old school players. I've always thought that Nintendo should have used the VC as a serious selling point and marketed it more heavily in TV campaigns. We're all suckers for nostalgia, and I'm sure they could have sold more units off the service alone. However, that's a post for another day. Either way, I'm happy developers better understand the "arcade" approach to Wii and are finally providing quality product consistently. I can't remember the last time I was conflicted between 2 great Wii titles because they came out around the same time.

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