Friday, 12 June 2009

Wii Review Round-up 5

Resident Evil 4 -- One of the first three Wii games I bought and the only one I've bought and sold twice. The controls are still pretty much the clunky rubbish of the original Resident Evil, but the over-the-shoulder camera and ability to target enemies using the wiimote nearly compensate. There are also additional game modes and after selling it I actually reconsidered the decision and bought it again used, but then part way into replaying it I remembered why I sold it in the first place: the game is just too bloody long for what it is.

There's a reason B horror films are only 90min. long -- the stories are just too rubbish to carry their flimsy plots further. After the first several hours the game just seemed to drag on and on. By the time of the 2nd major boss battle (the weird dwarf with the Napoleon-complex) I was really hoping that would be the end of the game (especially since just getting to him involved several pseudo boss battles and QuickTimeEvent sequences), but no, I then had to plod on into some lab areas (as usual). Yes they had some of the scariest and creepiest moments in the entire series, but I really just wanted the game to end by that point and the final boss was really a major anticlimax.

The Mercenaries bonus game was decent enough, but frankly given the clunky nature of the controls I'd rather play a lightgun game for that kind of action and the idea of replaying the game from Ada Wong's perspective didn't feel like a bonus (I gave up on replaying Resident Evil 2 as the second character as well -- a crap story from one perspective is enough, cheers), so it's history.

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles -- I'm sure by now it's pretty obvious I don't think much of Resident Evil games so it might be surprising to find that I actually like this one.

This game dispenses with all the stuff I don't like: clunky tank controls, simple puzzles, overlong story; and replaces them with straightforward lightgun action. Don't confuse this with lightgun games like Ghost Squad or you'll be disappointed. The pacing is slower and enemies require a little more precision to dispatch effectively. You also have unlockables in the form of diary bits that tell you part of the Resident Evil story. Really a great package overall and worth picking up even if you don't think much of Resident Evil generally.

Space Invaders Get Even (WiiWare) -- This game has deservedly gotten some great reviews and it's one of my favourite WiiWare games. The level design is clever and playing as the Invaders is fun. This is basically a full disc release broken up into chunks. Whether or not that strategy will result in better sales for Taito remains to be seen.

On the one hand you have a small entry point of 500 points for the first couple of missions, with three other parts at 500 points each bringing the total to 2000 points (£14 as of this writing), so the earnings are pre-determined and the game was consistently in the top 20 in the UK and other regions for months after release. But the size can be off-putting and a disc release could have retailed for say £24.95 and reached a broader audience given that not all Wii owners buy downloadable games.

I'm happy with the game as-is, but I'd be willing to buy it again in disc form -- especially in some kind of 30th Anniversary package that included emulated versions of the classic arcade games (Space Invaders, Space Invaders II, Return of the Invaders and Super Space Invaders '91 for aficionados). Hey Taito, you reading this?

Super Mario Bros. 3 (Virtual Console NES) -- I got this and Super Mario 64 because I figured I should try the most highly regarded Mario games of all time before playing Super Mario Galaxy.

I got to the end of the 2nd world (desert) and died many many times before throwing in the towel. Major problems were the typical endless falling to my death due to mis-judging jumps and the fact that dying in the boss fight requires playing through at least two stages and running a gauntlet before a re-match. It feels cheap and more difficult than it needs to be and it's just not fun for anyone but masochists who like Italian plumbers.

Super Mario 64 (Virtual Console N64) -- Nicer difficulty curve than SM3, but on the way to meet Bowser (I'm sure a false endgame since I had only beaten three bosses at that point) I experienced ye olde repeat fall to my death. This was aided by a crappy 3D camera (user controllable in most of the game; why not here?) that was fixed far away from Mario and obstructed at a point where I was expected to execute some kind of jump between platforms. Brilliant guys, just brilliant.