Game reviews and editorials. Simple, and clear.

Archive for the ‘Wii’ Category

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

Developer(s):
XPEC Entertainment
Vicarious Visions
Toys for Bob
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Action/Adventure/RPG
Release Date:
PC
October 12, 2011 (AU)
Consoles
October 13, 2011 (AU)
October 14, 2011 (EU)
October 16, 2011 (NA)
Rating: E10+
MSRP: $69.99 (or better)

Do not let the cute nature and the toys fool you! Skylanders is an innovative title boasting some strong RPG qualities that can only be truly appreciated by a seasoned gamer. While the cost may be enough to keep away some, there is no doubt in my mind that Skylanders has the potential to be something great, or at the very least, inspire more games to move in this direction of creativity and innovation.

In Skylanders, the mighty Portal Master, Eon, has been reduced to nothing more than a spiritual voice to guide the player through the world of Skyland. Given the Portal of Power and a few of the heroes (referred to as Skylanders), it is up to the player to restore the land to it’s former beauty by squandering the bite sized menace, Kaos. As the Portal Master, the player is given the right to command over thirty tiny heroes in a grand adventure fit for any style of gamer. There are many worlds filled with exotic enemies and friends alike that will surely bring great enjoyment to anyone willing to make the investment.

I say an investment because the biggest issue that restricts a player from having the full experience is the cost. The game’s starter pack starts at $69.99, which comes with the game, a portal, and three beginning characters. Be mindful that each portal only works for their respective system, however the characters can be brought along to play from any portal. Each expansion pack (new character, new world, and extra items) or character pack (three additional Skylanders) are $19.99, and any additional single character packs are $7.99. Factor in that there are currently 15 available characters at the time of writing, three legendaries, and two exclusives, and it is easy to see how this hobby can turn into an investment rather quickly. I have, however, devised a guide below that should help you in determining whether or not this game is for you. But before I get to that, allow me to explain further the game as it stands.

The game itself is both deep and lighthearted. It is pretty easy to get lost in simple button mashing to get through most of the stages, and if the player chooses a character with long range attacks, it is even easier to do so without dying. If we look beyond that however, we see an RPG based system that is actually pretty solid for what the game looks like on the surface. Characters earn experience to level up their Skylanders up to a maximum level of ten. During that time, they earn coins to develop their skills, which eventually branch off into two separate paths. If a character decides to go down one path, then the other becomes locked out. There are also ‘heroic challenges’ that can be used to further develop each character, however the challenges are just that: extremely challenging at times.

Changing characters within the game is extremely simple: just pull the character from the portal of power and place another one on. By some higher force (or maybe magic), the game recognizes each character and within a few seconds the game resumes with the new character replacing the old one. To add a second player, simply turn on the second controller, press a button, and add their Skylander. It truly is that simple. If there are any more than two Skylanders, however, the game will stop and inform you of such, and ask you to remove any excess. This can also happen if your Skylanders are laying on their side and are too close to the portal. I didn’t notice any kind of problems with this system, but the faster the characters are changed, the more laggy each load will be. I can see this being a problem for kids anxious to try all of the characters they have every two minutes.

A lot of the game’s content can be enjoyed with the original three characters, but there is no doubt that without more characters, about half of the game will be missing. New characters unlock more heroic challenges, as well as elemental pathways within each stage, allowing players to acquire stat boosting hats and treasure chests. Each character also is attached to one of eight elements that are strong in certain aries of the game.  All of the trophies and achievements can  be  earned (that I have seen) without any more characters, however the in-game achievement system (accolades) will be locked without every character. So in essence, it is a simple platformer game that has tied in a small scale action-RPG system within it.

Skylanders’ sound effects and music are perfect for the ambiance within the worlds. Dark, eerie levels are accented with deep undertones, while beach stages are light and poppy. I personally haven’t found any tunes that truly stand out, and yet I am also not turning down my volume in place of something more worthy. At times, the characters can be a little annoying as they typically talk/make noise when they attack, and that becomes amplified when they attack extremely fast (i.e. Trigger Happy has two guns that he giggles maniacally, and they can be shot as fast as the button can be pressed). The voice acting wasn’t bad either, but I did notice the game had issues ‘catching up’ if the player speeds through the dialog. Outside of that, I truly had no complaints with what I was listening to.

Another place that Skylanders doesn’t truly stand out, but doesn’t falter in either is the graphics. During the cutscenes, the graphics are late PS2 worthy, being smooth and refined, but not something that should be expected of a seventh generation game. During gameplay, the graphics change only slightly, but not by much. Where I would say this game shines graphically is actually in the figurines. When I first pulled them out, I didn’t pay much attention, but upon closer inspection one can notice a great amount of detail put into each figure to ensure that they are all painted well. Each character sits on a platform made up of it’s element, which is convenient for a quick glance survey of who may be needed next in a level.

One of the things that pains me about this game, and maybe I am a victim of my generation, is the lack of any real multiplayer. Don’t get me wrong, this game supports 1-2 players, but it is local only. I am not greedy, but I feel that having only two players local is a little dated for my tastes. At the very least, I would ask for either four player local, or making the two player available online as well. I understand that in this day and age to get four people into a room to play a game is tough, but when I pick up and play Skylanders I immediately see the potential of having four players, and this game simply lacks that feature. If you consider the audience this game was geared towards, it becomes a little more understandable, but if you are going to go through the effort to make a separate web based experience, at least add the ability to play with two more friends. Again, that could simply be me being a victim of my age, growing up around the N64, Dreamcast and Gamecube.

Now comes the innovations, which I believe was the saving grace for this game, and why it shines in my opinion. The reason each character sits on a base is not purely for aesthetics, or because it’s easy to see their element, but in fact all of the character data is stored within that base. Remember above where I said each figure is compatible with any portal, no matter what console? That is the reason why. The player is now allowed to take their customized Spyro, for example, and bring it to a friend’s house and play along with their Spyro. Add in the fact that each character can wear a hat and have a nickname, and it is easy to see why this could be a great time for kids. “Rusty” (my Drobot) is easily one of my favorite characters, and I can now share him with anyone who has a Portal of Power. It gives a sense of ownership and some form of randomization that it would be highly unlikely (but certainly not impossible) that two Skylanders would be identical.

There is also a web application that is available that a lot of people seem to overlook. While it is only in it’s Beta stages, I feel it is a very integral part of the game as well. If you register on the website http://www.skylandersgame.com, you can download the drivers to allow the Portal of Power to connect to your PC, and it allows players to register their Skylanders to their username and play within the browser. Inside this ‘Web Skyland’ players are able to connect with each other in a virtual world via chatting using their Skylander of choice as an avatar. Within the world, players are also able to level up (I haven’t reached the max yet, so I am unsure of what that may be), and play various mini-games both shown in the console game, and original ones designed just for the web. The coins earned within those games are used to customize the players’ “lair” with various caves, trees, and bridge. They may also travel to other player’s worlds to eat flowers, destroy barrels and haystacks, and so forth. The web side of the game is far from perfect, but it sets up a strong foundation of what’s to come.

Overall, this game is really a wonderful, innovative piece of technology that shows that toys and games do not have to be separate, and that owning a physical product doesn’t hurt us either instead of making everything DLC. That last bit could be because I’m still old school, however. As I mentioned above, I wanted to provide scenarios to those who are unsure about the costs and features available to them, and if you are teetering on either side of the fence, let this be the information you need to help you make the decision. I’ve come up with ultimately three scenarios that you may find yourself in, should you choose to play the game, and average costs:

  • Scenario 1) This is going to be for those players who simply want to purchase the game to have it. Maybe at one time you were a fan of Spyro, or are intrigued by the toys mixed with electronics. Either way, you now have a copy of the game, and you’re worried about what to expect. Worry not! You will be able to enjoy the full story of the game, as no additional characters are required to complete the game from start to finish. You will know how the ending wraps up, and will be happy to know that you’ve supported a game style that is very new to the industry. You can also achieve every single trophy and achievement that the game offers. You cannot, however, get all of the in-game accolades as well as explore all of the alternative paths that may net you more hats, gold and experience. Your average cost will be $69.99 plus applicable tax.
  • Scenario 2) This is for the players who want to experience a little more than just the story straightforward. With this method, I recommend owning at least one character of each element to allow access through all of the elemental doors and areas through the game. With this method, the player will be able to get all of the trophies/achievements, in-game accolades, as well as experience the world via many different options. There will also be more heroic challenges available to further develop the player’s characters as they begin to max out each one’s levels. Your average cost will be around $110 plus applicable tax, depending on if you purchase individual characters only, or if you buy character packs.
  • Scenario 3) This is for the hardcore players who are completionists and want everything. You will be able to do everything mentioned above, plus have bragging rights and a diverse selection of characters (and two new worlds to play in, to boot). Outside of those expansion pack characters that offer new worlds, and getting the last of the accolades (one of which is to own all 32 characters), there hasn’t been any benefit that I could see to owning all of the characters. Fans of Pokemon and the like will be more inclined to attempt this feat. As of now, all of the characters are not available, however if my math and memory still serve me well, I would estimate your average cost to be around $175, give or take $15, plus applicable tax.
For reference, I fall somewhere between Scenario 2 and 3. I really wanted to have all of the elements, but the more characters I get, the more fun I am having developing them and leveling them up. For me, at the very least, I will probably own the first batch, but I’m not sure at the cost I would invest in more than 32 as it stands right now. I would have to see some significant improvements in some of the things that matter to me (such as the multiplayer aspect). Needless to say, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed owning the game, and if you work together with some friends, you can collectively all own the entire set without causing your bank account to be too depressed. Skylanders definitely redefines a new way to play games, and even despite the cost, is a refreshing take on the monotony.

NOTE: This review, unfortunately, only covers the console versions. I have read around that the 3DS version differs slightly, but I don’t have the resources required to try it for that console as well. If anyone has input or experience, I would ask that you send me an email to peter.thomas(at)thegamingeffect dot com and I will use your mini-review as a guest supplement to mine. Many thanks in advance!

Likes:
+Simplified RPG system
+Several characters to choose from
+Vibrant world with lovable personalities

Dislikes:
-No online/4-player local (2-player only)
-Sound effects can be overbearing at times
-Can’t find reason to own more than eight Skylanders

Innovative:
~Portal of Power brings figures ‘to life’
~Figures retain all of the character data inside of them
~Adventure can be played either on the console or on the web

Kirby’s Epic Yarn – Nintendo – Nintendo Wii

When E3 aired online last year, I know Nintendo fanboys like myself went nuts over some of the titles that were being previewed. This excitement only got stronger when we saw that a lot of the titles were coming out before the year’s end (Zelda didn’t though… boo.) This was one of those games. My first impression of it just watching the video: awesome. After beating it, I feel no less.

The game stars our wonderful pink pile of puff in yet another adventure where he is helping out his friends from impending doom. This time, however, it is not King Dedede that is terrorizing Dream Land, but a new threat by the name of Yin-Yarn, an evil sorcerer of sorts from the world of Patch Land. Frustrated with Kirby’s attempt to eat his Max Tomato, Yin Yarn sucks Kirby up into a sock… and turns him to yarn!

I know, epic right? The storyline is absolutely adorable though. It is narrated like a children’s storybook, and you cannot help but grin every time the narrator tries to get angry. He uses his own voice to make the voices of all the characters while telling the story, and it brings you back to the days when your teachers read the books for you. The story does not lack though. It has, albeit a simple, beginning, middle and end as it should, and it is not broken in the least.

With Kirby’s new look comes so many opportunities for Nintendo to make Kirby look adorable, and boy, did they nail it on the head. From turning into a mini-submarine while swimming, to changing into a parachute while gliding, each and every form that Kirby possesses is absolutely squee-worthy. But enough with the aesthetics. Onward to the nitty gritty!

The game itself is solid. I couldn’t find a single fault in how it is laid out and played whatsoever. The objective of each stage is simple: run through the stage, collecting as many beads as possible, find two hidden patches, and a music CD in each stage (assuming you’re looking to get 100%). You don’t ever die in the game. Jumping off a cliff, however will force a fairy to come pick you up out of the hole, dropping all of your hard earned beads back into it. Receiving ‘damage’ will also make your beads explode all over the place. You can pick them back up for a limited time, but they fade away rather quickly. Kirby cannot fly in this game, but it adds a new level of difficulty to the game. Gone are the days when you can simply coast in the sky from beginning to end and complete a stage. Besides, you’ll be too busy collecting beads on the ground, swinging your yarn around like a whip to worry about flying.

Musically, the game impresses me on every level. Each stage has it’s own track (that can be collected, as mentioned above) to listen to at any time in the game, and it is one of the most beautiful OSTs I’ve heard in such a long time. Each song is perfect for the stage your playing, completely setting the mood for how the stage is supposed to feel. Music is very important to me in a game, for an annoying soundtrack can cause you to lose your patience quickly. I can assure you that the only time you notice the music is when you realise just how awesome it is, and continue to sing the songs well after you stop playing. It feels like old SNES music in terms of likability, but with today’s technology, if that makes sense.

Graphically, the game looks exactly how it should. The colors are vibrant, and the stage interaction with the whole ‘yarn’ feel is awesome. Some of the points in the game (like when you unzip the background) just leave you with your mouth open at how cool it looks. Moments like that make you have to think of things on a new level.

The multi player feature is actually a step above what it has been in the previous games. Multi player does consist of you playing as Prince Fluff, the Prince of Patch Land as you would with any other Kirby game. The Prince has all the same moves and abilities as Kirby does, and functions exactly the same. Where they took the step above is when you obtain the patches to transform Kirby into the super transformations. For example, in single player, Tank Kirby can move his head up and down, and shoot missiles from his mouth. With a second player, you can now swing the tank arm around, allowing for extra damage at melee range. There are nine total transformations all together (if I remember correctly) and each one has a little quirk like that between single and multi player.

The re-playability of the game is sort of non-existent if you received 100%. I haven’t really found a reason to pick it back up other than to show people the cuteness, or if they were interested in seeing it. I don’t know if it will live up to Kirby Superstar in that aspect, at least in my own opinion. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pick it up though.

Overall, the game is a great game, and they took the old formula, added a little jazz to it, and reinvented the wheel with a bigger, stronger tire. This is how these games should be done, honestly: preserving the old style by adding new-age game play twists with it. If you’re a fan at all of Nintendo, or even own a Wii, I would highly recommend adding this game to anyone’s collection.

Rating:
9.5 / 10.0

Metroid: Other M – Nintendo/Team Ninja – Nintendo Wii

Seeing previews for this game brought along a lot of mixed reactions. I was happy and scared at the same time. Here they were making a game that was side scrolling again, just as I have always loved them, but I saw elements of FPS and the only thing I could think was “Oh God, I hope they don’t screw this up.” The franchise isn’t bad anymore, but it certainly isn’t what it used to be. I guess for the kind of gamer I am, this could be said about a lot of different game franchises. This game didn’t completely disappoint, but it certainly was no Super Metroid like I was hoping it was to be. As a matter of fact, when I first beat the game I was 100% satisfied, but in retrospect, I realise the more I think about it, the more disappointed I was.

The game takes place directly after Super Metroid. There are a lot of references in the story from Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, so if you haven’t played one or both, please jump off a brid- .. that is get yourself copies of each and play them. They’ll be worth your time alone. Unfortunately, after you have played them I’m afraid that this game will simply not live up to them at all.

You play the game about 90% in a third person view. This way, the controls are fluid, and simple. There’s really nothing you can say bad about them, because they are as easy as the NES. Running, jumping and shooting all done on the D-pad and two buttons (the wiimote is held sideways). Where things get a little fishy is the FPS part of the game. To access it, you must turn the wiimote and point it at the screen. This usually causes issues, because you point it and Samus immediately starts looking up, or to the side, or whichever way she feels like it while your wiimote figures out where it is on the screen. You’ll find that you have to get into this mode to shoot missiles too, because you can’t do it any other way. A bit of a downer, but what can you do?

Throughout the game, you gain access to your abilities not by finding them, but by being given permission to use them by a certain character in the game. Really? Samus is supposed to be this extremely awesome bounty hunter who works on her own will, doing as she pleases, and in this game she has to ask permission to use her weapons? Kinda weak if you ask me. At least you still have to find energy tanks and missile upgrades. Speaking of, each missile upgrade only gives you one extra missile, but in return, you practically get infinite missiles. They added a feature called ‘focus’ where if you hold your wiimote in the air and press A, you regain all of your missiles. You can do this too when your health is red to regain a small chunk of health. It sounds cheap, but it’s a lot harder to do than you think.

The exploration is relatively linear, and you follow a guided path almost the entire time. This takes away from the Super Metroid feel of it, and shortens play time immensely. Add this in with the fact that everything you are ordered to do is almost identical, and you’ll find yourself getting slightly bored with it.

The one strong suit of the game is the visuals. Team Ninja did a wonderful job rendering the CG animations, and even owners of PS3’s and 360’s have to stop and ‘wow’ at what they made the Wii put out. They gave a new twist on the way the different beams look as well, so that was a nice surprise. Visually, the game is quite appealing to look at, and never once was I disappointed.

Aside from one small element in the story, the overall scope of the story was excellent. They gave Samus a full fledged personality, which for most of it, I can definitely see her having. There were one or two things that I would have changed personally, or to be quite frank, not put in at all, but I was able to overlook those flaws until the end of the game.

Overall, the game was fun to play, and I was glad to see it move out of the FPS era. However, I think the programmers forgot how to make a decent third person game, and half heartedly put this together. I’m afraid to say this, but had I known what this game was going to produce, I would have just rented it and beat it then. I definitely believe it’s worth playing, but if a friend has a copy, just borrow theirs.

I’m starting to lose faith in the Metroid franchise. It truly is a shame that the games from the 80’s and 90’s are still worth replaying, while the others will probably sit on my shelf for the rest of time to come (until my kids play them, anyways).

Rating:
6.75 / 10

Dokapon Kingdom – Atlus – Nintendo Wii

So, I was extremely skeptical about this game, even if it was an Atlus game. I shouldn’t have been though. Within the first ten minutes I was drawn in, and I didn’t want to put the game down.

Dokapon’s plot is that you must save the kingdom from the evils that are now roaming the land, and as a reward, you get the hand of Princess Penny to marry (even if you’re a female character). Sounds simple enough, right? Hah. If only. Allow me first to explain the game mechanics.

The game is played similar to a Mario Party style board game. Players are to spin a dial, and move that many spaces across the board accordingly. Players may move in any direction they wish, but must continue on a forward pattern (in other words, no moving back and forth between only two spaces). Landing on certain spaces do certain things, and so on. The twist to the game is that it’s also an RPG, in that you battle, gain experience for your character and level up. It’s really wild the way they incorporate it. Using these mechanics, you liberate towns and try your best to become the wealthiest character by the end of the game.

However, your friends or the AI will always be trying to foil you, by stealing your gold/towns, changing your character name and hair style, or even drawing graffiti on your character. The game is very vengeful, and creates much animosity between the players that are competing. It’s quite hilarious, to be honest. You can be downright brutal to the players in the game.

You may also fight any character you wish at any given time, provided you land on their space. When building a character, you get to choose a class, giving you a multitude of skills to work with. You can only carry two skills at a time though, which could get a little irritating at time, but not enough to destroy the novelty of the game.

The only real downfall is the lack of the single player excitement. Playing a four player game with three AI seems to deplete the novelty of it all. Other than that, I really don’t see much being wrong.

Overall, it seemed like it was a great party game. I can’t really say that it was the best Atlus ever made, but they truly surprised me. It makes me further believe I should never doubt their purchases.

Rating:
7.0 / 10

Super Smash Brothers Brawl – Nintendo/HAL Labratories – Nintendo Wii

When you see a game having a sequal, you generally expect there to be a lot of improvements from the previous (assuming the formula was a bit shabby) and you want new features. Brawl encompasses everything you would expect, plus a little more.

Still one of the best party games out there, SSBB has made some significant improvements over the previous. I’m going to try my best to capture them all.

We’ll start with the game modes. There are countless modes that are available to you right off the bat, followed by two that are unlockable (sorry, gotta play through the game to find out what they are. Hehe.). They brought back the Home Run Contest, Smash The Targets, and Multi Man Brawl. We’ll start with those:

Home Run Contest is a game where you have to inflict as much damage as you can on a sandbag, then with a home run bat, smash hit it as far as you can within 10 seconds. This game was always fun but they made a substantial improvement on it. Around the circumference of the starting platform they put an invisible shield that prevents the bag from falling off accidentally. However, this shield will break if you repeatedly beat the sandbag off of it.

Smash The Targets (formerly known as Break The Targets) is a mode where you run a character through a level filled with targets and try to break them as fast as possible. In the past, each characher had his or her own individual course. This time around there is a default stage but there are five levels. With each level you progress, the targets become smaller and the stage much more hazardous. Its definitely a plus.

Multi Man Brawl is essentially a bunch of different challenges that you can do against generic characters. In the original everything was called melee (100 man melee, endless melee) and they changed it to brawl (10 minute brawl, cruel brawl). Not significant, but just shows they pay attention to detail. Also the wire frames have been replaced by colored alloys. Its a neat change. They kind of look like spacemen. Heh.

Now onwards to what was Adventure mode, and classic mode:

Adventure mode has been renamed to The Subspace Emmisary. This one has much more of a storyline (and a wonderful one at that) and is really very awesome. No longer are you limited to using one character throughout the mode, but you are given an option depending on what is going on in the story. Also, the cutscenes have no spoken words, and yet I found myself gasping and laughing during surprising and funny parts, respectively.

Classic mode is back in all of its glory and needs no real introduction. You play through 12 stages of characters and fight the Master Hand at the end. Its been this way since the original, and holds true.

Something I noticed about all the modes is that the AI is really intelligent this time around. I mean REALLY smart people here. Playing on a difficulty above hard is near impossible, and I’m a pretty good player.

Another thing they added, is that every single player mode can be done cooperatively with a friend. This, in my opinion is wonderful. It adds so much more potential to the game.

There are all new events for you to play through, and again, all can be done cooperatively. The difference in this mode is that single player events and multiplayer events are slightly different, so they count them as separate events. So when you fire up your game and only see 10 events, breathe easy, there’s really 20.

Graphically there’s no tremendous improvement. The backgrounds are a bit more sparkly, and the character models are rendered a bit smoother, but aside from that there are no real big changes. They did add widescreen compatibilty so all of you with enormous tvs can smash on your friends in full 16:9 glory.

Musically, however, is a different story. The amount of music and the quality of this music is simply outstanding. They have so many old and new music for you that you will constantly be excited about each new song. But it gets even better. They now allow you adjust the music frequency so you can hear more of what you want, and less of what you don’t. For example, the Zelda stage,Bridge of Eldrin, they play four songs: Legend of Zelda Theme, Ocarina of Time Melody, Hyrule Field, and the Twilight Princess field theme. Since I love the OoT melody so much, I have that playing as frequently as possible. No more crossing your fingers and hoping the Zelda temple played the Fire Emblem theme. Hahaha.

There is also a custom stage builder, where you can create your dream battlefield, with whatever music you want, and play on it. You can even send that stage to your friends so they can play too.

The items are extensive too. There are old favorites and new ones, but two items that really stand out are the smash ball and the assist trophy.

The smash ball incorporates a new feature called a Final Smash. Basically this is like the creme de la creme of all attacks. It does severe amounts of damage and almost always kills your opponent if they have over 30% of damage before being hit. They are unique to the character and look amazing.

The assist trophys are just an added perk if you are a Nintendo fanboy such as myself. Grabbing this item, you have a random Nintendo character pop from inside. Be it Lyn from Fire Emblem, or a Labrador puppy from Nintendogs, they really put thought into these. Each character that pops out does something that’s a signature move in collaboration with its game. Even Little Mac made it!

Ahh man, all this. Does it get any better? Yep. The characters:

The first thing I said when I saw the characters was wow. I was simply blown away. 35 total characters, which is definitely the most yet. This doesn’t count two transformations: Zelda to Shiek and Samus to Zero Suit Samus. How about them apples? And believe me when I say that each of these characters are absolutely phenomenal. I still wish they would make a few of them more unique but hey, there are more than enough characters to fill your needs somewhere.

So with that all being said, you’re probably wondering if there is a flaw in this game. Unfortunately there is, but it doesn’t even lie in the game itself. The load times are not so great. The game is a dual layer disk so it takes the Wii greater effort to find the data it needs, and the most load time I’ve run into was about 8 or 9 seconds. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but it adds up when you want to play a quick game.

Overall though this game is above and beyond everything it has ever done. If you’re thinking about getting into the series for the first time, and are on the fence about it, climb on over, its definitely worth it. Even if you played (or own) the other two games, buy this one too, because there are enough things to do to keep you busy for a long time.

Did I mention there is a wall of unlockables? :]

Rating:
9.5 / 10

Excite Truck – Nintendo – Nintendo Wii

When I first looked at this game, I was so skeptical about it. I peered it and eyeballed it and even tried a demo in a store, and still wasn’t impressed with it. But I figured, what the hell, I’m going to rent it and see what its all about. And now, after playing for at least 2 and a half hours, I’m going to buy it.

Gosh, where to start? The speed in this game is just out of this world. It puts a new meaning to you’re either first or last. And let me tell you, if you try and blink, you will be last. Don’t think its too fast to play though, its perfect in that aspect. The game is just…whoa. Imagine if you syphoned down like 4 energy drinks. That would be the equivilent of the speed this game is on. Its insane.

Its not your typical racer either. The game is all about the high flying, rubber burning speed from start to end. The jumps in this game are phenominal, and its just like, you can’t help but laugh when you come crashing on top of someone, or when you’re playing two players, and your friend laughs because you hit a jump and they see you fly in front of them on their screen. Its just outrageous how much fun this game can be.

The controls I’m happy, and a little disappointed in. But not disappointed in the wrong ways mind you. What they did for the controls works. They have the buttons doing your gas, brakes, and boost, while tilting your controller back and forth is the way to steer. They are flawless in this manner, and work wonderously with the game. However, a method of switching over to normal controls would have been a bit of a help, because there have been times when I forgot that if you’re not holding the controller horizontal, then your truck will drift off to either side. It became a fuss when I started getting tired, and wanted to lay down. Haha.

Visually, the game is beautiful. The graphics are rendered well, and things are smooth. Even with mass chaos going on (truck wrecks, flames from your boosts, etc) there isn’t one drop of lag, which makes for a promising game. The only time the game slows down is when you wreck, but its intentional to dramatize the crash.

Now, something that really put the icing on the cake is custom soundtracks. Should you have an SD card loaded into your Wii, with MP3’s on there, the game will recognize them, and you can jam to your favorite hits while you race. I nearly had a stroke when I saw the option. And chaning your music is easy as pie. I’ve never played a racing game that was this user friendly. It just really amazed me.

Overall the game is marvelous, and going from not really wanting to play, to oh my God I need this game right now, is really something, especially for me. If you own a Wii, you should defintely have this game as well.

Rating:

9.0 / 10