The Wii has probably the most underrated library out of any other console. Why? Well, because the system gets so much flack from most gamers. Granted, a lot of the negative attention is warranted as the system is plagued with shovel-ware, bargain bin games and awkward motion controls that are viewed primarily as a gimmick. That being said, there are some amazing games on the Wii that either use the Wii Remote to their advantage or practically ignore it and instead opt for a more serviceable control scheme. Many of these games, nay, most of these games were developed by Nintendo themselves. However, a good many of them were made by third-party developers, most of which were Wii exclusives. The following is a list of my Top 10 third-party games. I had a tough time creating this list, but I think these titles stand-out the most.
10. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Shattered Memories is the best Silent Hill game to come out in a long time. While some may have issues with the controls for Shattered Memories on the Wii, it’s still one of the best third-party games for the console. Frankly, I find that the Wii Remote works like a charm for all of the puzzle solving. Basically, the game is a reimagining of the original with new plot twists and characters. It is a compelling game that offers great moment after great moment. I’m surprised I liked this game as much as I did, as I’m not really big on the survival horror genre. That being said, I can understand the appeal and Shattered Dimensions is one of the best, if not the best, horror game on the Wii.
9. Trauma Team
Atlus’ Trauma Center series is one of my favorites, and I love them all. They all demonstrate just how capable the Wii controls can be given the right kind of game, and Trauma Team probably does it best. Don’t get me wrong, all of the Trauma Center games for the Wii are great, but Trauma Team is easily my favorite. There is more variety to the gameplay, it probably has the best story and I love how intense the game can get as you move back and forth between patients during “First Response”. Great puzzles, too. Atlus is one of the best developers/publishers out there, and Trauma Team only helps prove that fact.
8. The Last Story
Hironobu Sakaguchi, famed creator of the Final Fantasy series, has developed a few gems since creating Mistwalker studios, and The Last Story is one of them. While certainly not Sakaguchi’s best, it is one of the best JRPGs for the Wii. The combat might be a little clunky, but Sakaguchi crafted a wonderful world filled with likeable characters and a great story. Essentially, the game successfully captures the spirit of classic JRPGs while at the same time progresses the genre, much like Sakaguchi’s brilliant Lost Odyssey. The best part? Sakaguchi once again brings legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu to compose The Last Story’s soundtrack. The music is very different from what Uematsu normally delivers, so much so that he almost quit working on The Last Story, but it’s still great to hear him break out of his comfort zone.
Sure, the campaign is only 4 hours long, but it’s some of the best 4 hours you’ll ever spend on the Wii. MadWorld is a fine beat ‘em up with great Sin City-esque black and white visuals, fantastic combat and great music. As Platinum Games’ debut title, MadWorld showcases the over-the-top, fast-paced and darkly humorous games that would inevitably become the bulk of their library. This is easily one of the most fun experiences you’ll have the one Wii, and you should definitely check it out if you missed out on it. Besides, you really can’t go wrong with the hilarious commentary provided by Greg Proops and John DiMaggio.
6. Deadly Creatures
Ever want to eavesdrop on Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Hopper as they search for gold in the Sonoran desert? No? Well, you should, because that’s what Deadly Creatures is all about. Well, other than using a scorpion or a tarantula to battle rats, insects and reptiles. The combat might be a little clunky, but the fly-on-the-wall narrative is where Deadly Creatures makes up for its shortcomings. This game is severely underrated and every Wii owner should give it a shot.
5. Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Vanillaware, best known for their Playstation 2 games Odin Sphere and GrimGrimoire, crafted one of the best side-scrollers the Wii has to offer with Muramasa: The Demon Blade. Controlling either Kisuke the ninja or the princess Momohime, Muramasa tells two connected stories. Kisuke is a falsely-accused fugitive suffering from amnesia that’s on the run from his pursuers, and Momhime has been possesed by the soul of a swordsman. My favorite part about this game, other than the action, narrative and stylish art design, is the three modes available to play through the game: Muso, Shura, and Shigurui. Shura focuses on action, Muso is more focused on RPG-elements and Shigurui makes it so either Kisuki or Momhime have just one health throughout the entire game. Muramasa is really polished and doesn’t get enough praise; it should make a great addition to anyone’s Wii library
4. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
Oh, Treasure. Your games are slick and well-designed, yet astonishingly difficult. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is the sequel to the Sin & Punishment originally released in Japan for the Nintendo 64, and it’s an insanely good time. Sure, it’s challenging like most games developed by Treasure, but that’s what makes their games so rewarding. Star Successor’s shooting-gallery gameplay a la Wild Guns or Cabal is perfect for the Wii Remote, and the intense action coupled with eye-popping visuals are sure to keep any arcade shooter fan satisfied. Star Successor is one of the best games the Wii has to offer, and it’s perfect for masochistic gamers that enjoy a good thrashing now and again.
With Zelda-inspired gameplay, gorgeous cell shaded art design and an incredible score, Okami is a blissful interactive painting that is one of the Wii’s best treasures. Taking cues from Japanese mythology, you control the wolf-form of the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu as she saves the land from darkness. While the original Playstation 2 version is also remarkable, the Wii version is equally as good. The motion controls are serviceable for combat, but they make painting with the Celestial Brush that much more enjoyable. Okami is perhaps Hideki Kamiya’s finest work, and I expect this game to keep on appearing “Best Of” lists for years to come.
2. Xenoblade Chronicles
Yeah, I might be cheating here. I suppose that technically Xenoblade Chronicles is a “second-party” game since Monolith Soft is a subsidiary of Nintendo, but ya know what? I don’t care. This wasn’t developed in-house, so I’m counting it as “third-party.” This game has become a cult-classic fast, and deservedly so. It’s a great open-world action-RPG that pushes the Wii to its limits. Practically everything about this game is brilliant, and it would take much more than a paragraph to describe its grandeur. Seriously, if you don’t mind dropping some coin, go buy this game. It’s worth it. What’s that you say? If it’s so amazing why is it number two instead of number one? Because honestly, there was one game (two, really) that I liked better. Also, this is my list.
1. No More Heroes (series)
I might be cheating here again, but you really need to play both entries in the No More Heroes series to get the whole experience. Both of these games feature Suda51 doing what he does best — social commentary, crass humor and unique gameplay. Travis Touchdown, an otaku that actually gets out of the house, is the perfect shameless protagonist, and the clever mini-games stuffed in both games provide for an experience you’ll want to revisit. Like most Suda51 games, No More Heroes is an insane and demented romp that has absolutely no shame. It’d be great if Suda would make another No More Heroes title, but his next game Killer Is Dead looks absolutely mental. While I wait impatiently for Killer Is Dead, more so given the fact the lackluster Lollipop Chainsaw was Suda’s most recent effort, I’ll continue to cause chaos in Santa Destroy with my beam katana.