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LONG BLOG

Wii REVIEWS: Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaross' Treasure

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For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:

http://www.gamesradar.com/best-wii-games-all-time/

I decided to go back and play those 50 games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I hae not played before. Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

28- Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaross' Treasure:
Year: 2007.
Genre: Adventure, Puzzles.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom.

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Obviously, Zack & Wiki was a labor of love for Capcom. Some individuals in the company probably carried this idea in their mind for a long time, and the Wii gave a perfect chance for that idea to emerge and take place.

Both a homage to point-and-click adventure games of the 90s, and an evolution of them, Zack & Wiki is unlike anything Capcom have done before. This resulted in a unique game with lots of heart and thought put into it. A game that actually manages to be classic Capcom in a time the company began to struggle.

"The pair of heroes, in a journey to pay back some debts.... Scratch that, to make their dreams come true"

The game begins with a blast. A literal one, as the rival Rose Rock pirates blasts our titular heroes airplane from the sky. In a quick scene that introduces both the wacky style of the game and its gameplay, Zack must survive the fall by using an umbrella to slow down his fall. His pal, the magical talking monkey, Wiki, is unperturbed. Sure, Zack might become pancake any second now, but Wiki can fly and make some puns along the way.

After surviving the fall, and then surviving the airplane falling on them, the pair of unlikely heroes discover a treasure chest. Obviously, the chest is haunted, but pirates do not really care much about curses. And so, Zack opens the chest, just to find the floating talking skull of the infamous pirate, Barbaros.

You can't look ahead to adventure without looking towards the ocean in this pose

Despite Barbaros being obviously evil (the game does not attempt to hide that), he promises Zack and his crew the famous Legendary Ship. With that promise, Zack & Wiki embark in a journey to search for Captain Barbaros' many missing parts.

While the comedy doesn't always register, and we cannot really say the story is in the level of great masterpieces like Monkey Island, it still has its charm. Among Capcom's games, I would say its style is closest to the underrated Tron Bonne games.

Zack's silent movie antics are sometimes funny, and the dialogue is smart and worth a smile, if not a laugh. Ultimately, its a good enough story if you like something similar to Saturday Night Cartoons, even if it doesn't always manage to hit those heights.

Good Funny Story: +3
Good Funny Characters: +3

"The reward is set. I leave putting me back together in your capable hands, Zack"

Unlike the adventure games its inspired from, Zack & Wiki abandons the interconnected stages in favor of smaller self contained puzzles. This means you won't be hauling lipstick you found in the beginning of the game that you need to use before the final fight.

Each stage ends with opening a chest containing one of Barbaros's golden bones, but you need to get to that chest first. At the beginning, the stages are small, and the puzzle solution is immediately apparent.

This quickly changes, as with the fourth stage, the puzzles start becoming more multi-tiered and fun. Take level 4 or 5 for example. You need to go swim under a small lake to reach the chest. However, a dangerous fish will eat you if you try to go in too deep. The solution involves getting rid of the fish, draining the lake, and filling it up back again.

This looks easy, but oh shit what's that in the water

Generally, you interact with the stages through pointing an clicking with the Wiimote. When interacting with something, almost always you are going to use motion control. Many times, you will need to use item laying around. One type of items is especially interesting though. Enemies can be turned into items easily, and they can be turned back. This makes for an interesting dual usage of enemies, where they can help solve the puzzle by turning them into items as well as turning them back to enemies.

I can say that most stages are fun, and figuring out how to solve the puzzle is both challenging and intellectually satisfying. However, longer stage suffer because of the frustrating lack of a checkpoint system that doesn't punish you. There is a failure state in the game, mostly when you die, and the game revives you with the increased insult of docking points from you.

Some would argue this rewards players who solve the puzzle without dying. However, it really rewards players who play the stage another time, because many of the deaths I had were unavoidable without knowing what is happening next.

Fun Smaller Stages: +3
Some Really Clever Puzzles: +3
No Free Checkpoints: -2

"Just a little longer and we would have been flattened, smooshed, and squished for good measure"

One reason the lack of checkpoints is frustrating is because you feel the resulting death to be unfair. Seeing the control scheme of the game to be Entirely driven by the Wiimote pointer and motion control, you might assume that is due to some motion control issue.

I can say that with the exception of the the last two stages, the Wii motion control is not responsible for any unfair deaths. That is not to say that it works perfectly, but to say that it is never used in a critical junction (apart from the last two stages) to cause any death. Which is just as well, because motion control wasn't developed enough in 2007 to allow it being used in such a critical role.

With that in mind, the myriad of problems associated with motion control are to be expected in Zack & Wiki, but also the number of bonuses as well. Nearly every action in the game requires the player to gesture with the Wiimote. This runs the gamut from pulling a lever, fishing, to a poor swordplay minigame.

Its rare, but sometimes you will be frusterated at more than not knowing how to solve the puzzle

Most of what the game tries to do, it pulls off, and being a slow paced puzzle game, it can afford the usual inaccuracies of motion control. In fact, the use of motion control makes the usual busy work of adventure games more interactive. Puling levers and turning knobs is more active.

In a way, its a simply different way of playing the genre, and while it doesn't add much to the overall experience. It also doesn't take away from it, with the exception when it does.

I noted that the game is slow paced. However, in one part of the game, its pure action and rhythm gameplay. The Baron Whatshisface shows up in a few stages and plays a tune. He asks you to shake the Wiimote in time with those tunes, and that's one of the most difficult things I ever done. Each time I see that Baron, I am suddenly nervous at the prospect of once again crying because the game doesn't recognize my shake, because my arms is tired from all the repeated attempts.

With the exception of the optional Baron minigame, and the last two stages, the motion control scheme of Zack & Wiki does not offend. However, when it doesn't work, it punishes you with a very obnoxious minigame and the lack of checkpoints mentioned above in the last two stages.

Unique Gameplay Control: +3
When that Control Doesn't Work: -4

"Simply amazing big guy. A pleasurable performance of pure pirate prowess"

With its unique gameplay and wacky style, Zack & Wiki wouldn't have worked with any art style. Capcom knew that, and they went through many revisions until they fixed upon the cel-shaded style we see here. We can obviously see the hard work that went in the graphics of the game. Through a treasure finidng mini-game, we are rewarded with concept art of various elements in show. Looking at that concept art, we see the painstaking detail that went into the game, from the smallest item Zack uses to the grand design of each stage.

Its obviously designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences, and it actually doesn't compromise its initial vision. That of a pirate boy and his magical monkey friend going into an adventure looking for treasure. Naturally, they must meet similarly wacky characters populating an adventurous world filled to the brim with homage to Indiana Jones and similar movies.

The game is sometimes very charming and cute

It is then suitable that the soundtrack is equally adventurous, with hints of Indiana's influence and a lot of epic tunes. But the soundtrack is not only epic, but also fun and funny. Zack & Wiki is not only inspired by pure adventure films, but inspired from the Saturday Night Cartoons parody of those films.

Which is why the sound-effects seems as if lifted from Cartoon Network, and the soundtrack includes some funnier tunes.

Capcom went on record blaming the art direction for the poor performance of the game. They might be right. However, that wouldn't be the fault of the excellent direction of the game and more a fault of the general uniform taste of the masses.

Very Good Graphics and Animation: +3
Very Good Music: +3

In Conclusion:

Zack & Wiki succeeds because its a labor of love. Even with its shortcomings, in both motion control and some weaker stages, it shines because there was so much attention to detail. It also succeeds because there isn't anything like it, and there probably wouldn't be anything like it.

At its purest, Zack & Wiki is a collection of clever puzzle boxes with a fun and cheerful style. Who doesn't enjoy clever puzzle boxes, even if they cannot complete all of them.

Final: 40/50

*****************************************************************

"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"

I think its an understatment to say that Anthony Burch liked Zack & Wiki, he was practically screaming at Dtoiders to buy the game as he gave it a 9.0 score. He sums it up here: "In the end, Zack and Wiki is an absolute blast. Through a combination of normal puzzles -- though admittedly, "normal" is a bit of a misnomer in a game where you use your flying, magical monkey friend to transform deadly enemies into useful items -- and incredibly rewarding motion control scenarios, Zack and Wiki feels like something totally familiar, yet incredibly new and original. Yeah, a couple of the Wiimote-reliant bits don't work very well and the gameplay kind of slumps in the middle, but these problems are relatively minor in the face of the sheer gameplay glee Zack and Wiki has to offer. It's the best game available on the system today, and one of the best and most innovative adventure games ever made."

The comments section for this review have apparnetly been nuked, so I couldn't fin any comments on the review.

You are sure to enjoy the game, unless you hate treasure

"Sales Data:"

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

Like many other wirder 3rd party games, Zack and Wiki did not perform especially well, managing to only pull in 420K Units sold. Capcom went on record calling the sales performance "Abysmal". Some balmed this on the Wii. However, it should be noted that this one in a string of highly rated Capcom games not selling well according to Capcom themselves. It was not isolated with Zack and Wiki or the Wii. Okami on the PS2 was one of the highest rated games on the console, and it flopped in sales.

Not that this was a problem with Capcom on two fronts. First, in promotoing their games and encouraging people to buy them. Second in actually budgeting the games for expected sales. note that Atlus regualarely make game that sell less than Zack and Wiki and still are fully satesfied with their performance.

"Tips"

1- For the Baron musical game, I suggest shaking the Wiimote TOWARDS YOURSELF, not away.
2- A good way to see how the can be solved is through seeing what enemies are there and what Items they can become.
3- Use the camera button to look around the stage.
4- If you are having trouble dying a lot in a stage, do buy platinum tickets to revive.
5- Try and not use hints, the best thing about finishing a stage is figuring it out yourself.

"Next Game"

Like many games on the Wii, Zack and Wiki was criminally underappreciated. However, that doesn't take out from what a good game it actually was. It is also worth mentioning that Capcom has a history of misfiring with critically acclaimed games.

Next game to review is an RPG, which means the review won't be coming for a long time. At #27, The Last Story is an RPG that was part of operation Rainfall, a ground roots movement from fans to bring three RPG games to North America.

Stay Tuned

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About Lord Spencerone of us since 5:57 PM on 01.12.2014

Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Seeing as my top 10 games of all time would change depending on the day you ask me, I am just going to put in Random games I don't think are in anyone's top 10 list:

-Blood Will Tell
-Mega Man Legends 2
-Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
-Donkey Kong Country 2
-Suikoden 2




Oh, and here is a link to my blogs:
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