Last year the Wii clearly had its best year so far. Not only did 2010 bring us fantastic installments in almost every major Nintendo franchise, the white waggle box saw a flourish of third-party support, an increase in great WiiWare titles and, in my eyes anyway, a decrease in the shovelware crap that has plagued the system. But, with the Wii’s hardware getting more and more out of date, Sony and Microsoft jumping on the motion control bandwagon, and the 3DS landing next year, is the little system that no one believed in, and yet still changed the face of the gaming industry, coming around the bend to the finish line?
Not if 2011 has anything to say about it. While at the moment the announced list of games for the Wii is not as long as its competitors, it should be remembered that at the start of 2010 the games on the Wii’s horizon weren’t so plentiful either. If things go the same way as they did this past year then 2011 could be pretty awesome. So we continue our look at 2011 with the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, PSP and 3DS/DS and now the Wii.
Join me and the always exciting Jonathan “I’m always exciting” Holmes as we lay out the games we’re most looking forward to in 2011.
The Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword (Wii)
To be released: 2011
Is duh enough to write here? Because, duh.
No? You need more. How about this: from all indications, Skyward Sword is taking the Zelda franchise down a different path. Not only are we now going to be controlling Link’s sword fighting through the one-to-one controls of Wii MotionPlus, but in an insanely risky move, the developers are strongly hinting at the fact that the very fundamentals of a Zelda game are getting shook up. Who knows how much they’re actually going to change things (if it ain’t broke, why fix it?), but even not knowing gets you more excited for this game.
Plus, they finally seem to have found a great art style that balances out the more mature look of Twilight Princess with the amazingly gorgeous cartoon style of Windwaker.
Zelda has never let me down and I’m not expecting it to start now.
The Last Story (Wii)
To be released: TBD
I’ve completed in their entirety two JRPGs in the past six years. One was the re-release of Chrono Trigger on the DS and the other was Mistwalker’s Lost Odyssey. This should tell you how excited I am about The Last Story. Not only is it Mistwalker developed, but this is the first game that Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has directed in 18 years. You don’t jut come back into directing after 18 years for anything, so The Last Story has got to have something special.
Earlier this week we got a solid look at the game’s fighting system, but still no U.S. release (please for the love of everything get one). We’ve also had trailers, story info, and the official site to drool over. It’s fantasy based, and like many modern JRPGs will have mix of real-time and turn-based combat. It also will feature six-player online gaming, making it a true standout on the platform.
From the pedigree of its developers to the fact that the Wii needs some deeper, lengthy games, there shouldn’t be a Wii owner out there who isn’t clamoring for this one.
Lost in Shadow (Wii)
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Soft
To be released: January 4, 2011
As you can see above, we actually won’t have to wait very long into 2011 for Lost in Shadow. In fact the incredibly interesting looking Wii exclusive has already released in Europe and Japan to some oddly mixed reviews. Some can’t get enough of it and others say it doesn’t really live up to its concept of a boy’s shadow using the shadows of objects in the world to navigate his way back to the boy.
To tell the truth, the mixed reviews only make me more intrigued by the art house looking game. It’s no secret that the place for platform gaming is the Wii and this game simply looks too interesting to pass up. Even a failed attempt at something intriguing and different is better than no attempt at all, but I just have a feeling that I’m going to land on the side that says this game was a great success.
The Conduit 2 (Wii)
Developer: High Voltage
To be released: Feb. 15, 2011
Look, we all know that The Conduit had its issues. A complete lack of character development, sub-par level design and more cliches than you thought one could cram into a single game were just a few of them. However, it was still a really fun shooter and absolutely nailed how a shooter should be done on the Wii. It also contained some of the best multiplayer on the platform to date.
Thus it is easy to understand why we should be excited for The Conduit 2. Take all the great things about the original, and then improve on all the bad things. It’s as easy as that, and High Voltage has been saying that is exactly what they’re going to do. If that’s the case we won’t just be seeing a great shooter on the Wii, but a great shooter on any platform.
Rhythm Heaven (Wii)
To be released: TBA
If you’ve played Rhythm Heaven on the DS then you know … stop tapping your foot.
If you’ve played the game on the DS you know what … really, I know one of the tunes from Rhythm Heaven is in your head, but stop tapping your foot.
If you picked up the DS Rhythm Heaven you know that the game is not only addictive, but also has some … seriously, that’s really annoying. Stop tapping your damn foot.
If you … STOP!
*Ahem* DS Rhythm Heaven was awesome, Wii version should be too if it ever actually comes out in the West. There, was that so hard?
Nice list, Matt! In fact, you picked most of the games I wanted to talk about. If that we’re bad enough, a lot of the other Wii games I want right now are just rumored, like that non-sports Mario and Sonic game, that vitality sensor survival horror game, and of course, the full library of the “Wii 2“.
That said, there are +5 exciting Wii games that I’m sure will exist in some form or another. Let’s just hope they all come out in the United Stated. Speaking of which, lets start out with …
Night of the Sacrifice (Wii)
Developer: Marvelous Entertainment
Publisher: Marvelous Entertainment
To be released: March 24, 2011 (Japan) TBA (U.S and Europe)
There are a lot of reasons to be excited about Night of the Sacrifice. For one, the art direction is amazing. A mix of semi-realistic characters and Feel the Magic-style flat-people in a survival horror game? I’ve never seen anything like that in a survival horror game, which is saying a lot considering how many survival horror games I’ve played.
Then you have the giant ghosts, chainsaw wielding maniacs, strange women and their creepy staring contests, and the option to play with the balance board. What? Really? For better or worse, that’s a combination that’s worth keeping an eye on. Given Marvelous’s excellent track record on the Wii (including Little King’s Story, No More Hereos, and Muramasa), I’m leaning towards “better”, but either way, I’m excited.
Developer: Monolith Software
To be released: June 10, 2010 (Japan) TBA (U.S. and Europe)
I’m going to be play this game in 2011. Nintendo is going to release it in the United States (though that’s looking less and less likely), or I’m going to import it. Either way, going to happen, and that’s why it’s still one of my most anticipated games on 2011.
I had the chance to play the game for a few minutes when I was in Tokyo earlier this year, and it was totally engrossing. It’s not quite as beautiful as Matt’s pick of The Last Story, but the concept (traverse the petrified bodies of two fallen Gods), the soundtrack (by an all-star team including Yoko Shimomura, Manami Kiyota, Yasunori Mitsuda, and ACE+) were more than enough to make up for that.
Don’t make me import this one, Nintendo. I’ll have fun with the game either way, but it would be great to not have to look over at a translation FAQ the whole time that I play it (like I did with Ripening Tingle’s Balloon Trip of Love and Welcome Home Chibi-Robo! Happy, Rich Big Sweep!).
Retro City Rampage/de Blob 2/Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, various other consoles)
Developer: VBlank studios/Blue Tongue/Traveler’s Tales
To be released: June 10, 2010 (Japan) TBA (U.S. and Europe)
I’m really excited about all three of these games, and each really deserves their own spot on this list, but because they’re all multi-platform, their going to have to share one entry.
All three of these games are headed to HD platforms, but I’m still going to get them on the Wii. Lego Star Wars III is going to be a big deal, with over 175 playable characters (including some from The Force Unleashed), and over 300 interactive NPCs on-screen at once. That promises to be quite the spectacle, but I’d just as soon save $10 and get my lego in standard definition. Same goes for de Blob 2, which I got to play earlier this year on the Xbox 360. The game looked amazing, but more importantly, it played amazing. I don’t really have a HD or SD preference with highly stylized looking game like this, so I’ll likely go with the cheapest option (the Wii).
As for Retro City Rampage, since the game is going to be cheap, I can afford to get it on WiiWare and XBLA. It’s coming out on XBLA first, so I’ll have to buy it then, but I can’t deny the allure of playing the game again with the Wii remote turned on its side. There’s just something perfect about playing pseudo-NES gamea with the old control pad and two button layout. It’s also undeniably cool (for an old man like me, anyway) to relive some Tanooki suit memories in Super Mario 3 (via the Super Mario All-Stars collection), then instantly switch over to Retro City Rampage, where I can use the same suit to fly into traffic and rob hordes of defenseless pedestrians.
New Fatal Frame (Wii)
To be released: TBA
We know next to nothing about this one, except that it looks like a remake of Fatal Frame 2, and that it’s set for release in Japan sometime in 2011 in Japan. As a huge fan of the series, that’s enough for me. Just like with Xenoblade and Night of the Sacrifice, I will import this sucker if I have to. Nothing will come between me and getting spooked out by those creepy and beautiful ghost-hunting girls.
Best case scenario, some brave publisher will pick this game up and Fatal Frame 4 and bring them both to the U.S. and Europe in some sort of collection. Barring that, there’s always the chance that the same team who brought us that borderline-magical Fatal Frame 4 translation patch will translate this new Fatal Frame game for us too.
Worst case scenario, I’ll just import the game and play it with a (sigh) translation FAQ. Oh Nintendo of America, why can’t you reliably bring your awesome Japanese games to the United States? It’s almost like you’re trying to make me hate you.
New Bit.Trip stuff (WiiWare, various other consoles maybe)
Developer: Gaijin Games
Publisher: Aksys GAmes
To be released: TBA 2011
At first, I was just going to tell you about how much I want Bit.Trip FLUX. I recently got to play through the game, and it was one of the most enjoyable, eye-opening experiences I’ve had in a long time.
As soon as I finished it, I immediately starting replaying it, and the game was even more fun the second time through. I can only think of a couple of other times I’ve experience that sort of intense re-playability with a game (Resident Evil 4 and Mega Man 2 immediately come to mind). I think there’s a good chance we’re got a 10/10 here. Besides, FLUX is the culmination of one of my favorite series ever, so obviously I’m excited.
Still, I’m arguably even more excited about the other Bit.Trip stuff that I know is coming in 2011. Sadly, I can’t tell you exactly what this stuff is, what console it’s coming to, etc. (though since this is 2011’s most wanted Wii games list, you can guess that at least some of this new stuff is coming to the Wii). Rest assured though, 2011 will be the best year for the Bit.Trip series ever.
Additional staff picks for the Wii:
Colette Bennett: Xenoblade
Chad Concelmo: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, The Last Story, de Blob 2
Hamza Aziz: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Night of the Sacrifice
This is just a selection of our most anticipated games for the Wii. There are a ton of great games coming out next year, and we want to hear from you what YOUR most wanted Wii game of 2011 is (use this giant list to help you figure out what’s coming out.) Leave a comment telling us the games you want the most, and we’ll tally up your votes to reveal on Monday what the most anticipated games of 2011 are from the Destructoid community.