Over the last couple of weekends there has been a few interesting game releases for the Nintendo Wii. Taking a few days off from work, I was able to spend some time relaxing and trying out these games and here's what I have to say about them.
First up is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a Star Wars fan... I'm more adamant of Episodes four through six, but that's another story.
I was looking forward to seeing how the next big Star Wars release, from Lucas Arts, was going to take advantage of the unique controllers of the Wii. In this case, I think Lucas Arts did pretty well; although a one-to-one relationship with the Wii-mote would have been preferred. With that aside, the controls did feel pretty natural and did not get in the way with the game play.
However, I do have some issues with this game, which made it just an "average" Wii game, in my opinion.
One of the big flaws with this game was the AI controlled camera. The logic running this aspect of the game really made it frustrating to play. Much of my time was spent running towards the camera! I mean, how am I supposed to see what's coming at me when the game's camera is faced the wrong way? Or, in other situations, the camera was positioned my player, but stuck "behind" a wall or rock face. I still couldn't see what was going on because I was behind the thing to which my player was standing.
Instead of constantly rotating the camera around the player, why can't these game designers, instead, keep the camera behind the player but zoom in or out if objects get in the way? At least give the person a choice as to how the camera behaves. This, above all other flaws in the game, was the most irritating.
Next, was the adversaries. Talk about dumb. Every Lucas Arts video game I've played always has stupid AI "bad guys". Why can't they do something like the AI you find in the games from ID Games, like "Return to Castle Wolfenstein"? Okay, they're not perfect, but at least they make some effort in giving the AI some smarts and sorta-natural responses.
In this game, you can't sneak up on anyone or do any sort of cleaver attacks. These bad guys (well, good guys because you play the bad guy in this one) all follow the script and know where you're supposed to be and when you get there. Boring, if you ask me.
Which leads us to the combat in this game. Little to no imagination has been put in the game mechanics (Force powers aside). You battle and fight opponents. To increase the difficulty level, the game designers just throw more "bad" guys at you, who can take more damage from your lightsaber.
That reminds me, what Stormtrooper have you ever seen in Star Wars that can take dozens of lightsaber hits before going down? None! It's a *blipin* lightsaber! Cuts through anything, remember?! Yet, this game is full of them. I mean, there's a point in the game when you might as well put the lightsaber away and just pawn it for a blaster rifle. Because the only way to get through all of the fricken Troopers is with your Force powers.
Lastly, the game is far too short. In less than nine hours of game play, I was done, and because of the irritating aspects of the game (which I just described), I'm not all that motivated to play again any time soon. There isn't any really interesting side stories or challenges to try and go back to complete... at least, not for me.
Compare that to a game like Zelda: Twilight Princess. I was given that game as a gift last Christmas, I've clocked more than 50 hours playing it and I still haven't reached the end. Not to mention the side missions that I've left uncompleted! Now that's $50.00 well spent. Can't say the same for The Force Unleashed.
It's Star Wars and it makes great use of the Wiimote controller, so it is a game worth trying. But I would not rate it as one of my favorite Wii games.
Now, another game I recently picked up is "De Blob". This is a funny kind of game in which you're a blob and you must save your land from a bunch of baddies (globs of ink) who have removed all the colour out of the world. So, you must literally paint the town and rescue your fellow blobs that have all had their colours sucked out of them.
It's a simple game, but it's fun and challenging. The AI camera is a little annoying, but not as much as in Force Unleashed - and you also have the ability of moving the camera yourself if you need to see something, or somewhere important.
There's all kinds of challenges in this game, too, which adds to it's replay value. You get points (and unlock certain aspects of the game) by finding and colouring all of the blob folk, or colouring a certain percentage of the town, or reviving all of the trees, sqashing the inkies (the baddies), painting all the billboards, etc.
One of the most funniest parts I've seen so far is when you're challenged to reclaim a monument in one of the cities that the bad Inkies have turned into the "Church of Inktology". Classic.
You also have certain challenges where you must mix colours (blue, red or yellow) to create certain colours need to revive parts of the city.
The funky seventies-type music also adds some fun to the game. As you accomplish certain challenges, you also unlock more sound tracks, which you can choose when starting a new level. You'll also notice, by watching the video below, the more of the town you paint, the music gets "funkier". Nice touch.
My only major gripe with this game is the jumping. Well not so much the jumping, but the "sticking". You can stick to building surfaces to help get around, but I just find this to get in the way of my jumping. Several times, when I'm trying to make a crucial jump, I find that my timing gets all messed up because Blob is sticking to the side of a building.
Anyway, I made a short video of this game in action. Take a look and later, if you have a Wii, give De Blob a spin for yourself. I think it's this season's sleeper game for the Wii.