Madden NFL 07 is the first Madden game I’ve owned. It was one of the titles I had been interested in for quite some time. I was never much for sports games, but there was something different about this iteration in the Madden franchise. The Wii controls really make the football experience worthwhile.
Madden plays host to a few different game modes. There is the single-player Franchise mode, and the Multiplayer modes: 2 on 2, Kicking combined, and Y.A.C Attack (I’ll just be highlighting 2 on 2 and Y.A.C. Attack) The single-player mode has everything a football connoisseur could want. There are drafts and even fantasy team customizations. The single-player is pretty much the same as it has been for the Madden franchise. You can play through a single exhibition game, or go the whole season route.
The multiplayer in Madden really makes the game fun–especially when combined with the Wiimote’s unique features. 2 on 2 is the first of the multiplayer modes and allows for up to four players to match their skills in a short game of football. Each team is made up of only a quarterback and a receiver for the offense. The defense is made up of 2 players, one to rush and one to cover the receiver. This is a lot of fun especially when you have four friends playing.
The next multiplayer mode is Y.A.C. Attack. This mode’s name stands for “Yards After Completion”. The goal is get as many points by throwing completions for either lots of yards, or a touchdown. The more yards you run after completion the better with a TD giving you the most points. But a player can also receive “Bounty” points on defense. These points are rewarded for good coverage, great tackles, and forced incomplete passes.
The heart and soul of the game’s value comes in the way of the Wii controls. The Wiimote is used for passing, kicking, and some running maneuvers. The passing is done using a throwing motion of the Wiimote. The speed of your motion will determine if the pass is more of a lob or a bullet. The kicking is done with a swinging upward motion as if your arm was your leg. There are also a couple other functions for stiff arm, pump fake, and spinning. The nunchuk is used mainly for the running game. The analog stick is used for all movements in the game and you can motion left or right for juking left or right.
At this point, my Wii game library is comprised of only 4 games (including Wii Sports). I’ve saved the best game for last–The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
There are so many things to say about this game and most of you probably know everything about it. But, for those that don’t, I’ll try to give a comprehensive review anyway. I’ll try not to mention names or anything to spoil the game.
Twilight Princess starts out with everyone’s favorite pointy-eared hero: Link (or whatever you happen to call him). You start in a small village and progress through the game as most other games. Link is asked to deliver something to Hyrule Castle. Like most Zelda games, the story usually starts small and builds as you progress the game. This Zelda adventure is no different. The scope of the game, as far as you know in the beginning, is to deliver an item and save your friends. Isn’t it amazing how Link always gets himself into trouble after that? Anyways, after about 15 hours into the game, you start to see the BIG picture. The story balloons into the whole battle of good v. evil as you go on.
The story is absolutely amazing and is just as enjoyable playing through a second time. I haven’t beaten the game twice yet, but I’ve picked up on some things that make a lot more sense now. The story and characters really make Twilight Princess a true masterpiece. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the game. Some things you expect to happen don’t and others….well, you’ll see. Overall, the story immerses you even more so than the controls.
The gameplay in Twilight Princess is the pinnacle of puzzle-solving and adventure games. There is nothing more rewarding than going through a dungeon only to get stuck, then miraculously figure out the solution. I can remember at least 2 or 3 times when I stumbled upon a solution to a puzzle. Afterwards, I thought to myself: “There is no way I would’ve figured that out had I not been swinging my sword or shooting something.” Another great thing is how the game builds upon itself for more challenging obstacles. Trust me, it doesn’t get easier as you go along. I thought I had seen every possible type of puzzle since I’ve played all the games, but there are quite a few that had me stumped in the later levels. The gameplay is fun and engrossing the more you play. The controls complement the gameplay very well.
The controls, for the Wii version anyway, are very unique. The sword and other weapons like the bow are controlled with the Wiimote, while other movements are controlled using the nunchuk. The controls are very precise and create a very vivid interaction with objects and enemies around you. The accuracy of the Wiimote for aiming is pristine. I’ve never played anything that was more responsive and downright fun to use.
The ability to transform into a wolf is an amazing addition and adds new gameplay experiences to the Zelda series. Controlling the wolf has its advantages over being human. For one, wolf Link can run faster than human Link. There are also some other distinct advantages/disadvantages of each form, but some are probably spoilers. The game really needs to be played in order to fully experience everything.
Red Steel is a game that has come under fire ever since it was released and even before its release. I have played through most of the story mode and have played A LOT of multiplayer. I’m not sure if most of the reviewers that reviewed the game didn’t play through the game all the way or not–but it seems to me they didn’t give the game enough credit for what it sought to accomplish with new ways of using the Wiimote. Well, let’s get started on the story mode.
The storyline for Red Steel is different than most, but fits the mold of a few other games. You play as an American named Scott. Your fiancee has been kidnapped and you father-in-law is part of a Yakuza clan. There is another Yakuza group who is responsible for his daughter’s kidnapping. So, naturally, you’re the one that’s supposed to save her. The storyline develops more as you go along, but it really isn’t the strong point of the game. The story mode can be frustrating at times. You go through 5-10 checkpoints in each different level, which is good because you can load from these checkpoints. The annoying thing is that you die A LOT–so it’s a good thing they have lots of checkpoints. Overall, the story mode is engaging enough to keep you coming back and playing. It offers plenty of new sword skills and weapons to master as you progress.
One thing I wanted to mention that I LOVE about the game is the upgradable sword techniques. At first, I was pretty disappointed in the mediocre sword fighting. But the farther you get in the game, the more sword moves you can master. Some of the newer moves require a lot more coordination. The beginning moves don’t require much, but the more complex moves are quite rewarding. For example, one move requires that you slash the wiimote right, then left, then slash the nunchuk left. It does all these moves in succession on the screen, so it’s like a slash, slash, parry. Very cool. Anyways, on to the multiplayer.
Now the multiplayer is a little bit of a mixed bag. There are only 4 levels to choose from, but my friends and I couldn’t get enough of Red Steel. The multiplayer really is fun, even if you or some of your friends are struggling with the controls. It makes it really fun when you can get someone from the other side of the room with only a pistol, or being able to throw the grenade without blowing yourself up :D
Excite Truck was one of the games I purchased at launch, and one I’ve played almost non-stop since then. It’s a game that brings the fast-paced arcade style racing to the living room. I was skeptical at first to how the game would play, but my worries washed away in a splash of truck carnage.
Tricks and getting stars are the name of the game. While it’s good to get 1st in a race (you get 50 stars), the important thing is to get as many stars throughout the race. Big air, drifts, tree runs, air spins, truck smashes, and rings all add to your star count. The game provides plenty of unlockables as you progress through the game. There are tons of trucks, levels, tracks, and trophies to unlock.
Excite Truck has pretty intuitive controls. Most everyone I’ve played multiplayer with both experienced and non-experienced didn’t seem to have a problem picking the controls up. The multiplayer offers only 2-player support, but there’s a lot going on. I’m not sure it would be as fun looking at even a smaller split-screen, even if more of your friends could play. It’s a fun way to relax and get some fast-paced racing compared to something like Need for Speed.
Those who have been lucky enough to acquire a Wii have discovered the marvel that is Wii Sports. It was the first game I played and it is a perfect introductory title for the Wii’s innovative control scheme. I was surprised how small the wiimote was and how easily it fit in my hand. It felt natural and didn’t feel light or cheap. I inserted the disc and proceeded to play some Tennis.
At this point, it’s important to note that my learning curve starting off was a little different than most since I had seen many videos of ‘how to play.’ However, I was quite surprised when my parents and grandparents became interested in the game as I played. It took them no time at all to get used to the controls. My grandma, who has never played many games, played tennis like a pro after only 3 games of practice. I was astonished and knew that Nintendo’s simple philosophy made sense. They got used to the controls almost as fast as I did! All of us traded off playing singles (I only bought one extra wiimote at launch) and had a blast.
Ok, now onto the game itself. There are five games included: Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, Golf, and Boxing. Each of these games display different strengths of the wiimote. Tennis and Baseball show off the free range motion and 3d positioning features. Bowling really shows off the ability to sense tilting and/or spins. Golf takes these two features and teaches one how to control their swings/motion. Boxing is a fun game that pretty accurately shows depth with various punches and movements.
On top of all these games, the package features 3 practice modes for each sport. These modes help to hone your abilities as you improve in each sport. There are some very subtle improvements that can be made in each of the sports. This is where the depth comes into the game. It’s fun enough for anyone to pick up and play, yet has enough depth to provide hours of entertainment.