10 Wii games that kicked ass in 2010

Right, it’s that time of year again. No one wants to write about the “best Wii games of 2010” so they get ol’ Nintendo fanboy Elston to cobble a list together. Well, you know what? Screw you guys. Wii takes a lot of shit from all sides, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are outstanding games coming out (almost) every month. C’mon, once you get past the shovelware, the needless motion controls, lackluster online support and sub-HD graphics, there’s… uh, OK yeah that sounds awful.

But even with all those setbacks, these 10 non-Nintendo titles managed to create interesting worlds, new ideas and memorable stories that so many of us “real” gamers passed on.

Red Steel 2

The quick sell: The best use of MotionPlus to date, engrossing combat and visuals that won’t make your eyes rot.

Considering how hard we all were burned by the first Red Steel, it’s easy to understand why so many completely ignored the second. We were promised a mix of motion-controlled sword fighting and accurate first-person shooting, but what we got was a drab, janky FPS. For the sequel, Ubi ditched everything related to the first game and reinvented Red Steel as a sci-fi Western tale of revenge. Sort of like Firely mixed with Borderlands and samurai.

So it was better than the first – big deal, right? Oh, it’s much more impressive than that. Red Steel 2 made expert use of Wii MotionPlus, giving you a remarkable amount of freedom when it came to slicing and dicing the bad guys. In addition to the usual slashes, you could thrust enemies into the air, sneakily stab someone behind you or break their defenses with an aggressive overhead chop. But the waggle isn’t tacked on at all – you must use all of these moves to survive, and the game does a great job of keeping you in practice with all the various attacks. I see a lot of other games touted as “the best FPS on the Wii,” and it’s never Red Steel 2 – so apparently even most of the games industry didn’t bother playing it either.

Red Steel 2 review – 9/10

Epic Mickey

The quick sell: An incredibly dense 3D platformer featuring the most meaningful motion controls to date.

If anybody caught more crap than Epic Mickey’s camera, it was us for calling it “better” than Super Mario Galaxy 2. Perhaps a better choice of words would’ve been that it’s more “impressive” or “ambitious,” but hey, we don’t rate games for what they almost did. Epic Mickey mastermind Warren Spector addressed his critics by making the claim that third-person cameras are notoriously difficult, and that nobody’s really gotten it 100% right. We can’t help but agree, and to that end, you could argue Galaxy 2 didn’t really try.

It’s not just that the surprising sequel didn’t innovate much, when you look at Epic Mickey’s branching, Disneyana-infused ecosystem that responds dynamically to the player’s choice; it makes Mario’s floating, wall-less islands and their clearly defined paths and nearly static cameras look decidedly last gen by comparison. As troublesome as you may find Epic Mickey’s flaws, they don’t outweigh all the nuances that make for one of the most substantial evolutions the genre’s seen in years.

Epic Mickey review – 9/10

Cave Story

The quick sell: The best NES game you never played

Even though Cave Story’s been on PC since 2004, a surprising number of dedicated gamers still don’t know it exists – I sure didn’t prior to this month. Once I got around to it though, I found a loving homage to 8-bit games like Blaster Master and Metroid that anyone born in the ‘80s should play. Great sprite graphics, upgradable weapons, fantastic NES-style music, it’s all here. Cave Story is a double-tough sell (not just Wii – WiiWARE), but c’mon guys, give it a shot.

And let’s say you DID know about Cave Story, the free PC game that you totally played two years ago and are so over. Well, this is an expanded version, and more importantly, its sole programmer can finally get some cash for his years-long labor of love. God forbid you give him $12 for all his trouble!

Cave Story review – 9/10

No More Heroes 2

The quick sell: The biggest, bloodiest, silliest, most game-referencing punk-rock lightsaber-assassin brawler ever to appear on a Nintendo console.

If there’s any consolation to be had in the dismal sales of the No More Heroes games, it’s that we can say the franchise is simply too awesome to live. Centering around the insane, hyperstylized adventures of embarrassingly geeky punk assassin Travis Touchdown, No More Heroes 2 is a fast, endlessly fun brawler, but there’s a lot more going on here than just simple hack and slash. There are also incredibly slick visuals, smartly realized game and anime parodies, wildly original themed bosses, some of the most satisfyingly nasty violence you’ll find on any console, and, well, this:

More than just an extension of the first game’s action, NMH2 streamlined the experience, stripping out the clunky free exploration and replacing the tedious between-mission jobs with surprisingly fun 8-bit minigames. It also introduced a couple of new playable characters, and while playing as Travis’s self-proclaimed student Shinobu introduced one of the game’s only boring bits – her awful jumping puzzles – she and Henry (Travis’s long-lost twin brother) were still a couple of the game’s highlights. Also, while NMH2 wasn’t waggle-heavy (you attacked with buttons, the way God intended), it let players ditch the Wii remote entirely and play with a Classic controller, an option we’d like to see more games offer. If you ignored this – and, let’s face it, odds are you did – you’ve missed out on one of the most unique experiences of the year. The good news is that it’s since had its price slashed down to around $15, so grabbing it now shouldn’t be too difficult to justify.

No More Heroes 2 review – 9/10


  • LOZ4EVAH - June 28, 2011 8:51 p.m.

    I owned No More Heroes 2, Goldeneye, Red Steel 2 and they al ruled! Especially NMH 2 and Red Steel 2. Wanna get more of the games on the list! Wii FTW
  • nightmare12 - April 23, 2011 3:24 p.m.

    im surprised that sonic didnt get on here. and i was thinking about getting that red steel 2 but now not so much xD. and yeah i agree monster hunter tri is by far the best monster hunter to date. it makes it easier to get the best Armour when your with friends (or just random nerds. i completely forgot how to play freedom unite because IT HAS NO INFRASTRUCTURE.thats what i think irritated most of the hunters in the world that the psp had all these internet games (which what i think it was made for) and yet monster hunter didnt make it into the category of world wide play.
  • pastycaucasian - January 18, 2011 8:59 p.m.

    Most of these games are so good to play, but know one really bought them. I mean Red Steel 2 and No More Hero's 2 are some of the best games that I played in 2010.
  • AWBrawler - January 16, 2011 4:34 a.m.

    I played all of em but NBA Jam, Kiwi and only only havent got Epic Mickey yet, cos it was sold out
  • Prinny - December 22, 2010 1:52 a.m.

    i might actually buy monster hunter now. Though I'd have to say the commercial for it didn't captivate me.
  • Ninjadmin - December 21, 2010 2:11 p.m.

    Apart from NMH2 & Cave Story thats a pretty shitty list.
  • crumbdunky - December 21, 2010 1:45 a.m.

    Epic Mickey, I'm afraid(though I gave it every chance EVEN as a devout hater of Disney), cannot be forgiven for that camera. There's some great ideas and decent moments in the game(though it's WAY more shallow than it would like you to notice)but the remarkably dull start to the game, some surprisingly naff animations and the worst camera with game ruining capabilities since NG2(360) make it damn hard work to see. I nearly quit bothering after three hours and though the game improves it still never gets near what we were promised by the hype wagon-no matter how much GR loves it it will remain a Marmite game at best and, at worst, fairly remembered for the most amateur camera ever. NMH2 was great, though, as was most of Ninty's own stuff even if finding out(IO'm told) that the anime Samus is a whiny wet softie who you'd think incapable of the cool ass kicking in other Metroid games was the worst revelation of my life and good enough reason for me NEVER to watch any Anime ever again. Seriously, Samus was always daddy issue soft arse needy girl in the anime/comics? My favourite franchise ever ruined forever, sadly. It appears I just never knew her at all, sniff.
  • suicidalpigeon - December 20, 2010 1:04 a.m.
  • Spybreak8 - December 18, 2010 11:15 p.m.

    Good article and I might pick up a Wii down the line for these, yet I see it more likely I'll be emulating these games on a pc in the future. I'm more than happy with the 100+ games I have with my Xbox 360 and the 100 friends list I've accumulated over the years. Looks at availably of good games + where friend's are playing = decision of gaming system.
  • DudeNips - December 18, 2010 10:41 p.m.

    My wii got received an honorable death...on craigslist.
  • Bobbety - December 18, 2010 4:48 a.m.

    I remember playing Cave Story on PC waaay back when.
  • c03n3nj0 - December 18, 2010 1:25 a.m.

    "Ugh, the Wii sucks. But there's these GREAT games you should buy! (even though it sucks n' stuff)" -____________- At least don't bash something at each opportunity if you're trying to be positive. Anyhow, besides that, I agree with this list. Great games.
  • Hamburgers - December 17, 2010 11:06 p.m.

    Glad you made this article. It still pisses me off people see this as a console for kids just because it lacks the graphical prowess of the other systems. It's got the most unique, classic games of the three consoles. Plus the Wii's games feel more like games and less like cinematic experiences to me.
  • g4m3rk1dd - December 17, 2010 9:51 p.m.

    i really want Tat v Cap for the 360...
  • JoyfulZombie - December 17, 2010 9:22 p.m.

    No More Heroes 2 and Bayonetta are actually tied for my favorite game of the year. Unfortunately, I doubt the wii will have such at outstanding time next year.
  • Metroidhunter32 - December 17, 2010 7:17 p.m.

    Yay for sky crawlers, somebody else both got it and realized how great it is. I stil think the tmc system is cheating though.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - December 17, 2010 6:14 p.m.

    ^Take it up with Chris!
  • Aletheon - December 17, 2010 3:39 p.m.

    I like Epic Mickey, but the comments in this article made about SMG2 were bordering on brain dead. Calling SMG2 last gen in comparison to Epic Mickey might be the most defensive and desperate comment I've ever seen online. The 2 games have nothing in common. You don't need to stretch and bash SMG2 to make EM look better. It doesn't work. It didn't work. And you just made this website seem way more idiotic than I previously thought it could be.
  • KuwaSanjuro - December 17, 2010 2:52 p.m.

    In the Nintendo image what game is that black and white picture from, I don't recognize it.
  • philipshaw - December 17, 2010 2:20 p.m.

    Played like half of this stuff, must check out some of the other stuff I haven't played when the January sales come soon

Showing 1-20 of 57 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000