Can Wii gamers be excited for 2009?

This time last year we only had Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii to fend off the baby sims and Mega Party Game Blasts. Nintendo was tight-lipped about E3 and the third party offerings were slim as usual – in other words, there was no respite from the casual flood in sight. Today though, we’re entering Wii’s third year of wiggle-waggle tyranny with a bit more spring in our step, ready to give the system we’ve delegated to permanent dust duty another chance.

What’s got us so motivated? Why, a series of console-exclusive games that could finally convince us to reintroduce the Wii into our regular gaming habits. Trouble is, are they enough? Will seven amazing, Wii-exclusive games be enough to spur further development that isn’t baby-wrangling or horseshoe tossing? And what if some of them are duds, nothing but a lot of promises and hype that ultimately amount to yet another so-so attempt? Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that, and that the following titles live up to the desperate, lofty goals we’ve set for them.

The game:
Muramasa: The Demon Blade

What is it?
A side-scrolling hack-and-slasher drenched in Japanese mythology.

Why you should care:
Developer Vanillaware is responsible for two of the decade’s most visually stunning games, Odin Sphere and GrimGrimoire. Despite the limitations of PS2 hardware, they cranked out lavish backgrounds and towering enemy sprites that had GR editors stopping in their tracks just to watch them flow across the screen. If those two games looked that good in 2006, we assume a 2009 release will be even more impressive.

Why it might fizzle:
Highly intelligent readers such as yourself probably know about Odin Sphere or Grim, but do you think the typical Wii owner cares about painstakingly crafted sprites or reinterpretations of Japanese lore? Maybe if they called it Demon Bladez…

What about motion controls?
The waggle plague seems to have missed Murasama, as the SNES-standard Classic Controller setup takes center stage any time the game’s on display – a damn welcome option.


The game:
Fatal Frame 4: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse

What is it?
Another unsettling, creepy-as-shit horrorfest starring weak teenage girls and their magical camera.

Why you should care:
Fatal Frame has always been a lingering shadow trapped behind Resident Evil and Silent Hill, yet all three previous entries are highly ranked and consistently deliver shocking, menacing gameplay. Not sure if part four will live up to the pedigree? Japanese mega-magazine Weekly Famitsu rated it 34/40, declaring it to be every bit as terrifying as its predecessors.

Why it might fizzle:
Survival horror is, ironically, barely surviving on Wii. Aside from an RE4 port, Obscure II and the frankly insulting Escape from Bug Island, nothing comes to mind at all. Who’s to say the audience interested in this franchise migrated to Wii in the first place? Will new users be willing to hop into the third sequel of a (relatively) unknown series? The lack of a US release date doesn’t bode well either…

What about motion control?
The girls use the Camera Obscura to battle evil spirits – point the camera with the remote and snap away. As long as the rest of the experience plays down motion, things should be fine.

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  • pueojit1 - May 31, 2009 1:11 a.m.

    i had a wii since 2006 and im pretty bored, can the wii be good this year?
  • aberkromby - May 30, 2009 5:49 p.m.

    I got a wii for Christmas because my imature 15 yr old sister and uinder 10 yr old brothers wanted one. i figured i would give it a chance. simply put: i hate it. the wii sucks. its trash. only my sister plays it now, even my brothers have gone back to the ps2. my brothers are now playing half assed hockey games on ps2, over smash bros. me, personally, im getting a ps3 with my own money (this actually took a lot of research to choose ps3 over 360, so dont call me a fanboy). anyways, none of these titles are exciting at all, especially when compared to games like killzone2.
  • FrozenImplosion - May 26, 2009 11 p.m.

    I really want Muramasa, House of the Dead, and Mad World. I haven't touched my Wii for over 5 months, and the last game I played was Brawl. Maybe this will revive the Wii?!
  • gtaaddict3456 - February 4, 2009 1:59 a.m.

    i own a Wii and i'm excited to see if these games are all they are cracked up to be. I am seriously considering buying a 360 though.
  • CandiedJester - January 26, 2009 11:59 p.m.

    Dammit dammit dammit, sold my Wii. I really want to play MadWorld. Also, Fragile looks awesome. I think I need another Wii.. >__>;
  • mEgAzD - January 26, 2009 1:42 a.m.

    to gutlessVADER, brawl is not as hardcore as you think, it is what you kids say "casual"
  • itsameleon - January 26, 2009 1:35 a.m.

    this i hwy a i want a 360 or ps3 becuase they have no good shooting games>.<
  • CoD_22 - January 25, 2009 11:05 p.m.

    can wii gamers be excited for 2009? short answer no. long answer yes, with a but. wiis sold well because everyone thought motion sensitivity would be awesome but then it all sucked and then grandpas started buying all the wiis that were on ebay and playing my brain training and little kids started playing cooking mama and everyone that bought one and realised it sucked has now learnt their lesson and if a wii 2 comes out (which i suspect it probably will) no-one will buy it except all the 'casual gamers' that really should just buy carol vorderman's handheld sudoku instead because its a helluva lot cheaper and more 'practical'. rant over.
  • gutlessVADER - January 25, 2009 5:37 a.m.

    I hate mother fucking casual gamers. If your only gaming console is a Wii and you don't have Brawl or Galaxy, I hate you. Start running.
  • key0blade - January 24, 2009 1:42 p.m.

    WOW LOOK AT ALL THE WII GAMES!! Now, about that DS...
  • mcoll_17 - January 24, 2009 4:33 a.m.

    @DawgsFan117 I find it sad that some people who have a PS3/360 have to bash the wii Just because it's the one that is for the kids. These titles represent a chance to bring good titles to the Wii. You sir are not a gamer. A real gamer plays games to enjoy them and have fun, not bash the systems nor the games. I find it surprising that I only own a wii and pc and have a better sense at the industry, and not bash at the consoles.
  • sage62 - January 24, 2009 2:54 a.m.

    @Dawgs Dude, I have all three consoles and haven't found any reason to ignore any of them, the onlt downside to the wii is the casual gamers, Nintendo have proven that they are a bunch of greedy bastards by flipping off the hardcore fans that gave them their initial success in favor of a bunch uncoordinated retards who claim to like video games but only play crap like wii sports and wii music, and now they only give actual fans 2 or 3 games a year, but the plus side is that most of these are still very good, but not plentiful enough, so it mainly falls down to third party developers, however, most of them are following Nintendo's example, but it's the actual games that Nintendo release and third party games like No More Heroes and the games on this list that are stopping me from getting rid of mine, wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, shut up dawgs
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - January 23, 2009 9:49 p.m.

    NMH2 is currently slated for early 2010, that's why it's not on the list. And Mo_Buttons is on to something - MadWorld could end up being the Wii equivalent of God Hand.
  • Ban - January 23, 2009 9:09 p.m.

    I would do anything to play Punch-Out!!! again but i just have the money to buy a Wii.
  • Evey - January 23, 2009 5:46 p.m.

    I think im going to be getting nearly all of these games! I dont see how you could miss out No More Heroes 2 though (which i believe will be released in 2009) Cant wait for the Conduit and Madworld though!
  • Cernunnos - January 23, 2009 11:51 a.m.

    im certain the conduit will end up like Too Human, they are in way over their heads with their claims of graphics. i've seen ps2 fps-s that look much prettier than anything ive seen from The Conduit. House of the Dead will probably flop as well. anyone remember playing umbrella chronichles? the accuracy isn't there at all. ********** most of this article proves why the wii is shit. constantly hoping games contain as little motion control as possible. all the best games for wii are the ones with least motion control: SSBB, No More Heroes, Galaxy and Metroid. all those would work BETTER with a regular gamepad. and shooters are always broken on the wii. the wiimote is horrible. period.
  • ikillchicken - January 23, 2009 8:21 a.m.

    It's sad that most of these titles reasons they might fizzle fall under: Nobody between the ages of 13 and 30 actually owns a Wii. and If they fuck it up with motion controls. Go Nintendo.
  • ikillchicken - January 23, 2009 8:21 a.m.

    It's sad that most of these titles reasons they might fizzle fall under: Nobody between the ages of 13 and 30 actually owns a Wii. and If they fuck it up with motion controls. Go Nintendo.
  • cheapojoe - January 23, 2009 7:50 a.m.

    The Conduit looks good, but I still think the only place an FPS should exist is on the PC. I bought a Wii because I LOVE platformers, and Nintendo always delivers in this category. Still, I'm crossing my fingers about MotionPlus. It may change my mind about the FPS genre. Maybe.
  • DawgsFan117 - January 23, 2009 5:36 a.m.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA Some of the comments on this article are just funny. People hoping they have money to buy 1 to 2 of these games. Imagine if you had a real game system that has upwards of 20 games worthy of buying every year. Then you can complain about cash because you must pick and choose. I have a PS3 and an Xbox 360 so I get to play real video games not the collosal failure that the wii has become. So sad that they call it a next gen system.