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Never mind Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 2 and Bayonetta. There's no point crowing about how great a game is on your console when your fanboy mates can play the same thing on their 'enemy' machine. But who had the best exclusive on their WiiStation 360 this past year? Well, there's no need to argue about it any more as we've decided for you. This is the definitive list of 'what's best', so feel free to memorise it and then sound intellectual while drunk and/or crazy on sugar and artificial additives over the Christmas holidays.
And before you go asking about why there's no Mass Effect 2 on there, we decided this list should be about games that you can't get elsewhere. So with Mass Effect 2 out on PC and coming to PS3 very shortly, it isn't a proper 'exclusive'. Similarly, the likes of Gran Turismo 5 have their rival machines' counterparts (e.g. Forza 3). So we've tried to keep this to games that you literally need a specific console to enjoy. So here we go, let's see 'what's best'...
Why it’s an amazing exclusive:
For starters Monster Hunter Tri is all the good bits of MMO gameplay streamlined to a bullshit-free, bite-sized chunk of meaty fun. Secondly, it achieves that admirable feat on the Wii, a console which is to online gaming what Nickelback are to the progressive evolution of the musical form.
Co-op questing, densely tactical, action-driven combat, epic character progression, a deep and satisfying crafting system… Monster Hunter Tri knocks all of the prerequisites of the serious RPG out of the park, using an almost Mario-style hub-system to make sure that unwieldy and time-wasting complications never get in the way of your teams’ fun.
And as for the questing itself, we’re talking about some of the most hardcore console gameplay out there, on the Wii or anything else. What initially seems like a slow and limited combat system eventually reveals fathoms of depth once you have a well-balanced four-man team hacking away at Monster Hunter’s none-more-intimidating beasties as a well-ordered tactical killing machine. The structure allows you to dip in for an hour at a time, but the staggering wealth of content ensures that you’ll have no hope of ever staying for such a brief period.
The moment you can’t get anywhere else: When the plan comes together
You’ve spent ten minutes tracking a legendary sea dragon. You’ve finally slapped eyes on it and been instantly terrified. You’ve hit it with a paint ball and chased it for another five minutes. You’ve spent forty minutes hacking, slashing, supporting and healing with the synergistic rhythm and precision of a finely-tuned engine. And then, with seconds to spare, it finally drops. The exhilaration, relief, and sense of victory is electrifying.
Above: And everyone thinks Wii lacks power. This is freakin' awesome
Why it’s an amazing exclusive:
DKCR hates you. Like really hates you. You’ll die f*cking up jumps. You’ll die on the adamantium hard mine cart levels. Hell, you’ll die trying to jump on comedy crabs' heads. The thing is, it’s rarely unfair. Sure, you have to learn levels backwards to get through them. But the trial-and-error recipe tastes so sweet, because the actual platforming feels incredible. Loyal to the SNES games, while updating DK with increased physicality, the action feels brilliantly fluid, yet weighty.
Combine this with arguably the best graphics on Wii, some spectacular level design and an updated soundtrack heavily inspired by the original, and Returns is an incredible reboot.
Above: *Sniff* It's so beautiful! This is one game where the love that's gone into it is plain to see
Really, short of installing a DeLorean with a flux capacitor and travelling back to 1994 with a SNES and copy of Donkey Kong in hand, the awesome nostalgia Returns serves up simply couldn’t feel more fresh.
The moment you can’t get anywhere else: Soaking in Rare nostalgia circa 1994
As far as we’re concerned, the Rare that made some of our most beloved Nintendo titles ever is dead. Assimilated by the Kinect Borg to make motion control games not befitting of its talent, the only way we can taste a sample of its past brilliance is ironically through a game made be Retro Studios. Donkey Kong Country Returns is a wonderfully loyal nod to hardcore SNES platformers of the early Nineties (especially the utterly nails mine cart sections). One you just can’t get on another console… well, aside from braving your attic and dusting off your SNES. And we’re way too lazy too indulge that shit.
Above: Then and now. Or, rather, now (left) and then (right). How far we've come, eh?