The quick sell: Ace Combat comes to Wii, infused with anime cutscenes and a simplified control scheme.
Full disclosure: I’m a rabid Ace Combat fan. Namco’s long-lived flight sim series has been a favorite of mine since the original PlayStation launched in 1995, so any new entry in the franchise is an instant buy. That said, not all of the games are created equally, and I’m not afraid to say when one stinks. Thankfully, Sky Crawlers is a fine consolation prize for Wii owners and not some weirdo, throwaway game cranked out to make a quick buck.
It’s not a true Ace Combat game though, so there are some rather serious gameplay changes. The biggest would be the “Tactical Maneuver Command” system, which allows you one-hit-kill enemy aircraft. At first the feature seems like training wheels for incapable pilots, but it quickly reveals itself to be an intentional shift from the sim-y world of Ace Combat, forcing you to get in close and deliver death blow after death blow. An interesting and thoroughly welcome spin-off that has all but disappeared from everyone’s radar. (LOLGETIT)
Sky Crawlers review – 9/10 (opens in new tab)
The quick sell: Another mascot-driven platformer from the original co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog.
This is a really hard sell; it’s one of those games where you don’t directly control the character. Ivy the Kiwi constantly walks forward, oblivious to traps and pitfalls in her storybook world, and it’s up to you to draw a guiding path with the Wii Remote. So that means it’s also a waggle-heavy platformer, which is like the goddamn kiss of death.
But! We spent a few hours with Ivy and found a charming, challenging surprise. The drawing/guiding mechanic works remarkably well, and the puzzles progress in such a way that in just a few levels you feel like an expert player. Then, the real mind job begins, and you start seeing levels that’ll shatter your brain – in the good way, of course. It’s a unique, though not exactly groundbreaking experience that we recommend for the very fair price of $20.
Ivy the Kiwi? Review – 7/10 (opens in new tab)
It goes without saying that Nintendo’s efforts are top of the line. So in addition to the 10 third-party games listed here, you’ve still got irrefutable gems like Galaxy 2, Sin & Punishment, DKC Returns, Epic Yarn and (if you must) Metroid: Other M. Make no mistake, Wii deserves all the naysaying it gets, but next time you wildly rant about how worthless this system is or how all it does it collect dust, really consider what you’re missing by writing off what’s become a damn reasonable console.
(But I totally understand where you’re coming from)
Dec 16, 2010(opens in new tab)
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Real gamers take note – Nintendo’s oft-ignored console still demands your respect
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Celebrate our many differences with a cel-shaded smile
We unearth over 20 decade-old videos the world’s never seen