For the previous backlog sessions I've done, the length of each game impression has been governed by achievements or trophies. Since there's no such thing on the Wii, I'm going to have to go by my gut. This might actually work out.
Game 1: No More Heroes
BEFORE: I intentionally picked a game that I'm somewhat in the dark about to start out with. I've read and heard so much about the strengths and flaws of this game that I really don't know how to expect. Action on the Wii? Not so sure about that. Quirky Japanese semi-pedo sex jokes? We'll see.
AFTER: Played through the tutorial, beat the first boss, took about 30 minutes. This game is weird. The combat is extremely satisfying, with great sound design and rewards flying everywhere. The voice acting is hilariously over-the-top and totally Japanese, as is pulling your pants down to save on the toilet. And an after-boss cutscene where the petite agency girl you're talking to keeps her ass in your face most of the time. As I'm writing this the awesome J-Pop tune "Heavenly Star" video is playing on Travis' TV. The graphics are pretty terrible technically, the camera is last-gen wonky, and the framerate stutters a little too much, but all these negatives don't matter to me so far. I really want to get deeper into this. Also, did I mention that it's weird? It's weird.
Game 2: Samba De Amigo
BEFORE: I have a Dreamcast, and Samba De Amigo seems to be one of the must-have titles for that console, though I can't be bothered to track down the original game with the maracas controllers. I pulled the Wii version out of the bottom of a bargain bin at a ridiculous price. The word around town is that the controls are pretty terrible. Let's find out.
AFTER: Played through the basic tutorial and the first career challenge, about 20 minutes. Samba de Janeiro is still an amazing track. And, surprisingly, so is Smooth. They would be a lot of fun to play if the controls were reliable, which they aren't. Regular maraca shaking seems fine as long as you don't get too into the music and dance around too much, but as soon as dance moves and posing comes into the picture, accuracy suffers, taking the fun away. I love the idea and presentation, though. This should be a Natal launch title.
Game 3: Order Up
BEFORE: I seem to remember hearing positive things about this on some podcast. That's not much to go by, but enough to make me pick this up, it seems. I've never played a cooking game.
AFTER: Okay, I see how someone could like this. It doesn't seem to be for me, though. The tutorial overstays its welcome and some transitions are a bit on the annoying side, lenght-wise. Played tutorial and finished my first day as a diner chef. The cooking minigames are pretty fun, nothing special, though. The audio quality seems pretty terrible. It's for kids, I guess.
Game 4: Klonoa
BEFORE: High expectations for this one, what with people all over the internet waxing nostalgic about the qualities of the PS1 original.
AFTER: Yep, this sure is one late nineties platformer. The basic mechanics seem solid, and the presentation is colorful and jolly. I can't help thinking that I'd love to see it in HD, though. Will play more, I'm sure my son will adore this game if given the chance. Played through the first stage... er, vision. Ten minutes.
Game 5: Super Paper Mario
BEFORE: Having played a fair chunk of the original N64 Paper Mario, my expectations for this game are pretty high. Should be equal parts platformer and light RPG, by what I've read.
AFTER: Played for 30 minutes, end of chapter 1-1. The intro felt a bit long, but I guess that's what you get for playing five tutorials in a row. Awesome music, great writing, and nice little nods to Mario's 8-bit roots. I'm sure this game will take a while to play through, but I'm putting it on my list of must-finish games for 2010.
Game 6: Resident Evil 4
BEFORE: A few weeks ago I played through RE5 in co-op with my brother. I liked it. How jarring will this supposed downgrade be?
AFTER: Spent 40 minutes. It's Resident Evil with last-gen graphics. As expected, the game is about shooting zombies in the head and collecting the gold that they leave behind, and those parts are as satisfying as ever. The atmosphere is great, too. I doubt I have it in me to finish this, though.
Game 7: Mercury Meltdown Revolution
BEFORE: Impulse bargain buy, the concept seems to be perfect for the Wii.
AFTER: Nice Commodore throwback loading screen. Nice music. The game seems well thought out, but at this stage iPhone would probably be a better fit. Spent 10 minutes.
Game 8: WarioWare: Smooth Moves
BEFORE: I actually bought this with my Wii two years ago, opened it, put it in the console, played it for all of three minutes before I rushed back to the store to return it. I failed to make heads or tails of it at the time, maybe things will be different now that I'm a little more gaming literate.
AFTER: Played for about 20 minutes. I think I get it now, I just don't see myself spending hours upon hours with this game. It's delightful in its totally Japanere, quirky manner, but when you have three seconds to point the Wiimote at a specific point on the screen and the sensor fails to pick up, it gets annoying quickly. I have no history with the franchise, maybe that's why I don't get the reviews it received back in the day.
Game 9: Super Smash Bros. Brawl
BEFORE: No history with Super Smash Bros. No idea what to expect.
AFTER: I played the first two stages of the "Subspace Emissary" story mode, and I really enjoyed it. Still fumbling a bit with the controls, but the action is fast, frantic and satisfying. I recognise the fact that half of the Nintendo callbacks and references go over my head, but I'm happy at the ones I do catch, like Mario's different special moves. Wow, this is a quality product. Need to play more.