Last year, the Nintendo Wii dominated holiday video game sales. Whenever consoles were available, they sold out very quickly, with stores barely able to keep them in stock. (Surprisingly, that continues to be the case seven months later, in the middle of summer.) The next few months are no exception, thanks to a line-up of top-notch games for the system, including the return of a well-known plumber and another anticipated Smash Bros. game. Let's look at what Nintendo and its third parties have in store for us.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Nintendo, August 28)—Samus Aran returns once again, battling alien threats throughout the galaxy in this latest first-person shooting opus from Retro Studios. Players have a completely different control scheme to work with, using both the remote and nunchuk to maneuver. Although the game lacks online play, Corruption still has enough going in Story Mode to keep players addicted for hours on end.
Mario Strikers Charged(Nintendo, July 31)—Mario and friends hit the soccer field and use power-ups to score goals. Charged not only brings exciting gameplay and slightly revamped graphics, but also online play against other Wii owners.
Boogie (Electronic Arts, August 9)—EA's forthcoming singing and dancing game comes with a USB-compatible microphone and a slew of classic and contemporary dance tunes. Gamers will sing their hearts out, or waggle their remotes to make the funky looking characters bust a move.
Madden NFL 08 (Electronic Arts, August 15)—EA's football series continues on the Nintendo Wii. Players can choose their offensive and defensive weapons and then take to the field, scoring points and tackling the opposition. Incorporated online play and motion-sensitive controls should make this a big hit with the Wii crowd, along with the dynamic graphic engine and free-flowing commentary from John Madden and broadcasting partner Al Michaels.
MySims (Electronic Arts, September 19)—MySims features better interactivity, cute graphics and hundreds of things to do throughout the town in order to establish a good Sim life. The Wii control scheme should feel refreshing for a game such as this, with players completing point-and-click maneuvers with the touch of a trigger.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 (Electronic Arts, August 29)—Tiger Woods returns to the digital world of golf, along with a handful of selected pros and official courses. The previous Tiger Woods developed for Wii showed great promise, thanks to precise motion-sensitive controls and a handful of modes to choose from. The sequel should improve upon this with even more courses, mini-games and other options to make it a must-have for amateur and pro golfers alike.
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (Activision, October 10)—Tony Hawk and his skateboarding buddies continue to make tracks on the Wii, this time skipping the racing circuit in favor of a more full-fledged trick-laden experience. Players can choose from three different types of skateboarding as they thrash in locations across the U.S., putting Nail the Trick and other maneuvers to good use. The gameplay should see some Wii-specific touches as well, particularly with board spins and other fancy moves. Good luck trying to nail a 900 as easily as Tony can.
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Activision, October 29)—Put down the Wii remote and pick up Activision's custom-made wireless guitar for some Guitar Hero. The series makes a smashing debut on the Wii with a huge song list, online play, a handful of guitar-playing experts to challenge (including Slash from Velvet Revolver) and enough rock to make gamers stick out their tongues almost as far as Gene Simmons.
Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party (Konami, September 26)—The Dance Dance craze hits the Nintendo Wii for the first time with Hottest Party. Players make use of both the Wii controls and an included dance pad to get their groove on, using fast-paced feet and hand motions to keep up with the beat on multiple hit songs.
The game features a four-player dance-off mode, along with several other modes to keep players dancing until they wear holes in the carpet.
FIFA 08 (Electronic Arts, October 10)—FIFA 08 promises to be the most expansive release in the series to date. Motion sensitive controls, an unparalleled presentation and online play should make this a big hit with soccer fans. Looks like Mario has some serious competition.
Battalion Wars 2 (Nintendo, October 30)—War is hell, but at least Kuju Entertainment knows how to make it fun without going all super-serious and stuff. In the game, players once again choose their army and stick it to the enemy, either going on foot or trying their luck in a complex vehicle. No word yet on online play.
Need For Speed: ProStreet (Electronic Arts, October 31)—The latest Need For Speed promises to be the most engine-revving to date. Players should expect a huge amount of cars to choose from, which can be customized any way they see fit. Furthermore, they'll also find a number of tournaments and circuits to take on, each with their own collection of hot babes, troublesome cops and opportunities to crash in a blaze of glory. It should be the finest Need For Speed to date, if it lives up to the hype.
Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution (D3 Publisher, October 24)—Naruto's back! Believe it! Fans of the GameCube brawlers should rejoice with this forthcoming Wii fighting game, with controls set up specifically for the nunchuk and remote. Players choose from several heroes and villains in the Naruto universe, fighting it out for fox-tailed superiority. Fans of the anime will enjoy the game's graphic style and voice casting.
The Simpsons Game (Electronic Arts, October 31)—With their film scheduled to hit theatres this week and a new season of the TV series coming later this year, Simpsons mania continues to run wild. Now Matt Groening's not-so-normal family will get another shot at the video game world, thanks to EA. Fortunately, this game looks better than previous ones, thanks to parodied video game favorites like Grand Theft Scratchy and the Katamari rip-off with Grandpa rolling around the city uncontrollably. Let's just hope Spider-Pig makes an appearance.
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, November 12)—Not since Super Mario 64 has a Mario game been as heavily anticipated as this one. Mario returns, jetting all across the galaxy as he tries to stop Bowser from completing his latest dastardly plan. Along with awesome graphics, Galaxy also features a number of gameplay power-ups, such as the Bee Suit, the spin punch and many, many more. The huge levels should add lots of replayability, too, with bonus goodies to seek out. Mario's return can't come soon enough.
Geometry Wars: Galaxies (Sierra, November 7)—The Xbox Live Arcade hit lives on, this time on the Nintendo Wii. Players fly through various quadrants of the galaxy, blasting enemies to bits in pure Geometry Wars fashion. The game still has some rough edges that need polishing, but it still looks like it'll come together, complete with addictive Wii-sensitive gameplay and plenty of stages to complete. DS owners will get a bonus treat, as they can download a version of Geometry Wars for on-the-go play.
Ghost Squad (Sega, November 7)—Players work their way through a number of crucial missions, shooting terrorists in the name of democracy while using stealth and saving hostages from despair. Squad looks like a fun time, particularly when used in conjunction with the forthcoming Wii Zapper peripheral.
Soul Calibur Legends (Namco Bandai, July 7)—Soul Calibur IV isn't coming to the Nintendo Wii, but the soul still burns courtesy of Legends. Gamers choose from multiple characters (Siegfried, Ivy and Mitsurugi) and embark on a dangerous quest revolving around the Soul Blade.
NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams (Sega, November 14)—An early build of NiGHTS looked remarkably close in nature to the original Sega Saturn game, but with new graphics and a few excellent gameplay touches.
Rayman: Raving Rabbids 2 (Ubisoft, November 14)—Once again, the Rabbids take control of Rayman's world, forcing him to complete whatever mini-games they throw at him. This sequel should be just as much fun as the first game, if not more so. The diversity of the mini-games goes through the roof this time around, with the Rabbids' reactions adding a great comedic factor to the game.
Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles (Capcom, November 14)—Capcom's flagship horror series returns with an all-new custom-made entry for the Nintendo Wii. In Chronicles, survival/horror fans work their way through the terror-filled Raccoon City, shooting zombies or whatever else gets in their way with multiple weapons. Although the game is simple compared to other Resident Evil games, Chronicles looks fantastic and plays relatively well, especially with the Wii Zapper. Let's just hope the hokey dialogue makes a return.
Trauma Center: New Blood (Atlus, November 14)—The second Trauma game for the Wii should definitely outperform the first, thanks to a new multiplayer mode where two surgeons can battle it out to save a patient. (Just don't get any cuts on the patients themselves) Several new scenarios get introduced, requiring utmost precision and split-second timing to avoid a medical disaster.
WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 (THQ, November 14)—How many people can say they faced Triple H and laid the smack down on him? Well, thanks to this game, just about everyone. (Just don't say it directly to his face.) Smackdown's debut on the Wii brings motion-sensitive controls that really bring out the actions of wrestlers, right down to posing for the fans and performing a finishing move. Don't forget the steel chair.
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (Sega, November 21)—Sega's mascot and Nintendo's most familiar face join forces for the first time ever with this fully interactive sports-fest, tying in with the 2008 Olympic Games. Characters from both Sonic's universe and the Mario world face off against each other in a series of events, including hurdles, javelin throw, hammer throw and various activities. The multiplayer factor should be a big seller for this game, with four players able to compete at once.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Nintendo, December 3)—Nintendo's well-known characters battle it out for fighting superiority, along with Hideo Kojima's Solid Snake. The weapons look awesome, the Final Strikes should be epic, the graphics and sound should bring out the best in the Nintendo Wii and the multiplayer...man, if this was online then we would stop updating altogether.