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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Anime on the Wii

Wii Got Anime!

By now you’ve heard of the Nintendo Wii and how addictive it is, hell you’ve most likely played it already. Much of its appeal is the casual gaming base, the easy to pick up and play games, puzzlers that hook the casual but leave the hardcore wanting. For every outstanding title such as Zelda, Mario and Metroid, that the more core gamers get fired up for there are ten or so casual games that are just looking to sucker casual fans … Jenga I’m looking your way. This fact, and it is fact, has been touched on in many a gaming publication, both print and online. The Nintendo Wii is fun, but it’s not hardcore, it’s not the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, it’s a link back to yesteryear when gaming systems were for, and accessible to everyone.

With this in mind I’m taking a look at another group, the anime fan, the Otaku. For a system that really caters to the casual it’s nice to see four direct anime licensed titles when in years past it took years to get many an anime game on a system. This is due in large part to the popularity of and TV viewings of these properties that allow publishers to put out titles with deep story and background with little fear of head scratching from gamers while purchasing these titles. Bleach, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto and One Piece have each had successful, and ongoing, television runs with deep manga and DVD roots. Each title has also made an appearance on the Wii, but are they any good. This always seems to be the question with these games. So without further rambling let’s take a look at the not casual, not hardcore world of anime gaming on the Wii.

Let’s set some criteria first. I’m taking this from the approach of a fan with a deep knowledge and established love of these titles. I want to take a look and see if the games are overall worth the purchase for the series fan, not the casual gamer. From a casual standpoint there is not a huge point in getting a licensed title.

Bleach on WiiBleach: Shattered Blade
With an exclusive story and characters not yet seen in the anime, at the time of release, Shattered Blade immersed fans in the Bleach universe. Graphics look good, but not great. Characters look like their anime selves, but there are jagged edges and a lacking polish that leaves you feeling very GameCube-ish. This can be ignored, especially with voice acting straight from the anime and over 32 characters to take control of. Speaking of control the Wii motion action is fun and engaging, but never too complicated or deep for that matter. The control is very forgiving, but this game just comes away feeling like the next generation of button masher … or should I say swinging masher. Bottom Line is fans will dig this game. Its fun, look decent, sounds great and control better than most Wii fighters.

Dragon Ball Z on WiiDragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
You’re either into DBZ or not at this point. It’s been around for quite a while with a history of good and great fighting games that attracted fans outside of the series. Tenkaichi 3 takes the legacy, throws in 150 characters with alternate storylines and maxes out the fun. This game looks great as it’s forefathers did and playing online is a blast. This is a great way for Tenkaichi to go out … but the controls; yeah they work on the Wii, but just seem out of place. Bottom Line this is the best anime game on the Wii. It looks great and offer s tons of gameplay modes.

One Piece on WiiOne Piece: Unlimited Adventure
FUNimation recently gained this anime license and Unlimited Adventure benefits as the new voice actors are in this title and they help to prop up a very poor offering. I really, really wanted to like this game, but it just hurts. The story is fun, feels like it’s ripped from the manga, but the graphics are poor and really there is no excuse. The character costumes, with no explanation of why they change their clothes, also annoys. While there are 40 characters to unlock and play with you’ll lose interest before getting them all. Bottom Line is even fans will have a tough time with this title. The Grand Battle, super deformed look of older titles is a better pick-up than this quick cashing on a poor title.

Naruto on WiiNaruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution
I love Naruto and the first two Clash of Ninja titles on GameCube were fun, especially as multiplayer. While the PS2 titles are more polished the Clash of Ninja titles held their own. Clash of Ninja Revolution continues the GameCube legacy with expanded rosters, features and story, but it’s a GameCube game in a Wii skin. The instruction book even has old GameCube controller options if needed. Give me a break. When I buy a Wii game I don’t want extra motion mini-games thrown in, I want a true Wii game. I will say I understand that there are more GameCube games in Japan, and the stories for these types of games are behind in the US, but just release this on the GameCube. Fans will still buy it, and play it on Wii, but you insult your fans by calling this a Wii game. Bottom Line is I’m still a little peeved about this being called a Wii game. If you like Naruto, and only own a Wii, get Clash of Ninja Revolution. If you have any other system, even DS, then get one of the other Naruto titles.

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