It's no secret that Nintendo maintains a family friendly image. The level of marketing to the parents of young children feels like the brunt of Nintendo's marketing budget. With the lack of Pandora's Tower and Fatal Frame 4 in the US, it's very easy to dismiss Nintendo as yet another greedy corporation who only cares about where they can make the most money. Even so, Nintendo still pays attention to their core audience in some form or another. Whether you believe it or not, the Wii has several games that cater to the interests of the hardcore gamer. Here's 5 of them that you should be interested in:
Rating: M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Sexual Themes, Strong Language)
Developer: Platinum Games:
I'm starting with this game because it received widespread critical acclaim, yet suffered from lackluster sales numbers. This game is a prime candidate for games that target a "hardcore" audience, and not just because of the copious amounts of blood and gratuitous violence. The game has a rich narrative that belies its simple game play. Visually, MadWorld uses the limitations of the Wii hardware to its benefit, eschewing realism for an over the top cartoon style aesthetic. It works amazingly well for Jack Cayman, the "Mother-****ing Black Baron," and the like. In my opinion, this is probably one of the most undersold gems on the console, and a must play, at least once, for anyone who considers themselves a hardcore gamer.
Here's a little taste of the gameplay in MadWorld. Be warned, definitely not for impressionable minds.
#2: Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
Rating: Teen (Fantasy Violence)
Genre: Arcade shooter
I've said it before, and I'll say it until I die: Treasure makes campy games. This one seems like an unusual choice for nintendo to import, especially considering that the original game was unavailable in the US until it finally appeared on the Wii's Virtual Console. Sin and Punishment, the sequel, has a very tough learning curve. It feels like the bullet hell games that were arcade staples 20 years ago. I really liked how it moved from side scrolling to over the shoulder views during the levels. It didn't feel jumpy, the game play didn't change dramatically during this time. In addition, it added another layer of depth to this game.
#3: Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Rating: Teen (Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor)
The Super Smash Bros. series brings the best of the best in Nintendo's storied history to the ultimate arena. SSBB brings the ultimate party game to the next generation of consoles, and carries a sizable tournament scene to boot. Just about every major metropolitan area has a Melee/Brawl tournament scene, and finding other gamers willing to join in is insanely easy to do. SSBB should be on the hardcore gamer's list of games, no matter what. I think this tournament coverage speaks for itself:
#4: Donkey Kong Country Returns
Rating: Everyone(Mild Cartoon Violence)
Developer: Retro Studios
Back in the heyday of the Super Nintendo era, Donkey Kong was regularly the next logical step for someone who had beaten Super Mario World. Donkey Kong Country Returns picks up where its 16-bit progenitors left off. DKCR has all the challenge that the old DKC games had, and this works in its favor. Nintendo probably could have called this game Donkey Kong Country 4, and most gamers wouldn't have batted an eye at it. The controls on this game are a little odd when you use the Wii remote and nunchuk, but the classic controller/GameCube controllers work great for this game. If you remember the SNES era with nostalgia, DKCR is a must-buy game for your collection.
#5: Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
Rating: M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language)
Even though RE4 is a port, I still think it's one of the best games readily available for the Wii. This game uses the motion controls beautifully. It doesn't feel like a tacked-on gimmick, and it also supports the gamecube controller if you so desire. I find myself going back to RE4 on the Wii every now and again for reasons that I can't quite explain. The Regenerators on the island feel as creepy now as they did the first time I played it.