August 23, 2006 - One of the few surprises Nintendo had to offer at its press conference this morning was a first glimpse of the new Mario Strikers for Wii called Mario Strikers Charged.
When you see the first screenshots or videos of the game you'll notice that the graphics haven't evolved very much since Mario Strikers for Nintendo GameCube. The only big difference is the audience which is now a lot more realistic than before, but still far from being exciting; at least all the Birdos and Toads appear to be 3D models now.
The main characters have also been modified. Mario is now more aggressive and Peach has even more sex appeal than on GameCube. Other than these two, you can select Bowser and Donkey Kong
as main characters. Every captain can still choose out of four types of team partners which are now separated into groups (defense, offense, etc.).
After choosing a captain you are able to select one of two different arenas. One of them is walled off and the other somewhat more open and dangerous. The secure one is just like the Peach Stadium from Mario Strikers on the Cube, with the field being surrounded by a force field to prevent the ball from getting out. The second one is located on the top of a mountain and does not have a force field around it, meaning you can kick your enemies out of the arena if you wish. If you do, they fall down and need a few seconds to climb back on the field again.
The controls are almost exactly the same as on GameCube. You move with the nunchuk, pass the ball or select your character with the A-button, and you shoot with the B-Button on the Wii Remote. However, instead of pressing a button to attack your enemy you now just have to swing the remote a little bit to knock someone out. This new feature is quite nice because you can actually hit your real-life opponents with the Wii-mote while playing, even though this is not necessary.
Another modified feature is the POW
er shot. After holding the B-button for three seconds, your main character is able to shoot more than one ball at the same time towards the Goal
of your opponent. The game mode then switches to a mini-game and your opponent takes control of the keeper's gloves to try and block the incoming balls. At first this was rather awkward because you tend to overcompensate and perform bigger movements than necessary. However, after a few POW
er shots you get the feel for the movement, and it became a lot easier to prevent Goal
s. This also adds a bit more strategy to the game as you now have the chance to prevent a Goal
even though your opponent managed to pull off a POW
Mario Strikers Charged was indeed the biggest surprise out of Nintendo from Games Convention. While the graphics are just a little bit better than before, the game play is a lot more fun and varied than Strikers on GameCube. After a few minutes I started to feel really comfortable with the controls, and I was pulling off some nice combinations with the Wii-mote. Sadly, no word has been given about the launch date for the Wii version of Strikers, but it was looking fairly far along at the show, so hopefully we won't have to wait too much longer to see the final version.
August 23, 2006 - Besides Mario Strikers Charged, Nintendo had only one more big surprise at the German Games Convention: Battalion Wars 2. Oddly, Nintendo only announced the game at the press conference but did not show any screenshots or video. However, after heading to Nintendo's behind-closed-doors area at the show, we managed to get our hands on the game.
The first thing we noticed were the graphics were greatly improved compared to Battalion Wars on the Cube. The characters are more detailed, the environments look and feel bigger and more realistic, and the effects are quite impressive. The game does still have its comic-like look which is going to make the game very familiar to fans of the first Battalion Wars.
There were two modes being shown at GC -- single-player and multiplayer -- but we were only able to try out the solo mode during our brief time with the game. There was only one playable mission that focused on following a set of waypoints and eliminating all enemies along the way.
The design of the level was quite familiar because it had a lot in common with similar areas in the GameCube version, it was just a littler bit bigger. The control is really working great and you can learn it in a matter of minutes. At the beginning it is a little bit odd to jump by shaking the nunchuk while moving your character with the same hand but after a few minutes this is also no problem at all.
You control your main character with the analog stick of the nunchuk unit and execute commands like attack and select with the buttons on the Wii remote and the nunchuk. If you move the nunchuk unit up a little bit your character will jump, and doing this while moving left or right will make your character jump to the side.
The Wii-mote is also used as pointer to look around. Doing so while moving your character was very natural and intuitive, and it was easy to move and look around at the same time without losing orientation. Using the pointer to look at other characters will also show whether they are friendly (blue) or hostile (red).
Even though the Home button didn't perform any function according to the description of the controls, after testing it out we discovered that it changed the view so you were able to survey the area better. This point of view seems to be quite nice to plan your strategy while the normal viewpoint is recommended for fire fights.
While we didn't get a chance to check out the multiplayer mode today, we did see that two Wii consoles were connected via wireless LAN to allow for two player games without split screen. Given this setup, we hope that the final version of Battalion Wars 2 will support online play, although no one at Nintendo could confirm that this was the plan.
Wow, The Wii is looking very nice so far in game wise. What other sequals would you like to be made for the Wii?
Wii looks cool. Even if it isn't graphically enhanced like XBOX 360 and PS3, I will still be buying it. In fact, I really don't care too much about graphics. Gameplay over graphics any day. Hell, I wish they would bring back some sweet 2D side-scrolling games.
Hopefully the Wii's marketing isn't going to be totally based on the Wii remote. I think it's a cool feature, but I don't want it to determine what types of games the Wii brings out.