Saturday, August 11, 2007

Mario Strikers Charged

I should probably tell you about this game, just in case you haven't played it yet.

Like the first Strikers, this game is soccer for people who like hockey more than soccer. There's a lot more emphasis on bashing people, and very little in the way of defense. Add in items, fields with various hazards, and super shots that can score up to 6 goals at once, and you get a pretty good idea of what you're getting into.

But, it's fun. And despite all the chaotic elements, the game feels balanced. And there are a couple of minor improvements that make the Wii game feel even more fun and balanced than the original. Some improvements are quite noticeable (being able to select every member of your team is great, and each character feels full of variety), while others are not unless you really got to know the first game (the goalies are a hell of a lot better).

The main attraction of the game is the multiplayer, though. The single player does boast some tournaments and themed challenges that will give you something to do (especially since both get really difficult very fast). But the heart of the game is getting four people around for a little healthy competition.

The Wiimote controls are restrained, but work really well. Smacking opponents by flicking the remote feels natural, and the Mega Strike blocking (if you were wondering how they balanced those multiple-goals-in-one-shots) also works really well. Overall, the controls are tight.

The big new thing, however, is the online play. It uses the Friend Code system, which I have yet to have a problem with but I can see why others do, but it also has random ranked matches. So, if you want to play someone in North America you don't know, you can, and each match earns you points and gets you ranked every week (the number one people in the rankings, however, are insane and if you are normal you have no way of ever catching up to them). And these matches seem more likely than not lag-free, which is good. It's too bad they couldn't smooth out the online for those across the ocean, but thus are the casualties of new technology.

One turn-off for many people is the atmosphere of the game, though. It just doesn't feel like a Mario game, really. The music, the style, the's the closest we'll ever get to 'XTREEEEEEEME' Mario, hopefully. Some could see this as good, however, if they are tired of the normally cheery, drug-induced environment of these games. Plus, stuff like Diddy Kong getting a sitar theme song and the crowd cheering for Wario in the style of an Irish drinking song can be funny.

So yeah, it's a good game. Probably wouldn't be a worthy enough purchase if you know you won't be able to grab a few friends every once in a while, but it's a great, great party game. Which is pretty much what the Wii has been providing for the most part. And if this doesn't appeal to you, Metroid Prime 3 is coming out soon.



At 4:29 a.m., Anonymous Judy! said...

I hear the restrained Wiimote controls is a very good thing. And I still haven't watched that MP3 preview on the Wii. Everytime I try it says it can't connect.


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