This was a very, very tough list to compile. It amazes me that so many people still repeat the now tired mantra of the Wii having no “hardcore” or “serious” games. This top 8 was so difficult only because there were so many games I wanted to put on here.

Note: This list originally included both Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition and the Metroid Prime Trilogy, but I decided to take them off as both were essentially improved ports of games I loved on the Gamecube (all three made my Gamecube Top 8 list). In the same vein, the Wii was the first place I experienced Okami, which is why it’s here despite also being a port.

They Just Weren’t Strong Enough: Lost Winds, Master Blaster: Overdrive, de Blob, Super Mario Galaxy, , Kirby’s Return to Dreamland, Mario Kart Wii, Epic Mickey, Deadly Creatures, The Conduit, Elebits, Bit.Trip.Saga, Dead Space Extraction, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, Pandora’s Tower, Boom Blox, Sin & Punishment

Okami8. Okami
Somehow, I missed Okami on the Playstation 2, but I’m kind of glad I did because given the mechanics of this game, it’s almost like it was made for Wii controls before the Wii actually existed. If you’re unfamiliar with Okami, you control Amaterasu, a god-wolf, and roam around the land in a very Zelda-esque manner. The wrinkle is that you have access to the Celestial Brush and can trigger attacks on your enemies by drawing certain shapes. You do have other basic attacks, but the brush can defeat them more quickly and is required in some cases for both battle and in solving puzzles. This can lead to some frustrations with inputting the correct shape, but for the most part, it works very well. I also must compliment the story as I very much enjoyed it, and it kept me coming back to advance the plot. It must also be pointed out that this is one beautiful game. It’s almost like playing a painting and has a style that can easily stand the test of time, much like Wind Waker.

RE Umbrella Chronicles7. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
Of the most well known light-gun/on-rail style games that came to the Wii, most people consider Dead Space: Extraction to be the best, and while I enjoyed it, I felt that Umbrella Chronicles was easily the cream of the crop for this style of game on the Wii. It’s a rehash of the first game and Resident Evil Zero, as well as including new levels that flesh out the story beyond those two games, done from an on-rails, first person perspective. That sounds a bit boring, but the game will often give you choices on which path to take. As the environment was made destructible, shooting up your surroundings became quite fun and often holds items such as ammunition, guns, and secret objects that lead to unlockables. This game also allows you to play as the villainous Albert Wesker, letting you see for the first time exactly what he was doing behind the scenes of the original game. I can see why this genre may turn some people off, but I found this game to be incredibly entertaining and very replayable.

Skyward Sword6. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Right away I have to say that I didn’t enjoy the supposed 1:1 sword controls in this game. Perhaps it was just me, but it seemed that all too often, the game registered a sword strike when I was only trying to put it in the correct position to attack. I also didn’t like having to constantly recenter my pointer in order to use an item such as the bow & arrow or the beetle. All that said, I did still like this game. The gameplay was strong enough to overcome my motion control complaints and the world was varied enough to continuously hold my interest. Surprisingly, given my dislike for Wind Waker’s graphical style, I actually enjoyed the hybrid style they chose for Skyward Sword. Most of all though, I loved the story of this game. It was a joy to see the beginnings of Hyrule, the origination of a villain that plagues the land of Hyrule, and have Princess Zelda play a more involved role. I also love that the game fooled me. I thought I was nearly finished when I’m suddenly forced to track down three dragons and take on yet another dungeon that had been hiding in plain sight. Not the best Zelda, but still a very good game.

DKCR5. Donkey Kong Country Returns
Some time ago, I wrote a post about how some games are difficult while others are annoying and how fine the line between the two can be. DKCR is the perfect example of a game that toes that line, but stays firmly on the difficult side of it without frustrating you as the player. Retro proved they could do fully 3-D games with the Metroid Prime Trilogy. With DCKR, they proved that they were just as adept at designing a side-scrolling platformer. DKCR is a brilliantly designed game that easily rivals it’s namesake on the Super NES. Each new level is a different challenge, but a challenge that will make you smile at its ingenious design. Not only does this game rank on my top Wii games list, it is easily one of the best side-scrolling platformers I’ve ever played. That’s high praise but also shows how much I loved this game.

Twiligh Princess4. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Yes, this is a Gamecube port but it was also the first game I got with the Wii (Day 1!), so I never played it on the Gamecube. Take all of the negatives I had about Skyward Sword, remove them, and you have my feelings on this game. First of all, I much prefer this graphical style versus Wind Waker (and Skyward Sword, for the record). Also, I felt that the dungeons were woven into the game in such a way so as to make it feel as if you weren’t actually entering a dungeon, but simply furthering your exploration of the landscape. The puzzles and gameplay were benefited by having Link transform into a wolf for parts of the game. This design choice allowed Nintendo to innovate a bit as Wolf Link played very differently from Human Link and was more limited in his actions. I was surprised and pleased that the story was as dark as it was. I like strong stories and while Zelda is generally not extremely story intensive, this one bucked that trend at least a bit, much to my happiness.

Prime 33. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
The final entry in the Metroid Prime trilogy had the task of living up to two of the best games on the Nintendo Gamecube. Retro answered this challenge by giving us one of the best games on the Nintendo Wii. While a few games before Prime 3 had tried to incorporate the Wii remote seamlessly into an FPS type game, Prime 3 set the standard for how it should be done. I’ll be the first to admit that shoe-horning in a control gimmick is a bad idea, but Prime 3 avoided that completely. It was used to solve some minor puzzles (such as turning a dial), aiming (of course), and yanking shields off of doors or away from enemies (which feels great), just to name some of the uses of motion controls. Prime 3 also utilized Samus’s ship for the first time for more than just a recharge and/or a save. The ship carries you to different planets as you advance through the game while also, on a couple of occasions, doing a bombing run for you to clear an obstacle or assist with an enemy(s). Returning from the first two Prime games are the scans and lore entries and, again, they let you in on the history and stories of the places you are visiting, painting a picture of what happened on these mostly barren worlds you are now exploring.

Super Mario Galaxy 22. Super Mario Galaxy 2
If DKCR is the near the top of sidescrolling design, then Super Mario Galaxy 2 is near the top of platforming design in a 3-D environment. What amazes me the most is that this game is essentially the leftovers of Super Mario Galaxy, yet I feel it actually exceeds what its predecessor accomplished. This game throws so many ideas and concepts at you that you never have any idea what the next galaxy will hold for you. Even the boss battles are varied and rather ingenious in their design. It is also a plus that Yoshi has been included in this game and isn’t just present as filler, but plays a very large role in many of the levels. Along with Yoshi, Mario is able to take advantage of multiple power-ups, each with their own unique abilities that are, again, used in ways that will surprise you and make you smile. Bonus points go to this game for the fact that once you gather all the stars and finish the game, another set of green stars show up, hidden throughout the levels. You’re only clue to where they are? A humming sound that you’ll hear as you get close to them. This sounds like a hindrance, but the game is so incredibly fun that revisiting the levels to hunt down these stars is simply an extension of the joy this game brings.

Xenoblade1. Xenoblade Chronicles
There is no way I couldn’t put this game at the top of my list. Xenoblade Chronicles is simply an amazing game. Xenoblade is an epic RPG that will run you around 60 hours if you sprint through it. Reaching the level cap and doing virtually everything in the game will extend it to about 130 hours. Personally, I spent 176 hours playing this game, a total unmatched by any story driven game (by which I mean a game that has an ending and isn’t sports based) simply because I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t want to finish it. Xenoblade tasks you with traveling over the Bionis, a dormant giant on which, along with the Mechonis, civilization lives, on a mission of vengeance. As you travel you will gather new party members that can be rotated in and out of your three person party (though all members will receive experience to avoid uneven leveling). Battles are not random as you can see your enemies and approach them to initiate a battle. Once a battle starts, your character will auto-attack while you freely move them about the battlefield, even running away to disengage if you wish. The auto-attacks are supported by special skills that you can select for the character you control (the other two are AI controlled). These range from hard hitting attacks to healing spells and, once used, must cool down before you can use them again. You only have space for six of these, but each character learns more than that, and they can be leveled up via points gained by defeating enemies. Along with what I found to be a unique battle system, the landscapes for this game are breathtaking and are some of the best, if not the best, you will see on the Wii, though the character models admittedly don’t match the landscapes. Finally, the aspect that completely pulled me into this game, and boosts it to this spot is the story. Once the actual story began (about four hours in), I was completely hooked and invested in these characters. The best way I can describe it is as a book that you read until 2:00 a.m. because you simply can’t bear to stop. I will go so far as to say this game has my favorite narrative of any game I’ve played. There are multiple twists to the story, some I expected and others that completely blindsided me. I do realize that I am a story-centric guy, but I can’t imagine anyone that takes the time to experience the story in this game coming away unimpressed, even if they are left cold by other elements of what I consider to be the best game on the Wii.

  1. Aggro Sky says:

    Good list. I disagree with Okami and Skyward Sword though. I had major issued with Okamis controls on the Wii. To me it felt unresponsive and ruined the experience. I never finished.

    Skyward sword was also a let down. Probably the weakest 3D Zelda game to date IMO. But you hit it spot on with your other choices.

    • JAVGB says:

      I’ll agree on Okami. I had issues with the controls myself, but other aspects of the game were strong enough to make me stick with it. I had the same issue with Skyward Sword. My opinion on it has actually soured as more time passes since I completed it. In a year or two, it wouldn’t surprise me if I questioned including it on this list at all.

  2. Kaven says:

    if my memory serves me right,i also did buy the Wii for Twilight Princess.i absolutely loved it.love the mood,love the graphics etc. i also really enjoyed Skyward Sword.Best Zelda since Twilight Princess(involved,as you said,more personality),great gameplay,enjoying the origins story and the beautiful worlds.i like your list,although i didn’t play half the games(xeno included) sadly.i would have Muramasa and Fire Emblem:Radiant Dawn in my top list.and Galaxy 1,though i left mid-game to play something else(oops).i have no doubt Xeno is awesome

    • JAVGB says:

      I haven’t played Muramasa or Fire Emblem, so that is why they are absent. Xenoblade is one of the best games I’ve ever played. I really can’t praise it enough.

  3. FRV.LI says:

    As an avid games fan, I simply needed to pop yyou a brief word or
    three to say thank you for putting thjs nice piece up.

    • JAVGB says:

      Thanks! Sorry that I didn’t reply when this was first posted. I really enjoyed writing this one, but then I enjoyed quite a few Wii games.

  4. I must thawnk you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website.
    I am hoping to view the same high-grade content from yoou in the future as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me tto get
    myy very own site now ;)|

    • JAVGB says:

      Good luck on the new site. Drop me a link here or on Twitter and I’ll be sure to check it out.

      I’ll do my best on high-grade content, but I make now promises. 😉

  5. Estuve investigando en la web durante creo que mas de 4 horqs cada dia, y ninguna vez he
    descubierto un comentario tan importante asi como el tuyo.
    Es muy valioso. Desde mi puno de vista,si muchos de los webmasters y personas realizaran tan adecuado contenido web como el que haces,
    el contenido web podria ser mucho mas agradable que lo que
    es ahora.

    • JAVGB says:

      As translated via Google Translate:
      I was researching on the web for I think more than 4 hours every day, and any time I Comment discovered so important as yours. It is very valuable. From my fist view, if many web webmasters and persons to engage as appropriate content as you do,Web content could be much more pleasant than it is now.

      Thank you. I do my best to avoid negativity on this blog, even when writing about games that I may not like. People have to realize that their opinion is unique to them, and isn’t necessarily the prominent view.

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