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The term “Hardcore Gamer" is one that has recently taken on more of a distinction due to the influx of so-called “Casual Gamers" to the industry (the success of Wii Fit is a good example). The two terms are usually portrayed as at opposite ends of the spectrum, meaning that games that appeal to one demographic cannot possibly appeal to the other. While I don’t necessarily agree with this distinction, there are definitely Wii games that appeal more to the so-called “Core" gamers than others.
Hardcore gamers have well-honed skills developed through years of video game playing. Therefore, they demand a slightly more involved and challenging experience than the casual gamer might seek out. These five games are sure to please any hardcore Wii gamer, though most are such good games that they have the potential to appeal to everyone.
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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
I seriously doubt that there are any hardcore gamers out there who aren’t familiar with the Legend of Zelda series. Players once again take on the role of Link and work their way through a series of dungeons connected by a huge overworld solving puzzles and engaging in action combat while acquiring new items and skills that enable them to solve more and more complicated puzzles.
Many gaming publications hail Twilight Princess as the best of the Zelda games, an impressive claim considering the high quality the series has always been known for. With an impressive length and number of secrets to discover, Twilight Princess is sure to keep even the most hardcore of gamers busy and satisfied for some time.
Check out page two for another great action RPG and something a little more frightening for action game fans.
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Okami is a game by Capcom that is often favorably compared to the Legend of Zelda series. It was almost universally revered for its skillfully-crafted story and ability to elicit an emotional response from even the most jaded of hardcore gamers.
Players take on the role of the wolf goddess Amaterasu and lead her on a perilous quest to protect villages and save ancient Japan from an oppressive evil. The game itself is rich with Japanese mythology and the art style is incredibly unique and absolutely beautiful.
Gameplay is a mixture of puzzle solving, exploration, and combat, with the "Celestial Brush" providing creative and interesting ways for players to deal with obstacles (repairing broken bridges and the like).
Okami is another of the best-reviewed games on the Wii, with a Metacritic rating of 90. It’s also the only game on the list that isn’t part of a well-established franchise.
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Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
For hardcore gamers in search of more visceral fare, there is Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition. An enhanced port of the overwhelmingly-popular Gamecube and Playstation 2 hit, Resident Evil 4 is a perilous journey through a countryside populated by homicidal villagers possessed by a malevolent force.
Players must guide Leon Kennedy on his quest to save the president’s daughter from unknown kidnappers, solving puzzles and shooting baddies from a third-person perspective. Boss battles are a huge part of Resident Evil and the series’ fourth iteration certainly doesn’t disappoint on that front, with some of the biggest and most terrifying encounters in the series.
The big addition to the Wii version of the game is motion controls, allowing players to simply point at the screen to aim Leon’s gun and dispatch incoming enemies, saving valuable seconds.
Like the Zelda series, Resident Evil is one of the most popular in the history of gaming. It’s doubtful any hardcore gamer isn’t familiar with it, and Resident Evil 4 represents the best the series has to offer.
RE4 is one another of the best-reviewed games on the Wii (Metacritic score of 91) and is one of the best Wii games available for less than twenty dollars.
Page 3 has perhaps the absolute best game for the Wii and a great game for hardcore Nintendo fans.
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Super Mario Galaxy
In my time as a video game store manager, I often got the question “what’s the best game for (insert system here)." Most of the time, the answer was complicated. Few systems have a far and away best game. Fortunately, the Wii isn’t one of those systems.
Super Mario Galaxy is the highest-rated Wii game on Metacritic, with an amalgamated rating of 97, and honestly, it’s a close to perfect as a Wii game is likely to come. It’s got a huge amount of content for completionists, but it’s also easy enough to complete that I’m able to play it with my girlfriend.
Fans of the series have always revered Super Mario 64 as the pinnacle of the franchise, but with the release of Super Mario Galaxy, Mario has a new best outing.
The most innovative addition to Mario’s latest outing is the tiny planetoids that many of the levels take place upon. Each has its own unique gravity, allowing players to run upside down on many, or jump from planet to planet if they’re able to reach the threshold of gravity. Black holes are present in many levels to devour players who don’t plan their jumps carefully.
Super Mario Galaxy is simply a must-buy for any Wii owner. Your system simply isn’t complete without it.
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Super Smash Bros: Brawl
How does one describe Smash Brothers? It’s kind of a fighting game, just without life bars or finishing moves, and where the main objective is to physically remove your opponents from solid ground by any means necessary. It’s also kind of a competitive platformer, with powerups that fall from the sky and shifting platforms with dangerous obstacles. It’s also another of the best-reviewed Wii games (Metacritic score of 93).
Basically, if you have a favorite character within the Nintendo universe, you’re probably going to find him or her in Brawl, and if there is a Nintendo character you absolutely hate, you’re going to get the chance to beat the living crap out of them.
Fans of either of the first two games in the Smash Brothers series know exactly what to expect from Brawl, fast-paced multiplayer matches and difficult single-player stages filled with so much on-screen mayhem that your eyes will have difficulty keeping up.
The latest Smash Brothers also incorporates a full-on single-player quest, called Subspace Emissary, that provides an alternate method of unlocking the game’s multitude of characters in case the various combat challenges are not your style.
Super Smash Brothers: Brawl is a game made for Nintendo fans by Nintendo fans. It’s filled with unlockables, multiple characters with moves to master, and is capable of providing a challenge to even the most skilled of gamers. Basically everything a hardcore Wii gamer could ask for.
It’s no accident that this list is comprised entirely of games produced by either Nintendo or Capcom. Both are companies with long-standing reputations of providing exactly what hardcore gamers like to see, and they continue to consistently deliver the best games for the Wii. Hardcore gamers looking for a challenging yet compelling experience on the Nintendo Wii would do well to check out any or all of the games on this list.
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Aside from these games, what would make a hardcore or serious gamer buy and play more Wii Games? Tell us in the comments!