10 Most Disappointing Wii Games Since Launch

Sometimes even great games don’t live up to the hype. All the positive previews and hands-on impressions can sometimes hide the fact that, once the game is released, there are some serious issues with the resulting product. It’s a shame, as many of these games might be pretty good, but some core problems mean these game disappoint. The Wii is no different than any other gaming device, and Nintendo has seen it’s fair share of letdowns. Between games to peripherals, the Wii has stumbled along the way to greatness, and here is our list of ten major Wii letdowns.

10. Epic Mickey
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Developer: Disney Interactive
Release Date: November 30, 2010
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Epic Mickey is a weird game to begin with. A darker re-imagining of Disney’s main mouse, the fact that this game exists is a very good thing for Disney entering the 21st century. The game itself is actually okay, for the plot is pretty interesting and all the homages to classic Disney characters makes everyone feel nostalgic for the golden years of animation. Warren Spector’s take on the classic cartoons is pretty cool, and the meta discussion on Mickey Mouse is appreciated. Problem is, Epic Mickey plays like a generic platformer. Gameplay-wise, it’s no different than Banjo-Kazooie, with fetch quests and collect-a-thons providing most of the gameplay. For such a thematically cool and progressive title, the gameplay is just a little too dated. Epic Mickey 2 needs to be fun to play, not just fun to watch.

9. Rock Band
Publisher: MTV Games, Electronic Arts
Developer: Harmonix/Pi Studios
Release Date: June 22, 2008

Let’s be clear, when we talk about Rock Band being disappointing, we are talking specifically about the first Rock Band. Not that it was a bad game, or that it wasn’t thoughtful of Harmonix to port the game to the Wii. It’s just that the game was crippled from the start. Not only could players not customize their characters, they couldn’t play online. The worst element of this version of Rock Band is the outright lack of downloadable content. For a franchise that lives and dies by DLC, Rock Band on Wii had some major problems. Sure, Wii owners could buy music packs, but these separate discs are poor substitutes for picking and choosing specific songs. Ultimately, we can’t even blame Harmonix, as this issue was all due to Nintendo’s archaic infrastructure. Thankfully, all subsequent Wii versions of Rock Band have supported DLC, but this initial game was a hobbled mess.

8. Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: February 24, 2009
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The first Dead Rising was never a fantastic game. However, the bizarre Western/Eastern pop-cultural zombie killing game found the right balance of cheese and fun to make frustrating boss battles and a stupid save system integral gameplay elements. It’s “B-movie” gaming at its best, and Dead Rising 2 solidified the franchise in the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere. Except don’t count Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop as a beloved title. This Wii port of the Xbox 360 original added new zombies and an improved aiming system, but looked much worse. The biggest problem was also the lack of zombies. For a franchise known for hundreds of the undead filling the screen, Chop Til You Drop struggled getting tens of zombies in an area, much less hundreds. It’s a shame to see such a good franchise ported down in such a wimpy manner.

7. Wii Music
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: October 20, 2008
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Whenever Shigeru Miyamoto unveils a new product, gamers all over pay attention. Why? Everything the guy touches is certifiable gold, as confirmed by Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong. Unfortunately, this didn’t apply to Wii Music. Probably the most casual of Nintendo’s Wii offerings, Wii Music exemplified the “Blue Ocean” mentality taken to an extreme. A game that played itself, with terrible music choices (seriously Nintendo, “Turkey in the Straw?”), Wii Music wasn’t a game, it was a terrible little toy. It offered little in creativity for the player, and had little to do once the songs were unlocked. Thankfully, the awful sales figures and critical reception taught Nintendo a very important lesson about casual games.

6. Wii Fit
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: May 21, 2008
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There are a couple major issues with Wii Fit that make it disappointing. Hardcore gamers will forever lament this very successful franchise as all that is wrong with the Wii: too casual-friendly. Fair enough, but it hasn’t stopped Nintendo from releasing great titles from their primary IPs, so this complaint is largely moot. The bigger disappointment with Wii Fit has to do with following through with the promise to make people healthier. Like most weight loss and exercise devices, it requires a lot from the user, and while Wii Fit does make exercise “fun,” it’s not intense enough to really cause much of a body change. Additionally, it requires the Balance Board, an expensive peripheral for an already peripheral-heavy console. Wii Fit is no different than a Shake Weight, and if your product can be compared to a Shake Weight, there’s a problem.

5. Metroid: Other M
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Team Ninja
Release Date: August 31, 2010
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When Samus made the jump to first-person shooter with Retro Studio’s acclaimed Metroid: Prime, gamers were awed by the moody and original reinvention of the franchise. When time came for a new Metroid adventure, Nintendo turned to Team Ninja for development duties. Well known for the Dead or Alive fighting games, Team Ninja was certainly going to make a unique version of Metroid. And unique it was, with a bloated story, a chatty Samus who couldn’t do anything without her boss ordering her to first, and a weird side-scrolling/3D fusion that didn’t often work. Still a fun game, Other M is definitely the weakest entry in an otherwise outstanding franchise.

4. The Conduit
Publisher: Sega of America
Developer: High Voltage Software
Release Date: June 23, 2010
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You’ve got to feel sorry for High Voltage Software. Attempting to squeeze the best graphical effects from the underpowered Wii while creating a good first person shooter, they had everything working against them. Sometimes, however, the best isn’t good enough, as The Conduit can confirm. A fairly generic FPS about aliens invading Washington, the game looked good for a Wii game, and played okay for a Wii shooter, but came across as fairly generic and mediocre. The online multiplayer was crippled by Nintendo and the Wii Speak support did little in the way of creating a cohesive online experience. While they never claimed that the game was going to be a “Halo-Killer”, high enough hopes were placed on this game that the whole thing was underwhelming. Perhaps this summer’s sequel will fare a little better…

3. Wii MotionPlus
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: June 12, 2009

Love it or hate it, the Wii remote didn’t exactly live up to the potential of the cute videos Nintendo showed off in the summer of 2006. All that waving and motion controlling, when in people’s hands, the standard Wiimote just couldn’t replicate that gameplay accurately. So what does a company do when their primary device isn’t up to par? Release an additional peripheral! Yep, just like the Sega Genesis/Sega CD/Sega 32X, the Nintendo 64 with the 8 MB Expansion Pak, the Move, the Kinect and any other expensive add-ons for consoles, the MotionPlus came out to cover Nintendo’s behind from backlash. As expected, the device is rarely utilized by developers and does little to improve games. Had Nintendo just kept with the standard controller and saved the MotionPlus technology for a new Wii, we wouldn’t have a split user-base and an expensive controller accessory useless for most games. Hopefully Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will make the MotionPlus worthwhile, but for now it’s a waste of money.

2. Red Steel
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Release Date: November 19, 2006
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As far as launch titles will go, Ubisoft’s Red Steel was the worst. A first person shooter with ugly graphics and controls that could have been tightened, the game was borderline racist and practically unplayable. Considering this is a launch title, many gamers would forgive the shoddiness if Ubisoft hadn’t released impossible screenshots of the game early in it’s development. Hype was super high on this one, with many hoping that Red Steel was going to offer 1:1 sword play and shooting. Instead, we got an ugly game that didn’t replicate the feeling of swords or guns. Thankfully, the sequel was a great game that had nothing to do with the original, and is one of the only games worth using the MotionPlus. Too bad gamers don’t forget, and the Red Steel franchise is forever sullied.

1. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: March 9, 2008
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Super Smash Bros. Brawl is not a bad game. Far from it, as Nintendo supposedly did all the right things. They included loads of new characters, plenty of fan service, fantastic tunes, and hundreds of unlockables. The game is a veritable museum to Nintendo, which in itself makes this a must own for any Wii owner. So what’s the problem? Well, the core physics of the game were entirely revamped from Melee. While it’s predecessor was a fast paced and beloved tournament fighting game, Brawl’s version of fighting means floating in the air for much too long, abusing cheap characters and items, and generally devolving into chaotic and unbalanced fights. Enough to turn off even casual fans of the franchise, the silly single player and useless online multiplayer left many with a bad taste in their mouth. The Smash Bros. franchise is probably far from dead, but Nintendo should aim to replicate the perfection of Melee before they work on another sequel.