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New Wii games look great but aren’t much fun

I’m always looking for good Wii games to recommend to you, but I keep finding duds. Like I always say, the Wii is a fun system, but it doesn’t offer many entertaining titles, especially compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Case in point No. 1: I got all excited when I read great reviews for “Muramasa: The Demon Blade.” This is a side-scrolling samurai adventure where you swing swords at bad guys and demons.

Other critics said it’s pretty (it is); they said the story line about characters’ struggle against evil is compelling (it’s not, it’s hackneyed); and they said the action is interesting (wrong-ville).

Basically in “Muramasa,” you run from left to right, or right to left, most often swinging your sword at bunches of bad guys, or giant bossy bad guys. This style is a simpleton’s rehash: kill, wash, rinse, repeat. Boring.

Case in point No. 2: I got excited when I read very good reviews for “Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.” This reinvention of the “Silent Hill” horror franchise asks you (as you portray a father looking for his lost daughter) to walk around a creepy town, shining a flashlight in the dark to look at cash registers and other standard things inside unpopulated buildings. I feel like all we’re doing here is searching for keys that open doors and solving puzzles that get us from point A to point B.

And instead of shooting zombies, we run from them. We can’t kill any of them. We just run. If zombies catch up and jump on my back, I shake them off, then run some more. Blah.

Other critics said “Shattered Memories” (which won a few awards from IGN and GameSpy) looks and feels unsettlingly scary (it does); and they said running from zombies and solving puzzles is fascinating (no).

Case in point No. 3: I got excited when I read good reviews, and a few mixed, for “Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles.” This “Resident Evil” plays on an arcade track. In other words, you don’t explore locales on your own, but rather the game pulls you through alleys and buildings automatically, in the same way you would get pulled through a haunted house ride at an amusement park.

In essence, all I do is look at the TV as the game shows me zombies popping up and ambling at me. I point the Wii wand at their heads, pull the trigger a zillion times and they die. Then come more zombies.

Critics said “Darkside” is excellently illustrated (it truly looks better than almost any Wii game I’ve seen); and they said it’s fun despite being a short game (no fun, do you hear me, no fun).

There are two common denominators in these games: A) They look far prettier than most Wii games; B) They aren’t much fun, as Wii games generally aren’t. So my search continues on your behalf. My New Year’s resolution is to find a handful of great new Wii games. It’s gonna be a tough year, I fear.

(“Muramasa: The Demon Blade” by Ignition retails for $40 for Wii — Plays dull. Looks quite good. Moderately challenging. Rated “T” for alcohol reference, fantasy violence and suggestive themes. One and one-half star out of four.)

(“Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles” by Capcom retails for $50 for Wii — Plays repetitive. Looks great. Rated “M” for blood, gore, intense violence and language. One star.)

(“Silent Hill: Shattered Memories” by Konami retails for $50 for Wii — Plays redundant. Looks great. Moderately challenging. Rated “M” for blood, drug reference, language, sexual themes and violence. Two stars.)

Contact Doug Elfman at delfman@ reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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