The 17 Best Hard Core Games for the Wii

The Nintendo Wii has been justifiably criticized as a dumping ground for shovelware and casual games that fail to serve hardcore gamers. Yet, those players who want epic games with original ideas, challenging gameplay and engaging stories can find all of that on the Wii if they know where to look. While some core Wii titles have fallen short of greatness, there are still some that any serious gamer would love.

17
of 17

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Ubisoft

What We Like

  • Impressive combat engine.

  • Entertaining puzzles.

  • Well developed characters.

What We Don't Like

  • Somewhat rigid plotline.

  • Easy boss fights.

Forgotten Sands is a throwback to the days when game publishers would release entirely different games under the same title for different platforms. The game is distinct from the Forgotten Sands on everything else, with Wii-specific elements. While the story is terrible, the platforming is terrific and the combat is more tolerable than in the earlier games. 

16
of 17

Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces

Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces
Shoot it down!. XSEED

What We Like

  • Impressive, original storyline.

  • Engrossing aerial combat action.

  • Creative, intuitive controls.

What We Don't Like

  • Short campaign.

  • Unimpressive graphics.

With a unique and ingenious control scheme and exciting missions, this flight combat game ​is tremendous fun if you can ignore its inane story.

15
of 17

GoldenEye 007

GoldenEye 007
Daniel Craig lends his voice and likeness to GoldenEye 007. Activision

What We Like

  • Fast paced, interesting gameplay.

  • Offers split-screen, multiplayer.

  • Fun for new FPS players.

What We Don't Like

  • Outdated graphics.

  • Unoriginal storyline.

  • Confusing menu system.

GoldenEye is a rarity on the Wii, a fun, slickly made FPS that doesn't have "Call of Duty" in the title. With a nice mix of action and stealth and great levels for its online multiplayer, this is a terrific game once you've tweaked the controls to make it play like a Call of Duty game.

14
of 17

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Travis Touchdown faces down yet another insane assassin. Ubisoft

What We Like

  • Good graphics.

  • Great humor.

  • Well designed game.

What We Don't Like

  • Not many new weapons.

  • Limited to using specific characters.

  • Can be quite gory.

With over-the-top violence, a weird sense of humor, striking visuals, and huge doses of crazy, the No More Heroes games are unlike anything else on the Wii. The sequel took out the worst parts of the original game and left the intense combat and the general nuttiness; the result is a must-have for fans of out-there games.

13
of 17

Sam & Max: Season 1

Sam & Max: Season One
Shady toys. Telltale Games

What We Like

  • Great old school adventure game.

  • Great characters.

  • Entertaining soundtrack.

What We Don't Like

  • Puzzles can be difficult to solve.

  • Game doesn't run smoothly.

The Wii is the only game console that can rival the personal computer as a platform for point-and-click adventure games, and no game shows that off better than Sam & Max, a hilarious game full of smart puzzles and sharp dialogue. One of the few adventure games to be just as enjoyable on a game console as it is on a PC.

12
of 17

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops
Most times in 'Black Ops' you'll be using a gun, but this crossbow is also pretty handy. Activision

What We Like

  • Excellent gunplay.

  • Useful tutorial.

  • Great, tactical multiplayer.

What We Don't Like

  • Lots of camping in online play.

  • Requires high end gaming system.

  • Not unique from other first person shooters.

The Wii Call of Duty games World at War, Modern Warfare 3, and Black Ops are all excellent but it seems silly to give all three a slot in this list because they are so similar. The series showed a respect for core Wii gamers often lacking from other developers, terrific gesture-based controls, exciting campaign missions, and first-rate multiplayer. If you like one, play them all; Black Ops is my top pick due to a superior story in the same way MW3 is our least favorite because its story sucks.

11
of 17

Dead Space: Extraction

Dead Space: Extraction
Blow off a few limbs and this guy will go down. Electronic Arts

What We Like

  • Great character development.

  • Smooth, easy controls.

  • Unique weapons to use.

What We Don't Like

  • Dated graphics.

  • Gameplay can get tedious.

With its jittery camera and involving story, Dead Space: Extraction is a rail shooter that feels freer and edgier than its peers. Easily the best rail shooter on the Wii.

10
of 17

House of the Dead: Overkill

House of the Dead: Overkill
Time to shoot some killer clowns. SEGA

What We Like

  • Innovative slow mo-fo mode.

  • Excellent soundtrack.

  • Good variety of weapons.

What We Don't Like

  • May be too easy for advanced players.

  • More arcade than strategy.

  • Over-the-top at times.

A high-concept take on exploitation movies, this rail shooter turns soulful songs, stylish graphics, purposely moronic dialogue and slack-jawed zombies into a stylish and irresistible piece of entertainment.

09
of 17

Deadly Creatures

Deadly Creatures
THQ

What We Like

  • Wonderfully creepy.

  • Good graphics.

  • Very original and creative.

What We Don't Like

  • Average game mechanics.

  • Very short.

  • Can get repetitive and tedious.

A remarkable action game in which the player alternately takes the role of a spider and a scorpion as they make their way through the desert. The slight story is fascinating, the graphics show what can be done by Wii game designers who know what they’re doing, and the action is fast and furious. You will never look at a spider in quite the same way again.

08
of 17

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Donkey Kong Country Returns
DKCR is no walk in the park. It's more like a mining cart ride over broken tracks. Nintendo

What We Like

  • Very challenging.

  • Great aesthetics.

  • Auto Play mode available for beginners.

What We Don't Like

  • Not very original until later levels.

  • Multiplayer doesn't work very well.

One of the best 2D platformers ever made, Donkey Kong Country Returns is a beautifully crafted game, so good that we can forgive its brutal difficulty.

07
of 17

Sonic Colors

Sonic Colors
Sonic Colors perfectly captures the feel of the original Sonic games. SEGA

What We Like

  • Excellent graphics.

  • Exciting gameplay.

  • Combines 3D with sidescrolling.

What We Don't Like

  • Some levels feel impossible.

  • Dull story throughout the game.

The first entirely successful 3D Sonic the Hedgehog reinvigorates the series and offers some of the most exhilarating gameplay you can find on the Wii. With a surprisingly entertaining story and clever gameplay ideas like the use of colored aliens to acquire special abilities, Sonic achieves a mix of lightning speed and smart platform puzzling that ranks with the best of the series.

06
of 17

De Blob

De Blob
THQ

What We Like

  • Tight, accurate controls.

  • Very entertaining.

  • Good graphics.

  • Fun soundtrack.

What We Don't Like

  • Some common control issues.

  • Gameplay can get repetitive.

  • No new content compared to original.

The platformer De Blob is everything a Wii game should be. It uses the unique capabilities of the Wii in a natural, intuitive way. It offers unique, creative gameplay; colorful, engaging graphics; and tells a simple but entertaining story. It is kid-friendly yet equally entertaining for adults. In an ideal world, this would be one of the Wii’s best selling titles, and we will never understand why it is not.

05
of 17

Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Nintendo

What We Like

  • Large scale world.

  • Well done characters.

  • Imaginative storyline.

What We Don't Like

  • Too easy to play without dying.

  • Unimpressive soundtrack.

The Legend of Zelda series is one of the most reliable in all of gaming, offering a well-worked formula while always makes it seem fresh. In this case, much of that freshness comes from ​use of the Wii remote. This was one of Nintendo’s first Wii games, and it showed exactly what could be done with the game. If only other designers - including Nintendo’s own - had used it as a guideline for how to proceed.

04
of 17

Disney Epic Mickey

Disney Epic Mickey
Junction Point Studios

What We Like

  • Epic universe.

  • Intriguing storyline.

  • Nostalgic music.

What We Don't Like

  • Gameplay can get repetitive.

  • Awkward camera.

  • Poorly done AI.

With its intriguing story, colorful visuals and unique gameplay mechanism, in which you can destroy a cartoon world with paint thinner or restore it with paint, Disney Epic Mickey is an interesting variation on a Legend of Zelda-style platformer. In spite of some camera and control issues, this is my all-time favorite Wii game.

03
of 17

The Last Story

The Last Story
XSEED

What We Like

  • Well done characters.

  • Strategic gameplay.

  • Many hours of play.

  • Lots of battle options.

What We Don't Like

  • Thin multiplayer features.

  • Battles can get a little too easy.

  • Somewhat cliche storyline.

There weren't a lot of RPGs released for the Wii, but it does have two of the best JRPGs ever released on any console. The Last Story, directed by the guy who created the Final Fantasy series, offers exciting, action-oriented combat and a predictable but engaging story. It's short as JRPGs go, but tremendously fun.

02
of 17

Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles
Nintendo

What We Like

  • Elaborate game.

  • Original storyline.

  • Enjoyable non-linear play.

  • Excellent combat system.

What We Don't Like

  • Map and waypoints can be difficult to use.

  • Side quests gated based on level.

Vast, sweeping, and complex, Xenoblade Chronicles is insanely elaborate, tremendously long, and vastly detailed, with exciting, hectic combat, involving side quests, and endless exploration. It's a game you can lose yourself in, and we recommend you do so as soon as possible.

01
of 17

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Nintendo

What We Like

  • Impressive storyline.

  • Amazing cinematics.

  • Excellent character development.

  • Interactive music.

What We Don't Like

  • Combat system takes time to adjust to.

  • Made for skilled players.

  • Constant reminder boxes can get annoying.

An all-time favorite Zelda game is somewhat controversial - some people hate the motions controls - but for me the controls are perfect and the game itself is a beautifully crafted action adventure and the best thing produced for the Wii.