Top 5 Best and Worst Hardcore Games on Wii

A look at what hardcore gamers can enjoy and what they should keep a good distance from on Wii.

By Greg Wampler. Posted 06/29/2010 09:00 16 Comments     ShareThis

Ju-On: The Grudge Screenshot

The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Nintendojo as a whole or any of its affiliates.

Are you a hardcore gamer? Do you even know what a hardcore game is? Well, there really isn’t a single definition that everyone agrees on, but the way I use it to define the following list is that a hardcore game is a game with either a lot of depth or a lot of replayability. A hardcore game will have lots of secrets and is easy to play but difficult to master which leads to a lot of consumed time playing. So, without further adieu, here’s the best and worst hardcore games on Wii.

Top 5 Best

5. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Zelda: Twilight Princess Box ArtRated: Teen
Release Year: 2006
Our Review Score: 10

Four years have passed, and this game still makes it into the top five. There are many games that have been released since, and some have come close to beating it out, but not close enough. It’s hard seeing this game at number five since it’s one of my favorite games of all time. However, I’m trying not to let my bias get in the way (much). Let’s face it: have you found the special armor? Beaten the endless cave? Have you even played this game? The only way I see you disrespecting this game being at number five is if you ‘ve never played it. Twilight Princess is massive! There are plenty of secrets that add to its replayability as well as a great story and adventure that should capture the hearts and minds of any hardcore gamer.

4. Metroid Prime Trilogy

Metroid Prime Trilogy Box Art

Rated: Teen
Release Year: 2009
Our Review Scores: (Scored Separately) Prime – 9.6, Prime 2 – 9.6, Prime 3 – 9.9

Metroid Prime 3 was originally the only Prime game released on Wii, until Nintendo and Retro Studios later upgraded the first two with progressive scan graphics, true widescreen support and Wii pointer controls in Trilogy. That gives me the ability to set the whole trilogy at number four. This package is a must-have for any hardcore Wii gamer. The graphics are amazing, the Wii controls work very well and the difficulty settings can be ramped up. Power ups, alien worlds and a hot chick for a heroine. Seriously, what else could a hardcore gamer need? I would suggest hunting this one down, since it was a limited edition release. Otherwise, pick up Corruption in the very least.

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Box Art

Rated: Teen
Release Year: 2008
Our Review Score: 10

Two years later and this game is still kickin’ strong. Where else can you choose from all of Nintendo’s greatest characters (and then some) and face off against one another. Beat the stuffing out of Kirby, or smack Link in the face with Donkey Kong’s gorilla hands. Sounds like fun right? Well, if that isn’t enough for you “Nintendo isn’t hardcore” crowd, what about the hundreds of secrets. Literally, hundreds. Unlockables include secret characters and stages, music, trophies (and no these ain’t your Sony kind), stickers and much more! Best yet, if you get bored fighting (which probably means you aren’t hardcore anyways), then there is a single player adventure mode as well. Hey, there’s even online multiplayer.

2. New Super Mario Bros. Wii

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Box Art

Rated: Everyone
Release Year: 2009
Our Review Score: 9.6

What, since Mario games are without blood and gore they can’t be hardcore? Nonsense! Platforming is one of the oldest running genres of all time (and one of the toughest) and the Mario games are the king of the crop. New Super Mario Bros. Wii has all the challenge a hardcore gamer needs. Hidden coins, secret worlds and level design that is a challenge to master all give great reason for this game to be number two of the best hardcore games on Wii.

1. Super Mario Galaxy Series

Super Mario Galaxy Box ArtSuper Mario Galaxy 2 Box Art

Rated: Everyone
Release Years: Galaxy – 2007, Galaxy 2 – 2010
Our Review Scores: Galaxy – 9.8, Galaxy 2 – N/A

I decided to go with both Mario Galaxy games in order to give other games a fair shot at being on the list because, let’s face it, the sequel would take the first spot and the first game would take the second. If you’re reading this and aren’t a Nintendo loyalist, you may be wondering why these two games are the most hardcore. Well, simply put, the games aren’t simple. They may not be too difficult to beat, but to find every star and secret takes a major badass, hardcore gamer. Trust me when I say, to find everything isn’t for the faint of heart.

Honorable Mentions

Red Steel 2, Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Reflex, Castlevania ReBirth, Monster Hunter Tri

Top 5 Worst

5. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers

FFCC: The Crystal Bearers Box Art

Rated: Teen
Release Year: 2009
Our Review Score: 6.5

The old Crystal Chronicles games may not be too hardcore, but this one is supposed to be. With an open world design, full-blown storyline and graphics that actually mirror some Nintendo-made games, it’s no wonder what separates this game from other Crystal Chronicles games. However, the game becomes very easy, very fast and never offers the player a challenge. The controls seem to be clanky at times as well, but let’s not make this about why the game isn’t good in general, but why it’s not a good hardcore game. The biggest thing is the lack of a challenge, the straight-forward routine of the world around you (little offering of secrets and the need to explore) and, finally, the way the game just shouts “hardcore”, then turns around and says, “just kidding!”

4. Castlevania Judgement

Castlevania Judgement Box Art

Rated: Teen
Release Year: 2008
Our Review Score: 6.5

This game still hits a chord with me two years later, and its not a good one. As a game in general, it isn’t bad, but looking at it from a hardcore perspective: it stinks. It’s yet another game that tries to drag the hardcore gamer in. I mean, come on. The title alone says Castlevania, so its gotta be full of hardcore right? Wrong! Not only is it the only fighter in the Castlevania saga, but it seems to push away most things that make Castlevania so hardcore in the first place. Besides the game’s flaws design wise, there are very little secrets and unlockables. Also, the title says Castlevania, but the characters and art, while still well done, don’t draw from the past games as much as fans of the series would like, which takes away from the overall “hardcoreness” of the game. The camera system is a huge flaw which is probably the biggest reason to keep hardcore gamers away, if everything else can be looked passed.

3. Calling

Calling Box Art

Rated: Teen
Release Year: 2010
Our Review Score: N/A

This is a great appetizer for what will be the number one worst hardcore Wii game. That’s because Calling is almost the same kind of game. It’s just not as bad. Besides the horrible controls and graphics, there’s nothing special for you to accomplish. No secrets (well maybe one or two) and no reason to finish due to no story being in place. Worst yet is the fact that it’s not a scary or engaging game whatsoever.

2. Tony Hawk: Ride

Tony Hawk: Ride Box Art

Rated: Everyone
Release Year: 2009
Our Review Score: 4.8

This game had to show up on the worst list somewhere. I know what you’re thinking. How is this a hardcore game? It’s more simulation than the old Tony Hawk games. Well, did you know that they actually tried to market this to the same hardcore gamers that played the other games? This game is yet another example of a hardcore wanna be that it’s not even funny. I know there are still a few hardcore gamers out there thinking of buying this and that’s the biggest reason to have it on this list. Not only does the game and the “board” suck, but the fact that they would specifically try to sell this to the same hardcore crowd, is just absurd. I know in traditional sense, this game (without any previous installments) wouldn’t be considered hardcore, but you can thank Activision for marketing it like one.

1. Ju-On: The Grudge

Ju-On: The Grudge Box Art

Rated: Mature
Release Year: 2009
Our Review Score: 3.8

This game easily tops the list of worst hardcore games on Wii. In fact, I’m not even sure it’s a hardcore game it’s so bad but because it seems like it is supposed to be one (does the mature rating help?), it’s definitely the worst. From the super-slow, crawl-like movement (no run button included!), to the horrible story and not-so-frightening scares, this game is one to stay away from.

Dishonorable Mentions

Red Steel, Sonic Unleashed, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors

16 Responses to “Top 5 Best and Worst Hardcore Games on Wii”

  • 441 points
    Terr says...

    I thought FF: CC & Castlevania: Judgement were very awesome games. I don’t know what you want from ‘hardcore’ since I don’t believe in the term (games are games, we play to have fun, right?) but I love them both. I also found Metroid Prime Trilogy quite easy & rating from a ‘hardcore’ PoV… not hardcore at all O_o

    • 318 points
      Greg Wampler says...

      I don’t think easiness can make a game hardcore or not. I also don’t believe in the word hardcore, and that is why I gave a guesstimate of what it means at the beginning.

      FF:CC and Castlevania are not really good hardcore games based on their hype and change of game type/genre. When you think of Castlevania, you don’t think of the type of game Judgement is…

  • 0 points
    lukas says...

    i have all the hardcore titles of this list, i guess i’m a hardcore gamer , or just a nintendo lover!

  • 6 points
    tbenton says...

    House of the Dead Overkill & MadWorld are pretty hardcore games. Both are violently awesome.

    • 318 points
      Greg Wampler says...

      I kind of look at both of those games as not great but not bad. They fall somewhere in between, although I look at MadWorld as better than House of the Dead due to HotD being on rails. Yes I know they all are, but this is simply a remhash.

      • 198 points
        Evan Campbell says...

        So do you immediately discount any on-rails game?

        I enjoy House of the Dead: Overkill more than MadWorld. Also, even though it is on-rails, there’s so much content in the game. I’ve easily played like 8-plus hours and still haven’t unlocked all the extras.

      • 258 points
        Joshua A. Johnston says...

        One of the best “hardcore” games I’ve played on Wii is Dead Space Extraction. It’s got one of the best storylines I’ve ever seen, a taut thriller with memorable characters. Sadly, it’s an on-rails shooter, which tends to be a stigma on Wii.

      • 393 points
        James Stank says...

        I’m with you Greg, though I thought MadWorld and Overkill were pretty bad games. And 8+ hours isn’t and shouldn’t be considered a lot of time to play a game. But Greg’s right, when a game is on-rails there is a limit as to how good it can be. Here’s an example: as good as Extraction was, it is nothing compared to the original Dead Space, and will be nothing compared to Dead Space 2.

      • 318 points
        Greg Wampler says...

        I don’t necessarily “discount” on-rail games automatically. The fact that an on-rails game is more restrictive on what the player can do definitely brings down what a hardcore game is. Hardcore isn’t based on violence, it’s more dealing with length, spirit and certain degrees of toughness. It’s like an easy to learn game like Mario is extremely hard to perfect and master.

        On-rails are too basic to be a great hardcore game. I love them for what they are, but I still don’t include them in the greatest games let a lone “hardcore” ones.

  • 198 points
    Evan Campbell says...

    So, James and Greg, I suppose StarFox isn’t hardcore. Or, at least, it can’t be that good because it’s on-rails.

    How about Sin & Punishment? Those two games aren’t tough enough? Too basic?

    Are shoot-’em-ups too easy and too short to be good, or at least not hardcore enough to be considered?

    Finally, what about Guitar Hero and Rock Band? Technically, both franchises are on-rails in regard to playing certain notes, it’s just called a highway instead.

    • 318 points
      Greg Wampler says...

      Okay, Evan. Why nitpick? First off, on-rails first person shooters is what I am talking about here.

      “Technically” all games are on-rails when dealing in code. I mean come on Evan. You know what I mean.

  • 393 points
    James Stank says...

    No, I don’t consider Rock Band or Guitar Hero to be hardcore. And what Greg said was “On-Rails are too basic to be a great hardcore game.” So yeah, compare StarFox and Sin & Punishment (as great as they are) to Zelda, Mario Galaxy or Uncharted (just to name a few examples) and tell me which is more hardcore. It’s not StarFox or Sin and Punishment. I’m not saying those two aforementioned titles aren’t hardcore, they just arent THAT hardcore. Actually, I may think StarFox is a bit questionable.

  • 93 points
    Francisco Naranjo says...

    Button-mashing hell, that pretty much describes Castlevania Jugement. You can beat the game with some characters by repeteadly pressing B. The balance is non-existent, it lacks depth and even if the finishers are cool, they are one of the worst aspects of the game being really easy to perform and taking practically half of the player’s health.

  • 0 points

    Hardcore… is this describing difficulty or amount of violence. Because Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 have not much of either. Sin and Punishment 2 should be above those two on this list.

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