Wii Survival Horror Games
When it comes to Survival Horror on the Wii, you have a truly surprising number of options considering that the prime directive for the Wii seems to be all about family and casual gaming. And yet, it has a superior line-up of horror games to NextGen consoles like the XBox 360 and the PS3. The heyday of Survival Horror seems to be the PlayStation 2 era, but if you own a Wii then there are quite a few survival horror games to play. Of course, since the Wii is backwards-compatible with the GameCube, you can play those games as well. Time to load up on the Resident Evil franchise!
I have not played all of the Survival horror games that are available for the Wii, primarily because right now I am working my way through some of the older Resident Evil Gamecube games, but I do intend to pick up some of these others as well, so I thought I would give a brief rundown of what is currently available since it is sort of my own personal wishlist. Just note that not all of these games are "good". In fact, it appears that most of them are quite horrible. But that seems to be par for the course when it comes to both Wii games and Survival Horror.
I'll start with some games I've already played or am currently playing though and the list is a mix of both Wii and Gamecube games. I've not included games that appear to be vaporware, such as Sadness and Winter. Have fun getting scared!
Resident Evil Games on the Wii
We'll start with my favorite series, Resident Evil. Not only because it is my favorite, but because it is also the largest Survival Horror franchise on the Wii.
There are five Resident Evil games released for the Wii console and a few other GameCube games that you can play as well, since the Wii is backwards-compatible. So let's talk about Resident Evil, zombies, mayhem and my fictional cartoon boyfriend, Leon Kennedy.
Resident Evil Archives
First up is Resident Evil and Resident Evil Zero. Technically, not at all the first Resident Evil games for the Wii, but since these are the first games in the franchise, it makes sense to talk about them first. Whether you want to play them first is a different story, but personally if you haven't played any of the RE games yet, they are a great place to start. The graphics look just fine and won't seem out of place on the Wii at at all.
The Wii releases of these two games are marketed as Resident Evil Archives. Basically, both games are a port of the GameCube versions of the titles (which are ports of the Playstation originals!), with some minimal updates for the Wii remote.
But if you have played Resident Evil IV on the Wii, don't come in expecting this game to have RE IV controls. It doesn't. In fact, the changes are minimal at best and if you were to go out and buy a used copy of the Gamecube game instead I doubt you would notice any difference. In fact, I personally prefer the Gamecube controller to the Wii, so that's the version of Resident Evil that I played.
That aside, if you've never played it before, you NEED this game. It's a genre classic and very atmospheric and fun to play.You can choose to either play as Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine and who you choose to play makes some big differences in the game so you'll likely want to play through at least twice so you can see the different ways the game plays out.
I highly recommend it, especially since the GameCube version of the game was basically a Remake of the original PS game and all of those updates are included in the Archives version for the Wii.
Resident Evil 0 is a prequel to Resident Evil and you will play the game with Rebecca Chambers. The story takes place a day prior to the events in Resident Evil. While Zero is fun, it is isn't as good as the original game so I recommend that if you haven't played one before, play Resident Evil before playing the prequel. There will be nothing confusing about doing it that way.
The next three games in the Resident Evil franchise that you can play on the Wii are all actually GameCube games and chances are you will need to pick up used copies of them. I don't have a whole lot to say about them because I have not played them yet. They are:
- Resident Evil 2
- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
- Resident Evil CODE: Veronica X
Code Veronica's Gamecube version is a bit scarce so it can be pricey. If you happen to have a PS2 you might want to pick up that one instead as it is much cheaper or nowadays you can get the XBox 360 version from the XBox Live store.
Resident Evil IV
I often say that Resident Evil IV is the first video game I ever played. But now that I think about it, that's not entirely true. It's the first video game I stuck with after an hour of playing and it's the first one I finished playing. It's the first videogame I fell in love with. That's a far more accurate description.
Resident Evil IV is awesome. It is widely considered one of the best action games every made and it is certainly the best action game on the Wii. It's also the game that sucked me into video games in the first place and while I've played a bunch of games since that I really love, it is still one of my favorites. I've played it multiple times and I've played all of the extras that get unlocked after you beat the game the first time as well. I even have the Chicago Typewriter! (For those who don't know this is a machine gun with unlimited ammo -- sort of a game breaker, but fun!).
When it comes to the Wii I have serious issues with some of the quicktime type movements you need to make. I'm actually stuck in Silent Hill Shattered Memories right now because of this, but I'll talk about that a bit later. Thankfully, when it comes to Resident Evil IV, the implementation of the Wii controls for the game is really well done and feels pretty natural. Aiming the remote to shoot is great and the few places that you need to gesture with the remote work well enough too.
The storyline, acting and dialogue are cheesy as hell. Leon Kennedy needs to rescue the President's daughter in, umm, Spain, I think. Spain, overrun by zombies (they aren't called zombies in this game, but I've already forgotten what they are called, so whatever -- zombies). I dunno. Maybe it's not Spain. But the serious cheese factor didn't stop me from loving Leon Kennedy. He's a blast. And my fictional video game boyfriend. Leon also appears in Resident Evil 2, which is next on my playlist (if I ever finish Shattered Memories!), and Darkside Chronicles.
Umbrella & Darkside Chronicles
The Resident Evil games, Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles, are both rail-shooters, which are pretty popular on the Wii. Since they are rail shooters, there's not much in the way of "Survival", but if you are an RE fan you'll want to get them. Both games are basically a mash-up of different levels in the previous games, with some new levels thrown in.
Umbrella Chronicles covers the original Resident Evil game as well as 0 and RE 3: Nemesis. Darkside Chronicles covers events taking place in Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica. So both games contain significant spoilers for the previous RE games if you haven't played them yet. If you just want an overview of the older games, that probably works out great. But if you want to play the earlier titles without being spoiled, save the two rail shooters for last.
And that wrap's up the Resident Evil franchise on the Wii.
Silent Hill Shattered Memories
IGN Review of Shattered Memories
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Oh, Shattered Memories, how you frustrate me! Shattered Memories is basically a "revisioning" of the original Silent Hill game. It's a Wii exclusive and makes heavy use of the Wiimote, much to my regret. There is no combat in the game so when the monsters come after you your only recourse is to outrun them, which of course you will generally fail to do so you will have to knock them off of you.
Aside from the "nightmare" sequences, I love this game. It is mostly an exploration game. You wander around trying to piece together clues, looking for your daughter. Using the Wiimote as a phone is a neat touch and basically I was quite happy calling every single number I stumbled across in the game. If that was all there was to do in Shattered Memories, I'd consider it money well spent. But I'm weird.
Unfortunately, I am now STUCK. The nightmare segments require you to make gestures with the Wiimote in order to get the creatures off of you and I'm terrible at any kind of Wii gestures. So I keep dying. Or when it seems like I'm about to break free from the ice world, I find out instead that I'm all turned around and heading in the wrong direction.
Now, I know I suck, but I can console myself that these sequences are a source of contention generally. It is one of those things -- you will either love them or you will hate them. Me? I hate them. I don't think they are necessary to enjoy the game at all, and now I can't enjoy the game at all because I can't get past one of these stupid, frustrating segments. Ugh. So I put Shattered Memories aside and right now I'm playing Silent Hill Homecoming on the XBox 360 instead. I may come back to Shattered Memories in the future. Who knows, maybe I will magically not suck.
Eternal Darkness Sanity Effects
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Eternal Darkness is a Gamecube title, but if you have not played it, then you should get yourself a Gamecube memory card and a used copy of this game as it is one of the better survival horror games that you can play on the Wii.
Over the course of the two millennia that the games takes place over, you will play 11 different characters and have your sanity tested constantly with the sanity meter and the sanity effects (including 4th-wall breaking effects like having you think your controller is unplugged when it isn't) make this a very captivating and immersive game.
Alone in the Dark
Alone in the Dark is available in every possible format -- for the PC and all consoles. It has mostly received mixed reviews, with a heavy tilt towards the negative. The Wii version is supposed to be by far the crappiest and while I have not tried any of the other versions, I can concur that the Wii port of Alone in the Dark sucks.
It's a shame because it seems like it could have been cool and interesting and the game had a legacy to uphold (being the fifth game in the series). It's set in the real world and the action takes place in and around Central Park in New York City. And supposedly the game is supposed to have real world rules -- but the game controls are horrible so that whole idea doesn't work as well as you'd hope. Thankfully, it was a rental.
Cursed Mountain is definitely on my Buy list. It's a budget title for the Wii that gets mixed to average reviews from professional game journalists, but most of the buyers on Amazon quite like it and I've seen it mentioned here and there in gaming forums as a decent horror title.The major complaints is that the pacing is slow (which I don't mind at all as I tend to plod along) and the controls a bit wonky.
The story is about a mountain climber who needs to find his brother who is lost in the Himalayas. I've been watching some walk-through videos and it looks like it has a nicely eerie atmosphere.
It's third person and kinda of similar to Resident Evil IV (but apparently the Wii controls aren't as good as they are for RE IV), but without the guns.
You have some melee weapons such as ice axes, but as you continue through the game you need to defeat ghosts by stringing special gestures together with the Wiimote. This is the only thing that gives me pause because I suck at that, but I do like the looks of this game and I'd like to give it a shot. Since it's a budget title, it is very cheap!
Ju-On: The Grudge Game for Wii
Ju-On: The Grudge Game for Wii
Ju-On is described as a haunted house simulator based on The Grudge. I haven't played it yet, but from the reviews I've read that sounds pretty accurate. Most of the game is spent wandering around. You'll travel through several different environments - opening doors, searching for items, looking for batteries for your flashlight (Your Wiimote of course) and getting scared by ghosts.
This is another survival horror game with no combat. You'll need to evade the ghosts with quicktime movements.
Nearly all of the reviewers on Amazon hated it because the game is slooooow-paced, unchallenging and extremely brief (a few hours at best), and its Metacritic score is 39. Yet, it still sounds slightly intriguing to me so when the price drops to $10 or less I may pick it up.
Here's another one for the bargain bin. I never even heard of Calling until I stumbled across it on Amazon while putting this hub together. Like Ju-On it is a Japanese horror sim, where you play as four different characters.
This time your Wiimote is a cellphone instead of an ever-present flashlight. At some points during the game you'll have to stumble around in the dark until you can find yourself either a candle or a flashlight. Ghosts in the game can't physically hurt you, but they can raise your "horror" meter and I guess when that gets high enough you turn into a ghost yourself and GAME OVER. So I guess the idea is to be afraid of being afraid!
Escape from Bug Island
Escape from Bug Island is the first Survival horror game that was released for the Wii. It's original Japanese title is Necra-Nesia and I think that sounds much cooler.
While off camping with your friends on Beezlebub Island, you find yourself attacked by bugs. Your goal -- kill as many bugs as possible while trying to get off the island. Perspective is third person. There's some exploration involved and you also have to look for food to feed yourself. The graphics look quite craptastic.
More Wii Horror Games
The list of Wii horror games is actually quite extensive if you put some air quotes around the "survival horror". I'm not going to argue about what makes a game a Survival Horror game as opposed to an action game because personally I just don't care. I just like a certain type of atmosphere in the games I play and that atmosphere is most commonly found, for me, in games that wear the horror tag.
So I'm going to wrap up this list with a bunch of other games on the Wii that are easily classified as horror games, including the various rail shooters like the House of the Dead games. They are quite fun.
I've also included links to the import-only version of Fatal Frame IV, which hasn't been released in the US yet (and may never be).
- House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return - These two sequels to the popular Arcade shooter are boxed up in one package for a sweet deal. I've played them both and they are fun light gun shooters full of zombie killing.
- House of the Dead: Overkill - I'm not generally a huge rail shooters fan, but Overkill is quite awesome. Great cutscenes and a very campy 70s exploitation move art style.
- Dead Space Extraction - The prequel to the great XBox 360 game, Dead Space. I was so disappointed they announced the game as on-rails, but the reviews are halfway decent and it looks like fun so I will likely pick it up at some point.
- Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop - This is a port of the original 360 game and if you have a 360, I recommend sticking to that. You'll be finding off hordes of zombies with guns and melee weapons. There's something of a sandbox element to the game as well.
- Obscure: The Aftermath is a budget title and a sequel. The main feature of Obscure is its co-op gameplay, so if you want to get scared with a friend, it may be a treat. Set in a college, it is a typical teen slasher flick kinda thing. And you'll spend time solving environmental puzzles while waggling the hell out of your Wiimote.
- Manhunt 2 is another sequel to the original Rockstar game, Manhunt. There was a lot of controversy over the gruesome deaths in this game so Rockstar muted most of the death scenes. Annoying, but not a deal breaker. Your goal: escape from an asylum and pretty much kill everyone in your path. There's quite a bit of sneaking and stealth involved.