Ah…January. To be frank, it’s one of my least favorite months. Why, you ask? Well, I’m trying to rebound from a relaxing break and trying to get back into school—never a savory task. Then, there’s the weather; where I live, January is notorious for being really cold but never snowing. I’ve got a nasty bout of Spring Fever, yet the warm weather is quite a ways away. There is, however, one good thing about this month: We’ve got several good titles for both the Wii and the DS.
On the Wii spectrum of things, there is, of course, the much-anticipated and well-received title No More Heroes, by fan-favorite developer Suda 51. It was met with a lot of hype, which can often destroy a title (example: Remember that game called Kane and Lynch?). But surprisingly, No More Heroes managed to get past that and really present a fun, entertaining (although somewhat flawed) gaming experience. Additionally, we’ve got the complete opposite of a bloody, gory, mature-themed game: Endless Ocean. Are there ever times where you just want to get away from everything, escape underwater, and swim with tons of little fishies? Yeah, me neither, but Endless Ocean is still a really fun, neat game, if you’re looking for something slowly-paced and more free-roaming. We also got a few titles that I would urge you guys to stay away from, particularly the broken racers Nitrobike and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, both for the Wii. For different reasons, both really failed to entertain and I cannot endorse anybody spending 50 bucks on either title. A rent of either of them, however, would be perfectly acceptable.
And then, let’s take a look-see at the DS titles released this past month, shall we? Easily the hottest-anticipated title was Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. I’ve played it for something like ten hours, and I can say with confidence that it’s easily the best Advance Wars title to date, and it’s definitely in contention with such titles as Phoenix Wright, Elite Beat Agents, and Trauma Center for position as best DS title period. It strips the lame graphics of the past games as well as the childish storyline, and replaces them both with something more realistic, more believable, and ultimately more enjoyable. The core Advance Wars gameplay is still there, and better than ever. There have been some other decent DS games this past month, such as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, but I can only recommend that title if you don’t mind tearing the crap out of your DS touch screen.
Ultimately, it comes down to a contest between the Wii’s No More Heroes and the DS’ Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. While both bring something fun, new, exciting, and entertaining to the table, I’m going to have to pick Days of Ruin as January’s top DS game. Optimally, of course, you could pick up both, along with a copy of Endless Ocean, but this column is catered to the hardcore gamer on a budget. So, given the opportunity, I’d highly suggest picking up a copy of the latest and greatest Advance Wars title.