Punchout! Wii

Posted: March 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

I have not blogged in quite some time mainly because my interests have lied elsewhere but I felt the urge to blog once more after reading an article about Punchout! for the Wii.  Barring the type of release delays that Nintendo is known for, the game is set to arrive in May of this year.  Being a fan of both arcade games, the NES verision and the SNES version the prospect of a new Punchout! game got me excited to say
the least.

The Wii being what it is to “core” gamers like me however, I had some trepidations about a couple of things and wasn’t sure if I was going to buy the game or not.  What I find ironic is that five years ago and three years before the Wii existed commercially, if someone had told me that a new Punchout! game was coming down the pipes, I would have pre-ordered it in in 2004.  After owning a Wii however since January of 2007, I’m always leery about games being released for the Wii, especially those that have a long history, attract a core audience, and are known for their difficulty.  The Punchout! series is this type of game and so naturally to say I was apprehensive about the revival of this series would be an
understatement.  I digress however…..

I’ll get right to the point here.  When I first saw the trailer for Punchout! Wii, I was overly pleased with the look and sound of the game, and was happy to see Little Mac, Glass Joe, King Hippo, and Von Kaiser all returning.  Seeing these characters also sparked some doubt in my mind as to how original this game might be.  Originality for Nintendo, especially as of late, means a new “waggle and shake” control scheme usually at the
expense of game play, depth, and quality, so again I immediately began to feel the game would focus on a new way to box rather than adding new elements to the game or giving it things it didn’t have before.  After watching the newest trailer however, one of my worries has been laid to rest.  Nintendo has decided to include “classic” controls so that people can enjoy the game as they did older titles.  In all honesty I’m not a huge fan of the Wii-remote and play with “classic” controls on games that offer them because well they feel more natural to me, are more accurate, less complicated, and much more fun.

The one lingering doubt I have about this game now that the control issue has been laid to rest is the fact that according to IGN the game will
feature 13 playable boxers.  The ability to play as someone other than Little Mac is a fantastic one, one that I’m looking forward too, but only
13 fighters?  If the number 13 refers to just the number of playable boxers and not the entire roster of boxers then another of my fears will be put to rest.  The article at IGN did not clarify this though they state “roughly three more than the original” which leads me to believe the number 13 refers to all of the boxers in the game.

13 Nintendo?  Are you serious?  The Wii is a far cry from the 360 or the PS 3 in terms of power but in 2009 the best you can do is 13 boxers?  As someone who’s extensively played and still revisits those old titles from time to time, I fear 2 things.  One that of the 13 boxers only 2 or 3 at most will be original characters.  Two that being very familiar with these same old tired boxers and their tricks, I will blast through the game far easier than I did any of the series other titles.  These two things, if they come to fruition will make the new Punchout! game a big disappointment for me.  I’m sure that most people are going to eat this game up and throw praise after praise at it whether it’s deserving or not simply because its the return of a major franchise.

It was my hope that this game would not “one up” earlier titles in terms of quality but quantity and originality too.  Thus far the only new character I’ve seen is one named “Disco Kid” who at this point looks as though Disco is just a nickname and not indicative of a far out stereotype, the kind Punchout! usually delivers.  I was really hoping that this game would be a new title in the series and not a remake or pseudo-remake as it appears it might be.

As of late my tastes in video games has changed as has my expectations surrounding games of all types.  Some might say it’s because I’ll be 36 in just over a month.  I think it has far less to do with age and more to do with a maturity with regards to quality and originality, and evolution.  I love Nintendo and my Wii but for the most part it sits and collects dust.  When the Wii is at it’s best its great fun, but Nintendo has discovered all new levels of “suckage” with the Wii as well.  I’ve never see a company produce so much garbage and have so much success but again I digress.

So what it is that I expected from a new Punchout! game?  Here’s my list:

  • A roster of fighters that at the very least doubles the amount of boxers we faced in any other Punchout! game.
  • No, and I repeat, no palette swapped fighters.
  • Voice acting for between round and in fight commentaries.
  • The ability to play as other boxers
  • A training mode that affects Mac by giving him more stamina, power, etc.
  • Fighter records that change if/when you face them a second time.
  • Boxing commentary during fights
  • Additional circuits to fight in
  • Vodka Drunkinski
  • Nick Bruiser
  • Online and multiplayer modes
  • Returning fighters from all of the other titles
  • At minimum, a game that boasts the same number of original characters as
    returning fighters.

I don’t think anything in my list is unreasonable and I’ll never understand why one, more people don’t want or expect a bigger and better game and two, why standards in video games are so old and stale.  The things we are getting look great but I feel we should be getting a lot more. Not every game needs to be a blockbuster with 200+ hours of gameplay but is it unreasonable to expect publishers to add new elements to old formulas or include more content than they did in previous entries?  As I get older I seem to expect more from my forms of entertainment and I can’t help but feel that Punchout Wii is coming back at us with a jab rather than a knockout punch.  It really feels like the original game has simply been cel shaded.  The added cutscenes in the new trailer and gameplay look exciting but I’m afraid all the good will be overshadowed by the negatives.  Then again I should expect this from a company who took five year old hardware out of a purple box  put in a white box and sold it as the next big thing!  Here’s to hoping I’m wrong about Punchout!!

  1. Bob says:

    The Wii is Phallic. The new Punch Out will be nothing more than a rehash of Wii Boxing with old skool Punch-Out characters. To expect anything from Nintendo is absurd. I will stick with my GoW 2 and RE 5 on far superior systems. Good to see you blogging again bro 🙂

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