TWiG 2008-03-24

The Appeal of the Unknown

by Mike Schiller

23 March 2008


There’s something satisfying about taking a look through a list of games, finding a name that means nothing to you, looking up that name, and suddenly becoming utterly, hopelessly intrigued by the story behind that unfamiliar name.

The name this week: Opoona.

Even if you love gaming, you live and breathe it, you spend hours every day playing, studying, reading, and writing about games, it’s entirely possible that Opoona escaped your notice.  For one, it’s on the Wii, an utter shovelware dumping ground of late, one where prior research is becoming absolutely necessary in buying games if only for the sake of avoiding things like Ninjabread Man and Anubis.  Something with as impenetrable a title as Opoona is bound to be overlooked, assumed to be not worth our time.

Still, there’s more to the story.  Opoona is like the Zak and Wiki of Japan, well-received on a critical level but utterly ignored by the public.  It’s an adventure/role-playing experience, apparently moderately long on the first playthrough and utterly gargantuan if you are to complete all of the objectives.  The unique, cute, perfect-for-the-Wii art design is by a Dragon Quest alum, which is another mark in its favor.  It’s innovative in its control, even for the Wii, featuring the first Nunchuck-only control scheme to be found on the system.  Still, its highly Japanese flavor and the relative commercial flavor of it can’t have made it a probable candidate for Americanization.

And yet, it’s on its way.  This week, even.

One should almost want to buy Opoona on principle, assuming that those critics who reviewed it upon its initial Japanese release knew what they were talking about.  It’s the sort of game that could help to legitimize third-party software on the Wii, the type of game that could stifle the detractors who assume that the Wii is only good for games created by Nintendo itself, with the occasional exception of the inexplicably popular set of mini-games (hello, Carnival Games).  Sadly, there’s a good chance nobody will buy it.  Prove me wrong, America.

Elsewhere, the action/role-playing of Crisis Core will likely give the Final Fantasy VII junkie set something to do for a month, and anyone up for a little bit of “Global Conquest” might do well to check out the new Command & Conquer 3 expansion.  Dark Sector looks like it may put some new spins on the FPS, and hey, if mini-games are your thing, there’s always Summer Sports.  The full list of this week’s releases is after the break…
Xbox 360:

Dark Sector (25 March)
Universe at War: Earth Assault (25 March)
Viking: Battle for Asgard (25 March)


Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (25 March)
Warriors Orochi (25 March)


Emergency Mayhem (25 March)
MiniCopter: Adventure Flight (25 March)
Obscure: The Aftermath (25 March)
Octomania (25 March)
Opoona (25 March)
Rebel Raiders: Operation Nighthawk (25 March)
Summer Sports: Paradise Island (27 March)


Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 (25 March)
Obscure: The Aftermath (25 March)


Dark Sector (25 March)
Viking: Battle for Asgard (25 March)


Harvest Moon DS Cute (25 March)
Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword (25 March)
Plushees (25 March)
Mazes of Fate DS (26 March)


Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath (24 March)
Tales of Pirates (24 March)
Aggression - Reign over Europe (25 March)
Australia Zoo Quest (25 March)
Belief & Betrayal (25 March)
Escape From Paradise City (25 March)
Obscure: The Aftermath (25 March)
Warriors Orochi (25 March)
Guild Wars (Platinum Edition) (27 March)
Guild Wars Factions (Platinum Edition) (27 March)

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