Mario Strikers Charged needs no introduction; the Wii-iteration is largely based on its Gamecube predecessor but takes this last-generation concept and its respective execution to a new level with increased interactivity, challenge, and connectivity, not to mention a myriad of graphical enhancements, new arenas, side-kicks, and Mushroom Kingdom madness that only the geniuses at Nintendo could provide! In a word, Strikers is brilliant; without question, it stands as one of the Wii's strongest first-party titles, one which gamers will undoubtedly enjoy throughout the duration of the innovative console's lifetime.
Graphically speaking, Strikers can be described as one of the Wii's most attractive - no, downright visually stunning - recent endeavors. With all of the PlayStation 2 software ports currently available on for the system, many gamers have grown disillusioned with the gaming world's publishing houses as well as with the Wii's allegedly 'inferior' graphical abilities (when compared to other next-gen consoles). Thankfully, Nintendo and Next Level games longtime toiled to ensure that Strikers defies this overarching criticism - the game is truly of next-generation make. Mario, Peach, Bowser, heck, the whole cartoon crowd, has never looked or moved better; animations are ridiculously smooth whilst textures are deep and high-resolution. Particle explosions, crowd movements, and lighting effects also aim to please, seeing as all of which have been pain-painstakingly developed so as to appear "wow-worthy" on-screen.
As far as gameplay goes, what makes Strikers a winner is Nintendo's unique ability to push a somewhat generic gaming genre (action sports) beyond its usual restrictions and in doing so, create a title as chaotic as it is frenzied fun to play! Acting as the Mario Kart for soccer, Strikers Charged takes an athletic core concept then radically reforms it into a surreal platformer/party/sporting experience. Matches are short and sweet, lasting just around three minutes time. During your 180 seconds of gameplay, innumerable obstacles (like flying cows, turtleshells, banana peels, bombs, chain-chomps, etc) explosions (lava rushes, artillery fire), special moves (ground-pounds, character enlargements, periods of momentary invincibility or increased agility), and environmental nuisances (think tornadoes and lightning) will plague your efforts to bring home a win. So much action occurs simultaneously that at times, one can hardly determine who's who and to where the ball has disappeared but within the confines of such confusion lies the heart of Strikers; the game is about as bombastic as athletics can get in a fantasy land where nothing is as it seems and little, if anything, goes according to plan.
Lastly, one cannot chronicle this game's successes without describing the microcosm that is the Strikers WiFi Community. Being one of the Wii's first truly "online" gaming titles, users nationwide (the game currently restricts international play) can compete against each other in live, lag-free internet-based matches. The WiFi configuration is especially intuitive and takes less than a minute to auto-select a rival gamer, confirm settings, and launch the match. For online gamers, this is nothing less than unbridled bliss~
If you hold even an acute interest in Mario-based gaming, buy this title; if you somewhat enjoy online gaming, buy this title; heck, even if you customarily loathe sports games, buy this title.
You truly will not be disappointed.
+ Beautifully rendered cinematics & in-game graphics; for perhaps the first time on the Wii, the visuals leave absolutely nothing to be desired.
+ Music and sound effects are fitting and succeed in delighting gamers, not annoying them.
+ Action is fast-paced, frenzied, and all too fun; replayability is especially high.
+ Making use of the Wii's WiFi Connection, gamers can now battle online with friends and foes alike.
+ A myriad of gaming modes allow for extended or abbreviated play, depending upon what one's time allows and his or her gaming preferences.
-- WiFi matches lack voice or text communication capabilities so although you may challenge your friends, verbal or textual taunting remains absent.
-- AI difficulty settings sometimes radically change without reason; one can win a given cup with little to no effort but then during a reprise, can fail to even reach the elimination round.