Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wii finally get our Wii!

After two years of guesswork and a large year of news, Nintendo's revolutionary system finally comes to our shores, and their idea of gameplay and innovation over graphics and cutting-edge technology may win the hearts of non-gamers, but it will surprise hardcore gamers with its enjoyability.

How it Looks - System: Incredible, Graphics: Decent/Good
The system is an interesting design: probably the first assymetric system I've seen. It looks like a square, but with it's back corner pulled down and out. It is the smallest of the next-gen consoles, being a similar size to three DVD cases in height. While Nintendo does plan on making other colours, only White is available at launch, which matches our DS Lites just fine. The look of the controller also mimics the buttons of the DS Lite, but that's more due to the fact that the DS Lite's buttons were made to mimic the Wii.
Graphically, however, is where the Wii is lacking. I'm not going to say that the Wii's graphics look terrible; they're great, but they don't match up to what the PS3 and the Xbox 360 can pump out. There's no option for HD output either, which fits Nintendo's goal of gameplay over graphics.

How it Sounds: Good
The sounds of the game depend on the game and television you're using, but the neat thing about the Wii is the speaker in the Wiimote itself. It was used mainly for effects generated from actions, like punching in Wii Sports: Boxing or slashing in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but it added to the experience.

How it Feels: Amazing!!
The big thing about the Nintendo Wii is the controller. Most games us the Wiimote, which looks like a television remote with only a few buttons, and a plug-in adapter known as a nunchuck, with a joystick and two more buttons. Each one fits in one hand very comfortably, so your hands aren't cramped or sore after a long play session. The Wiimote is pretty sensitive, but I've been told that you can change its sensitivity. Each game uses the controllers differently, so there's no true way to say how each game will feel for you. Some use the Wiimote and not the nunchuck, some use the Wiimote sideways, some use them for punching, throwing, etc., and each one feels comfortable. The only problem with this kind of free-moving control is that you must give a lot of space to everybody who's playing. When testing out Wii Sports: Baseball, I was pitching and the other player was batting, and when he swung the Wiimote, it clocked me in the elbow. If anything, it's durable!

How it Plays: Enjoyable
None of the small amount of games I played were frustrating to control. Each one was controlled with simple movements, which were mimicked on screen by what I was controlling very closely. With Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, you control the level, which will tilt based on how the Wiimote is tilted exactly, so a small movement will only tilt it a little bit. In Wii Sports: Boxing, shooting your right hand out with a wide punch will have your boxer do a wide hook on the opposing boxer. This setup of controls allows for variable gameplay for every game made for it. If you want to, it is also able to play any GameCube game you may have, and with the Virtual Console available, you can download games from the Nintendo Vaults, from such systems as the NES, SNES, N64, Sega Genesis and TurboGraphix 16. Add in weather finder, buyable internet browser and photo manager and you have yourself a well-rounded gaming machine the whole family could use. Due note that some of the Virtual Console games require the Classic Controller, which looks like a SNES controller, but with two analog joysticks on it.

Verdict: Buy!
It may not have the prettiest graphics, but it sure as hell a lot of fun to play. The intent of attracting non-gamers to a video game console, and the system's interesting control scheme seem to spell success for Nintendo this time. With a cheaper price point than the Xbox 360 and PS3, it is sure to be a hit this holiday season, and beyond.


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