Review by supershadowdude

"Wii - Truly a Console for the Future?"

Wii - Truly a Console for the Future?

The Wii has been hyped for months, and, finally, the release has come and gone. I was one of the people lucky enough to get a Wii with the first batch, so now I'm here to give you my thoughts after nearly 40 hours of play.

Getting the Wii

Being terribly excited about Nintendo's new console, I couldn't resist when my local EB called and said that they'd be open at midnight on November 19th for the preorder folks. So, on Saturday night, I packed up my car and headed there. I was the third or fourth in line, and, after getting the the front and paying, I sped back home, eager to open up the Wii.

The first thing that I noticed about the package was that it was very minimalistic, a knock-off of the iPod, in my mind. Everything was packed fairly nicely and neatly, and it wasn't long before I had my sensor bar set up and had inserted Wii Sports, which was included with the console.

One disappointment, I'm ashamed to say, is that Wii Sports comes in a simple cardboard sleeve. This can be fixed with an empty DVD case and some custom box art, but it still would have been nice to have the niceties to start with. Still, it's hard to criticize a free game.

The Wii itself is simple, which isn't a bad thing. I'm sure that, if you're here, you've seen a picture, but, for the sake of completeness: It's glossy white, about the size of three DVD boxes on top of each other. It can either sit horizontally or in the vertical stand included with the system.

The controller packaged with the Wii is already synchronized with the console, but additional controllers will have to be synced manually. There are detailed instructions in the manual.

Powering Up!

The Wii Channels interface is as simple as things come. You see a screen with several boxes, all but six of them empty. The six that are filled will be the disc, Mii, photo, shop, news, and forecast channels.

The disc channel is what you use to play the game disc that you have inserted in the Wii, predictably. The Mii channel is used to create cartoonish avatars that can be used in Wii Sports, and probably more games to come. Your Mii can also mingle onto other consoles using the built in WiFi function. The photo channel can be used to edit photos on an SD card that can be inserted in the front of the Wii.

The shop channel is used to buy Virtual Console titles, games that have been released by Nintendo and select third party companies on systems such as the NES, SNES, N64, and Sega Genesis. Once dowloaded, these games can be stored on the Wii's internal memory.

The news and forecast channels will not be functioning for about a month, but, once they do, you'll be able to view the weather and headlines right from your Wii.

The rest of the boxes on the channel screen will be filled with VC games that you download, as well as the Opera Internet Browser, which will allow you to surf web from the Wii once released.

What the Heck was Nintendo Thinking, Again?

No, really, what were they thinking with the controller? Apparently, whatever they were thinking, it was correct. I felt the Wii Sports was probably the best game to demo the new Wiimote with, and the impression I got was good. And you know what they say about first impressions.

The control was responsive, and seemed entirely natural, especially after a few minutes to get used to it. I tested all of the games except boxing, and I found that, with practice, they're all doable and extremely fun. I got so hooked on Wii Sports, that it was almost 2:30 AM when I finally put in the highly anticipated Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

I know that this is a review of the hardware, but I've got to say that Twilight Princess is very well made, and the controls are not tacked on, as some feared that they would be.

The Wiimote works perfectly for this game, which bodes well for the future. The movements required for swinging the sword are not tiring at all, and the aiming with first the Slingshot, and then other weapons like the Hero's Bow and Boomerang, is easy to pick up on, and, dare I say it, preferable to the standard analog stick and button method.

What About Graphics?

The Wii is never going to deliver PS3 and Xbox 360 caliber graphics, as should be expected from a system that is $250 to $350 less than the latter less than the latter and $50 to $150 less than the former. That said, the hardware within the Wii makes it marginally more powerful than the original Xbox. Take a look at such games as Doom 3 for Xbox to see what the Wii's graphical potential is, once developers figure the engine out. Of the games that I have at launch, everything seems to run smoothly.

I can't knock off points for the graphical weakness compared to other systems, because Nintendo never promised that they wanted to compete in that area. In fact, they indicated quite the opposite.

Conclusion

The Wii is, as Nintendo promised, an innovation in gaming. The new control scheme is very simple and natural, and the system itself is a powerful piece of hardware. If games like Wii Sports and the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess continue to come out, the future of the Wii is bright, indeed.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/22/06


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