Review by Link165

"Wii may be Nintendo's best console yet."

Last generation the Nintendo Gamecube was the least successful of the three consoles. In 2004 Nintendo released the handheld DS, a handheld far technically inferior to Sony's Playstation Portable. Despite the fact the PSP looks much more powerful and the better buy, according to the latest numbers, both DS variations have sold 52.94 units worldwide, while the PSP only has 24.70 shipped to retailers.

Now Nintendo is bringing us the Revolution. At least they were. A few days before the final E3(*sniff*) the name was changed to Wii. This got both good and bad publicity. The reason why the above paragraph was typed was because despite the DS's inferior technology, it still outsold the PSP. The Wii is undoubtedly the least powerful of the 3 next generation consoles, yet just because it's inferior in power doesn't mean it's going to be a failure. If it gets some good games, thrown in with it's possibly biggest pull factor; the controller, the Nintendo Wii might become the next Nintendo DS.

DESIGN

The design for the Wii is absolutely excellent. It is by far the smallest of the next generation consoles and it is much smaller then a Gamecube. Besides a small cutoff point on the left that is noticeable from the top, the console is a perfect rectangle.Currently, in the United States, only the white Wii is available. The front view of the console has three small white buttons; power on the top, reset slightly under it, and eject on the very bottom. Between these buttons is a small door that houses an SD card slot and the sync button for the controller(you won't have to worry about this unless you want to use your controller on a friends Wii). One thing I was happy over was that unlike the Xbox 360(and like the PS3), Nintendo scrapped the disc tray for a front loading slot. And when there's a new update, the thing glows blue, which looks very good. Both sides of the consoles are rather bland though. On the left there's nothing but a small Nintendo logo in the upper right corner. On the left side(bottom if you're placing the console horizontally) are some small vents and some rubber legs to prevent the console from sliding around. On the back is the fan, two USB ports, and the inputs for the sensor bar, power supply, and video/audio cables. On the top are some removable doors, that reveal four Gamecube controller ports and two memory card ports.

The power supply is about the size of the Gamecube's, but it's a little bit slimmer vertically. There is also a sensor bar, which is used for the controller. You can place this on top or under the TV, or under it. I've heard the reason why this was included was so that the controller can recognize 3D motion, but I'm not 100% sure by this. One decision I liked was to go with the white power cables. If I have the Wii set up with a bunch of other stuff and need to unplug it for whatever reason, I simply know that in that mess of tangled cables the Wii one is the white one.

The Wii is definitely Nintendo's best physically-looking console to date.

10/10

FEATURES

The Wii can't play music or DVDs, so throw out the possibility of custom soundtracks. I thought the decision to not go with a DVD player was a good one by Nintendo. Most people at this point in time have at least one DVD player already(I have SIX people!) and some are upgrading to HD-DVD/Blu-Ray players already. If Nintendo integrated a DVD player it would make the Wii cost more money for something we don't even need.

Now onto the good stuff. The Wii dashboard is presented in a TV channel format. There's the Disc channel, to play games, the Shop channel(basically the Wii version of XBL Marketplace), the Photo Channel(using that SD card slot you can upload photos to play around with), and some others . There is a weather channel, where you can get a forecast for your area. There's also a pretty cool news channel, where you can look at several Associated Press news articles. One of my personal favorites is the Internet Channel, where you can browse the web on your Wii using an Opera browser(it's actually pretty fast, unlike the DS browser). Unfortunately, this is only going to be free until June 2007, then you'll have to pay to use it.

But arguably the most popular channel on the Wii has to be the Mii channel. Using the Mii channel you can create several avatars to use in selected Wii games, like Wii sports. Mostly you change the Mii's face, but you can change the body as well. The body options are very limited though. You can only choose height, shirt color, and fat. And even on max settings the Mii doesn't look very fat at all.

You can save Mii's to your controller and then bring it over a friends house and use that Mii. This is where that sync button comes into effect. There is also one behind the battery cover on the controller. You have to sync up your controller with the other Wii by pressing both buttons at the same time. Then when you return home you have to re-sync it to your Wii. This process can be tedious and annoying.

In terms of online, the Wii does very well as the first Nintendo console(besides the DS) to have a practical online system(the NES and SNES had Satellaview where you could download games for a short period of time and, if you're in Japan, get weather forecasts). You can't play Wii games online yet but that will be coming in the future. For now though, you can register friends(using the friend code system, which I think was a terrible decision by Nintendo), send Miis, and download games from the Virtual Console. What is the Virtual Console? It's a service that allows you to download old NES, SNES, Genesis, TurboGrafix 16, and Nintendo 64. You pay using Wii Points. One Wii point is worth approximately 1 US cent(for those of you not familiar with the US currency, 1 cent is 1/100th of a dollar). Depending on the system, VC game prices vary. For example, it's 2000 points for one N64 game. I know that may seem like a lot to you, but it isn't to me. The local place for used games where I live charges at least 23 dollars for a N64 game. I'd rather pay 20 dollars for Ocarina of Time then 25. Once the game is downloaded it takes up an open Wii Channel space.

You also may have to buy the Classic Controller for the Wii to play VC games. It attaches to the regular controller instead of the nunchuck. For NES games however, you don't need it, you can use the standard Wii controller.

Another interesting aspect with the Wii is WiiConnect24. This service(which can be turned off) can save updates or game content to your Wii at any time, even when it's off.

The Wii is also the first backwards-compatible Nintendo home console ever. As noted in the DESIGN section, it has Gamecube controller and memory card ports. If you never owned a gamecube you can play gamecube games on the Wii using a gamecube controller ONLY. In addition, you can't save gamecube games on the Wii's internal memory.

Yes people, the Wii has it. It's only 512MB of flash memory to save VC and Wii game saves on however. You can save this stuff on 2 GB SD cards(meaning you can use as many SD cards as you want but they have to be 2 GB or under). And just like how you can't save Gamecube games on the flash memory, you can't save Wii games on gamecube memory cards.

The Wii is loaded with features and I think as more VC games are added, and when it goes online, it will get even better.

9.5/10

CONTROLLER

Anyone who says this controller is not the main selling point doesn't have their head on straight. The Wii Remote(or Wiimote, as it has come to be called) is the make or break point of the Wii. The big feature of the controller is it's motion sensing capabilities. In Zelda for example, the controller is used to aim a projectile item or swing the sword. In Wii Sports, it can be used as a bowling arm, a baseball bat, or for another use. In some racing games, you hold it sideways like an NES controller and use it as a steering wheel.

The controller itself is very good in terms of design. It's entirely wireless and it's very comfortable to hold. Despite what Sony says(rumble would interfere with motion sensing, this is why they took rumble out of the PS3 controller), the Wiimote proves that rumble and motion sensing in the same wireless controller is possible. The controller is shaped like a TV remote, and as a possible homage to this Nintendo put an actual power button in the top left corner. This can be used to turn the Wii on and off(this is a lot easier then the 360 by comparison, where you have to hit the guide button, go to personal settings, and select power off). Next down is the four sided D-pad. Below that is the main button of the Wiimote, the A button. After this comes the three small buttons. Minus and Plus have their various uses in games, while Home allows you to view the battery left in your Wiimote and return to the main menu at any time. Below these come the speaker(more on this later), and finally 1 and 2. These two buttons are the hardest, because they can be difficult to press in a fast paced game. Like the other two console controllers, the Wiimote has an indicator that tells you which player(1, 2, 3, or 4) you are. On the back of the controller, there's also a B button, which is shaped like a trigger.

Included with all Wiis is the nunchuk attachment. On the bottom of the standard remote is a port for attachments, and this is the main one. Most games use it. A 3 foot long wire seperates the nunchuk and the Wiimote. The nunchuk itself is also very comfortable to hold. The main feature of it is the control stick. The only other two buttons on it are two "shoulder buttons", C and Z.

However, the remote isn't without it's flaws. For one, it has a terrible battery life. Nintendo's first priority should be to release a rechargeable battery for the Wiimote. There are also times when, such as in Zelda, where it tell you to "Point the Wii Remote at the screen" even though you are. Despite where the sensor bar is, if you move too far up, down, left, or right, I have gotten the crosshair/pointer/whatever "stuck" in the corner of my TV, in which I have to shake the controller just to get it unstuck.

The Wiimote has a lot of potential and overall it is a huge plus to the system. There is no doubt that the Wii's success will depend largely on the Wiimote, and it looks very promising indeed.

GRAPHICS

This was really the only thing that turned me off. The Wii is more powerful then the original Xbox but it is still very weak compared to the two monsters Sony and Microsoft put out. Twilight Princess, Sonic, and Super Smash Brothers Brawl all have excellent graphics but other then that there isn't really many games that show off Wii's graphic powers.

GAMES

The Wii has a great game lineup. Obviously, Twilight Princess is one of the games most people would recommend. Wii Sports is also a lot of fun to play, and you get it free with the console. Sonic and the Secret Rings has also generally gotten good reviews. For the future, there is(from Nintendo) Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, and, of course, Super Smash Brothers Brawl. Also, third party developers are signing on with Nintendo to make games as well, such as Diaster: Day of Crisis and SSX Blur.

PRICE/VALUE

The Wii is currently the cheapest of the three next-gen consoles, costing $250 in the United States. With it, you get the Wii console itself, one controller(with nunchuk attachment), two AA batteries, AV cables, a sensor bar, the power supply, Wii Sports, and instructions. It's a great value. The only problem is the Wii is so hard to find because it is selling so well(I went to a Toys R Us once and saw 5 PS3s in there and no Wiis).

10/10

The Wii just may be Nintendo's most promising console yet. With a good list of games for now and the future, the promising controller aspect, and online, the Wii could be an outstanding success. In just a little over 3 months it has sold 5 million units worldwide, 20% of what the Gamecube has sold in 6 years!

Pros:
-excellent controller
-promising lineup
-online games coming
-Virtual Console
Cons:
-VC is expensive
-entire system success relies on the controller
-weakest of the three
-online games are not here yet

It's not an "impulse buy", it's a d*** good system!

Final score: 10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/26/07


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