Review by Waterfox

"A great console to have for the family."

The Nintendo Wii was released in the US/Canada on November 19, 2006, about 8 months ago when this review was made. The Wii has many features that makes it good, but it also has some flaws.

Hardware
The Nintendo Wii's hardware is pretty cool. It has a nice sleek design on the outside. The software (games) go into the disc drive automatically, just put the disc into the slot and it slides in and reads the game with no trouble at all. It also accepts SD cards, so you can upload pictures and movies from your camera and use it as a memory card for the Wii, even though it has tons of memory right out of the box. It comes compatible with Wi-Fi right out of the box, so you don't need all kinds of hookups and such to go online with the Wii if you have a compatible wireless router. The Wii also accepts Nintendo Gamecube games, so if you previously owned a GC and don't know what to do with the games, you can pop them into the Wii and play. It comes with 4 GC controller slots and 2 memory card slots, so it is very convenient that you don't need to buy anything to play old games.

The controller for the Wii, known widely as the Wiimote, is wireless. A sensor bar that comes with the Wii hooks up with the back of the Wii. Just point and click with the Wiimote at the sensor bar, and a little arrow will appear on the screen, just like if you were using a mouse on the computer. The Wiimote is most likely the reason it wins so many older non-gamers hearts. In games, such as tennis, you can swing the Wiimote and your character ingame will swing the racket and hit the ball. It doesn't copy your exact movements, but it is quite nifty. The Wiimote comes with extra hookup controllers, such as the common Nunchuck and Classic Controller, giving more features to games. The Wii remote does require 2 AA batteries for it to work, but if you have rechargeables, then this should be no trouble at all.

The graphics capability is a small step up from the Gamecube. Nothing too special if you are a graphics fanatic. The Wii can be bought at most stores for $249.99 US, and if you use it lots, it can be quite the bargain.

Overall, the Wii is quite the piece of hardware.
Total Score: 8

Features
When you turn on the Wii, you will be introduced to many new features. After you have set up your options, you will be taken to Wii Channels, where you can access features. Most of these features will not work if you don't have Wi-Fi access. There are sections called channels, sort of like how a TV works. You have different channels with different features. The easiest channel to understand is the Disc channel, which if you have a game inside the Wii's software slot, you can go and play the game. Other channels include the Mii Channel, which allows you to make a little avatar of yourself to use in some games. The Photo Channel is where photos and movies (if the movies are in the right format) from your SD card are stored. You can view them and fool around with them.

Wi-Fi only channels become enabled after you log on to Wi-Fi for the first time and "update" your Wii. Channels like the Forecast channel will allow you to access the weather from your TV, and the News channel which brings you stories from around the world. The Shop Channel (also called Virtual Console) lets you buy games from Nintendo's older systems like the N64 and SNES. These get downloaded onto your Wii and you play them, only if you have the VC's currency, Wii Points, to buy them. You can buy Wii Points of the Shop Channel with your credit card.

The Wii also includes a message board where you can post reminders and such. You can also send letters to your friends and family via Wi-Fi.

To enjoy most of the Wii's features, you will need to have Wi-Fi.
Total Score: 7

Software
The software for the Wii (or in other words, games) are quite pricey, but some games are worth the 50-60 dollars. The Wii comes with a little demo, called Wii Sports, when you first buy it. This game is just a little tech demo to show you the Wii's capability's. Games like Zelda may not appeal to non-gamers, but it still requires use of the Wiimote, and can be quite fun. Games like Brain Age will appeal to older and non-gamers. But since the Wii's release in November, there have been more and more games coming out giving you a wide variety of choice. There is also the Virtual Console if you have Wi-Fi, so if you enjoyed playing Mario on the SNES or NES, then you can buy it and revive the nostalgia.

Tons of games (if not all) use the Wiimote and maybe the Nunchuck, so extra hookups don't need to be bought unless you play 2-player, as the Wii comes with a Wii controller and Nunchuck. Some games will get unactive people off the couch and sweating, like Wii Boxing.

The Wii now has a great library to choose from, and even if you play the Wii casually, you should still have a few games in your gaming library.
Total Score: 9

Durability
Ok, the Wii won't work if you drop it of the top of a 10-story building, but it won't break if you accidentally drop it on your way to the car. The Wii is a sturdy system and should and will last a good while as long as you don't continually drop it.

The Wiimote is most likely even more durable than the Wii itself. It the Wii's early stages, people were not wearing the wrist straps it came with, so Wiimotes were flying everywhere. Also, the straps were quite weak, so while playing Wii bowling the strap may snap off. As a victim of this, I can quite say that the controller is very durable, after having it flying into the wall and still working afterwards.

As I haven't heard of anybodys Wii breaking down yet, (excluding some at launch) I assume that the Wii has good lifespan and will last you a few years before it gives up. And even if something does go wrong, I believe that Nintendo offers a 1-year warranty if something does go wrong or if something breaks accidentally.

So, the Wii is a durable system. And the strap problem was fixed a while ago, so there shouldn't be too much trouble.
Total Score: 9

Online
WiiConnect24. That is the name of Nintendo's online system. You can connect anytime of the day, hence the "Connect24" part of it. But, Nintendo has some problems to fix. Even if you do have wireless routers, you may still have trouble getting on. You may even need to disable your Firewall if you wish to connect, leaving you prone to spyware and viruses.

But you can also get online without the need of a Wireless router. The Nintendo USB connector will allow you to access online even without the proper router.

Online for the Wii does not offer much anyways, as the only game available with Wi-Fi currently is Pokemon. But wait a few months or a year, and you might see some of these problems fixed, and most likely some brand new online games.
Total Score: 7

Overall, the Wii is a console with some good potential. It is enjoyable for people of all ages to play, from 4 year olds to... older people. It is still early in the Wii's lifetime, so there is still time for it to get better and better. I would strongly recommend buying one even if you will just play it casually.

My Ratings:
Hardware: 8
Features: 7
Software: 9
Durability: 9
Online: 7
Recommended: Yes

My Total Score out of 10: 8


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/05/07


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