Review by ss__samy

"This console truly is a revolution"

Introduction

This is it. The gaming revolution promised by Nintendo we've all been waiting for. Ever since the N64 failed to be as great as the previous Nintendo console, the SNES, Nintendo's console sales have been in a bit of a slump for nearly a decade. The N64 had some awesome games, but it ultimately fell to the PlayStation even though it was a 64-bit console with more graphical horsepower than the PS. The GameCube also had some amazing games, but it ended up in third place last generation despite it having more powerful hardware to the PS2, which got more sales.

What was the problem? The consoles were definitely did not lack horsepower, but due to some crucial mistakes by Nintendo, they did not live up to their full potential. In the N64's case, Nintendo decided to keep using cartridges that they manufactured instead of CD's, like the Playstation. Even though cartridges required no external memory card to save games and had no loading times, they were very expensive to make and the N64 lost a lot of third party support. Nintendo feared the N64 might have gone the way of the Sega CD so they used cartridges. The Gamecube had no DVD player, and since DVD was new at the time of its launch, the DVD player was a major selling point. The mini disks used by the Gamecube also held less data than the disks used by the PS2 and Xbox. Third party support was better on the Gamecube but less cross platform games made it onto the Gamecube.

However, in one E3 press conference, Nintendo promised their new home console would be a gaming revolution. They claimed horsepower alone could not sell a system. And lo and behold, in November 2006, they brought us the Wii. Like they said, it had weak hardware compared to the 360 and PS3, but it boasted the most innovative control scheme ever seen in a long time. And it does all this at a low price.

Hardware: 7/10

The Wii is the smallest and sleekest Nintendo console to date. It has an Apple-esque look and feel and is fits in very well with your entertainment system. It can be laid down horizontally and also be placed on a vertical stand. The blue light in the slot loading drive is also a very nice touch.

If you compare the Wii's CPU and GPU to those of the other two next-gen consoles, you will find that it is a dwarf by comparison. The Wii is around 1.5 times as powerful as the Xbox. As of August 2007, it can go up to a max. resolution of 480p. Due to the Wii not being able to play games in HD, many people were highly critical of its weaker graphics processor. But let's not forget that this console is meant to use innovative controls that put you right in the game. The graphics are also not a total eyesore and are completely bearable. They lack the HD sheen but they are still quite sufficient for many people who don't even own HDTV's. It also unfortunately only has 512MB of flash memory for storage. The Wii's sound capabilities are still extremely good, if you hook it up to the right speakers.

If you put its graphical capabilities aside, the Wii has some very interesting features. It has a flap on top that, when opened, reveals four Gamecube controller ports as well as two Gamecube memory card slots. The Wii is backwards compatible with all Gamecube games of its region. Its slot loading drive accepts the DVD sized disks the Wii uses as well as the mini disks the Gamecube uses. It has two USB 2.0 ports on the back, which allow for things like keyboards and LAN adapters to be attached, and it has built in 802.11b/g Wifi.

Controller: 10/10

What an amazing piece of technology the Wii remote is. You can really tell Nintendo worked their tail off to perfect its design and technology. It uses accelerometers and optical sensors to provide full motion sensing capabilities. Imagine swinging the remote to hit a baseball or to mimic Link's sword. There are so many possible games that can work perfectly on the Wii controller. It has rumble and also includes a small speaker on the front, so whenever you shoot an arrow you will hear a "twang" from your Wii remote which will fade into the TV speakers. The controller has a large A button near the top of the remote, a Control Pad, a power button in the corner for turning the Wii on or off, a B trigger at the back, a "Home" button with - and + buttons on either side, and finally the 1 and 2 buttons. Unlike most recent consoles, the remote itself has no analog stick. The Wii remote can be used in conjunction with a "Nunchuk" attachment. The Nunchuk is a smaller controller with some motion sensing capabilities as well, and it plugs right into the bottom of the Wii Remote. Since the Remote is one-handed, the Nunchuk gives you the option of playing games with two hands, since some game genres will require the analog stick and the Z and C buttons as well as the motion sensing within the Nunchuk.

You can also buy a Classic Controller, which is used for playing some of the Virtual Console games. It is shaped like a Super Nintendo controller, and has the same button layout, except it adds on the Home, + and - buttons as well as two analog sticks and two extra shoulder buttons. The Classic Controller requires no batteries, it plugs right into the back of the Wii remote.

Developers have to grasp the new concept of the Wii remote, and therefore a lot of Wii games are not perfect. The motion controls may not be as responsive as you think and sometimes the controls just feel tacked on. However, as developers familiarize themselves with the remote, the controls for games will improve over time.

Interface: 8/10

The Wii uses "Wii Channels" as its primary interface. Whenever you turn on the Wii, you will be presented with Wii channels, a bunch of rectangles on the screen, each with different features. You can point to any rectangle that is filled in. You can select a Wii game but there is also the Mii Channel, the Weather Channel, the News Channel, and more.

The Mii Channel is interesting. You can create your own avatar by selecting different skin tones, hairstyles, accessories, height, name, and more. Nearly every Mii can be unique.

Game Selection: 7/10

The Wii is a console that has a wide audience. Nintendo is trying to reach out to those who haven't played video games before and show them how easy and fun it can be. Therefore, a lot of games are targeted at these new gamers and thus the Wii is plagued with too many minigame collections.

The Wii itself comes with a free game, Wii Sports, which is an amazing game to show off the Wii controls to a newcomer. You can play Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, Golf and Boxing. The controls are amazingly responsive and Nintendo chose a great way of reaching out to non gamers.

For people who enjoy playing more hardcore games, the Wii still delivers. It has a decent library of games such as Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Paper Mario, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and more

Online/Multiplayer: 4/10

At the moment Nintendo has released VERY few online games for the Wii. And Nintendo's friend code system makes things safer for younger gamers, but it is less convenient than using Lobbies or universal IDs. Thus, some developers like EA use their own dedicated online system for the Wii.

For those who enjoy battling Pokemon or playing Mario Strikers, they have those titles online, but nearly nothing else can be played online. Nintendo needs to fix their online system, and they need to do it soon.

Conclusion

The Wii delivers. You are getting a fresh new gaming experience and the games will just keep getting better. Nintendo is at #1 in sales for a few reasons. They reached out to non gamers and they provided innovative, fun gaming at a low price. Graphics will be the least of your worries. Mario, Link, Pikachu and company will have new life breathed into their franchises. There is nothing out there like the Wii. No other console delivers such innovation, and no other console can reach out to such a huge audience. Nintendo has their flaws, but I think they are on the right track to success. Anyone who hasn't tried the Wii will be absolutely stunned at how much fun it is to play. Kudos to Nintendo for revolutionizing gaming!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/08/08

Game Release: Wii Hardware (US, 11/19/06)


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