Review by DarkAkatosh

"Goin' with the motion..."

Enter Nintendo's latest addition to it's already reputable series of consoles, the Wii. Built around motion controls, it aims to take gaming to a whole new level. Beginning with said motion controls, they work reasonably well. You basically swing around a Wii remote and a(n) (optional) Nunchuk. They're very responsive, and they're not very cumbersome to use. I found them quite fun, although not without their flaws. Some games that use these controls can be "cheated", meaning that an incorrect flick of the wrist can lead to easy completion of objectives. The motion controls aren't 1 to 1 either (even with the new Wii Motion Plus), which is understandable, but does make the system seem primitive.

As for controls in standard games, you can hold the Wii remote sideways, which treats it like an NES controller. Neato. Also, if that doesn't fit your fancy, you can buy the Classic Controller as a plug-in to the Wii remote. Don't like that? Don't worry; you can go back to the ol' Gamecube controller. The backbreaker here is this. Some games do not support some of these control schemes, like some Virtual Console games, which will be discussed in the next paragraph. So you need to do some extra research if you're a control freak. To sum up the control aspect of this, I think Nintendo did a pretty good job. It feels lacking in the sense that the motion controls are a bit on the primitive side, but overall, I think they did good.

A first for Nintendo is offering classic games and independently developed games through digital media known as Virtual Console and WiiWare, respectively. If you're like me, who bought a Wii primarily for the Virtual Console, prepare to be disappointed. Yes, we've gotten classics like Super Mario World, Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, the Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario RPG among others, but we're missing quite a few mainstream classics. Earthbound? Yoshi's Island? Star Fox for the SNES? All of the potential classics that were rehashed as $30 DS games? Yes, they are missing, and the fact that they haven't come out in this 2.5 year period does not bode well at all. The state of WiiWare is also depressing, with shovelware making up over half of the WiiWare populace. Yes, there are a few gems like Gradius Rebirth, Tetris Party, and Dr. Mario, but most of it is utter crap. Furthermore, at the time of this writing, Nintendo is making a tremendous push to put out tons of WiiWare games, most of which don't go over too well with the critics as well as mainstream gamers, while all but abandoning the Virtual Console, which is lucky to see a decent game to come out every couple of months. Between the three consoles, this is by far the worst download service, because there's little to be had here in terms of quality. Nintendo clearly values quantity, as they know it will sell. Hey, look at Wii Fit and Wii Play, which leads me into the game library.

Pretty much all Nintendo gamers had high hopes for the library at launch, with prospectives like Super Mario Galaxy, Brawl, and Mario Kart. All of those came out and they were very well received. Then, Wii Fit, Wii Play, and Wii Music came out. This is Nintendo's newfound "casual audience" in a nutshell. Wii Fit has sold over 15 million units, with Wii Play and Wii Music not being far behind. The sad thing is, these games are selling big time. Mainstream games are not. This does not bode well at all for future generations of consoles, as Nintendo has a firm grasp on the console war, sales wise. The Wii is performing so well, it's not even funny. Every holiday, people camp outside of retail outlets to get their hands on their coveted Wiis. It's quite sad to see this happening, because casual gaming is now becoming mainstream gaming. Shouldn't casual gamers be playing Bejeweled and Peggle? Aren't those better quality games? Wait, don't we have music simulators and pool and darts for free on the internet? Regarding the Wii Fit craze, can't you go out jogging for a little bit each day while regulating your nutrition and not have to spend $90 on a toy?

The Wii is structured like the Gamecube. As such, the Wii is directly backwards compatible with all of the Gamecube games. Graphically, it is the Gamecube with slightly updated graphics. Nintendo has to have the resources to keep themselves in-line with their competitors, and why aren't they doing it? Seems like last generation told Nintendo to regress and focus on sales, sales, and more sales. And it worked.

Don't let the price of the system fool you. The Wii is meant for local multi-play. Here's a general synopsis of a full-fledged 4-player Wii. Given that you already get a remote and a nunchuk in the $250 starter kit, you need to buy 3 additional remotes at $40. You need 3 additional nunchuks at $20. If you want to re-live the good ol' days locally, you're also going to need 4 classic controllers at $20. Oh yeah, for that fine motion control, you're also going to need 4 Wii MotionPluses at $20 each. Let's see, $120+$60+$80+$80=$340. Couple that with the console, and you've got a $590 asking price. Yeowch! That's more than the price of a full-fledged 4 player PS3! (which is $550, or 3 additional controllers at $150 tacked onto the price of the console for the mathematically impaired)

As a Wii owner since slightly after launch, I had high hopes for this console. Now, 2.5 years later, I'm planning on selling the Wii to a prospective owner around the holiday season. For those that grew up with Nintendo, this is a sad disappointment. There's little value in the first-party game library, and hardly any value in the third-party library. There's primitive motion controls (seriously, Wii MotionPlus in an attempt to make them less primitive?). The download service has gone from great to piss-poor. And this is supposedly the future of gaming...


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 07/27/09

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


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