Review by leeko_link

"Not HD but Still Innovative and Fun"

Since Project Cafe is all the talks these days, now is the perfect time I could finally share what I think of my recent purchase, the Wii. As everyone already knows, the Wii is the successor to the GameCube, it features new motion controls, new games, a more smaller design and pretty much a cheap upgrade of the predecessor. Here's all my load-down on the Wii console and its features.

Design:

The design of this device is actually quite small, not small like a handheld but small like say maybe 50% smaller than a laptop or comparable to a tablet device maybe. The console can be stand horizontally like a normal console or vertically like the PS2 and Xbox 360. The design had a very great production value to it, it's design doesn't have a mammoth fan so it doesn't make any loud noises during gaming. On the front side of the console, you had your normal disc drive for playing either Wii or GameCube games. On the bottom locates a smaller drive for use with an SD or SDHC format to store data, memories, or game files. On the right side of the console is the fan which is quiet and lonely as it could be, on the back of the console locates the proper plug-ins for the Wii where you would need to hook in your power adapter, USB accessory, sensor bar, and composite cable. That's pretty much all you see of the Wii. I bought both the white and the black Wii so it doesn't really matter which one you got, the system is pretty much the same. Oh and since the console is thinner, smaller, and lighter than the competitors consoles, it makes it easy for gamers to take it on the go whether they want to take it for play on their college dorm, work office, or friend's house.

Graphics:

Great, though there are a bunch of lazy titles being rush into the Wii's library, other than those there are still a numbers of great games that had fantastic visual flares like Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, Metroid Prime 3, and Monster Hunter Tri that took the visual levels to new heights. It's slightly better than the GameCube and PS2 in terms of visuals, it is a little bit better than the Xbox but doesn't compare to the HD consoles. Anyways the picture qualities to games of this device really beg to be play on an SDTV and with component cables as the composite cables that came with it doesn't really do the visuals justice.

Controls:

Notice how there was no mention of a Wii controller port on the Wii console itself, that's because the Wii remote which came bundle with the console is a wireless controller which features a brand new d-pad, a plus and minus button which are actually just the START and SELECT buttons renamed, your Home button so you could return to the Wii menu at anytime after playing a Wii game, and your on/off button for turning your console on or off without ever going near your console. There's also a big gigantic A button on upper body of the remote, two action 1 & 2 buttons on the bottom torso of the remote controller, and a huge B trigger button on the rear side of the remote controller. In total, there are actually just four action buttons on the remote alone. That's not a big problem though cause since you'll be playing almost every games using motion movements with the remote, you don't really need a lot of buttons to worry about. Aside from the controls that are already on the Wii remote, there is a little hole attachment on the bottom of the Wii remote to which you can hook up a nun-chuck control or a Wii Classic Controller.

The nun-chuck control is actually just a control stick with two trigger buttons all wired into the remote. It's a cool attachment but would be required to play other games especially Wii boxing in Wii Sports (which also came bundled with the Wii). Other Wii controls for this device is the familiar Wii Classic Control, a controller in similar design to that of the PlayStation Dual Shock controller but with the return of the Super NES layout and shoulder buttons. One minor feature that got loss with this control was the lack of rumble vibrations which would had make this control perfect for playing great retro classics like those many N64 games on the Wii's Virtual Console service.

Music/Sounds Capabilities:

Like the GameCube, the Wii's sound capabilities are similar and work the same as a GCN. You still get stereo surround sounds for games that features them. For games that use custom soundtrack like Endless Ocean, the sound quality works great, vocal songs sound crystal clear and ear-soothing. In musical games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, you could really feel the jam of the beats and blings of every musical tones you play.

Compatibilities:

Yeap, the Wii is 99% backwards compatible with the already huge GameCube library of games and most of its accessories. Though you could no longer use GCN LAN play, hook up the Game Boy Player or use the Broadband Adapter to play the Phantasy Star Online games, you could still use the GCN controllers to play all them classic GCN games and a few Wii compatible games that still uses the controller. VC games are also backwards compatible with GCN controller too though due to the awkward layout, some games might not play as intend to be play like those SNES platform games. Also having GCN compatibility also means you will need GCN memory cards to save them and for the Wii you got two of them. On the left side of the Wii console locates one removable panel. The panel itself will reveal four GCN controller slots and two memory card slots all for Wii owners who still got their GCN games for play.

Extras:

Compare to the competitors consoles, there's not much in terms of extras for the Wii, you can't watch DVD movies on the Wii so that's really a bummer but the Wii does feature Netflix now so watching any of your favorite movies are no problem. Also with WiiWare and the Virtual Console service still going strong, you got a ton of digital software to choose from if you don't prefer to play the physical ones on store shelves. Besides those you could check out the weather forecast on its channel, you could vote on the Everybody Vote channel, you could surf the web using the updated Wii Opera Web Browser, you could access Nintendo's online store and buy WiiWare, VC games, new apps, and even play free demos of already or upcoming games as well.

Any Disappointments:

Well if you count the numbers of bad games developed by lazy developers, the lack of 3rd party supports, lack of online experience on some games, the number of casual friendly games, and the slow growing online service then yeah the Wii does had a ton of disappointments. Though if you bought the Wii for what it was as a gaming console and enjoys all the great 1st party, 2nd, and not-so lazy 3rd party games then the console is a blessing. There are ton of games to be play, lots of new innovations to experience, and some good services to go with them.

Is it Affordable?

Back in 2006? Yes! Now? Absolutely! If you haven't already bought a Wii then you could surely buy one now then what it was three or four years ago. It's around $170 brand new for any versions and they all came in bundle with two games and all the stuffs you need to get to playing plus you get a free GameCube, how cool was that. Well not necessarily a perfect free GCN, just the main GCN features, anyways if you're a retro gamer, just want to play the latest Nintendo titles, or want the perfect console for your next upcoming anniversary party, then the Wii is that console.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/02/11, Updated 07/31/12

Game Release: Wii Hardware (Black) (US, 05/09/10)


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