Review by Silver Wing

Reviewed: 01/01/08

An expensive toy

I have always considered myself an avid gamer, I have played a variety of systems and have grown up with games my whole life. I spent a few weeks saving up some money for a next-generation system after I decided to retire my never say die PS2. So, I went down to my local gaming shop and bought a Wii after reading such positive reviews on the internet and receiving positive feedback from friends and co-workers. I also bought Zelda as I have never played a game in the series before. I then rushed home and hooked it up to my HD-TV and started playing with the packaged Wii sports. Although I had a ball for the first few hours, the following months after that became a bore, VERY quicky. I then realzed I had fallen head first into the hype, which led to to trade it in for another system.

Out of the three next-gen systems, the Wii has the weakest hardware setup out of all of them by a country mile. The processors are weaker, the memory is smaller, the resolution caps at 480p and the graphics I think, are even outclassed by the PS2. This led many, myself included to believe that the Wii is simply a slightly updated Gamecube with a new controller.

The storage space is also extremely small, a measly 512mb for the entire system, compared to the gigabytes offered by the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. You can forget about loading on music, videos or a sizable amount of high quality picture because the Wii simply can't fit them all in. Although it does have an SD slot, it doesnt really help the system out at all, 2gb isnt much these days.

The extra features it adds are also very limited, no DVD playback or HD-DVD/Blu-Ray for that matter either. And although it can play MP3s, getting to those files can prove a hassle due to a somewhat lackluster interface. This comes as a surprise, a photos can be viewed very easily.

The only things is has going for it in terms ot hardware is its sleek look, I must admit the system does look rather neat and tidy sitting next to you TV, and the blue and white colours go together very well. It is also tiny compared to the other systems of its generation. However, with the amount of cables it comes with this can quickly change, packaged with the system is a rather chunky looking power cable, as well as a sensor bar which must be placed on top of the TV, meaning unless placed perfectly, you will have a long grey cord running beside your TV to record the Wii-mote movements.

The Wii comes Wi-Fi ready and can easily connect to a network, in my case my wireless network at home. The setup process was very easy and I was looking at forecasts and news reports within minutes, one of the few things I rather enjoyed about the Wii. However, don't expect to be playing a magnitude of games online, as the current library makes little use of playing over the internet, although some games coming up are rumoured to make good use of the online scene.

The single piece of equipment that has sold the Wii so many consoles. While the Xbox 360 and PS3 have gone down a different path, focsuing on graphics and sound with big titles. The Wii has gone a different way, featuring a totally new method of gameplay using a wireless, totally new controller, in which movements made by the player are translated to the game. For example, playing tennis doesnt require the press of a button, but merely an actual, physical swing of the Wii-mote to hit the ball.

While this concept does sound tempting, I found it the most stale thing ever to hit the video games market. With games like Wii Tennis to hit the ball you have to swing the Wii-mote, but the size of the swing has no impact on how hard to ball goes, I could swing 100 miles an hour and produce the same shot as I would by flicking my wrist. I watched people play while standing up, running to the virtual ball to take a swing, but when I played it, I produced the same shot by sitting on the couch flicking my wrist. The method of topspinning the ball is also a bit iffy at best. To spin the ball you have to flick the controller from buttons up to buttons down, now I play tennis, in fact, I coach kids, and this isnt the way to topspin the ball, meaning my natural tennis swing was completely wrong for Wii tennis. I would rather go outside and play it in real life.

So after ejecting Wii Sports I decided to try Zelda: Twilight Princess, I was quite excited by this, as I heard from a friend that the swing of Links sword was done by swinging the Wii-mote. Let me begin by saying that this game came out for the Gamecube and I doesnt look to much different on the Wii. But never the less, I started playing, and it wasn't long before I became very disappointed. To start with, swinging the sword can be done with a simple gesture with the Wii-mote, I was expecting a big swing with the Wii-mote would produce a more damaging strike from Link (the charactet you control in game), and a quicker, weaker swing would produce a less damaging shot, but I was wrong. I literally went “awwwww” when I found this out. As all swings are the exact same. But, I then found out that I can make Link do a spinning attack, expecting to actually spin myself with the Wii-mote, I later found out that I had to only SHAKE the nunchaku only slightly, I wasn't happy. Although future games might make more use of the Wii-mote, I thought it was very unimpressive by all stretches of the imagination.

Another weak part of the Wii system, after I tried Wii Sports and Zelda, I went to read some more reviews for future games online. I found only two more games that might interest me, Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3, JUST 2, and none of them struck me as really serious gamers games. I then wondered over the the PS3 and Xbox 360 sections to find about 20 games I really wanted to try.

But despite this I decided to actually go down to the store and look at what games they had, needless to say I found games that I had (A) Never heard of before or (B) Didn't care about anymore. All the games for the Wii are what are called party games, meaning they are designed to be played with friends or family. However, I didnt find this to be true at all. My sisters birthday, about 10 relatives came over to my house and I showed them the Wii, my uncle had a go and hated it because everyone was laughing at him trying to box in thin air whilst getting pummeled by the AI at the same time. We ended up watching a movie.

Due to its limited capabilites, the Wii is far less expensive that its competitors, here in Australia it's currently on sale for AU$388, compared to the PS3 for around $650 and the Xbox 350 for around $550.

I will say what I think, for serious gamers, you will hate this machine, if offers no stimulating gameplay in any game I have seen and the games for it don't cater for the single player gamer. It is outclassed in almost every section by its competitors and only becomes somewhat enjoyable when playing with friends who are about the same skill level as you. It can't be used as a media hub, it has limited playback cababilites, limited online support, weaker specifications and no hard disk space. The Nintendo Wii is a toy for the casual gamer at best.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Product Release: Wii Hardware (AU, 12/07/06)

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