Does the Nintendo Wii live up to its reputation?
On our very last day in the office a gift arrived in the form of a review copy of the new Nintendo Wii. This is one very cool gaming system which will appeal to families as well as the gaming enthusiast.
This was no more evident than when I showed my wife the new Nintendo Wii. She is the last person one would find on a gaming machine but once shown the capability and the fact that one can actually exercise using the unique motion sensing controller she was interested.
But it was my 21 year old daughter who really bought home to me the appeal of this system when she not only wanted to play games but spend 15 minutes creating her own Mii gaming character for use in the Sporting Wii games.
So be sure to design yourself your own Mii, as it’ll represent your player in all the games.
This is a system that is in its infancy and one that Nintendo should be credited for as it has a massive evolutionary path for the creation of new capabilities built around human motion.
This console is a showcase of simplicity which is clearly demonstrated when one first opens the Nintendo Wii. The Wii Sports which came with the pack ensures every gamer that they can witness first hand preciously what Nintendo’s white wonder can do.
Wii Sports contains five titles; Baseball, Bowling, Boxing, Golf and Tennis, each one taking full advantage of the Wii-motes motion sensing, some with better result than others.
Although you can dive straight into the game first hand, there are some useful training games to go through first of all to allow yourself to get to grips with the control.
But one big no for me was the characters. Give me real characters not some Japanese Comic Book characters that bow at the end of a game.
The motion sensing include anything from basic manoeuvres to more complicated moves for your chosen sport, with more un-lockable as you progress. Meanwhile, there’s also a brain training-style event to take part in, which is used to test and ultimately improve your skills in each game, giving you your Wii-age at the end.
The meat of the game is of course the sports titles themselves, all of which can be chosen from the start of the game to be played in any order you wish. Tennis, probably the most publicised of them all is a fine example of how Wii-mote functionality can be implemented into something this simple, yet feel so rich and detailed at the same time.
Each shot you take can ultimately be manipulated in some form or another, usually by the amount of pressure you apply to each shot or the direction your hand is facing. One thing’s for sure, though; you’re going to need ample room to get the best out of the Wii’s sensor bar, so expect some problems with motion detection otherwise, and this applies to all titles. Tennis is no doubt among the most competent of the Wii Sports catalogue, and one that exhibits the Wii-motes functionality at its best, and the amount of precision is admirable.
The same can be said in Wii Bowling and Boxing. With the former, you are prompted to actually execute a motion as if you were holding a bowling ball, releasing at the right time and letting it fly. While there’s the obvious perception its simply about luck from there on out, it’s not the case at all; tilting your wrist in the desired direction will cause the ball to subtly turn in motion, which is vital for those much needed curved shots.
Boxing on the other hand is perhaps the most adventurous of all the games, for the simple reason you’re endowed with the ability to perform a variety of actions, aside from just standing there punching. You can punch, dodge, uppercut, aim for the body or head provided your execution is on track, which unfortunately, isn’t always the case. More than often, the game fails to register your movements and you’ll find its probably just best to lay the smacked down with a few simple jabs to the noggin. A shame, as it could have been perhaps the most discerning of all games given the chance in terms of what the Wii-mote can do.
Baseball on the other hand does little to actually challenge the player; batting requires somewhat decent timing on your part, but there’s little evidence that that your swing was at all determined by the amount of power you put behind it; for the most part, it’s totally random how fast and far the ball travels. The same can be said about pitching, where there’s little room for much in the way of precision. After going through a few training sessions, you’ll find out that you can actually change the direction the ball is hit or thrown, but actually perfecting it is a challenge in its own.
Meanwhile, Golf I found appears to have horrible trouble picking up the pace of your swing, and is unquestionably the most flawed of the lot; more than often, I’d find myself hitting the ball without even completing a full swing. In a game that requires an almost immaculate sense of timing, the inaccuracy of the Wii-mote here really does make the game near unplayable at times. Then again, when you get it right, it works great, which can be said for any of the titles that experience the occasional hiccup.
Needless to say, things become a lot more enjoyable when you invite a couple of mates round for some four-player action, an area where Wii Sports is unquestionably aimed. That said, the single player outing is by no means uninteresting after you’ve ploughed through each game; it’s just too addictive to want to put down most of the time. While there’s no doubt the game is a competent showcase of the Wii-mote, there are times when it can feel like somewhat gimmicky, especially when you discover the game isn’t picking up your actions and things start to get a little disappointing.
All games suffer from this basic issue at some point, some more than others. Thankfully, the majority of the time you’ll find that things run smoothly without a hitch. Wii Sports doesn’t look anything special, but it was never going to be the showcase of the consoles visual splendour; that being said, there are some nice environments to take in when you can tear your eyes away from your playmobile Miis.
Overall, the Nintendo Wii is the gaming industry’s latest box of wonders which came from left of centre to take on both Sony and Microsoft.
Nintendo must be given credit for a great job as this gaming system is set to go on to greater things and be a real pain in the backside of Microsoft and Sony. This is the iPod of the gaming industry and in the same way the iPod cleaned up the portable music market the Nintendo Wii is going to cut into the existing games market quickly.
It’s simple, addictive, compelling and innovative all rolled into one, whether you’re on your own or have a couple of friends round for a night of gaming (or even the family if you can persuade your dad videogames are better than cricket).
The package isn’t without its flaws, and the various motion-related mishaps that occur can at times put a damper on the whole situation. At the end of day though, Wii Sports expresses everything the Wii.
Nintendo Wii |$399| | www.nintendo.com.au
For: This system will do for the gaming industry what the iPod did for the music Industry
Against: Get rid of those dreadful Japanese comic book characters. Let’s have some real people
Verdict: Simply stunning