All Hands On Wii: Next-Gen Console Reviewed

If you’ve been contemplating about whether or not to buy the Nintendo Wii this year, we’ve got some news for you: Nintendo has been touring around the nation and having secret parties in which invited guests from the media have full on access to the Nintendo Wii, and its launch titles. 2old2play’s doodirock (yup, that’s his name) was actually invited to one of the parties in Chicago, and got to test out the console! It turns out Nintendo’s party was so secret that 2old2play wasn’t even notified with all the information until the day of. They were later put in a van with tinted windows, driven through alleys and were taken to a secret location. The party consisted of six Nintendo Wii hooked up to flat screen TVs, beer, drinks and Chicago-style pizza. Yes! So, how did the Wii hold up? Hit the jump!

The Nintendo Wii was tested with nine different games including The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess ,
Wii Sports
, Elebits, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Madden NFL 07. The first thing 2old2play noticed were the “jagged” graphics. The Nintendo Wii is said to have twice the power of the GameCube, but when playing Twilight Princess, 2old2play noticed that there was no visual difference between the Wii version of the game and the GameCube version of the game. They also noted that the high definition displays that were being used actually made the game look worse. To be honest, I personally don’t care about the graphics of the Wii, but with its price tag, I do expect the graphics to be at least a little bit better than the GameCube, which will probably be the case when more games are directly made just for the Nintendo Wii.

Since the game play is the main focus of the Wii anyway, 2old2play quickly got over the jagged graphics and went into the world of Twilight Princess. Here is where I felt a bit disappointed:

Once I adapted to the lower-grade graphics, I began to see where the Wii truly shines; game play. Each and every game offered a new way to hold and utilize the Wiimote to control the action on screen. After testing all the games, I was able to see how the Wiimote was both a blessing and a nuisance.

The Wiimote a nuisance?! It can’t be! 2old2play stated that the Wiimote felt intuitive on games like Wii Sports and Elebits, since they were made exclusively for the Wiimote. When they played ported games such as <madden 07 or Twilight Princess, the Wiimote felt awkward and out of place. There’s a write up on every one of the nine games on 2old2play’s site if you want to learn the specifics about how each game acted with the Wiimote.

I’ve also been getting a lot of questions about the sensor bar of the Wii, and apparently it can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. Size-wise, the sensor bar is only the length of 2 number-2 pencils, which is great news. It can be placed anywhere, but must be in the centered with your position. This is where there are more problems. The Wii sensor bar has a recommended “sweet spot”, so if you’ve got a certain-sized TV you sit a certain distance away from the sensor bar. If you’ve got a big TV that can be viewed from a distance, this isn’t a problem since you’ve got room to move (hopefully), and the Wii sensor bar will recognize your actions. If you’ve got a small TV and must sit close to it to see what you’re doing, you’ve got some problems. The Wii sensor bar has problems recognizing actions if you’re sitting too close. Add in the possibility of playing with a friend up close to your TV, now you’ve got even more problems.

The environment in which you play your Wii seems to be the problem the console is facing here. Things need to be set up a certain way for you to not get frustrated and simply dismiss the Wii. You’ll need room for movement (especially if people are over and playing with you), the bar has to be a certain distance and height in front of you and there should be no obstructions between you and the sensor bar. But these are just minor problems in my opinion, we all make sacrifices here and there to enjoy our games- there’s no need to have every aspect of your experience absolutely perfect. And even if you do want that perfect experience, you’ve just got to make some small sacrifices like moving your coffee table out of the way.

In the end, 2old2play stated that playing the Wii was a great experience and many will find it to be a great console. I agree, all of these games are just launch titles to a completely innovative console and in the future we will start to see the full power of the Wii really come into play.

The problem I see though is Nintendo’s marketing. I really thought Nintendo’s whole take on the next-gen war was catering to the masses, not just hardcore gamers, and noticing all these little things doesn’t make it seem that way. All you need to do to get your XBox 360 or PlayStation 3 going is hit a button. Of course, that’s a few extra hundred bucks for the luxury. The console definitely takes the cake as the “party” console. If you’ve got a bunch of friends over and some extra Wiimotes, you’re more than likely to have a greater time playing the Wii, than any other console. Nintendo Wii will be available on November 19th, and you can bet CrunchGear will have its own review up on launch day.

All Hands On Wii [2old2play]