Well I’ve had a bit of time to play around with the Wii so I thought I’d share my thoughts like everyone else seems to. This review actually took a couple days to write so sorry it took so long.
Graphics: I am a self professed gamer, however I never really have cared much about the graphics after 3D got decent. So yeah I think the graphics are better than the Gamecube, and I was happy with the Gamecube’s graphics so I am happy with the Wii’s graphics. Beautiful graphics are great, but I ain’t paying $150-300 more for the console plus $10 for each additional game just to get them. The main thing I keep hearing from 360 and PS3 games for defense on how good of games are is how “good their graphics” are, well I am watching an NFL game on ESPN and I gotta say the graphics of the game blow the 360 out of the water and I pay less for the ESPN games. So screw it, it’s a game if it isn’t fun and innovative but it is pretty I could care less.
The control: it isn’t as easy to pick up as everyone says it is. There is an adjustment and there is a decent amount of set up. It took me quite awhile to get my bar positioned right so it didn’t jiggle so much when I was using the remote. Maybe it is because our TV is diagonal to our straight couch and that causes issues but it did take awhile. That being said it does feel very natural to sit there and play with the remote, especially with Zelda… I like Wii sports but when I sit down and play Zelda I am so relaxed, the game feels so natural it just is unbelievable that some reviewers are saying the controls feel tacked on because honestly they are perfect. Overall I like the controls, and I will also add that I have been wary of the controls because I thought they were a bit gimmicky… (I thought they were a lot like those cheap baseball games you could get at toys r’ us and I couldn’t figure out why people would make a big deal out of the wii when the tech has been around in games and not making a splash for awhile, but it works). About the Speaker, I think it is somewhat neat but I don’t think it was really necessary to the system. Though unlike some reports I’ve read, the sound quality is decent.
Virtual Console: Thus far this has been my biggest disappointment with the system. What is ironic is this is what I really wanted the console for but I don’t know, it just doesn’t work well as I wanted it too… first of all the games are quite pricey I think. I thought that 3,5,8 would have been fine for NES, SNES, and N64 respectively… it would have provided enough money to make a decent profit and would have undercut microsoft. Now Microsoft’s games look like a better deal because theirs are about the same prices as the VC and they also have multi-player, points, and online play added to them which the VC does not have, though maybe this is something they will add in the future. Secondly the games available have been less than stellar, at launch the only ones I’m really interested in are F-Zero, Altered Beast, and Zelda.. this week they did add Ecco the Dolphin and Golden Axe which I am really jazzed about as well so maybe things are getting better. Also the manual says that you can’t download games onto an SD card which seemed like half the point of having the SD slot, but I’ve heard reports that this has changed so I will have to check this out before I am too upset.
Channels: I’m a little disappointed that the browser, the news, and the forecast channels weren’t available at launch.. though it is looking like they really want this to be launched when the system is officially out globally and people have a chance to enjoy it. (Maybe they got better deals if more people were going to them). That being said the Photo Channel is fun, not great, but I can see Nintendo coming out with an advanced version next year for 1000 points or something… Miis are amazing… I am disappointed that they don’t save game info like Microsoft’s profile does, but maybe this could be a future feature? I think it would really make them better, but they are still quite fun. I’d also like to see more games use them and I am sure that will happen (I’ve heard that WarioWare and Wii Play both use them, and I assume they will use them for Animal Crossing and think they do for Sims Wii too, so maybe more companies will buy into this in the future). I also suspect that at some point you will be able to buy special outfits for a low price. The message boards are nice, though not entirely useful, but maybe that is because I’m really the only one that uses it in my house and I don’t know anyone else with a Wii that I can message either. I think overall the Channels idea is a good feature and Nintendo was smart to make their UI like this. (I also hope they add skins though… the white is cool but it’d be nice if you could change the colors or have custom backgrounds or whatever).
Overall: I think the system is pretty good… I think the games at launch were a good start though obviously not perfect. Zelda is great, and I think Monkey Ball, Rayman, Madden, and Red Steel would be good additions to anyone’s library but from what I’ve heard Trauma Center is nothing more than a slightly better looking DS version with an added level or two. I also am slightly disappointed in their lack of Wi-Fi at launch. I hope they are building it into these games even though it isn’t out yet. I don’t know why now especially Nintendo is choosing not to do it, they’ve done it already on the DS so it isn’t like they are going into uncharted territory anymore… however maybe they are just waiting to make sure that their networks can take it, or they want to wait to give later users a further push to buy. We are already seeing the various channels being launched pretty much every few weeks into January and maybe even February, perhaps we will start seeing WiFi in March which is much too late but similar to what they did on the DS.