Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wah Wah Wii Wah

Well, it's taken a while, but finally - a few impressions on the newest and shinyest toy I own, my lovely Nintendo Wii! It's a small little thing, the size of a decent hardback, but is of a surprising weight. Currently sitting next to my archaic TV (with it's little motion sensor bar under the screen), I picked it up on launch day, and have had a few good sessions playing stuff, but haven't really had time to sit down and actually think about it until now...

First up - Miis. Whoever thought of the idea of being able to make a little caricature version of you, your friends and a bunch of serial killers (or whoever you like) to live inside your machine deserves a warm handshake and a healthy payrise. Getting the little buggers to travel to other people's Wii is a masterstroke, as I'm sure I know folks who have spent more time creating Miis than actually playing games... On top of that, there's the fact that Miis appear in certain games (currently only Wii Sports and Wii Play, but they'll also be in Wario Ware and a Sims-alike game that EA are producing). A great idea. Well done to whoever thought of it.

Second - the Wiimote. Simply a great idea. Works incredibly well, feels solid to hold, and is accessible to pretty much the whole populace. However, a great big meh to all these idiots blaming the wrist-straps for breaking and smashing TVs, lights and faces - don't blame Nintendo, blame your own ineptitude and oafish ways, OK?

Third - the games. Only got Wii Play, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Zelda and Wii Sports (bundled, of course) at the moment. Wii Sports is a great introduction to the system, and really helps you get used to the new control methods. I'm particularly fond of Bowling (current high score: 187 - about 140 higher than bowling in real life), Golf (as crap at that as I am in real life) and Baseball (which I have never played in real life, ever). The Boxing's alright - if a little unresponsive sometimes - and Tennis is just an arm-swinging mentalfest... or it is if you play it with your Year 4 Games Club ;)

Wii Play is another minigame collection, bundled with a Wiimote. The games are pretty basic, but as you're only paying a few quid extra, I think it's worth it - there's a Duck Hunt-esque shooter in there, a fairly whizzy Billiards game, and a great update of the old Combat game on the 2600 (which is what I'm spending most of my time on, scarily). Not out in the States yet, but then we don't have Elebits or Trauma Centre, and I know what I'd prefer.

Raving Rabbids is another minigame compilation, and is... alright. There's a rather splendid "wander round and shoot deranged bunnies in the face" component, but I think this one may well be traded in pretty sharpish. Mainly because I like the look of Madden 07 and fancy giving it a go!

Finally, Zelda: Twilight Princess. I have played this for the grand total of... 35 minutes. Shocking, I know, but thanks to work being insanely busy, I haven't been able to dedicate a decent amount of time to the Wii's first Triple-A title. However, as of tomorrow I will be off school for just over two solid weeks, and plan to dedicate a fair few hours to the latest in the long line of Link's fine adventures. Bring it on, I say!

Last, the online stuff. The Weather Channel is up and running, and while it's pretty, it's not really that much use. The News Channel is still 6 weeks away, but the Internet Browser should be available as of Friday this week. I'm interested to see how it works, what stuff it supports and such like. Update as and when, as usual. As for the Virtual Console (downloading old NES, SNES, N64, PC Engine, and Megadrive titles), I think it's aces, though I hope Nintendo realise that people want to play games that were never seen in certain regions. For us Europeans, I'm talking about stuff like Super Mario RPG on the SNES, and the N64's Sin & Punishment and Bangaioh (which came out on the Dreamcast, I know, but the 64 version is top!). If that happens, I'll be happy. I'll also be amazed, knowing what Nintendo of Europe are like.

All in all, it's a cracking little machine. The launch line-up was... OK, but I'm looking forward to upcoming stuff like Wario Ware Smooth Moves (being a sucker for the WW games!), Elebits (which The American owns already, and loves) and Trauma Centre (so I can cut people up legally and without danger of being covered in blood or cheeky prison love). However, as these aren't out until January, Zelda will be taking all of my time. Not that I'm complaining, of course...

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