It seems everyone got a wii, ps move or kinect this crimbo, so what are your thoughts on them all?
When the wiimote was first shown off i was excited. It brought something new to gaming and really was the future. Cue launch day and i bring my brand new Wii home when no one really knew if it was going to be all that good. Initially it took some time to get used to the controller. Pointing at the screen wasn’t easy at first but soon became second nature. Drawing on the photo app was a blast and selecting mii parts was great. It worked and really well and at this stage there was pretty much no ‘waggle’ in games.
Wii Sports was then put into the system and wow, what an experience. The wiimote worked perfectly. You never felt as if the controller caused you to lose or do something wrong. Golf felt perfect and even though putting didn’t always work when putting softly you never felt the controller caused you to putt too hard as when it didn’t work, nothing happened at all giving you a chance to try again. Even games like Rayman Raving Rabbids felt like a new experience and were a joy to play. The controller fits in your hand perfectly and whilst a number of games had waggle for the sake of it, it’s not often you feel the wii controller is what let you down on a jump or timing an action. The fact most menus can also be controlled with the dpad is also a major plus.
Maybe the controller is really great or it could just be the software just makes it seem like it works better than it does. Either way, this bold move was a great idea and works well in practise.
I was initially sold on this after the E3 unveiling. Scanning in objects, head tracking, you being the controller. It was the wiimote without the need to hold a piece of plastic. As the launch grew nearer though negative opinions started spreading on the internet. It couldn’t scan objects yet. It couldn’t track fingers, it had delays etc etc. Then it was launched and with most of the games being wii party game rip-offs i decided to wait until something more suitable came out. However i have managed to spend an afternoon with a friends and my feelings towards it are rather mixed. I will point out firstly i only tried one game Game Party: In Motion and my living room wasn’t set up for kinect.
That’s the main thing, i thought i had a nice sized living room with plenty of space between the tv and sofa. But still kinect would only work if i was just in front of the sofa and more often than not wanted me to be where the sofa was. Only the initial calibration was done so maybe the more detailed one may have fixed this problem. The voice recognition and auto log in worked great and were really impressive but onto the game.
Im willing to admit that the game is probably at fault here rather than kinect itself. It took us five minutes just to select the start button on the game (stand up with your right hand sticking out from your side) as it would just not accept we were standing how it wanted us to. Having people in the background also caused it to not respond well. Eventually we make it to the main menu with some arranging of the camera and people. Slowly swiping around the menus all i could think of was using a controller would be far easier. Firstly i wouldn’t have to stand and secondly it’d just be quicker. But we get into a game. It’s basketball and after the fun had on the basketball game in wii sports resort i was ready to see if this would be any better. It wasn’t. First my avatar’s arms were wiggling everywhere and the game had trouble controlling how powerful my shots were. After a few minutes of frustration we messed with the camera and lighting again which improved the accuracy but it still didn’t feel as good as on the wii.
We played a number of other games, some likes the darts were far to complex, where as the wii mimics real life actions, kinect wanted you to lean and walk forwards and backwards to control things like the cursor. Other games however like tossing bean bags were good fun but i never felt fully in control of what i was doing.
All in all it was a disappointment. Menus took ages to navigate, the game kept wanting to pause even though no one was in the ‘stance’ and it felt very rough. Im happy to put this down to the game, it was obviously a rushed copy of wii sports and whilst looking at wii sports in detail you can see the game assists your actions (although concealed well) it makes the game much more fun. Maybe the other games work better but having to stand up for the 3 hours we played was tiring. I love playing wii sports sitting down and enjoying the game with only bowling requiring you to stand for any length of time. In fact i can’t think of many wii games that require you to stand to play.
When this was announced it really did look like wiimote +. It took all the great bits of the wiimote and added a camera plus better sensing. You know what though, that’s what it really is. I tried out the demos yesterday. Eyepet was a lovely game to play and the augmented reality worked well. The wand and even using your hands worked as well as the wiimote and being able to actually ‘interact’ with the creature was amazing. Next up with Sports championship which i found incredibly dull. It’s a realistic version of Wii sports but with none of the fun. Everything was very sterile and stern, characters were the typical fit woman and beefy man but they had no personality. Environments whilst nice looking again just felt dull, if i wanted to play table tennis in a sports hall i’d go to one. The wand though worked great once again, i can’t fault it but the game just didn’t grab me.
Next up was Shoot The Movies. I was looking forward to a light gun game and whilst it’ll win no prizes for looks it was fun. The wand was accurate again but the main problem was the game. To activate special moves you have to spin around, not the best thing to do whilst being shot at and of course the only way to do that is to stand. You can sit down playing the game but it really feels like you are meant to stand the whole time. Still it was fun to play if not brilliant and will be quickly forgotten i feel.
Finally i played Time Crisis 4. Being a fan of the time crisis series i was looking forward to not seeing how the wand coped, but also how good the game was. I remember when videos of it first leaked and it was filled with hundreds of insects running around the level, everyone was up in arms. They had a point as it really isn’t a Time Crisis game. The original game was all about picking off enemies, making sure you ducked at the right time and certainly beating the timer. The time is what set it apart from Virtua cop, you couldn’t hang around you really had to take everyone out quickly. Time crisis 4 doesn’t do away with the timer but you never notice it’s there. You spend ages standing in the same places as enemies advance to you and you can take you time shooting as they’ll hardly ever fire a red bullet at you. The insects i mentioned before (called Terror Bytes haha….groan) actually change the game to be more like Crisis Zone. In fact if this was called Crisis Zone 2 no one would have battered an eyelid.
All in all the controller worked briliantly, it just needs some games for it now. I’ll be trying out Heavy Rain again and maybe echnocrome but im really looking forward to the future.
Actually if there is one bad point about the Move, it’s the expense. A Wiimote costs around £30 with a nunchuck at £15. Sure you could add a Motionplus on to the cost but it’s typically not needed. A Move controller costs £40, the starter pack (controller, game and camera) costs £45 and the navigation controller costs £20. Which means if you want tow players you are spending over £100 just on controllers. Yes the connect costs £130 but at least you get a game with that and there is no more expense after the inital outlay.
So for me the Wii wins it, even if you just compare launch titles. Kinect looks like a great idea but really needs a lot of space and the Move is basically a Wiimote+ just with a lack of games currently.