I just got back from a Nintendo Fusion Tour concert where I got to try out the Wii. There were several games available for testing, mostly some of the Wii Sports games and of course, Twilight Princess, the biggest name in the Wii launch lineup.
I chose to play Twilight Princess, it’s the game I’m most interested in, at least for the moment. With the game itself, I was very impressed. It looked very nice and the combat worked seamlessly then the oft-praised Ocarina of Time. It looks like it’s going to be very good, though understand that I say that with very little experience. However, that isn’t actually what I want to mention when it comes to the Wii. Rather, I want to talk about the controller.
Going into tonight, I was very much looking forward to using the Wiimote and in seeing what it would bring to gaming. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but I was very optimistic. However, I’m now somewhat concerned. First of all, the Wiimote and the Nunchuck attachment are extremely overwhelming. There are far more buttons then I was expecting. Which isn’t in itself a problem, but their placement is very questionable. The number of buttons and controls were very difficult to get a handle of, at least in the time I had to play the demo. This isn’t all that concerning to me. The main function of the remote in Twilight Princess is to allow you to aim and attack. Attacks are easy enough, they’re done by moving the remote or nunchuck from side to side. I can handle that, it’s a nice little feature. The real problem is aiming. Almost every time I went to draw my bow, the Wiimote was pointed horribly off the screen, so I would frequently end up looking at the ceiling as a monstrous boss was lumbering towards me or a rain of fire arrows descended upon me. Fortunately, it’s Zelda, so I would really have to try to lose. But in any case, the hypersensitivity and counter-intuitive nature of the controls in general make me wonder how functional it’s actually going to be. I mean, in the middle of a battle, I can hardly imagine using this to attack. And even when I’m not in battle, I found it difficult to hit some of the pinpoint targets with the obnoxious targeting system.
Now, I’m sure that this is just something that happened because I was thrown into the middle of the game without any experience whatsoever. However, that doesn’t change my major worry for the system, which is, that for each game, you will have to relearn the controls entirely. And for some games, the Wiimote will no doubt be abandoned entirely. If I were being generous, I would call the Wiimote a gimmicky part of what should otherwise be a great system. If I’m not feeling so kind, I’d be willing to call the Wiimote a hindrance that could potentially spoil some gaming experiences. In any case, I have a feeling that I’ll be using the Retro Controller or just the classic Gamecube Controller a lot more frequently then the Wiimote/Nunchuck combo. At least, if I have that option (and I sure hope I do).