Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Will Wii, Will Wii rock you?

We spent a bit more time playing the non Wii-sports titles we have, playing Spongebob - a game that proved a little too tough in places for my 5yr old, although Jack could do the winches and other things that require you to time rotation of the wii-mote. Driving by tilting the remote was difficult for both kids as they over-steered 90% of the time. The quality of this game wasn't so great and in truth I knew it wouldn't be when I bought it, but the console was for my kids after all, but you still feel it could have been tailored for a younger demographic.

We also played Rayman Rabbid Rabbits, which whilst having the kids in fits of laughter at some stuff and having some really nice play sections (such as the Wild-West plunger bit) was quite tough and quite tiring/exerting. My 5yr old had no chance and even Jack felt it was way too tough - I managed to do quite a lot of it but it was down to sheer attrition and again I think they should have aimed for a little easier - it's perhaps no wonder everyone is playing the easy to play, gentle sports games where turn based, 4-player fun competition is the order of the day, I'm not sure who else produces a turn-based, fun game... ;)

The experience of these two titles in particular leads me to question the long-term viability of the control-interface, especially for the more "hard-core" game-player, although it's obvious that this console and it's titles are simply not aimed at that market. On one hand, Wii massively suits play with generalised simpler controls/gestures, but anything that requires sustained accuracy/effort or a degree of complexity and it tends to break down a little and become frustrating and off-putting; a question of balance then and finding the simplest, least exerting common solution to controlling the game and that any aspect that feels obvious in terms of its required actions - I think for our game, we'll need to really work on this, but we had anticipated that, since you hope to ensure that whatever the control interface, it's just that it's a bit more tricky with Wii due to the intended audience and capabilities of the controller, which does have a slight response lag too.

We still have Cars (another title aimed at young Harry - and kindly supplied by friends at THQ) and Marvel Ultimate Alliance to have a crack at, but again I can't see these making any indentation on the favourite (Wii Sports).

I'm also an hour or so into Zelda and it's beginning it's charm offensive after a tricky opening spell, I'm now armed with a sword, slingshot and other bits and bobs. Harry sat and watched me for an hour and really liked it, but I think he conceded from the off that it would be too tough for him to pull off, but it is a 12+ title presumably due to the violence, which i'd argue as a parent is a bit OTT since it's fantasy cartoon stuff.


Andrew Taylor said...

Can't say as I've played any Wii beyond Sports, Play and Zelda. (I do love the Bowling, though.) I wonder how much of the control problems are those of the console and how much are those of the game. I've had no problem with Zelda, aside from swiping at things with my sword whilst trying to move the cursor too fast, but then Zelda hardly uses the motion sensors, which is probably for the best, since I can play it for an hour at a time and I'd be shattered if it used them like Wii Sports does. That said, I'd much rather they'd used a different gesture with the Wiimote for the spin attack and let me control the camera with the Nunchuck's sensors.

I expect we're seeing what we saw on the DS - developers who either haven't really got to grips with the controller or else feel they have to use the motion sensors (or touchscreen) simply because it's expected of them, and end up using them when it's not really appropriate. (Rayman DS, I'm looking squarely at you here.) Hopefully the novelty will wear off soonish and people will just want to play games on the thing. Then we'll see what it can really do.

I'd like to play Call Of Duty. It looks from the advert like they've managed to cram a few actions onto the same motion sensor while keeping them all fairly natural. If that's been done well then nobody else has any excuse.

Oh, and yes, the first bit of Zelda was just interminable, wasn't it? If I never have to use that fishing rod again I'll be very happy.

Martyn "Spadge" Brown said...

I don't think Zelda appeals to anything like the same audience as the Sports stuff as it's quite complex. It has you manipulating 3d cameras and it's definately a gamer's game. I find myself doing nunchuck/remote actions that are there seemingly to underline the facilities rather than feeling natural, but at least most are simple actions, if a little unmemorable to repeat other than playing for quite a spell. The fighting is pretty straight forward but it's easy to forget some special moves - again, might be cos I'm a doddering old fart.