November 19th, 2006, 19:20 Posted By: gunntims0103
news via computerandvideogames
19-Nov-2006 Wii has landed in the US! CVG brings you the low-down on the hardware and the launch games
The waiting is finally over - for the US anyway. We brits still have three more painful weeks of waiting to endure, but today is the day that gamers all over the US will finally get their hands on the Wii.
If you've been avidly hunting for every scrap of news on the Wii for the past agonising year of excitement and anticipation, there's probably nothing you don't already know about the Wii - except for what it's like to hold it on your hands.
We've put together these impressions to paint you a clear picture of what the hardware is like, how well it functions and, for your purchase-listing convenience, a quick run-through all 20 launch games on sale in the US right now. If you're thinking about getting the Wii, or are already on the pre-order list, this is all you need to know.
In the box
First thing's first, this is exactly what's packed into those lush white Wii boxes:
* Wii Console
* One Wii Remote (and two batteries)
* One Nunchuk expansion controller
* Sensor Bar
* Composite Cable (red, white and yellow connectors)
* Power cable
* Wii Sports (sadly not in its own DVD case)
* Huge wad of user manuals
The Wii is small. That's the first thing that hits you when you remove the packaging and see its tiny frame. You may have heard Nintendo's approximation of the Wii being roughly the size of three DVD cases, but you don't realise how small that is until you sit it next your TV.
It's shiny white casing oozes style, and because it's such a bright white it's not as prone to glaring fingerprinting. We also noted how solid the console feels - it's small but feels weighty enough to give it that 'crammed with technology' feel, if you know what we mean.
Hooking the console up is a fairly ordinary process, the only extra task being to connect and position the Wii's all-important Sensor Bar. The cable connecting it to the Wii is several feet long, so no worries there.
The Sensor, as said before, can go above or below your TV screen, but really should be as central as possible. If your TV is on a large, flat surface you can dump the Sensor on the surface just in front of the screen. But we find placing it on top of the TV, and maybe securing it with a small, unnoticeable strip of double-sided sticky tape helps secure it nicely.
Once set up, you tap the little power button and on comes that slick blue light around the CD bay. That's when you'll another one of the Wii's significant attributes - it's absolutely silent. If the room is completely without sound, you might just hear the soft purr of the tiny fan in the back of the machine - with your ear pressed against the machine.
In fact, the most noise the console makes is the smooth buzz of the front-loading disc drive sucking in a game disc - although not at all an unpleasant sound. The 360 disc drive has a painful 'clunk' as it comes to a complete close, but there's no such discomfort with the Wii.
Inserting and ejecting discs is as smooth as you could ever hope. You barely need to insert the disc before the machine detects it and springs into action, gently taking it from your hands and slotting it into place, ready for play.
Hit the eject button and a few seconds later the disc slowly slides out, stopping with the central hole just outside the drive, so you can take hold of your precious games by the outside edge and middle without fingerprinting the data surface. It accepts the the smaller GameCube discs with equal ease - you insert the disc roughly near the centre of the drive and it'll do the rest.
Slam the batteries into the Remote and you're almost ready to go. First you have to get the wireless Remote to talk with your Wii, which you do by hitting both sychro buttons - one under the small flap on the front of the Wii and the other under the battery cover of the back of the Remote itself. It only takes a second or two, you're ready to go (you can read a detailed analysis of the look and feel of the Wii Remote here). Then it's onto the games.
There are 20 games available right now in the US, and here's a quick run-down of what they're all about.
Wii Sports: The packaged Wii Sports is the perfect game to both show off the Wii's abilities, and help you become accustom to them. It features simple motion-controlled recreations of five popular sports: boxing, bowling, tennis, golf and baseball. Basic in both gameplay and graphical detail, but great, simple, family-friendly fun.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: After four years of development, Twilight Princess finally arrives and it has been worth the wait. Twilight's new realistic look, epic story, and enormous size are the factors that have fans deeming it the true sequel to the legendary Ocarina of Time. And those who are lucky enough to have finished it already say it's even better. Read our review NOW!
Red Steel: The first-person action game everyone's dying to get their hands on, Red Steel uses the Wii Remote to put a gun and a katana sword in your hands - literally. Shoot with the Remote like a gun or swing it like a sword as you battle a powerful Yakuza organisation in an attempt to save your kidnapped fiancé. Get our full verdict here.
Excite Truck: Nintendo swaps bikes for trucks in the latest of it's 'Excite' series. Tilting the Wii Remote like a wheel to steer your truck, Excite Truck has you rallying around courses at ridiculous F-Zero-like speeds, leaping off ramps and flying hundreds of feet through the air. This is sadly not due out in UK until February 2007.
Call of Duty 3: The latest episode in what is widely considered to be the best WWII series ever, Call of Duty 3 on Wii takes full advantage of the motion-sensing controller, having you point at the screen to shoot your gun, wave the controller to fight, steer it to drive jeeps and much, much more. Look out for the full review on CVG this week.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz: We're massive fans of the Monkey Ball series and couldn't wait to get our hands on the new Wii game, which uses the tilt-sensing capabilities of the Wii Remote to let you tilt the stages with your own hand. And with 50 motion-controlled mini games squeezed into the package too, this is one game we're definitely adding to our Wii collection.
Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam: Putting a spin on the traditional Tony Hawk's formula, Downhill Jam sees you grinding and tricking your way through a series of downhill race courses. It also has one of the most interesting control systems, using the Wii Remote like a steering wheel to direct your skater, while the D-pad and buttons perform tricks.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance: Over 100 Marvel characters appear in this dungeon-crawling-style brawler. As you fight your way through reams of enemies, you earn stat points that allow you to boost your selected team of heroes, and teach them new moves. With the Wii Remote, you have to perform a dramatic range of motion gestures to activate special powers.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2: The Dragon Ball Z fighting games are some of the fastest and most chaotic open-environment fighting games we've ever played, and the sequel comes with more characters, bigger battle environments (they're huge) and, on the Wii, new special moves that are activated by movement.
Trauma Center: Second Opinion: The fantastic surgery sim on DS gets a Wii makeover, using the pointer functionality of the Wii Remote to near perfection. You play as a doctor in a hospital and perform a number of mostly totally unrealistic operations in a strict time limit. It may sound dull but it's one of the most challenging and tense games we've ever played. And great fun.
Madden NFL '07: We Brits don't really care about Madden games, but the Americans can never get enough of it, so getting the latest in the long-running series on Wii for launch is great news for the console. Interestingly, the Wii version has players flicking the Remote in the direction they want to pass the ball. That's cool, but we still don't get the rules.
Rampage: Total Destruction: The old arcade classic is back and looking... mostly the same, actually. Yes, the graphics have been made 3D (yet, still looks shockingly dated) the gameplay sticks to its original 2D format, giving players control of a giant beast and letting them loose to tear down a city and take on the army. It's mindless gaming for the destructive little boy in you.
Happy Feet: The little dancing penguins of the motion picture tap-dance their way into the world of videogames in an adventure that features a range of different gameplay. You will use the Wii Remote to make the penguins swim through water levels, race down icy slopes on their bellies, and dance in rhythm-action stages. One for the kids, no doubt.
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Based on the Network Cartoon of the same name, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is a battle adventure game that has you waving the Wii Remote to fight your way through hordes of enemies with a selection of 15 playable characters. Another game for the young ones, this is also one of few Wii games that is playable with a GameCube pad.
Avatar: The Last Airbender: While we won't admit to having watched and liked the Nickelodion cartoon, Avatar is... *ahem* a pretty cool series featuring a monk-like boy named Aang who, with the elite power to control wind, is the only hope the world has against an evil empire. Your standard 3D adventure, with four playable characters, big bosses and puzzle-filled levels.
Cars: Picking up from where the film left off, the game gives you control of the starring racer, Lightning McQueen, as he races his way toward his ambition of winning the new prestigious Piston Cup. You are free to roam a huge virtual recreation of their home town, Radiator Springs, and many other locations from the film, competing in races with other talking vehicles.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab: The hilarious underwater sponge stars in this action adventure. Essentially a conversion of the GameCube game, each of its many gameplay scenarios will have you using the Wii Remote in various ways to control the action. Sounds like it could be fun although, to be honest, from what we've played it's actually not so good.
GT Pro Series: This is a straight port of the 2003-released Japan-only GameCube game (called GT Cube), with the same cars, tracks and graphics. The only change here is that it uses the Wii Remote like a steering wheel to guide the cars around the courses. We're not believers, but Ubisoft is packaging the game with a free steering wheel controller attachment to temp to you in.
Monster 4X4 World Circuit: Also from Ubisoft, this truck racer is not as fast or extreme as Excite Truck, but does feature a Mario Kart-style weapons system that has you blowing up opposing truck with items picked up on course. It also has an interesting stunt system; move the controller in circular motions as you launch off ramps to flip and spin your truck.
Rayman Raving Rabbids: Instead of your usual 3D platforming adventure, this time Rayman stars in a mini game-based adventure featuring more than 30 different gameplay styles. You complete a wide range of comedy challenges, including cow-throwing, flying and plunger-gun shooting levels as you try to defeat the evil race of Rabbids.
The UK launch
December 8 is the big day for Europe. We'll be bringing you detailed coverage on the Wii in the run up to the launch, reviews of the biggest games, competitions and much more. CVG have got it covered.
For more information and downloads, click here!
There are 0 comments - Join In and Discuss Here