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Reader impressions of Wii at Fusion Tour

Reader Spak-Spang was nice enough to give us a lengthy report on his time at with the Wii at the Fusion Tour in Dallas, Texas. Have a read of his report below.

Nintendo Fusion Tour 2006 Report

Dallas, Texas

I arrived at the tour at 5:30pm the scheduled start of the event. lines had already formed and I immediately jumped into the Zelda line so that I could get a chance to play the game. My initial plan was not to wait in the long line of Metroid Prime Corruption, but since it was Zelda, I had to the game a try.

As I waited I looked around to examine the rest of the games available to play. The tour stop had 9 different Wiis set up; two for Excite Truck, two for Zelda, and single units for Wii Boxing, Bowling, Tennis, Wii Shoot Demo, and Wario Ware Smooth Moves. All the lines were moderate in length except for the Zelda demo…which was the E3 demo with the new sword control mechanics.

After an hour wait, I finally played Zelda. The graphics are stunning. To everyone that sees this game as simply an upgrade Gamecube game, you are completely wrong. The game is pure beautiful art. I was quite impressed with the animation, and the subtle details in the game. If you picked up a box you could throw it into the water and it would float in the water, moving with the current. Very nice.

The Wiimote and Analog Attachment are very odd when you first get ahold of them. The Wiimote is literally perfect. The weight of the controller, and button placement, everything worked. People complaining that the D-Pad is placed accordly haven’t held the controller. I had no problems moving my thumb to select items in Zelda and sliding it back down to the A button. I guess if you had to do it as a regular action, it could be difficult…however, I have my doubts about that even, as the boss battle in Zelda required you to do some fast switching of weapons.

One thing that did feel odd about the controller is the Analog Attachment’s weight. It is almost too light. It disappears in your hand, and you feel somewhat offbalance playing certain games. It would be like drumming with a Drumstick of normal weight, and a Drumstick the weight of a feather…it is doable, but if just feels off.

Zelda:

Getting back to Zelda. As my first Wii game to ever experience, I was amazed at how the controls simply melt into your hands and your conscienceness as you play. Once I learned how to do the moves, I didn’t question what buttons I was pushing or how to do anything…it came natural. I did run into problems adjusting to targeting and learning how to move the camera around, and this was the biggest frustration I had…but this was an early build, and I did not know what all the buttons were. Eventually I found the recenter button for the camera and things felt better.

The biggest question with the game is how does the fighting feel, and honestly, the sword fighting doesn’t really feel any more or less engaging than pressing a button. I mean pushing forward on the Wiimote, or side to side is basically pressing a button. The only difference may be that there is alittle more emotion in the action. You feel more of a neccessity to swing your attacks quickly as you are getting swarmed by enemies…I guess you actually feel threatened yourself in a way, instead of just Link. And that is what makes the game work. You feel like you are accomplishing each task, not just playing as Link. When you physically move your hand to target an enemy you feel the accomplishment is worth more. You did that…you didn’t just push a button.

Overall, the Zelda demo wasn’t worth an hour wait to experience, however, it is a game that completely sells the Wii console and is a must own title. If you are getting Zelda buy it for Wii not the Gamecube, you will be happier in the end.

Wii Boxing:

Next, I played Wii Boxing. In every way Zelda was brilliant, Wii Boxing failed in my opinion. The controller weights were an issue in this game, as punching didn’t feel right at all. It was hard to aim your hits, and moving around and blocking didn’t feel intuitive at all. I was victories over my opponent, but we both felt like we were truly in control of the game. And that was unfortunate. I hope my opinions change later when I play the game at home, but as it stands this was the least impressive game at the event.

Excite Truck:

Excite truck to me is an enigma. Here’s the deal. The game is fun, but it completely lacks any polish in the demo. Racing the tracks this arcade racer as more depth than you would initially think. The game focuses on racing and stunts. Getting big air, and taking risks on the course award you star points…to progress and unlock levels you must achieve a certain score. This opens alot of depth in the game, and the powerups and level warping effects make the game even more of a winner. It was really quite enjoyable to watch a group of cars fly up into the air as you alter the ground and throw them…bonus that you get extra star points for the manuever. The issue I had was that the controls were so sensitive that you couldn’t truly focus on the depth of the game design. If the control is tightened up you have an amazing launch racer that is completely worth the purchase price. If control is still too sensitive then the game will be unplayable, and I would only recommend it as a rental.

Wario Ware Smooth Moves:

Let me first announce that I didn’t enjoy the first Wario Ware games. I want substance and objectives to my games…and Wario Ware didn’t ever deliver. Yet, Smooth Moves instantly captivated me. The game relies on a simple design element: The games are so intuitive that you don’t have to explain how to play them…even fact the entire game is figuring out exactly how to play the game. Before the game starts you are told how to hold the controller….from there you must use context clues to fullfill the challenge. The game is extremely fun, and would be an ultimate party game, with one single catch. You have to play the game honestly. The game could be played not performing the actions the way you were intended…but you lose the fun of the game. For example: Hola Hoop game. If you don’t put the controller by your waist and actually hola hoop then there is not point to that game. However you can successfully beat the level by just shaking the Wiimote. If you and your friends will honestly play this game it will be fun and really enjoyable…if you won’t then avoid this game because you won’t have fun.

Wii Bowling:

Bowling is the second best game I played at the event. Again, the game requires you to act like you are truly bowling for the full experience…but that full experience is amazing. I doubted the stories of people saying it ACTUALLY feels like bowling…but it does. You simply lineup the shot, hold the B button, pull your hand back…step forward and throw the ball (remembering to release the B button.) The game truly rocks. Just like in real bowling you must be really careful how you throw your ball, any twist of the wrist will ruin your accuracy…and often times I was laughing and complaining that there was no way I moved my wrist, but in reality I had to of, and I just didn’t notice.

Wii Tennis:

Wii Tennis was the best game I played at the show. This simple game was more engaging and fun than Excite Truck, Zelda, Wario Ware and the rest. This was the second to last game I played, and I was beginning to feel like a natural with the Wiimote, it really doesn’t take much time to get comfortable with the concept of the control system. The game simply perfectly responded to your actions. Most of the hits were perfect representations of my actions, whether they were the results I wanted was another story. I played doubles against the Wii representative and noticed that game had much more depth than you realize. Returning the ball is a real art, as you can simply aim for the center court, but precise targetted aims into the corners were much more difficult and risker. Playing doubles added another interesting element…both players can swing for the ball…and you control both at the same time. So if you are able to get a good shot with your partner playing the net you can get a quick shot in and surprise your challenger. This made Lob shots more valuable to attempt to prevent that strategy, and required you to think about where you were targeting the ball more.

Overall, playing Wii Tennis and Bowling I must say Wii Sports is an incredible package. It is definately not just a budget title, but a truly next generation experience worth purchasing, but getting it free is a sweet deal.

I came away from the event with more confidence in Nintendo and the system than I ever imagined. Why the system works so well, is that you don’t feel like you are playing a video game…but you feel like you are engaged in whatever experience is on the television. If it is Tennis you feel like you are playing tennis, bowling…bowling. And everything I accomplished in Zelda felt more rewarding and personal some how.

Bravo Nintendo, I can’t wait to play more.


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