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Old 01-24-2008, 03:54 AM   #2
Seraph
>:3
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005


Yes, I know this review is huge. But it should answer any questions about the Wii. If you have a question not covered in this Review/Guide then just ask it and I will add it.

What comes in the box
As of 01/24/2008, the Wii will cost you $250 in America. There has not been any mention of a price cut and with the current trend of sales it might be a long time before that happens. So just as a heads-up, if you are holding out until its cheaper chances are you will be waiting a long time.

The Wii of course comes with the system itself. It is very small compared to other consoles.


So beautiful

On the top of the Wii a flap opens to reveal 4 Gamecube controller slots, compatible with both standard Gamecube controllers and Wavebirds. Another flap next to it hides two Gamecube memory card slots. On the front of the Wii there is yet another flap that contains an SD Card slot and a Wii Remote syncing button underneath it.

Also included in the box is 1 Wii Remote, 1 Nunchuk attachment, the Vertical Placement Stand, the Wii Sensor Bar, and of course the necessary cords for power and AV.


Vertical stand, Wii with flaps open, Wii Remote and Nunchuk

The back of the Wii has the standard power and AV ports, supporting Composite and Component video. It also has a port to run power to the Wii’s Sensor Bar as well as two USB ports.


is this not a sexy photo?

Here are some pictures compared to other things to give you an idea of its size


I sure do love nintendo

Controller

The Wii Remote is the main method for controlling Wii. Drastically different than traditional two handed video game controllers, the Wii Remote is instead held in one hand much like you would hold a TV remote.


like a glove

I have average man sized hands, so keep in mind that your impressions could differ from mine given your hand size. When held, the Wii Remote feels very nice. It has a good thickness to it that makes it feel very solid and comfortable in your hand. When holding the Wii Remote “Remote Style” the button placement is optimal for the most part. The main A and B buttons are directly under your thumb and index finger and require no resituating your fingers to press. The D-Pad is a bit hard to reach when holding it in this fashion. Hitting Down is easy and natural enough, but to hit Left, Right and especially Up, you must adjust your grip on the remote, which isn’t too big of a deal. The + and – buttons are surprisingly easy to hit. I have heard complaints that they are difficult to access without readjusting your grip, but I don’t experience this problem. Bending my thumb down to hit the +, –, or HOME buttons feels exactly like it does to alternate between buttons on a traditional controller. The 1 and 2 buttons still accessible using this setup but it’s very inconvenient and you have to change your grip in order to access them. It’s not bad enough to require letting go of the Wii Remote, as the whole process can be done with one hand, but its very uncomfortable to do frequently. Thankfully, as of 11/14/2007, not many if any games have made heavy use of these buttons.

Many Wii games as well as Virtual Console games require you to hold the Wii Remote sideways like an old NES controller. There isn’t too much to say about this setup since it feels almost identical to so many other controller setups. The D-Pad is a bit on the small side for games that make heavy use of it, but despite its size is still a viable and good D-Pad (unlike the Gamecube’s). The left side where the D-Pad is located is thinner due to the indent for the B button. This makes the controller feel a bit awkward as your grip won’t feel symmetrical, but it isn’t a hindrance of any kind and at worst is just different.

The Nunchuk attachment included with the Wii is used for more traditional style games. I am unsure exactly how you are supposed to hold this accessory as I have seen two ways. I can tell you of the two ways, one works well and the other doesn’t. The first way, and the way that I naturally grab the Nunchuk, is to hold it with your 3 lower fingers wrapped around it, your index finger on the Z button, and your thumb on the analog stick. This way you must alternate between hitting the C and Z buttons with your index finger, which isn’t a big deal as long as no game requires both to be pressed at once (and so far I haven’t played a title that does). The other way I’ve seen it held is with your Index and Middle fingers resting on C & Z, leaving only your two little fingers to wrap around the base. Now keep in mind this is my experience and might differ from your own, but I cannot hold the Nunchuk steady while playing this way. I do gain the ability to hit C & Z at the same time, but lose the ability to precisely navigate the analog stick.

The Wii Remote + Nunchuk attachment combo is the most comfortable video game control scheme I have ever used. Both pieces of this combo allow you to fully wrap your hand around them which feels very natural. Another one of my favorite aspects of this combo is that either hand can rest comfortably where you want it, such as at your sides. It makes for a more comfortable and relaxed experience than having both your hands closely tethered to a traditional pad.

The Wii Remote also includes rumble feedback and a built in speaker. The rumble feedback feels good for the most part. It isn’t too strong or jarring, but gives a good amount of vibration back. The built in speaker is a mixed bag. Some games use it very well and some games try to play sound effects through it that sound horrible. A good tip to avoid bad sound distortion is to turn the volume on your controller to around half (under Wii Remote Settings when you press the home button).

Also included with the console is the free game Wii Sports. You may read my review of it here.


Sensor Bar
Your Wii will need the sensor bar hooked up in order to be operational. I’ve done a lot of research on it (which I will explain in a bit), and it is simply a few IR emitting LED lights in a plastic shell. This means that the sensor bar does not transmit any data to your Wii, the cord running to it is a simple thin power cord to light it up. The cord on the sensor bar is about 11’7 feet, so your Wii will need to be at least within that range of your TV with allowing room for slack.

The sensor bar does pose a serious problem to anyone with a big living room or home theatre. The amount of power that the lights in the sensor bar produces is only enough to reach a maximum (and I say that in a very generous manner) 15 feet. This is something everyone should take into accoutn before buying a Wii: If you think you might be pushing the distance limit, use some measuring tape and measure the distance from the top edge of your TV to where your Wii Remote will sit when comfortably reclined on your couch. Nintendo doesn’t think this issue is a problem, so chances are they will never address it. If you are unfortunate and sit farther than 15 feet, then relax you still have options, but it will cost you extra in off brand accessories.

Wii Interface & Features
The Wii interface is set up in a nice point and click “channel” format. It’s a bit hard to explain so look at this picture


simple, clean and easy

Each of those TV screens is a button to load its respective “channel”. You can drag these channels around by pressing the A & B buttons at the same time in a pinching fashion, and releasing them where you want it to go. The only channel you cannot do this with would be the main Disc Channel that loads the game in the disc drive. As you can see from this screenshot the Wii displays the current date and time on the main menu.

When you click on a channel it zooms in and fills the screen with a more detailed title screen and a little musical ditty to go along with it. While zoomed in, you can additionally scroll through your channels this way by hitting the + or – buttons or clicking the on screen + or – buttons with your pointer.


excellent game

In the bottom right corner of the main menu is a circular shaped button with an envelope in the center. Clicking it will open up the Wii’s message board. In the message board you can send/receive messages with other Wii users, post “sticky note” type memos for others to read, and view your total play history. This section is organized by day, displaying a bunch of unorganized envelopes on a blank white screen and the date at which you’re looking at displayed at the bottom. You can cycle through each day by hitting the + or – buttons or by clicking the calendar icon in the bottom left corner.


SuperAngelo64 never leaves me alone

Sending messages between other Wii owners is relatively painless. There is the initial hurdle of exchanging 12 digit friend codes with each other, but once that is out of the way the process is smooth. You simply click their user name in your address book, and click send message. Typing on Wii isn’t as ideal as a keyboard, but given the limitations it’s the next best thing. It works similar to how most programs handle text entry; a QWERTY keyboard appears on screen and you click letters to write your messages. Writing a simple sentence this way can be a long and tedious process, so there is an auto-complete feature. The auto-complete displays a small bar above the keyboard that displays the most common words that start with the letters you have typed. So if I wanted to type the word “because”, I'd only need to enter “be” before the word “because” appears in the auto-complete bar. Once I see it I can click on it and it will insert it into my message. This speeds up typing considerably because it even works on small words like “the”. USB Keyboards are also compatible with Wii, and are a nice way to circumvent this whole process.

Every message you open up looks something like this


you go girl!

There is another option to leave “sticky note” type memos for other users. The scenario Nintendo describes this feature for is pretty far fetched. They think that if Mom is going out for the night and wants to leave a message for her family, she can create a memo on Wii and when her family gets home they will turn on the Wii to see it. Now I understand the Wii is made by a Japanese company and catered towards Japanese culture which is a lot different than ours. But in America, I don’t think anyone uses this feature.

The message board also has a feature that shows you your play sessions for that day. It lists each game separately, and shows you the time spent playing it for that day. In my opinion this is a cool and much underutilized feature. It would be nice if this would tally your total play times for each game overall, because I think that would be neat to look at, but it doesn’t. I have to add that this feature occasionally screws up from time to time. It’s rare, but sometimes the Wii doesn’t recognize what you have been playing, and will list it under “Other”.

Channels
Forecast Channel
Mii Channel
News Channel
Photo Channel
Shopping Channel

Rumors
I have seen some of these comments made by members on these forums, as well as other places on the internet. A lot of this is wrong or misleading, and I want to set the record straight.

A Wii controller costs $60!! What a rip off!

Wrong. Only a Wii Remote + Nunchuk combo will run you $60. As of right now, 01/24/08, almost all of the multiplayer games are designed to use Wii Remote only. This includes some of the best multiplayer/party titles on the console such as Warioware, Mario Party and Wii Sports. Rest assured, you will only have to purchase additional $40 Wii Remotes to play with your family and friends.

Don’t delete your VC games, they re-charge you if you want them again.

Wrong. Once you purchase a VC game from the Wii Shop Channel, it is tied to your Wii, and can be deleted and re-downloaded as many times as you feel like. If your Wii breaks, Nintendo will transfer your VC purchases to your new Wii for you. So rest assured, if you make a purchase in the Wii Shop Channel, it will never be taken away from you.

You are required to buy the Classic Controller attachment to play VC games.

Partly right, but very misleading. I’ve seen this blanket statement, and it makes the situation sound as if you can’t enjoy any VC without that controller. Only certain VC games do not support the Wii Remote only setup, SNES and N64 titles respectively. Gamecube controllers will work with all VC games, so if you previously owned a Gamecube, there is no requirement to buy the Classic Controller. If you didn’t own a Gamecube, then I strongly recommend purchasing a Gamecube controller as I think the Gamecube library is full of many great games worth a buy for the first time. But if you have no interest in Gamecube games, do not have a Gamecube controller, and want to play SNES or N64 games, then yes, you must purchase the Classic Controller attachment.

I will need to buy an SD memory card to save my games.

Wrong. The Wii comes with 512 MB’s of internal memory, which is more than enough to store the saves of every game you buy for your Wii. Virtual Console games take up a considerable amount more than save files, but the internal memory is still enough for a good number of them as well. Furthermore, I think as of right now 01/24/08, there isn’t much of a point in buying an SD card anyways. You can’t load your game saves directly off of it, and you can’t load Virtual Console games directly either. It literally acts like a storage vault.


Problems/Complaints
These are things I think everyone should be aware of before purchasing a Wii. Keep in mind that despite all the complaints listed here, I still recommend the Wii to anyone who is interested in it. I am listing these not as a deterrent but rather so you, the buyer, know what you're getting yourself into.

Online

The Wii uses the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection network to play its games online. If you have tried to use this service with a Nintendo DS, then you know what to expect. If not then I will briefly explain how it works.

Every game you buy will generate a 12 digit Friend Code based off the combination of the game and your console. In order to play with your friends, you must hand out this code to each friend, and you must enter each of their 12 digit friend codes. Once this is done you may play online with them, and it doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. But the problem is that every game generates its own unique code, and so for every new game that you want to play online you must re-pass out your code to your friends and re-enter all of theirs. So for example if you have 10 friends and 5 games you would like to play online, you will have to enter at least 50 codes that are 12 digits long.

The Wii console actually has its own friend code (used for the message board), so why must we enter additional codes for each game? Furthermore, not only is this a frustrating task you must complete for every game you buy, but it also limits the type of games that are possible on Wii. Friend codes make it extremely hard, if not impossible to play anything on a massive scale. So games similar to Final Fantasy 11 or Halo 3 Multiplayer will never see the light of day on Wii.

The entire process of playing random people is very frustrating as well. Unlike most online games, there aren’t any join/create game session features. The only way to play against random opponents is to “search” for them. Your Wii will then search for other players who are searching as well, and while it usually does find 3 other players, the process can take very long. You have no control over whom you want to play, and when one of the 4 players connected disconnects, the entire session get disconnected and everyone must start over. You cannot add anyone you play randomly to your friends list, so if one player disconnects or your done playing, it is unlikely that you will ever play those players again.

There is also no voice chat support, or plans to implement it for Wii. Playing co-operative games online such as Mario Strikers Charged, where instant communication is needed between you and your teammate is impossible. It really limits the type of games you can effectively play online as well as the overall experience of most games. Even the simple things the Nintendo DS does, such as letting you voice chat before a game match to decide what options/levels/rules you would like to play with, aren’t possible.

Storage

EDIT: As of System Update 4.0 we can now load Channels straight from SD Cards up to 32GB in size. This alleviates the storage issue, but I left my storage complaint in here for history's sake

The Wii comes with only 512MB of storage space. This is currently un-upgradeable and there are no plans to release any kind of solution to expand this. In Wii terminology, this translates to 2163 blocks. If you are the type that has no interest in downloading Virtual Console games or the upcoming WiiWare games, then this will not be an issue for you.

However, if you do plan to buy some of these titles then you will run into a problem. Currently, your average Virtual Console game can take up from 20-300 blocks. At the time of writing this, the Wii has been out for over a year and many users are already running out of space. Once you’re out of space your stuck. You have no room for new channels, new games, or even game saves. If you want more space, you have to delete one of your games in order to make room.

This issue could be easily resolved if Nintendo would give us some kind of solution. I understand that adding an external storage device opens the door for piracy, but something needs to be done. Release proprietary SD cards that only work in Wii, Release a peripheral that plugs into one of the USB ports on the back, release a new SKU for Wii with bigger internal storage.

Nintendo doesn’t think this is a problem. This issue has been brought up during interviews and is always avoided. Nintendo’s official solution to this is to delete and re-download your purchased games, or archive them onto an SD card.

The problem with this is that both options take a lot of time. How much time? I made a video demonstration that shows how long this official solution takes.


Nintendos OLD Solution to Wii's Limited Internal Storage

As you can see, re-downloading your game from the Wii Shop Channel is the faster option, but still a hassle. The other inherent flaw with the re-downloading option is that it requires an internet connection. Meaning if your internet connection is down, if the Wii shop channel is down for maintenance, if you are unable to get to an internet connection for various means, then you can’t play the game that you paid for.

Both options take a lot of time and require a lot of tedious menu navigation. It is a lot more frustrating than simply switching out a game disc, so tedious in fact that it personally discourages me from playing the game I wanted.


Final Thoughts
If you find yourself turned off by the thought of motion controls, then this probably isn’t the console for you. Don’t buy a Wii thinking that you can avoid motion controls, and then proceed to whine about it on the forum every time it shows up in games. And as goes with any game console, know why you’re buying it before you make the purchase. Don’t buy a Wii because “you heard it was cool” and then start asking what the good games are. Do some research on the games you’re interested in, the future releases, and decide if the console will satisfy you. We live in an age where it’s easy to find the game release schedule for a console a full year in advance, sometimes further. Every time I read a “My Wii is collecting dust” or “Haven’t turned it on in months” complaint, I can’t help but think that person didn’t make a smart purchase.

I personally love my Wii and think it's one of the best consoles I've ever owned.

Last edited by Seraph; 08-04-2009 at 03:20 PM.
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