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Old 01-24-2008, 03:53 AM   #1
Seraph
>:3
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005
Seraph - The Crystal Bearers

Welcome to my new and improved review thread. The title will constantly be changing to reflect the latest review.

I didn’t like my old format and there were numerous inconsistencies so I felt it was better to start fresh.

Don’t be afraid to comment however you please. Hate the game I review and completely disagree with me? Speak up if you want. Opinions are just opinions after all, and nobody should jump on anyone over them. Just don’t get insulting.

I am very open to requests. If you want to see my review for a game I haven’t done yet, request it and I will make it my next priority. I also have the ability to take screenshots and video from my games now, so if you would like to see specific footage just ask.

If anyone is interested in my old reviews just PM me as I have them all backed up.

How to read my reviews
Game console and other non-game reviews will follow their own unique formats.

Each game review will start off with two categories. My Bias and My Completion. My Bias will list any preconceptions I have that I think would affect my review. For example I am a big Mario fan, that would affect my review of Mario Galaxy. Another example would be I’m not a console FPS fan, so that would affect my review of Metroid Prime. My Completion will indicate how much time I have spent on the game before I wrote the review. I will try to make a habit of completing every game before I review it, but some games are too painful to complete.

The previous categories are still around such as Story, Graphics, Music and Gameplay. I have now added a Lasting Appeal section to my reviews to give an indication of how long the game takes to complete and how long the fun lasts.

You may be wondering where my previous number/grade scores are. I decided I did not like the system of handing out scores to different categories or games. I feel it’s too hard to keep consistency with a score system and creates “you think this is better than this?” situations. People also have the mentality that scores start at the halfway point, so giving a game a 5/10 or a C grade kept getting interpreted as horrible instead of average. If you’re interested in a game and my review, you can read it. It only takes a few minutes.

At the very bottom of every game review (for consoles) I will be including a Gameplay demonstration video. I will try my best to make these videos a good demonstration of the game as a whole and not just a collaboration of action clips. If I can figure out a way to record videos from handhelds, then I will add them as well.

Table of Contents

Wii
Wii Review/Buyers Guide

ChannelsGamesWiiWareVirtual Console

Nintendo DS
Games

PlayStation Portable
Games

Gamecube
Games

PlayStation 2
Games

Last edited by Seraph; 07-28-2011 at 09:23 PM.
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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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Old 01-24-2008, 03:54 AM   #3
Seraph
>:3
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005


The Forecast Channel does exactly what you would imagine it would. It tells you the current weather based off of where you live. This includes the temperature, the current condition (sunny, rainy, cloudy), the wind speed and direction, the UV index, as well as tomorrows forecast and the forecast for the next 5 days.

Obviously before this channel will work, you must tell it where you live. Unlike more detailed weather applications and websites for the PC, the Weather Channel does not let you enter your zip code for an exact location. Instead you must choose the closest major city near you. Now I am unaware of how well this works for other states/countries but the selection for my home state (Michigan) was moderate. I don’t know why they don’t let you pick your exact city, every other weather checker does.

The layout for this channel is very clean and simple. Without even entering the channel, its splash screen will tell you the current temperature and conditions.


Almost defeats the purpose of entering the channel

Upon entering the channel you are met with the same information displayed on the channels splash screen, but now you can scroll up and down through pages for more detailed information.

Scrolling up once will bring you to the UV index. I have never really cared about this, so I don’t pay much attention to it. Scrolling down will show you the forecast for Tomorrow as well as the rest of the week. It’s almost always wrong though, but such has weather forecasting been since the dawn of time.


The only usefull information in the whole channel

However, despite this channels simplicity, it’s not perfect. The weather updates in this channel are about 6 hours behind. I really cannot think of any reason for this, as most weather services that exist today (News, Internet) are almost instantaneous. Bottom line is, knowing what the weather was like 6 hours ago does not help me in the slightest. Now the other information this channel tells you, such as tomorrows forecast and the weekly 5 day forecast are less affected by this, as that information does not need to be up to the minute in order to be accurate.

This Channel also has a Globe function, which zooms out a 3D globe and lets you spin it around to view the weather in various locations of the world.


Would be awesome if everything wasn't hours behind

This is an interesting feature, and is a lot more fun than looking up raw numbers on a webpage. You can grab the globe and fling it using your Wii Remote, which is fun for a good 10 seconds.

The problem with this feature is that like I mentioned before, I can’t trust that the information is up to date. If the Globe says it’s raining in Japan, I don’t know if it is actually raining there, or if it was 6 hours ago. You also can’t check the 5 day forecasts for any region other than your own, which again seems limiting as other weather applications can.

Overall, the Forecast channel is a great idea but the delayed information ruins it.

Last edited by Seraph; 01-06-2009 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:55 AM   #4
Seraph
>:3
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005


This channel allows you to create the super deformed and simple avatars known as Mii. The channel is very basic and straightforward, doing exactly what it I just stated without many frills. Creating a Mii is easy enough to do that just about anyone with basic pointing skills can manage.

The general idea, at least at first, is to create a Mii caricature of yourself, and anyone else you think will be using your Wii. The given amount of hairstyles, eyestyles and other facial features allow you to give your Mii at least somewhat of a likeness to your actual looks. Now granted, some Mii end up looking more like their real life counterparts than others, but it’s not a feature to be taken too seriously.


My Mii is a handsome devil

Your Mii will be used in certain games to represent you, so as long as it looks somewhat like you and you can identify with it, then you will be fine. The only complaint I have about the entire process is choosing your Mii’s height, I would have preferred an option to enter your actual height so that all of your Mii would turn out proportionally correct to each other.


Lots of different features to choose from

Some people enjoy this feature more than others. I had fun making myself as well as the other members of my extended family. It was neat trying to get these silly caricatures to look like my family. Other people have really gotten into making Mii of just about anything, and it’s amazing at what some people have accomplished.


Some people really get into this

If your Wii has the WiiConnect24 service running, you may send your Mii to anyone you have registered as a friend. Unfortunately this feature does not notify you of a new Mii arrival outside of the channel. So say your friend sent you a Mii they made of themselves, unless they otherwise notify you, you will not know this new Mii is waiting for you until you enter the Mii Channel again.

This channel also gives you the option to transfer a Mii onto your Wii Remote, so that no matter where you take your Wii Remote to play, your Mii is available. There is also an option called Mii Parade in this channel, which displays all the Mii your registered friends have running across the screen. If you see one you like, you can grab it and add the Mii to your collection.

Overall this is a hit or miss channel. I thought it was fun for a little bit making my family, but haven’t touched it since. I will note however that people who don’t play a lot of games love to see their own character in the game they are playing.

Last edited by Seraph; 01-06-2009 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:56 AM   #5
Seraph
>:3
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005


The News Channel reports news headlines happening all over the world. It has multiple ways of sorting this news out for you to view how you like. Unfortunately, when you start this channel whether for the first time, or after a few days of not using it, it takes a good minute to load. If Nintendo wants to advertise their WiiConnect24 service as being always on and always connected, why doesn’t the Wii automatically download the news updates, so they are ready for instant viewing? Nobody enjoys waiting a tedious minute staring at their TV screen just to catch up on some news.


Click the cat for cute sounds

With that out of the way, the News Channel is a fantastic way of reading the news. There are two main methods to use it, either by category or Slide show. If you choose to view the news by category, it presents you with a list of what to sort by.


Average news fare

So say you’re interested in Technology news, if you click that category a list of headlines tagged with technology is displayed. Clicking on one of these headlines will load up the full article as well as a side panel showing on the map where this article is about.


Article in Category mode

I have to add that I’ve noticed if you do sort your news this way rather than by Slide show, it doesn’t give the all the news contained in this channel.

The second option of displaying your news is the Slide show mode. I much prefer this mode over the category mode. In this mode the top half of the screen displays a 3D globe, much like the weather channel, and zooms into where a news story takes place. Then the bottom half of the screen displays the headline of the article. It will scroll through headlines at your desired speed, zooming all over the globe as it goes from article to article.


A shooting in Detroit? Color me shocked

When you see an article that looks interesting, you simply click the A button and it fills the entire screen with it. Hitting the + and – buttons will increase/decrease the text size of the article in case you find it too hard to read. If the headlines are scrolling too slowly for your taste, you can manually advance them by hitting left or right on the D-Pad. As a person who can’t be bothered to flip through a newspaper, and doesn’t feel like going through page after page on MSN, I think the News Channel in slideshow mode is a fast and painless way to keep up to date on the world.

What I love about this channel is that it is strictly news and not editorials. I get rather sick of hearing journalist bias when I go to read about what’s happening in the world. This channel gives you pretty well written news articles that a for the most part “just the facts” so that you can draw your own conclusions.

Overall the News Channel is the most useful non-game channel on the Wii. It presents the news in an inviting way and isn’t full of unneeded fluff.

Last edited by Seraph; 01-06-2009 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:57 AM   #6
Seraph
>:3
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005


The Photo Channel allows you to view, edit, and create slideshows using pictures from an SD Card or on your Wii’s internal memory.

Upon loading up a batch of photos, they will be displayed in thumbnails on the screen. You can use the + and – buttons to increase the number of photos displayed on the screen at one time.


As you can see I dont import many photos here

Clicking on a photo will allow you to start editing or playing with it. The photo editing features of this channel are very basic. It is listed under “Fun!” when you select your picture. From there it gives you three options, Mood, Doodle and Puzzle. The Mood option lets you brighten, black and white, inverse and “Hard-boil” your photo.


Each "Mood" will also warp the background music

The Doodle option opens up a paint canvas and lets you draw all over your photo using different colors and stamps (complete with sounds from Mario Paint). Doodle is very limited as to what it lets you do, and I cant see anyone wanting to save the changes made here to their pictures.


My artistic skills are unrivaled

Puzzle breaks your photo up into smaller squares and then times you on how fast you can put it back together. I have never been into these types of puzzle games as I find them more frustrating than fun, but if you are then it does a surprisingly well job. It lets your break it into 6 to 48 pieces and records your completion times.


This one took me 5 hours to solve

The slide show function is one of the few I see a genuine use for. No setup required just one click of Slide show and its instantly panning your photos slowly across the screen. You can edit how long a photo remains on screen, as well as the music that plays in the background. You can even go as far as put MP3 (AAC in version 1.1) files on your SD card and play those in the background to your slide show. Some of the default music in this channel is fantastic. This feature sounds ideal for parties as a nice conversational piece to run in the background.

At first I didn’t see a point to this entire channel, and wrote it off as useless. But once I played around with all of its features, I realized it does have some legitimate uses. It does a fantastic job at what it’s trying to do, and for a TV set I don’t think I’ve seen an easier photo manager. But when I take photos with my digital camera, it’s because I want to do things with them on PC or print them off, not view on my TV screen.

Last edited by Seraph; 01-06-2009 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:57 AM   #7
Seraph
>:3
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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The Wii Shopping Channel is where you download Virtual Console games, additional channels, and in the future WiiWare games.

The interface is very clean and pretty organized. Upon loading, an initial splash screen is shown showing the top four recommended titles. I am unaware if these titles are the same for everyone who visits the shop, or are dynamically displayed based off what you have already bought and or played. Below these recommended titles is a little news section, with headings such as the latest release for the week. Anything on this splash screen can be clicked to be instantly taken to that part of the shop.


Stop teasing me with Sonic 3

Entering the main page of the shop you have several options. The top two buttons will let you browse the Virtual Console and WiiWare catalogs. Within the Virtual Console catalog you may sort games by Popularity, Newest Additions, System, Publisher, and Genre or enter a word to search. Once you select a game from your list, it brings up a details menu that shows all the information such as how many players and what controllers you can use. Pay special note to what controllers you can use and make sure you have them before you buy a game.


Notice how N64 games are Gamecube and Classic Controller only

If you would like to know a little more about a game, clicking the More Details button in the bottom right corner will give you a brief description of it and show some additional screenshots.


Another game that will be purchased eventually

Buying Wii Points is relatively painless. You can either buy by credit card or redeem a Wii Points Card. A Wii Points Card is the easiest, just scratch off the foil on the back of the card and enter the number in your Wii. When buying with a credit card, you just enter all your information as if you were making a purchase of anything else online. Be careful when your flying through these menus as there is one silly addition that can waste a lot of your time. Throughout the multiple pages of credit card information you have to enter, the confirmation button is always on the bottom right corner. The final confirmation page however the button is on the bottom left corner of the screen, and the cancel button is where it used to be. So if you’re not careful, you will click cancel and have to enter all of your information again.

One gripe about the credit card system is that you can’t buy a specific number of points, you must buy in intervals of 1000 ($10). So if all you wanted was a $5 game, then you have to spend double just to get it.


Stupid greedy marketing crap

The shop channel also has features such as Account Activity, Titles You’ve Downloaded, and options to clear your Wii Shop Account. I won’t go into any of these as they are self explanatory.

One of the newer features of this channel is the ability to gift games to other people you have registered as friends. You have to specify that it’s a gift before you buy, so there is no previewing. You also cannot gift old games currently on your Wii (like electronic borrowing). It is however a welcomed feature and offers a nice alternative for Christmas and birthdays.

Overall the Shopping channel is a clean and easy way to buy games.

Virtual Console

All games work exactly like in they did when originally released. The emulation of these old games is pretty close to flawless, so unless you are the type that looks for fine details, the games you buy will work exactly how they were originally intended.

New games are released every Monday in the US. There are on average 3 games released and are for the most part completely random. There are certain publishers that put out release schedules such as Sega but as a whole there is no telling what available games are going to be.

The pricing for these titles are based off the system they were originally for and are as follow:

NES - $5 - (500 points)
TG-16 - $6 - (600 points)
TG-CD - $8 - (800 points)
SNES - $8 - (800 points)
Genesis - $8 - (800 points)
NEOGEO - $9 - (900 points)
N64 - $10 - (1000 points)

Now there are some exceptions to this pricing scheme. If a game has big licensing issues due to copyrights changing hands, then it will be expensive. For instance whoever held the rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise are not the same people who hold it now. So because of the extra licensing fees involved in re-releasing this old game, it costs $1 more.


Cost
A common complaint I see is that the pricing for VC games is too high. It’s a fair claim and some people won’t be convinced otherwise, but here is something to consider. If you are interested in one of the retro games on Virtual Console then you fall into one of two categories.

The first category would be if you have previously played that title. Whether you owned it at one time, or played it somewhere else, you know what you’re expecting. A lot of these old titles are the games we hail as timeless legends. Games so great, the sequels have never been able to match them. The games that constantly make our lists of “greatest games of all time” or “favorite games”. If you really want to play these games again, you’re essentially saying that your all time favorite games aren’t worth a mere $5-$10? You’re willing to spend $50-60 for a brand new retail game, which is a gamble whether you will enjoy it, but you won’t spend $5-$10 on a game you know you will enjoy?

The second category would be if you had never experienced the game. Obviously there are games that aren’t worth their listing price. Not many people would agree that Baseball or Ice Hockey for the NES are worth $1, let alone $5. But to those who have never experienced them, the good games are well worth the asking price. If you went into your local game store, you could not find a game on the shelf close to the value of titles such as Super Metroid or Star Fox 64 for under $10. I have bought a few games that I had never played before from the VC, and I will tell you they were worth every penny.

And it goes without saying, but if you’re discontent with VC prices is based off the availability of pirate ROMs on the internet, then its completely unjustified. Downloading copyrighted ROMs off the internet is stealing, plain and simple. Stealing games is essentially destroying the hobby you enjoy, such as services like VC that offer classic games that are otherwise legally unavailable.

Last edited by Seraph; 01-06-2009 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:58 AM   #8
Seraph
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Nintendo Wii
1-4 Players
Developer - Nintendo EAD
Publisher - Nintendo

My Bias
None

My Completion
Gold medals on all but 2 Training events


I debated writing this review because Wii Sports is a free pack in game. Since it is a game that every Wii owner should already have, it was hard to think of who a review would be applicable for. But for many, Wii Sports is a deciding factor when it comes to buying the console. I have met a lot of adults who were willing to spend the $250 console fee for Wii Sports alone. So if you’re on the edge about buying a Wii and are interested in what Wii Sports adds to the total package, this review is for you.

Story
None. The way it should be.

Graphics
Supports 16:9 Widescreen and Progressive Scan

The graphics in Wii Sports are an art form. The characters are overly simplistic and blocky. The environments are again, simple and clean. At first glance this game looks very underwhelming knowing it’s from a developer as big as Nintendo, the same people that bring us visually stunning games like Metroid Prime 3 and Mario Galaxy.

But after playing it for an extended amount of time, and playing it with family members who don’t normally play video games; it became quite clear that it looks this way in purpose. Nintendo has created a game that looks overly simplistic for the purpose of attracting people that are afraid of videogames due to their complexity. It doesn’t look ugly or sloppy, instead the game comes off feeling very simple and clean.


Even the menus are clean

The Mii characters look very cute in this game, like cartoon characters but not obnoxious cartoon characters. They are made up of simple geometry pieces and have circles for hands, but again it is by design.

The environments give off a very lush feel despite how simplistic they are. This is especially apparent in the Tennis and Golf modes. Almost everything in this game has a subtle ambient glow to it. It gives the game a nice “soft” feel to it, and is a pleasing visual effect.

Music
There isn’t much music in this game, as most of the modes are silent. The silence gives off a more realistic setting, especially in the Golf mode. Again simplicity is key here, you won’t find orchestral choir arrangements in this game.

The main theme for this game is pretty catchy. It’s only played on the title screen so most people wont hear it for more than 10 seconds. The sub menu for each mode has its own music theme. A lot of it is really good soothing music, I especially love the guitar melody for Golf. Unfortunately like the main theme, most of this music wont be heard for very long as its just menu music.

The only mode with music during game play is Bowling, which is appropriate for the sport. And even when music plays during the game play, its very subtle and not obnoxious. It’s the kind of music that can play in the background 100 times and not feel repetitious or annoying.

Gameplay
Since this game is broken up into different sports, I will review each one separately. A common trait for all the games is they work best when you play standing up and perform the full motions. If you can’t stand the idea of getting off your couch and performing these motions, then chances are this game wont be very much fun for you. This is a sports simulator, not a couch potato simulator.

The beauty of all these games is that there is almost no learning curve. You don’t need to learn any button combinations, just simply swing the Wii Remote like you would with real sports equipment. I wish more games were like this, I can’t stand having to sit and learn the controls for a game for 10 minutes before I can even start playing.

Tennis
Tennis is probably my most enjoyed game in this package. The game itself is very simple, your character will automatically run to the ball and all you have to worry about is swinging at the right time. It sounds simple and ridiculously easy, but gets harder as you complete more games. Like real tennis if you swing too early or late, then your ball will be sent out of bounds. Along with timing you must also decide the power of each shot by how hard you swing the Wii Remote. Then to top it off you can add spin to the ball in any direction. The Wii Remote responds well for the most part but sometimes it has trouble detecting the power you swing with. The computer isn’t too hard to beat or predict but playing other people is challenging.


Think you can beat 2 Seraphs? Think agian!

This mode is an absolute riot with 4 people.
Baseball
Like all the games in Wii Sports, Baseball is a simplified version of the sport. The only controllable aspects are batting and pitching. When the ball is hit, the longer it remains in play determines how far your base runners get. I appreciate that the fielders almost always catch fly balls and make some amazing plays. It requires each player to use a bit of strategy when batting rather than just swinging with mindless power.

Batting feels really good, and it takes a good amount of skill to hit a fastball. I play real life baseball on a regular basis and got the hang of things very fast, yet my mother still cannot time her swings to hit the ball. The game detects your swing angle and speed so with enough practice you can send the ball wherever you please.


Guaranteed home run

Pitching is a bit of a disappointment. Considering all the different angles and spins the Wii Remote can detect, it doesn’t allow you to throw trick pitches naturally. Instead all trick pitches are done by holding down a button and doing the same generic throw animation.
Bowling
Bowling is a hard game for me to review. I say this because when I first started playing I felt it was the most responsive game in this package. I was so amazed at how responsive and realistic this game was to real bowling.

But then one day I started playing and couldn’t perform throws that I had before. For instance I’m right handed, so throwing a right curve is difficult. I remember one night I couldn’t get the ball to curve right no matter what I did (even making full exaggerated half circle twists with my left hand didn’t work). Then magically the next day it worked fine again. It has happened a few times since then and I’m unaware if it’s my fault, my controllers fault, or the games fault. It very well could be a problem on my end and not the games.


Such an awesome sport

Regardless when it works the game is unbelievably responsive and single player wise is the one game that keeps me coming back.
Golf
Much like the real sport, Golf is a laid back and slow paced game. The controls are very sensitive and as a result make it difficult to judge the power of your swings. Thankfully you may take as many practice swings as you want to get a feel for your next shot.


After about 100 practice swings im ready

The beginner courses are very fun, but as I moved up to the intermediate and expert courses, I just couldn’t keep up. Perhaps somebody who practices a lot would have better luck than me, I just don’t enjoy this sport enough to invest time in it.
Boxing
This mode requires the Nunchuk attachment. Initially I hated this game. The controls wouldn’t respond at all, and I vowed never to play it again. Recently I gave boxing another chance and found it wasn’t as bad as I had initially thought.

The key to success in boxing is to do fast quick jabs. Once I started performing my punches this way the game responded very well. It even detects if you meant to punch high or low. However I still don’t know how to pull off any special kinds of punches like hooks or uppercuts. I would think doing a hook or uppercut motion would behave accordingly, but they don’t.


You mess with Seraph, he messes up your face

Boxing is a major work out though. Your average out of shape player such as myself will be panting for air after about 2-3 games.
Wii Sports also includes a Training feature. As this mode implies, it helps you train in different areas of each sport. If your playing single player this mode can be more fun than the actual games. Training basically presents you with multiple challenges to complete, and awards you medals depending on how well you perform. Challenges range from hitting targets on a wall in tennis to trying to knock down 100 pins in bowling.


Pretty challenging but great practice

There is also a Fitness mode that runs you through some basic challenges designed to burn calories. I haven't spend any kind of time in this mode, so I can't comment.

Lasting Appeal
As a single player game, if you play games for long regular intervals then Wii Sports will not last long, I predict about 20 hours of fun max. However if you’re the type that enjoys instant quick games at the end of the day, this game can have incredible lasting appeal.

As a multiplayer game, Wii Sports has much longer legs. Since it appeals to all age groups, it is a fun game no matter who you need to entertain. I find myself loading it into my Wii time and time again to entertain guests.

Final Thoughts
Wii Sports teaches a very important lesson about video games. For years now the focus of video games has been better graphics, better story, more complexity/options, and overall bigger production values. Wii Sports takes a big step back from that line of thinking, and concentrates on what’s most important in a video game: Fun. And in this regard it succeeds where a lot of multi-million dollar budget games fail.

Unfortunately since its release Nintendo has not released much software like it, so people who really enjoy this game have nothing else to look forward to. A lot of 3rd parties try to capture the simplistic sports/mini-game feel of Wii Sports, but they all fail to capture its simplistic inviting style.

I can’t recommend this game by itself since it’s a console pack in. But if you enjoy sports and simple pick-up-and-play games, definitely place some weight on Wii Sports when considering your Wii purchase.

Gameplay Video

Last edited by Seraph; 01-06-2009 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 01-24-2008, 05:08 AM   #9
Joe Redifer
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Thorough review! I am considering reviewing the SNES sometime soon.


I've tried e-mailing myself porn pictures from my real e-mail account to the Wii e-mail thingy just to see if Nintendo spies on you. The e-mails never arrive. E-mails without porn pics attached arrive, and e-mails with pictures other than porn pics arrive, but the porn never arrives. That means Nintendo looks at all of your e-mail pictures. You can send cuss words and that amazes me since Nintendo lives in a dreamland where nobody is over 9 years old.
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Old 01-24-2008, 06:32 AM   #10
burpingcat
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#1


Did you edit this photo to make it look like it has a short depth of field? I just looked at it and then looked at your other photos and was like "what? did he use a different camera for this shot?"


#2

I think the VC prices are a tad steep. I personally have no problem with emulation and downloading ROMs (sorry!), but I also think the VC idea is pretty neat and welcome a service that provides accurate emulation, on a console, of games I haven't played.

But honestly, I just can't quite see myself paying $5 for an emulated NES game, or $8 for an emulated Genesis game, especially when they sell several emulated games in various "Classics Collection" discs for $20-30. I can buy Sega Genesis Collection right now for $20 new, and it comes with 28 Genesis games, plus extras! To get that many Genesis games on VC would cost you $224.

I think if they lowered the price across the board by just 2 dollars, it would all be at a good, tempting price. This is just my opinion, and I'm not trying to start an argument, but maybe others share it with me.
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Old 01-24-2008, 06:56 AM   #11
Joe Redifer
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Xbox Live Arcade prices are generally much lower than the Virtual Console. I remember getting Golden Axe for XBLA for $5 and it was the arcade version, but the VC wants $8 for the friggin' Genesis version! Yeah. Sign me up!
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Old 01-24-2008, 04:55 PM   #12
Seraph
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burpingcat View Post
#1Did you edit this photo to make it look like it has a short depth of field?
Nope, I used a special mode on my camera thats designed to take pictures of things up close. It starts bluring anything farther than a couple feet. I also had to take about 20+ pictures to get that perfect shot becuase it kept bluring sections of the Wii.
Quote:
Originally Posted by burpingcat View Post
#2I think the VC prices are a tad steep. I personally have no problem with emulation and downloading ROMs (sorry!), but I also think the VC idea is pretty neat and welcome a service that provides accurate emulation, on a console, of games I haven't played.
Like I said in my review, I know alot of people think the prices are too much and I agree. But when it comes down to it and I really want to own and play one of my favorites agian, I feel spending about what lunch costs for one of my all time favorites, promising hours of fun, is better than sitting with my arms crossed in protest over a few dollars.

Its an especially hard mindset to get out of when you have been downloading "free" roms for years, I know first hand, I used to have thousands of ROMs.

Classic Collections are kind of a mixed bag. I see your point becuase some of them are an amazing deal. Others however have drawbacks. For example Sonic Mega Collection sells for about $20 now (launched at $50). The only games I care to play on that collection are Sonic 2&3. I dont want to play, and really didnt want to pay for the rest of the games (Sonic 1, 3D blast, mean bean machine). To buy just the two games I wanted would only cost me $16.

Then comes the much appreciated value of convienience. On a collection, everytime I want to play these classics, I need to eject whatever game I was playing last, put in Mega Collection, wait till the CD spins and boots up, wait through the non-skippable splash screens, navigate the animated game menus. On virtual console, I click the icon, click start, play. To me thats worth a few extra dollars, especially since it gets me to play my games more.

Its still your value perception, and there is nothing wrong with that. I'm just trying to give you some different ways to think about it.
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Old 01-24-2008, 08:10 PM   #13
burpingcat
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Quote:
I feel spending about what lunch costs for one of my all time favorites, promising hours of fun, is better than sitting with my arms crossed in protest over a few dollars.
I'm not really saying the prices are ridiculous or outrageous, just not priced at something encouraging.

Quote:
Its an especially hard mindset to get out of when you have been downloading "free" roms for years, I know first hand, I used to have thousands of ROMs.
I do continue to download ROMs, but I love buying and owning classic games, too. I treasure them. I don't treasure emulated virtual copies, though. Maybe if they included some interesting extras...

Quote:
Classic Collections are kind of a mixed bag.
That is true, but VC's selection also tends to be that way, too. On the subject of the Sega Genesis Collection, I can personally recommend at least 18 of those games for being awesome, so $20 is a good deal.


Quote:
The only games I care to play on that collection are Sonic 2&3.
What about Sonic 1
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Old 01-24-2008, 08:18 PM   #14
Joe Redifer
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Sonic 1 is my fave. Sonic 2 is good as well. Sonic 3 + Knuckles are alright.
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Old 01-24-2008, 08:39 PM   #15
Seraph
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Originally Posted by burpingcat View Post
What about Sonic 1
I've never been a fan of Sonic 1. It just feels too slow to me, and it bugs me to no end when sonic does his "jump but didnt go into ball" thing at random and I die.

I absolutley loved the strides made in Sonic 2 and 3, placing those games above the great mario games in my book.
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