Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Elebits review

Surprise! It's another review! I really wasn't planning on writing one tonight, but I was totally drained for ideas! Anywho, enjoy!

Game title: Elebits
Publisher: Konami
Players: 1 - 4
North American release date: December 12th, 2006
ESRB rating: E for Everyone (Cartoon violence)

The Wii's launch window was chock-full of ports. Avatar, Cars, Need For Speed, Call of Duty 3, the list goes on and on. Konami didn't do that, though. They made an original title for the Wii in the form of Elebits (Eledees in Europe). How did it sell? Well, not too well, sadly. However, it was an excellent game, and I'm here to give it the credit it deserves!

Of course, what good is an adventure game without a storyline? This is where I will start. This game follows the story of a young boy who, for some (Cheesy) reason, totally hates Elebits, the little creatures of his world who supply electricity to the people. One day, a large lightning bolt strikes somewhere in town, and the power goes out. His parents, Elebit scientists, go to their lab downtown to check things out, leaving their less-than ten-year-old son to fend for himself without electricity or supervision. What parenting school did they go to? Anyways, the kid gets pissed when he starts seeing Elebits all over the place, so he grabs his dad's conveniently accessible Capture Gun (A sort of hand-held tractor beam), and gets to work catching all the Elebits.

As you can probably tell, this storyline is extremely, well, cheesy, as well as full of consistency and plot errors. But, it does the job, I suppose...

How 'bout dem controls, huh? Overall, they're pretty good. The Capture Gun can manipulate pretty much everything that isn't bolted down, as well as a few things that are (Although the latter do put up a bit of a fight). Once you've grabbed something, you can twist, twirl, push and pull it, all with hand movements. To push, move towards the screen, to pull, move the Wiimote away from the screen. Movement is handled well by the analog stick. If something's up on a shelf too high for your little pre-pubescent arms to reach, you can press the C button to stretch up and stand on your tip-toes. You can also crouch with Z to clear out those hard to reach areas.

The only problems I've run into is it can sometimes be difficult to make enough room for your arm to pull things, especially if you're sitting down. No matter how I try, I still can't get my arm to phase through the back of my couch.

Elebits' gameplay sure is something different! The entire game is displayed in first-person view, with your capture gun behind the camera. The basic mission in each level is to gather a certain amount of watts. Each type of Elebit gives you a different amount of watts, with slight variations depending on what the Elebit is doing (Sleeping Elebits are worth more, scared ones are worth less, etc.). Then there's a time limit, as well as, in some cases, different restrictions, such as a limit to how much noise you can make or how many things you can break.

These limitations can become quite bothersome, as well as somewhat odd and inconsistent. For example, you will visit your house's upstairs hallway quite a few times. The first time you do, you can break stuff until there's nothing left to break. But, a few levels later, in the SAME HALLWAY, you can't break more than 4 things. What?

Also, if you finish a level, then come back to that area in a later level, everything's perfectly in order, more Elebits are all over the place, and nothing's broken. This makes no sense!

In addition to the main story, there is an Edit Mode where you can whip up your own levels! You first pick a location, and then three item sets. Then, you go into the level, and put items wherever you want. The biggest downside is you are severely limited in how many items you can place in each level. Also, manipulating objects can be kinda hard, especially if you're trying to make something really complex.

Another thing: Throughout each level you have the ability to power up your Capture Gun by catching special Elebits hiding in electronics. In order to start these electronics, however, you must first gather a certain amount of watts. Anyways, you can power up your gun all you want in a level, but, no matter what, it's weak again by the time you get to the next level. There is never an in-game explanation as to WHY this happens, it just does.

So, the continuity holds less water than a colander, but the gameplay is solid.

The graphics? Meh, they're okay. The Elebits are rendered fairly well, as are most of the items. On the bright side, things rarely get choppy, even when you have a whole whack of things floating around on-screen. Also, the art style in the cutscenes is pretty cool.

So, is the sound music to my ears? Well, it's not William Hung, but it's certainly no Queen. The music in the levels is pretty basic, as is the elevator music you hear on the menus.

The real bad stuff, however, is the voice acting. The voice actors have that distinct "I don't have a clue how to act or emote" sound. Thankfully, you only ever have to watch the cinematics once. When you go to replay a level, you can skip them (If you want, which you will). Also, there's very little, if any, Wiimote speaker support.

There is a multiplayer aspect to this game, but I haven't had the chance to check it out yet. So, this feature will be omitted from the review.

Did you know that this game has online features? Well, it does! Using WiiConnect24, you can send custom-made scenarios from Edit Mode to any friend in your Wii Address Book! Sending takes seconds, and you can send it to as many as 8 people in your address book at once! Neato!

How's this game's longevity? Well, I've had it since about mid-January, and I still need to get all the secret upgrades and modes. But it's not as if I've been playing constantly, though. I guess this game has some decent replay value, what with breaking high scores and seeing how much chaos you can wreak.

Storyline: 5.5/10

The story of the Elebits is pretty interesting, but most everything else is pretty basic. Also, plenty of things just don't make sense.

Controls: 9.0/10

There are few kinks here and there, but not enough to really do any harm. This game takes advantage of the Wiimote in every way imaginable.

Gameplay: 7.5/10

Scrambling to capture enough watts before the level ends can get really exciting, as well as just plain throwing stuff around. However, having your gun reset every level is pretty annoying, as are some of the limitations. Also, Edit Mode is a little too limited to be very useful.

Graphics: 7.75/10

Texture and lighting wise, it's nothing special. What really impresses me, though, is the near absence of lag or choppiness, even when things get really hectic. Also, the art style in the cutscenes is pretty nice.

Sound: 4.0/10

The music is merely passable, but hearing the voice actors makes me want to jab my ears with a steak knife. Yes, it's that bad, and I have the stitches to prove it.

Online Features: 7.5/10

Sending your pals levels you made yourself is pretty fun (Especially if you make them really freaking hard!), as well as quick. However, this aspect is somewhat stunted by the restrictions of Edit Mode.

Longevity: 8.5/10

I don't know about you, but trying to unlock those extra modes and features really keeps my attention. However, I'm sure throwing junk around does get boring... Eventually.

Overall (Not an average): 7.5/10

Elebits is a really great game, and I'm very impressed by how much Konami did with the Wii's capabilities. The controls are spot-on, and there's hardly ever any graphical slowdown. However, the voice acting is god-awful, and the graphics are nothing to scream about. Also, one of the game's greatest claims to fame, Edit Mode, is way too limited for it's own good. In the end, it's a great game, but not without it's flaws.

The Duck Has Spoken.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude, the graphics suck, (I guess maybe they're passable) and it gets VERY choppy frame rate. But yeah, I own and love the game.

As long as you basically like the game, your review is ok with me :)