Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wii controls done right

One of the most important part of any Wii game is the controls. The game could have the best ever graphics, music, storyline and gameplay, but if those controls aren't just right, it's pretty much doomed. Some games get it right and some get it wrong. Personally, I've found plenty of Wii games to have exceptional control schemes. Here's a few games that really managed to pull me in with their amazing controls.

Wii Sports

Of course, it goes without saying that the game packaged with the Wii itself is going to get a mention here. Wii Sports was packed-in with the Wii to help demonstrate the powers and abilities of the Wii remote, and it did so beautifully. Taking the versatility of the controller and integrating it into five different sports was a brilliant idea, and the results are little short of spectacular.

First of all, there's America's favorite pastime, baseball. As you'd expect, the Wii remote becomes the baseball bat, as well as the pitcher's hand. The amount of control is amazing, and the bat follows your every move. The speed of a thrown ball seems random sometimes, but it's often right where it should be. Batter up!

Next there's golf. Again, the Wii remote has filled the predictable role as the club. The amount of control in golf is actually better than that in baseball. Unless you hold your hands perfectly straight during your swing, the ball will slice off to the left or right. Keep your arms straight, knees bent, and remember to follow through! And sorry, no tossing your clubs if you plunk one in a water hazard.

Every nuance of your swing is calculated in Wii Sports Golf.

And now we have bowling. Like golf, every twist of your throw is interpreted and translated into the game to create an incredibly lifelike bowling experience. If you naturally throw a curveball in real-life bowling, then you'll do the same here. The only difference is not having to lift twelve pounds each turn!

Tennis actually isn't that great when it comes to controls. No matter how you flick or wave the controller, the ball just goes the same way. The only factors here are timing and angle. It's kind of cool that the Wii can sense when you're going for a backswing (Your Mii moves the racket to his/her other side), but there's really not that much control here. But, then again, real tennis is more about timing than much else, so I suppose Wii Sports captured it fairly well, then.

And finally, there's boxing, the only Wii Sports game that requires the Nunchuk. Holding the Wii remote in your right hand and the Nunchuk in the left, you simply thrust your fists forward to punch. Hold your hands up to your face to block, and swing horizontally to hit them in the side. You can even dodge by tilting your body to the left or right! Boxing wasn't too well received by many critics, but I find it actually uses the Wii controls extremely well.

Wii Sports is a great example of how to do controls right. Nintendo made a great choice packing this in with the console.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Retro Studios really outdid themselves when it came to the controls in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Here are a few aspects of the game that really use the motion controls beautifully.

The grapple beam is probably the best example of how to use the Nunchuk I've seen yet. If something can be grappled, you can take a hold of it by simply targeting it and jerking the Nunchuk forward. Then, to remove or pull whatever it is you've grabbed, jerk the Nunchuk back! This becomes an incredibly important part of the game early on, and ripping the jetpacks off of robots and watching them spin out and explode never gets old!


Interacting with your environment in this game is freaking amazing! Instead of hitting "A" whenever you see a switch or whatever, you can actually take control of Samus' hand and pull levers, spin dials and press buttons. It's really great, and incredibly interactive. Almost nothing in this game was relegated to a simple button push, and it payed off big time.

The Godfather: Blackhand Edition

Of course, how could I write a motion-controls article without mentioning this? The Godfather: Blackhand Edition employs some of the finest motion controls this side of Brooklyn! Things are gonna get kinda messy here, folks. May wanna shoo your little sister out of the room.

Wanna choke somebody? Well, grab 'em, swing your arms as if grabbing his throat, and shake the controller to wrestle the no-good thug to the ground until he croaks like a bullfrog. Howzabout punching the crap outta some goombah? Just target the mobster and thrust your fists at him to give him a nice knuckle sandwhich for lunch. Got a guy in your grasp, but don't have any weapons on hand? Throw the sucker off a roof! Walk him over to the ledge, and push your hands forward to shove him down to street level.

See, this is why you should never make fun of a mobster's vest.

Wanna make sure you've got a full clip in your magnum before starting a fire fight? Just equip the gun and shake the Nunchuk to top it off. Wondering what to do with the thug on his knees in front of you? Well, you could always equip a baseball bat and pull both hands towards you to snap the fool's neck like a stale loaf of bread! Make the don proud, kid!

These are just three great games made even better with the well-placed addition of motion controls. There's plenty more titles, such as Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, Rayman Raving Rabbids and Excite Truck that also do a fine job of utilizing the Wii remote and Nunchuk. Let's just hope Mario Kart Wii, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Mario Galaxy, and all the other titles pull off their controls just as well, if not better. Here's to the Wii remote!

The Duck Has Spoken.

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