Okay, so the Wii has cool controls, average graphics and average online capabilities (because of no online multiplayer, which is madness but anyway). So far the games have been either shovelware or good (not great), but nothing really ground breakings. Does that sum everything up about the Wii in a nutshell?
Frankly I’ve played a fair few hours now and as yet I haven’t bought one. It is fun – don’t get me wrong – but it is just not amazingly compelling. It almost feels as though it is lacking something, though I’m not sure what. Racking my brain, I’m pretty sure it is lacking a game (or even a few) with depth. In saying that, so is the 360 – the PS3 is possibly lacking a good game of any description but that’s another matter.
Of course, before anyone says too much, I’ll have to mention that a) the Wii hasn’t been out too long, and b) it has Zelda. Both of these points are of course true – I also think that Wii Sports hints at the possible fun that can be had with the diminutive little white box. I just can’t wait to see a deeper version of the Wii Golf game.
It still feels like the Wii has been underpowered as a point of difference, and that really annoys me. Making a console to a spec so it reaches a particular price-point is fine, but making it deliberately unable to perform much better than its predecessor is just a bit rubbish. I can see the strategy, I just don’t know if it has been done for the right reasons.
Lets sidestep the Wii for a second to look at the PS3, as I alluded to earlier. It has a motion sensing controller, great graphics (reported by some at least) and a big price tag. So the control – the main differentiator of the Wii barring the underpowered nature and price – is not too different. Theoretically then that means the Wii should offer a worse experience. However, if you can’t afford the scary price tag of the PS3, that’s really a moot point.
The graphics issue of games as a whole does annoy me. I’ve not seen anything on most games that beat Oblivion on the 360 (or a high end PC more like) or even Ninja Gaiden on the original Xbox. More to the point, way back in the mist of time (or modern day for basic games) we played for a high score. Now though, games are about the experience. Sure, the Wii looks okay, yet no more than that. A wasted opportunity surely, that will become more noticeable over time.
I guess overall I’m being a little hard on the Wii, but I can say I’m not much of a Nintendo fan anymore. Their day-glo characters don’t really cut it and I’m still wondering where the promised new franchise is. I feel a little like I’ve grown up, but Nintendo have not. They’re actually catering toward a specific type of gamer, and I just don’t feel that I’m in that segment anymore.
One of the big things about Nintendo’s approach is that it really does scream potential. It does this to a louder and greater extent than any other console and this is due to ease of development, the online distribution service and that now famous Wii-mote. All of these things could offer a Wii owner hours and hours of fun, as well as extremely diverse content. This is one of the things that I think could really make the Wii as a home entertainment product.
Overall, I’m not convinced that any of the three big players in the computer and videogames industry (Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony) have it right at the moment. None of them have the strategy that says to me ‘I’m the best thing here, and this is why’. I got a 360 because I played more of my Xbox than I did my Cube, and I also played Gears of War before I got one. Now I’m left scratching my head and wondering where we go from here. Well that’s it about the Wii; I’ll be exploring other systems in future articles.