Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wii's Motion Controls are a problem?

Stephen Totillo seemed to need to get some frustration off his chest.

Mostly I feel sorry for Stephen. I think he missed out on a lot of fun. We still really enjoy Mario Party 8 here, and there have been a lot of great motion games, and of course a lot of bad ones. The thing is that often it does make the game better b/c of the way it feels.
I know he disagrees, but I found Mario Kart Wii the best Mario Kart, and after playing with my wavebird for a long while, I converted entirely to the wheel, simply b/c I had more fun playing that way.

NCAA Football was an awful game for Wii, except that tackling people by throwing your arms forward was so rewarding, and it made the game into a fun sort of arcade football romp.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings had great fistacuffs that were simply a blast to play. Punching was very rewarding and funny, I loved the motion controls.

Boom Blox is another great example, the game is much better b/c of the controls, it just feels better.

...and of course the Wii goes beyond Motion Controls.
LEGO Star Wars used the speaker in the remote perfectly. For anyone who used to run around with guns trying to make laser blaster sounds when you were a kid, this game is for you!

The pointer is probably the best thing to happen to the console since motion controls. I love being able to point at the screen. It's an under-appreciated big plus on the Wii. I was so much happier with the controls of Metroid Prime 3 than of the original :).

The original motion lead to MP+. Who says it should have worked this way from the beginning. Why? No one thought anything of motion controls before the Wii, Microsoft said it was a dead end. It needed to work first before it was perfected. That is like saying the Atari 2600 was a failure b/c it wasn't the Super NES. It paved the path. Without the first generation of Motion Controls we wouldn't have ever had the second.

The Wii made gaming reach adults who have lost interest in it otherwise. Games like WiiFit and WiiMusic are enlightening and make you think about the world around you in a different way. They have purpose to playing, something that is sorely lacking in gaming. WiiSports is of course fun for groups, and when my dad says to make sure I bring the Wii when I visit, you know something major has changed.

Honestly I lost a lot of respect when Stephen went to Kotaku, it's Wii-hater central. He's become more like that site's audience and taken on a lot of that frightened core bias against the Wii, and I feel for him. It sounds like he's not having as much fun as he used to have, and is instead finding a lot of inner anger. I gotta tell yah I'm not on-board with it. The Wii is my all-time favorite console. I've never had so much fun, I've never had such enlightenment and increased awareness of the world around me through video games. I don't know what more the console could be doing that it isn't, but I'm sure Nintendo will continue to come up with something different.

...and I'm sure they'll be scorned for doing it.
Stop the scorning, relax! There is so much fun to be had, and I've never had so much as with the Wii.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings

Indiana Jones is a legend. One that was somewhat tarnished by last year's movie, which I was enjoying ok until the crazy silly ending. As an Indy fan, I was very excited for the new game, but I should mention the type of fan I am before proceeding. I own one of the movies on DVD, one on VHS, and I played through Lego Indiana Jones on a rental last year (I still believe it the least interesting of the 3 LEGO games on Wii and it is the only one I don't own).

With that in mind, let me say I'm really enjoying the Staff of Kings. I've been puzzled by some of the reviews I've seen about it, and felt I had to write something to its defense.

First off, I agree with some of the points the reviews have made. The contextual fighting is sometimes difficult, and the motion controls don't always succeed. However, I was very surprised at how well they did work. Unlike Dragon Quest Swords, where I felt my moves were hardly ever recognized, most all my attacks in Indy are (the exception being the hooking motion, so I just avoid it). Coming out of E3 and playing with Motion Plus, I had forgotten that even without Motion Plus the Wii controller can detect a good amount of motion, and Indy is one of the better games at detecting it.

This feeling partially stems from the fighting in the game being so fun. It is comical fistacuffs that fits right into the movies and left my entire family laughing on multiple occasions. The environmental fighting is really a lot of fun. In rooms there are lots of different ways to attack your opponents, including objects to pick up, things like bookcases to pull down, and places you can smash the enemies into objects like aquariums and desks. It's some of the most fun fighting I've done in a game and is made better by the feeling of the motion controls.

The environments look nice, my wife commented that the game was very pretty, which is abnormal for her to mention. I like the look overall and have been surprised by the many negative remarks about the visuals. They are quite varied with many different locations, all of which are lush and interesting. It's not Metroid, but it's a good-looking game in my opinion, and I don't understand the negativity that I've seen in reviews about the visuals.

I think the hardest part of reviewing games is that most people tend to become nit-critics. It's easy to focus on little things and start docking a game points like a check-list, but games are games, not paintings!

I took this game into work and it drew a large crowd that did not want to turn away. At first the play was in the Co-Op adventure, which wasn't really all that great frankly. It lacks the fighting and adds a lot of vehicle stages, some of which are alright, others of which are frustrating (rafting I'm looking at you). However, people wanted to keep playing. Then the single-player started and it turned into a 'just one more level' thing.

I understood that as I'd felt the same way at home. I knew it wasn't perfect, but the storyline was good and I wanted to know what was happening next...but much more so, I really was enjoying the game for the msot part. There are some great, great moments in the game (and a few awful ones). What the game does really well though is be compeling. In two days I played nearly 6 hours on my own and another couple at work. I play a lot of Wii, but that many hours on consecutive weekdays is abnormal. I'm sure I'll finish the game today.

You can talk all you want about games on a critical level, but playing a game like mad until you finish it is about the best endorsement you can give a game and that is the endorsement I give Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings. If you like wandering through South American temples looking for lost artifacts and tossing bad-guys over cliffs, you should definitely give this game a look.