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Wii first impressions

Wii first impressions

I managed to get inside Nintendo's booth and experience the magic of the Wii at firsthand. Big N had more than a dozen different titles for people to try, but its booth was more crowded than the show floor itself. As it was, I got some quality time with Legend of Zelda and Red Steel, two of the big-name release titles for the Wii.

Legend of Zelda looks very good. Link is grown up and has all his classic toys. The game is quite Wiimote intensive but not quite to the extent some might be hoping. Actions such as aiming the bow and arrow (and other tools, including the boomerang) and fishing are all controlled by the Wiimote. Sword fighting, however, is a bit more traditional. Whipping the nunchuck controller around can unleash special moves such as Link's spin attack or a shield-bashing finishing move, but generally his sword swings are controlled by the push of a button. In the end, this isn't such a bad thing; considering how often Link uses his sword, I'd be developing carpal tunnel syndrome before I completed the second dungeon. Legend of Zelda looks like it's shaping up to be a great game, but you won't be swinging Link's sword yourself.

Red Steel is a different story. The game completely relies on the Wiimote. Guns are aimed and swords are swung with the Wiimote, and even actions such as opening doors require a gentle shake of the nunchuck. The controls are a bit sensitive, but once I got used to them, I was gunning down Yakuza and cutting down kendo trainers with style. The game definitely proves that FPS games can work well on a console; the Wiimote-nunchuck configuration is the first console control scheme I've seen that comes anywhere near the control of a keyboard and mouse.

The Wii has a lot of potential, and I can definitely see the Wiimote taking off. It has a definite learning curve--traditional gamers can look forward to adjusting to the distinctly different control setup--but waving around the nunchucks gives a real sense of action in Wii games and adds a whole new dimension of control. It's not quite to the point of virtual reality, but it's an immersive system that will let gamers feel even closer to the games they play.