When we first laid eyes on the Nintendo Wii's controller, visions of light gun games danced in our heads. The unique design of the Wii remote surely lends itself to such a genre, but when played in practice, it isn't necessarily a satisfying experience in its own right.
Since the launch of the Wii, several manufacturers--including Nintendo itself--have taken on the challenge of designing a perfect Wii peripheral that brings us back to the days of classic arcade light gun games.
We liked the Wand on its own, but we wanted to see Trans-Port in action. With the Nyko Action Pak, we finally get to see the first implementation of the technology in the form of a pistol.
The Action Pak includes both a Wand and the pistol grip. We're not sure how that helps someone who may have bought the Wand separately--and for some reason it doesn't appear as if the grip can be purchased on its own.
What's exciting about the Action Pak is that its trigger is not a piece of plastic that just attaches to the Wii remote so it can engage the B button when pulled. The pistol's trigger is its own button, totally free from having to touch the Wii remote. The device connects to the Wii remote and sends the B button command to it when you press the trigger.
This sort of change in design is welcome to anyone who has had experience with the Wii Zapper or the Nyko Perfect Shot--two accessories that rely on hitting the Wii remote's B button. While those two products can become irritating after extended gameplay sessions, the Action Pak pistol requires much less force to operate.
Attaching the Wand to the pistol is easy. With its battery door removed and the pistol's barrel open, you slide the Wand down and in. Closing the barrel will lock it in place. From here on out, you're pretty much set to play.
The pistol grip also gives you more customization than you might think. In fact, it can actually reverse the A and B buttons on the Wand just in case you're playing a game where A shoots instead of B; a little switch near the pistol's Nunchuk port controls this feature. Also, the rear hammer can be pressed to act as hitting both A and B together, a command that has acted as the Wii's universal "OK" button combination.
We tried the Action Pak out with games such as The House of the Dead Overkill and the upcoming title from EA, Dead Space Extraction. Both games are "on-rails shooters," titles where your movements are predetermined but your head-turning and shooting are not. While using the pistol grip is a little jarring at first, once you've leveled yourself onscreen, you'll find that the device performs quite well.
Like we mentioned above, the likelihood of irritating your trigger finger is a lot less with the Action Pak because you don't have to press as hard.
The Action Pak comes with two AA batteries for use with the Wand and the grip itself doesn't require power. Of course you'll probably want to invest in a rechargeable Wii remote solution if you haven't already; most batteries will fit the Wand as well, our favorite being the Nyko Charging Station.
We don't have many negative things to say about the Action Pak except for the fact that it forces you to buy another Wand remote. Priced at $50, it's a bit more than we would have liked to have spent. We wish the grip was available by itself, especially for those who may have bought a Wand when it first was released.
The Action Pak is a great start for Nyko's Trans-Port technology initiative. It provides a better shooting experience than the Zapper or the Perfect Shot and is recommended for any Wii gamer who is serious about the genre.