Call of Duty 3 for Wii

Caveat: I’m a weenie, and am playing on Hard. So it’s slower going for me than many.

Graphics: Pretty. For standard def, it looks pretty darn good! I’m glad to see the Wii can actually put out some decent images. You can barebly tell the difference between the prerendered stuff and the in-game stuff. No real jaggies that stick out. Nothing ‘pops’ out of the screen at all as strange. Textures are nice. Terrain looks good and isn’t too rectilinear.

Controls: Interesting – I normally never use ‘lean’ for example, but here, I might. Not super precise, but interesting. The little melee fight you have to do with the gun stock is pretty cool. Kinda immersive, and tiring – but not bad.

Gameplay: This is, alas, where I feel the game falls down. It’s a standard scripted roller-coaster ride through WWII. Little golden waypoint stars on your compass to tell you where to go. Little ‘trigger’ points which set the Krauts after you, or set off scripted events on the board. Maybe it’s me being a whiner, but I kinda feel like – haven’t we done this before? A lot? Repeatedly? Is this all there is? After the 4th or so time of having an explosion go off and one of my teammates pick me up, I start to tire of the scripting. After one of the assualts on a heavily fortified German position, I start to wonder – I keep killing them, and they keep coming back? What is it specifically that I have to do in order to advance? Go to my little gold star point? Does it matter if I kill the Nazis? Should I just go to where I’m told?

As in “Red Steel” there’s no health meter, just don’t get all shot up all at once and you don’t die. This solves the “Attrition Death” problem I blogged about before. But it feels wimpy. I dunno.

AI: Annoying. Teammates get into the line of fire, die, and then you lose due to friendly fire. And your teammates don’t help you when you actually need it. They may occasionally cap a bad guy. But that’s less often.

Conclusion: – A Console that allows for innovation does not necessarily cause innovation. It’s nice to see the games can be immersive, and the control scheme and sound effects and graphics feel pretty immersive – it’s just immersing me into a Disney ride where I have to shoot some baddies for the ride to move to the next thing. Feh. I’ll beat the game, mind you, as I always do, and I will enjoy it, and I am enjoying it now, but let’s see this for what it is – a decent game, not a great game, or even a good game.

wii review

So Beckley asked me if I actually liked the Wii or not – and though I think the issue has been covered a little, I thought I might mention my feelings about the issue.

It rocks.

It’s a nice little box – very attractive – it loads quickly, launches games quickly, and the controllers are very innovative and fun. My wife and I tired our shoulders out playing Wii Sports (tennis), and enjoyed a few holes of golf as well (I made par!). Zelda is a great game – not so controller-oriented, but very fun, and when it does use the controller, it’s pretty cool. For instance – shooting with projectile weapons is controlled with the pointer. Attacks are done by shaking the controller. But most of all, it’s a standard Zelda game with puzzles and stuff. Pretty cool.

The graphics aren’t spectacular, but if you don’t have an HD TV, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. if you do, well, I dunno. The XBox360 has nice HD graphics, and so does the PS3. But they’re pricey.

Nintendo’s whole deal is that it’s all about the gameplay. At this point, I agree.

Edit: It also has this virtual console thing that lets you play a whole bunch of ‘classic’ nintendo (and other) games. It can do N-64 games (Mario 64 for example), so I’m waiting for Goldeneye to become available (I hope it will, it’s a classic).

Red Steel (Wii)

So I waited in line at Toys R Us, and was right behind the cut-off to get a Wii. So the next day I went to the Nintendo Store and waited in line for about an hour and a half – only to find out my good friend Mike was able to snag me one – because he got in line with his wife Beth, and so he got me a system. Whew!

The game I personally was most excited about was Red Steel. And it seems to really have gotten savaged in reviews. Quite frankly, it’s not that bad. It’s a fun, average shooter, with some interesting little bits built in around the controller. Reloading is a shake of the nunchuk to the left, and you can toss grenades by holding the down button and either rolling them (nunchuk up motion) or tossing them (nunchuk down motion). The little swordfights can be pretty fun, too – block by shaking the nunchuk left or right, dodge by holding a button and moving the joystick, some special moves you learn along the way. As you make your way through the game, you learn cool little features about how the gunplay works with a ‘focus’ system, and there’s probably more stuff like that – I’m maybe a half to 3/4 of the way through.

The controls aren’t perfect, but I think I like them better than the standard dual-analog-stick controls. You wave the Wii remote around on the screen to point at stuff. You can aim by holding the A button and sliding the remote forward and back to zoom in and out. The left thumbstick on the nunchuk strafes left and right and walks forward and backwards. The only thing I feel could be better is the rotate left and rotate right controls – you do it by moving the remote left and right till the aim-point is off screen. Then the screen rotates until you move the remote back to point on screen. It’s not terrible – it’s just too Boolean for my tastes. I would think you would want something where if you get near the edge it rotates a little, and if you go way past the edge it rotates a lot.

So you can do some pretty decent pinpoint shooting with this setup, if all the baddies are on the same screen. If they aren’t, you may scroll past them, or if you’re in the middle of a hairy firefight, you might have a little trouble. Other than the single-speed of rotation issue, the other slight nuisance is that when you are watching a cutscene or waiting for a load, so you put down the Wii remote, and then the screen starts scrolling around randomly and you don’t know which way you’re facing. Bothersome. But avoidable, if you just make sure to rest your hand with the pointer pointing on the screen. Unless the beam from the remote hits the coffee table or your beer or something. Then the pointer goes weird.

So, graphics? Eh. Nothing to write home about. Not so attrocious as to be really unpleasant, but not working up the best of the system. The menuing system is really really stupid – requiring you to drag, with the pointer, items onto boxes. What a silly waste. The story – is okay. You’re some dude who’s dating some Japanese chick and she gets kidnapped and you go run around and shoot people and sword them. No giant twists or turns come up in the story, but it’s fine.

But all in all, I don’t think the reviews I’ve read are fair. Perhaps everyone built it up in their heads as much as I did, and were let down. I was, but I can read between the differences of what I had hoped for, and what’s actually there to say it’s not a bad game.