Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Reviews: Wii and Excite Truck

I have been excited about the Nintendo Wii since I heard about the direction for the Wii (more fun, better way to play, get rid of exclusive focus on graphics). Well, tonight I played the Wii at my local EB Games.

Wii and Wii Remote: First Impressions, and reactions from other players

First things first: The Wii is sleek and pretty. It's tiny in comparison with the Xbox 360, and it appears to be much smaller than the PS3 (which looks like a George Foreman Grill, to me at least). It will be a nice addition to a living room without sticking out like a sore thumb.

The Wii remote controller is incredibly comfortable and lightweight. Like others, I was worried about its responsiveness, but I couldn't notice any lag while playing. The rumble feature is there, but it's pretty subtle, like a cell phone vibrating in your hand, but it is a nice feature. The speaker built-in to the controller is a very nice touch that gives you an iPod click wheel-like feeling of being in control.

It was really interesting to just stand around and watch other people play, or just walk-in, look at the Wii or other people playing, and make comments. Most people made comments like these:

"That's the Wii. Look at how you can drive with the remote"
"Wait mom, let me play a little more"
"This is so much fun"
"You just tilt this thing and... WOW!"
"Mama, por favor puedo jugar?"
"This rocks. Genius!"

This group had people from all ages: adults, moms, kids, teenagers, young adults (male and female). They were playing and having fun, and it took some effort to play because in order to borrow the wireless controller, you had to go to the store clerk and yield your drivers license.

However, from a minority, I overheard things like these:

"Hey Joe, there's your favorite system, the weaner"
"These graphics suck. It's like night and day against the Xbox"
"Graphics look ok"

This group was composed pretty much all of young males in their early twenties. Nintendo is absolutely right not to focus on this market. The ones that care only about graphics will go for one of the other consoles, that is if they can afford it.

Excite Truck

The only game they had was Excite Truck. I actually had this game pre-ordered, along with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. My wife isn't into RPG-type games, but she really enjoys Mario Kart DS, so I was buying this game to play with her and my son.

Well, I'm disappointed at Excite Truck. I expected more from it. I mostly played the Versus mode, where you play against another player, but I did play the regular single-player mode. The controls took a minute to get used to to learn how to avoid oversteering, but the problem with Excite Truck is that it was just kind of neh. There wasn't much to keep me excited in the game play.

Most of the time I was trying to avoid crashing into a tree, and grabbing the power-ups wasn't easy, and when I did pick them up, I don't know what difference they made. Flying around after the jumps was cool and all, but that's not that interesting. In short, there wasn't that much of a challenge to keep me interested.

In Mario Kart DS, even though it's a pretty old game, the game kept me hooked on to it. The item boxes always have a surprise that I could use against other players. The more I raced and won cups, other cups unlocked, more characters unlocked, more cars unlocked. It was exciting to win! Other players not only used stuff from the item boxes against me (some of which I could defend against!), but they could bump me off the road, they each made different funny noises when they passed me (or hit me), etc.

In short, the game is interesting and kept me, my wife (who doesn't really play games), and my son, interested. Not to mention the other play modes you can play besides racing. And all for $35. For $50, I expected a lot more fom Excite Truck. I would pay $30 for it, maybe, but not $50.

So I ended up getting rid of my Excite Truck pre-order, and bought Rayman Raving Rabbids (official site) instead. From the videos I've seen, it seems like this will be much more fun than a run-of-the-mill racing game.


  1. I heard you got KO'd by an amateur at WII boxing. True or False?

  2. Heheh, true, true. But that was a one-time shot. Beginner's luck. I am certain I can KO you next time without breaking a sweat.

    I challenge you for a Friday match!