Weekend Reading: Why I’m worried about the Wii [Update]

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Many of you discount Summa for what he says about the Wii. You can just call him a Wii hater and assume that he was assaulted by Reggie when he was a young child. Yet after continually playing with my Wii since leaving the illustrious Joystiq, I’ve come to feel that the Wii is in grave danger.

And for all those who are wondering — yes, Summa was right. No, this is not an April Fool’s post.

I think the nail in the coffin for my Wii hating was when I got to see the Spider-Man 3 game for the Wii. Now, I fully understood the fact that they had two separate teams work on the different versions — in fact, that made me hopeful for the Wii version. This meant that the Wii controls were actively being thought of, and that a lot of attention would be put into the game.  When I finally got to play it, the controls weren’t too bad.  I had a bit of a tough time adjusting to webslinging, but after a while it felt natural. There were slight problems with getting it to recognize a quick succession of attempts to shoot my web, but I’d attribute that to me flailing about like an idiot.

The thing that really killed me was the graphics. No, I wasn’t expecting PS3 or 360 level graphics (although that would have been nice). I was expecting graphics at the level of the GameCube, but I was sorely mistaken. On the Wii, the game looked like it was early to mid PS2 graphics. What I saw in the game was well below God Hand and probably a step above Gungrave: Overdose. If the Wii can’t even produce graphics that are as good as the last gen, isn’t that a sign of serious trouble?

Spider-Man 3 certainly isn’t the only one with this problem — Red Steel has it too. It seems to me that games that are supposed to be realistic in it’s artistic style are having problems on the Wii. Games like Excite Truck, Elebits, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl won’t have so much of a problem, since they have stylized graphics that seem to work fine on the Wii. The problem is that not every game is going to have stylized graphics. This is one of those questions I should’ve asked: “Have there been difficulties in designing for the Wii graphically?”

Sure, this could be because the console is still in it’s in infancy, but the problem lies in two factors — one, that developers aren’t able to come out of the gate and use the controls to a really good potential. I blame this on Nintendo’s PR hype — they showed footage of people diving all over the place while playing an FPS, and at launch we get Red Steel, followed shortly by Far Cry. Now, I’m afraid to pick up Medal of Honor: Vanguard for the Wii, without even looking at reviews, simply because I fear that I’ll be buying a game that has similar controls to the previous two FPS games on the Wii. The second problem is that the Wii made such a drastic jump back in terms of graphical quality for some unknown reason.  I can understand the Wii having some problems initially, and only being at a GameCube level, but with Spider-Man 3 and Red Steel, it’s showing graphics that are piss-poor.

The fact that two separate development teams were necessary for the Xbox 360/PS3 version and the Wii version of Spider-Man 3 is a serious problem, since that means developers now need to put in more time in order to port their games to a third console. Normally, this won’t be that bad, but not every game can guarantee a Spider-Man-like experience for the player. If the games don’t sell as well as the publisher hoped, then it will give them less incentive to put out games for the Wii.

There’s the possibility that this means that developers will come out with more inventive games for the Wii, but that’s only one side of the coin. The other, and more likely, is that they will put less and less effort into what they produce on the Wii, creating a GameCube scenario all over again. Unless some real creativity pops up on the Wii, I’ll be banking my money towards the 360 or PS3. What do you think, Joyst-er, Destructoid readers (I’ve got to get used to saying that)? Is Nintendo doomed to repeat it’s GameCube mistakes?

Many of you wanted to hear more about Spider-Man 3 for the Wii, and here are my thoughts: The game is a good effort, but I feel like the game doesn’t have quite as much effort in it as it should. Miyamoto himself said that developers shouldn’t put 3rd string people on developing games for the Wii, and that’s the situation we have here with this game. I’ve said all I can about the graphics — I’m not expecting something that’s equivalent to the 360 or the PS3, but I want something that’s as good as what the GameCube could put out.

The controls are somewhat clunky, as webslinging and combat are somewhat broad, but I can see a little improvement from what the launch titles have to offer. Webslinging takes a little while to get used to, but after about 10 minutes, the controls should feel fairly natural. I’m not so sure they’ll stay with you, though, if you walk away from the game for a couple of days. The interactive cutscenes, by the very nature that you’re doing movements with the Wiimote, are more engaging than their PS3/360 counterpart.

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