Mobile Forces

Nintendo Wii, is it a Richard the Third?

My own little Christmas present to myself (well I’m worth it!) was to buy a copy of Call of Duty 3 and Red Steel. In the run-up to Wii launch I had gotten quite excited at the prospect of shooting some Bosch with my Wii-mote and the adverts for red Steel had proved insidiously tempting too each time I saw them!

Major disappointment. Call of Duty 3 was first out the box and even though I knew it wasn’t going to compete graphically with the Xbox 360 version I was still hoping for a little more than these chunky trousered Yanks that were seen jumping around my screen.

Graphical niceties aside though I settled down to try out the single player campaign which I know and love from the 360 and very quickly found myself staggering wildly around flailing arms in all directions as the cheeky chappy decried my efforts at training camp. The aiming was just so bloody awkward and jerky. I tried sitting closer, sitting further away, adjusting the settings on the Wii itself at one stage but could never really fine tune it enough to be happy.

War waits for no man though so soon enough I was on my way to St Lo. As I was given a leg up over the churchyard wall I paused briefly to marvel at the blocky graphics and lack of clarity before charging forward trying to shoot the funny pixelly Germans who were shooting at me in seemingly great numbers. On through the level I went my aim severely hampered by the hideous inaccuracies of the Wii-mote.

I soon reached the tank level and was frustrated still further at the wacky button mapping as I tried in vain to spot targets for the gunner. Eventually winning through I completed the level and even got to do a bit of hand to hand with the Jerry who jumps you in the house. Here I found the motion controller actually had a more valid use although try as I might it still took me three attempts before the system finally accepted my finishing blow with the rifle butt.

After battling with residents on The Island I rapidly reached the conclusion that this was becoming a form of self-induced torture and that the inability to accurately target and pick off enemies was becoming more frustrating with every fresh clip in my BAR.

The realisation that COD 3 wasn’t happening for me on Wii was then inevitable. I have to say that this was attempted on the normal difficulty level and if anyone were to profess to actually complete any of this game on Veteran using a Wii-mote I would consider them worthy of a Victoria Cross for outstanding patience in the face of (Wii-mote) adversity, I don’t think it is humanly possible. Sadly then after much build-up and anticipation COD 3 is a let down.

Hoping against hope that better things were to come I slid Red Steel into the drive to be greeted by some appallingly average static cut scenes and dodgy voice acting before being launched into the game. Here my attempts at turning corners with the Wii-mote whilst running forward with the Nunchuk joystick resulted in much hilarity as I constantly inspected the ceiling of every level. I tried to calibrate the Wii-mote on the ‘fish-tank’ spotting screen a couple more times but pretty soon gave up as I had with COD 3.

As the game advanced and bad guys popped up all over my attempts at shooting them were more akin to Benny Hill than a trained Ninja bodyguard. The laughable accuracy descended into farce when I then learned you had to ‘zoom’ in on a target by moving the Wii-mote forward and back. After completing the first level I reached a point as I had with Call of Duty 3 where I literally asked myself why I was putting up with this and attempting to convince myself it was fun.

It wasn’t. It was annoying, tiring even as you try to wave wildly at some bad guy shooting you and don’t even get me started on the weapon pick up routine, there must have been a dozen Uzi sub machine guns lying around but none of the buggers wanted to jump in my hands as I waved my Nunchuk down at them as instructed. Sadly I don’t think I’ll ever get to the sword play parts shown on the TV ads. I think I will have committed hari-kari myself from pure frustration long before then…..

So in closing: Wii, great for families, parties, nights with friends and booze and/or small children. Waste of space as a serious games playing console so long as you have to use that gimmicky controller.

Ooohhh I can hear the howls of discontent already and feel the heat from the flaming posts that will surely follow but if like me you aren’t at all bothered about playing elderly Donkey Kong and Mario Kart games that you played the first time around and got bored with, then really, if you don’t have small children, why bother Wii’ing at all?