Posted by: da_nibbler | February 4, 2010

Motion Controls

Before I ever experienced Motion Controls I already had mixed feelings about them. Now that I HAVE experienced them on the Wii on dozens of games these feelings are still the same.

My initial reaction to seeing gameplay vids of the Wii was concern whether they could really pull off the motion controls to a gamer’s satisfaction. Basically the MC (=motion controls) has to be as accurate and fast as pushing a button on a gamepad. I had my doubts as to whether this could be achieved and unfortunately I was right.

Pointing the Wiimote at the screen is in my opinion not really part of the MC, as the IR sensor reads where you point and that’s it. It’s nothing else than a pointer. But even that supposedly simple design comes with its flaws. The actual MC is where the real letdown or should I say reality-check comes in.

Now I don’t want to presume I know how exactly the Wiimote and Nunchuk work. Honestly I don’t care. All I want is that they work how they’re supposed to, which unfortunately they don’t quite too often.

I had started playing on the Wii with sport games, where the MC was working rather well. Recently I’ve been playing several action adventures and this is where my frustration with the MC really came out. First was Dragon Quest Swords, in which you have to battle creatures while swinging your Wiimote across the screen. Horizontal would be read as vertical and vice versa. Diagonal slashing was almost impossible or sheer chance. Especially considering you have to constantly point the Wiimote at the screen for the sensor I don’t understand why the MC fails so miserably. The game turned into a tedious game of chance, but the worst was yet to come.

I just finished Cursed Mountain, which in my opinion is one of the best games for the Wii IF NOT for the disastrous MC that make the title unplayable! In this game you have to kill ghosts by performing a ritual that translates as several consecutive movements with Wiimote and Nunchuk. The idea is cool, the execution can only be described as broken! While sideswipes with both the Wiimote and Nunchuk work flawlessly every single time, the forward thrusts are a whole nother matter. Barely recognising what you’re doing in front of the screen the MC make the gameplay totally frustrating. If you’re lucky half of the time your thrusts will register, the other half your shoving your Wiimote and Nunchuk to and fro to no avail. My arms and shoulders started hurting after a while as I was more and more vigorously moving the Wiimote and Nunchuk around. Which brings me to another major gripe I have with the MC -> they can be quite hazardous to your health!

While we always get the safety screen in front of every single game (which is just about the wriststrap) and “please take a break” messages in some sport games most “regular” games like action adventures, shooters etc. don’t advise you to take a break and actually ask you to perform some of the weirdest and most bizarre gestures in order to play the game. Add to that unresponsive controls which make you exxagerate movement and you are likely to hurt yourself. I’m not talking about dislocating shoulders, but straining muscles and therelike.

Given that most gamers don’t just play for an hour the physical strain the Wii with its MC puts on the player is something we should all be aware of. Parents let their kids play unsupervised for hours thinking they’re doing something good since they’re not sitting on the couch and the Wii being a family/kid console. I as an adult already have trouble disconnecting from a game I enjoy playing no matter whether my arms hurts or not.

Unfortunately almost none of the Wii games give you the option to play the game with a different control scheme. It is very rare that you are “allowed” to play a game with either the Classic Controller or the GC Controller. In my opinion all Wii games should give you the option to chose which control scheme you want to use. That might also attract different gamers to the Wii, that don’t want to wiggle waggle through a game like a 3-year-old. Also it would give the gamer an alternative should the MC be disastrous and/or unresponsive for whatever reason.

Now that Microsoft and Sony will be releasing their own MC at the end of the year I fear sooner or later we will only have wiggle waggle games to play. I hope these companies paid attention to gamers and the market in recent years and will not make the same mistake Nintendo made in making the Wii a MC-only console.

While it is definitely fun to play certain games with MC I still prefer to play “old school” games (=non MC games) with a gamepad and I hope that never goes away!

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Responses

  1. Cursed Mountain is an old game. I got it before everyone else a few days before it launched in the US.

    I recommend you play Silent Hill: Shattered Memories on Wii. It’s a much better game than Cursed Mountain. And it’s a Konami game developed by Climax Studio so you can’t go wrong with that.

    If you haven’t heard, Deep Silver Vienna is now closed down. Cursed Mountain was their first and last game. Sad ain’t it?

    And about Wii games that have both Wii Remote and Classic Controller/GameCube controller support, there are plenty: Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart Wii, Dragon Ball Z BT2, and BT3, Naruto, Muramasa, TMNT Smash Up, No More Heroes 2, Tatsunoko vs Capcom just to name a few of the obvious. And these were just retail games, not to mention the WiiWare titles. But there are a couple games that had Wii Remote and only Classic Controller support but not GameCube like.. Blast Works and interestingly, Resident Evil 4.

    With Monster Hunter Tri coming out in a few months along with a bundled Classic Controller PRO, I’m sure we’re gonna be in for a ride.

    Last, my feedback for Cursed Mountain can be found on this forum thread at GoNintendo http://www.gonintendo.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7386&start=0
    You might find my tips on how to “play” the game useful (especially on the second page).

    // Roth

  2. Silent Hill is one of the next games I’ll play. I also have most of the ones you mention that have traditional controls. I just wish EVERY game had several control schemes for us to chose.
    Can’t wait for Monster Hunter Tri to come out. Not just cos of the awesome sounding and looking new controller.


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