Full Control?

Well I'm back. I saw one great movie (Blades of Glory, seriously, this is now my favorite Will Ferrell film, it was absolute genius) and two fairly terrible ones (Meet the Robinsons & The Namesake) while I was away, but it seems I picked a good week as nothing truly earth-shattering came about.

But on to today's topic, which is something that sort of came about right when I left. It seems that the new trend in online journalism is bringing the Wii's controls into question, citing big hits that missed (Red Steel) shit ports (Splinter Cell, Far Cry, Call of Duty) and games that should've made an easy transition, but end up being overly complicated or not responsive enough according to some (Tiger Woods, SSX, Cooking Mama). And there's also evidence of these issues in future releases, with Super Smash Bros not even using the Wii controller and the new Metroid being delayed until Nintendo feels it's "absolutely perfect". But are these the fault of a shoddy control scheme for the system? Or just lazy developers trying to shovel everything they can onto the hot new thing? If you read several reviews of any of the games sighted as evidence of the problems, opinions are all over the board. Some hate the control setup, some love it (especially with SSX Blur, people seem to either really dig the admittedly challenging controls or think the game sucks because of them). Shigeru Miyamoto has taken developers to task for assigning what he calls "4th string" development teams, which he may be right on the money about.

The fact is the Wii caught everybody by surprise with its massive sales numbers, causing just about every major publisher who had previously thought of the Wii as another Gamecube to suddenly rush anything they could onto it. The "new" Prince of Persia and Resident Evil 4 games pretty much confirm this. I can buy Gamecube versions of both of these titles for about $20. Explain to me why I'm paying $50 for some newfangled controls, even if they add something to the experience? And arguably some of the strongest games were admittedly ports that were adapted well to the Wii (Zelda & Super Paper Mario), but not built from the ground up for the Wii, which leads to inherent issues.

So, bottom line, are the Wii controls really just a novel but failed experiment? The real answer is that it's too soon to tell. Much like everybody jumping on the "drought" bandwagon and wildly claiming that this would be another Nintendo system with little 3rd party support just because of a somewhat light 2007 so far, nobody really knows. There may in fact be nothing wrong with the controls, and developers are still getting a handle on them, which we should see the results of when the second generation games start showing up near the end of this year. I'm willing to bet most critics will be silenced by then, but if these issues haven't mostly been addressed by the big fall releases, I'm more than willing to crucify Nintendo cause then they'll truly deserve it.

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