Motion Controls – Wii Don’t Want To Play

Nintendo changed the face of the gaming world with the launch of the Wii in 2006. Whether you think it was for better or worse, motion controls were completely new and every developer wanted in on the action. We were given some decent mini-game collections and a cool tech demo from Nintendo, along with a brand new Zelda and’not much else.

Fast forward to 2011 and we still do not have a single game that makes proper use of the Wiimote. To make matters even worse, Nintendo seems to be backing off from the entire motion control idea. Not only have their titles done as little as possible with the controls, but the announcement of the Wii U shows a controller that does absolutely nothing with motion.

My thought is this; Wii Don’t Want to Play! The one gimmick to the Wii and Nintendo now realizes it was stupid. Sure, you can get some light-gun games that don’t work on modern LCD screens and you can have Tiger Woods golf work better than ever, but why wouldn’t I just use a controller?

As for Nintendo games, think of how much motion you need in something like Super Mario Galaxy. Its input it mainly buttons, with motion working to fill in for a missing button. You simply flick the remote a tiny bit and Mario spin jumps (something they applied to New Super Mario Bros. Wii as well). That flick is totally unnecessary.

Donkey Kong Country Returns actually has detrimental motion controls. Flicking is substituted for making DK blow on things or roll and it often happens in the middle of an intense chase scene, leading to the kong’s untimely death. Thankfully you can use a Wiimote-Nunchuk combo, or else I would have thrown the poor Wiimote through a window at the end game.

High Five for Wiimote-Nunchuk!

And going back to probably the first Wii game we all played, Twilight Princess didn’t even need motion controls. It started off as a Gamecube game and was actually better on that system. With sharper graphics and better sound mixing, along with an actual controller, your Zelda adventuring was better than ever.

To their credit, Wii Sports is completely impossible without some kind of motion device. Also, WarioWare Move It was damn fun. In all honesty, though, I can’t really name you a bunch of Wii games I own that rely on motion. I’ve definitely tinkered with them, but nearly everything I Have makes use of the classic controller or has limited motion input.

It seems Sony and Microsoft didn’t get that memo. Both companies are developing their respective controllers in full force now. I have yet to play a game on Kinect, but I’ve tried Heavy Rain and Resident Evil 5 on Move and both feel different?

Heavy Rain is entirely pointless. The game is an interactive drama, so I don’t need to be making insane movements to feel immersed (god knows the story draws you out at the end, anyway). Resident Evil 5 is actually a bit better, but my point stands in that the motion controls are unwarranted. You do not need them to enjoy Resident Evil.

Unnecessary, but usable.

To Sony’s credit, at least they aren’t limiting you to the Playstation Move. Every game that includes support for the device also allows normal Dual Shock 3 control. That’s something that Nintendo looks to be doing with the Wii U, and players always like options.

Still, at the end of the day, Motion Controls is a gimmick that even Nintendo doesn’t like anymore. I wish I could be more positive about it (especially since Nintendo is my favorite of the Big Three companies), but there’s nothing I can really say. 5 years after getting my Wii, I can’t think of any game that truly benefitted from Motion.

Well, maybe it’s useful in filtering out idiots.

Split Screen Woes

Multiplayer is definitely not the newest idea in the gaming world and it’s online application isn’t even in its infancy, but I’m really starting to feel angry over the lack of proper split-screen or developers bright ideas to tack them on to single-player games.

Last night, my friend/brother Jim and I sat down with Killzone 3 to try out the Move support. We were skeptical that it would work well, but we figured that, since GameStop has a fairly lenient policy on used games, what the hell? We synced our two wands, booted up the game and were greeted with a lovely message.

“Move is not support in split-screen multi-player. Please connect a dual shock 3.”

Alright, so Guerilla Games lied about that; whatever, no big deal. Move isn’t the end all, be all of first person gaming (and believe me, Killzone 3 bot matches with Move are stupid), so Jim and I just decided to say the hell with it and continue on into the campaign.

Now, I know I complained a tiny bit about Resident Evil 5’s split-screen application, but at least that game kept an aspect ratio of 16:9. Killzone does one better and formats the game to 4:5 or some kind of stupid mash-up of full screen with black bars. It’s one of the ugliest uses of split-screen I’ve ever seen in my gaming career and that covers nearly 20 years!

Best picture I could find. Definitely really awful, though.

It turns out, co-op was a completely tacked on idea at the last second. Sony needed another bullet point to sell their latest shooter and they figured co-op was it. Why there’s no online use or customization of the screen is beyond my feeble brain, but it definitely brought my piss to a boil. Jim was so frustrated at his inability to see anything that he gave up after 3 levels.

While we were lamenting our lack of any kind of current co-op game to play (we can’t keep going back to Borderlands for the umpteenth time), I kept making the joke of, “Well, we can play Dead Space 2 online!” That brings me to a totally separate discussion.

We all know Call of Duty rules the online, first-person gaming scene along with Halo and Battlefield. So why do developers feel the need to tack on a multi-player mode into their single-player game? Granted Dead Space 2 is still a wholly awesome game and worth the price of admission, but think of how much more polished the mid-section could have been if half of Visceral wasn’t being wasted on trying to copy Left 4 Dead.

Who needs skill when I can just statis away?

Bioshock 2 made this same kind of offense. Not only was the single-player game lacking in almost all of the charm and mystery of the first, but its competitive multi-player component was utterly worthless. Laggy battles, poor collision detection, insanely worthless perks and game ending crashes (at least in my experience with the PC version).

On the flip side, we have Bulletstorm. It features a fairly neat co-op mode where you can team up with 3 friends and fend off against waves of enemies. Oh wait; you can’t do that split-screen! This is truly baffling as Epic provides a fairly well done split-screen mode in Gears of War, offering both Horde and Campaign without any sacrifices.

Taking a look at an open world game, why does Saints Row 2 not feature any kind of split-screen support? Maybe it’s due to the underwhelming amount of RAM in current generation consoles, but it’s completely stupid that open world games with co-op modes cannot be experienced on the same console.

Why can’t more developers do something like what Gearbox did with Borderlands; provide the entire game in split-screen and actually make it function? While Borderlands has a vertical split, at least it fills your screen.

Everything is in plain view.

How about Infinity Ward and their co-op mode in Modern Warfare 2? Every mission is playable and fully functional and the screen is perfect. It doesn’t feel like a tacked on idea to sell more copies and, even if it were, it at least doesn’t hinder your ability to see anyone.

While Scott Pilgrim lacked an online feature, at least it’s same couch experience was well made. All characters worked well together and even had some extra functions over their single-player prototypes. Hell, lacking online probably made the offline mode that much better.

As for single-player experiences, what is the need of including a multi-player component? Did we really need to have multiple Isaac’s running around? Was there any want for Bioshock’s powers to be explored with other players? Why not take all those creative ideas and apply those to even better scripted events?

Makes me wonder how well the split-screen will fare in Uncharted 3.

I know this isn’t a call to arms or a very insightful blog, but I’m just sick of seeing multi-player being offered in games and then developer’s half-assing their way through it. Yeah, obviously not every game has awful split-screen or lacks it, but I just want to see a revision like the old days. Give me more Perfect Darks and less Killzones.