Friday, November 03, 2006
My hands on impressions with the Wii
Most of you are reading Zelda impressions right now, but a lot of people just haven't given Excite Truck the proper attention yet(seemingly). I didn't have the luck of playing Zelda yet, but today I did get to play the Wii for the very first time with the final retail version of Excite Truck.
The feeling you get when you first play the Wii is one you'll never forget. Nintendo is truly bringing the Arcade experience home to the people with this system. What you are not supposed to be able to do at home, you now can-and better. The EB games close to my home got the Wii kiosks in yesterday and finally got it up and running with Excite Truck today.
So I went in and what did I see? One of my best friends was already there playing Excite Truck! He got there 15 minutes before me and was having a blast with this game. He did try to reach me but I was stuck in traffic and didn't have a phone with me during that time. So my first impression of the game was that it looked great. The TV was a wide screen Samsung, and at first I thought it was running in 480p because it looked so clear and clean. However I soon found out that the game was running on Composite cables, which in fact bodes very well because the game will look even better in Progressive Scan.
Friends really, don't worry about the graphics on the Wii. This game does not push the Wii and I was totally satisfied by its look and effects, and I've played plenty of Xbox 360. You never are telling yourself that "wow this game looks so much worse than 360". Its really a non-factor. The game has great ground textures, great reflections on the water(great water in general), nice car models and a nice motion blur when you turbo. I only found the graphics lacking a bit when you crash into a tree, which is understandable. You are not meant to be sitting there looking at the leaves of a tree when you are trying for 1st place. Still, the trees lacked detail and didn't have good textures. Tree details are moot however since they are minor parts of the levels and don't stand out too much. Nothing to worry about.
The sound is nothing too special in this game-so far. I can confirm that you can in fact use your SD-card to put your own MP3 soundtrack into Excite Truck. This fact is good since the in-game music lacks any "hooks" and is for the most part hard rock with not much soul. What is kinda cool is that when you fly though rings or crash into another car, the sound can be heard on the Wii-mote speaker. Does this add anything you ask? I think it adds more depth to the sound that was already lacking but nothing more than "oh that was cool". I wouldn't turn it off though so I guess its pretty good. There is no voice over work in the game, and I think this is a plus because in Nintendo made racing games you tend to get the really lame race announcer(I'm sorry but the Wave Race 64 announcer can't be forgiven).
This is where the Wii separates itself from the other systems and puts you in a new feeling when it comes to playing games. Sure this is a tilt control game and it does not use the Wii pointer, but I still have not played anything like this before and that's saying something regardless of past "tilt" games. Basically you just fall in love with this little controller and it works perfectly. Tilt left or right to turn left or right. Tilt forward or backward to control the front angle of your car. Everyone says that controls for Excite Truck feel too sensitive at first and maybe that made me prepared for the sensitivity because it felt really good almost right away. I made huge turns and small turns, I crashed a bit but I never felt like it was the controls fault. What some people don't understand about racing games is that you just need to know the level, if you do-you'll know when to turn and how much to turn. When playing these levels for the first time the game is very forgiving, because even if you crash pushing the "2" button fast enough will give you a big turbo boost and you don't lose very much in the standings in the race. Forgiving.
Which leads me to my only real concern for this game. Its too easy. My friend and I traded off for over an hour and we unlocked the Gold-Cup. It looked like there were 4 cups and we totally beat two of them and unlocked the third in an hours play. If you know these levels you are going to win, pure and simple. Its great fun and very satisfying but it seems like a very short game. However this is an Arcade game for a console system and you can't really expect a very long length. I'm willing to bet the game does in fact get much harder later on and gives the game more legs. I also did not get to try the 2 player mode yet which I'm sure will be a lot of fun. This is a great game guys, I just think that when I go back to play tomorrow I'll beat it completely and there will be no reason to buy it when it comes out. This will not be the case for most people because usually they don't have a lot of time to stay in a game store to play these games. This EB games however has almost no business because most people go to another Gamestop a couple miles away. For some reason this lesser known EB games got their Wii kiosks before the others did in my city. More play time for me before people start to wise up to it.
In the end though Excite Truck=really great fun that shouldn't be missed by anyone.