Nintendo's latest cutting-edge, interactive gaming
system lets players really get in the game.
The new Wii console has a lot going for it: top-tier titles (Elebits, Excite Truck), a sleek all-white look, and a low sticker price. Plus, playing the system burns - not builds - calories. No joke: Unlike contemporary set-top diversions, a two-piece, motion-sensitive TV-remote-style controller gives couch potatoes the chance to channel their inner athlete or gunman, tracking and translating physical prompts into on-screen movement. For the first time, you can truly experience how it feels to swing a sword in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess or to wield an arm-mounted laser, courtesy of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
Hands-on tests with the ultraresponsive unit's control scheme - divided into a nunchuk-like thumb-stick attachment and a stereo speaker/vibration sensor-equipped pad - reveal the action isn't all blood and guts either. Players can swing the handheld device to send balls soaring during a round of Wii Sports tennis or conduct entire orchestras with a wave of a virtual wand. Rather than high-definition graphics (a key selling point for Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3), the emphasis here is squarely on novel play mechanics.
Bonus features are also plentiful. Because Wii is fully compatible with GameCube games, nostalgic fare like Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16 titles may be downloaded and enjoyed on demand too. Perpetual broadband connectivity is another highlight, with systems capable of automatically retrieving extras such as additional characters and stages while you sleep. Positional audio capabilities only add further atmospheric depth, letting you track an arrow’s progress from the draw of a bowstring until it thuds resoundingly into an enemy’s chest.
A few sample titles worth drooling over: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, Rayman: Raving Rabbids, and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz. So start practicing your golf swing or karate chop now (and start socking away cash to replace that soon-to-be-shattered coffee table). Wii, $250, Best Buy, (888) 237-8289, www.bestbuy.com