So my local Gamestop got their Wii display in and yesterday I asked them if I could give it a go. Here's my Wii-view:
So yesterday I went to Gamestop to trade in some games and reserve Gears of War, and to my surprise, they had a Wii on display! So when I was talking to the clerk, I asked him if he had a remote, just so I could check it out. He said, "well, if you give me your California ID as collateral, I'll let you play it. Just don't run out the door with the remote or throw it at anyone." Oh man!! I was so there!
So I handed over my ID and he busts out the remote. It's about as long as your standard pen or a can of soda, and about as thick as a regular remote. It felt really comfortable holding it, and it had a nice weight to it. It definitely didn't feel cheap.
The system itself was really small. About the same dimensions as 3 dvd cases stacked together. It was really slick looking. They had the sensor bar hooked up underneath the demo tv. It was really small and not very intrusive.
The game they had setup was Excite Truck, an off road racing game, so they didn't have the nunchuk attachment because the game itself didn't require it. Graphically, the game was probably a little bit nicer than Gamecube. It's like if Gamecube had anti-aliasing. Ie, if the edges on the Gamecube games weren't jagged, but nice and crisp. I wonder if Gamecube games will look nicer on Wii....?
To control the truck, you would hold the Wii-mote (remote) sideways, so it is parallel to your body. You then tilt it like a regular car steering wheel, left to go left, right to go right. You hold down the '2' button to accelerate, so you can just use your thumb to keep it down the entire time. Holding the remote like this felt really natural. When your truck goes off a jump, you can tilt the remote forward or back, to level our your flight while in the air. The controls felt very tight and responsive, but it did take a while to get used to. Also, when you crash into another opponent (I was playing 2-player) and take him out, a speaker inside the Wii-mote has sound effects and applause. How cool is that???
You could also run over different tokens in the game, one would give you a speed boost and the other would change the landscape of the level. It would cause a giant ramp to emerge out of the ground, which looked pretty neat. Also, if you come off a jump and land perfectly, you would get a boost from that as well. The levels themselves were pretty well done, and they had lots of different paths to follow. You could crash through trees and find shortcuts, but I think your truck takes damage, so you could only take out so many trees before you explode and reset.
How does it compare to the PS3? Well, I played the PS3 at a Sony event on the main lot a few weeks ago, and I also played their off road game, Motorstorm, which would make a good comparison. Graphically, the Wii is just slightly better than Gamecube. So that means the PS3 blows the graphics out of the water. Motorstorm looked really great on the PS3, and that was just a build that was 65% done. Wii definitely cannot compare to PS3 graphics.
Motorstorm also utilized the PS3 motion sensing controller, and frankly speaking, it did not work very well. It could just be that since the game wasn't finished, it needed tweaking, but it was more of a pain to use than just regular controls. The Wii motion sensing blows the PS3's out of the water.
So what did I think? The Wii is a very small, slick looking console. The controller was very intuitive and comfortable to hold. The motion sensing was very slick and responded very well. The speaker inside the Wii-mote is very awesome, and was utilized well. Excite Truck is a really fun game, but definitely cannot even come close to graphics on the PS3 or Xbox 360. They were better than Gamecube, however. But nobody will be buying this console for the graphics, it's all about gameplay. Plus, for the console only being $250 (as opposed to the PS3 being $600) it's so much of a better deal. I already have my Wii reserved One final note: When playing a Wii game, don't sneeze. You'll crash.