Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Maybe It's Mii

My troubles with my Wii have been well documented (ZING).

I've struggled for several months now with the little white box, trying to figure out what the heck I should be doing with it. I've tried several games at this point, all of which have been either sent back to the store or traded for another game.

Yesterday it became starkly clear to me that I might just be the problem here with this system.


I just finished moving into a new place a short while ago. There are still a lot of boxes lying around and lots of things to unpack. My poor computer is hooked up to the internet but sitting on a small TV stand next to another TV right at the entrance of what will ostensibly be my "office" someday. In other words, the place is still a bit of a mess and although things are starting to take shape a room at a time, getting all of the various games up and running has not been a priority.

However, I also recently had a birthday. As part of that birthday I received a gift certificate from my brother, with which I realized I could finally buy Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition without stern looks from the fiance who has made it clear money is to be saved for purchasing furniture. Although her approach is far more practical, it does not result in me shooting zombies wirelessly.

I'm sure anyone who has been/is married is nodding sagely. "Ah yes, the old zombies vs. furniture argument, you'll learn someday sonny!"

My brother had neatly solved this problem for me with the gift certificate. I happily placed my order and would check back at the website every day to see if it had been shipped yet.

You have to understand, my enthusiasm for this game was pretty high. I have been a huge fan of the Resident Evil series, and Resident Evil 2 was a game I probably played through about 50 times on the original PlayStation. I had never played RE4 because I didn't have a GameCube when the game was first released and it slipped off my radar when it came out for PlayStation 2 several months later. I had initially planned on picking up an old GameCube copy when I got the Wii... then it was announced they were remaking it specifically FOR the Wii.

Resident Evil 4 is one of the best reviewed games of all time. It is considered a landmark game by many gaming magazines and also regarded as one of the best (if not THE best) game that ever came out on the GameCube.

The Wii Edition of the game has also received acclaim for being the best version of the game on any platform yet. Naturally I read every one of these reviews and got myself worked up into a fever pitch from all the hype. I had been keeping the Wii dusted off the last several months, I thought, for this game.

In anticipation of the arrival of Resident Evil 4 I unpacked the Wii and hooked it up. My PS2 remained on a chair in the office... the Wii would get a prominent hookup to the much larger HDTV in the living room.

Yesterday morning I received notification that the game had left the Philadelphia post office. This meant it would almost certainly be waiting for me at home. I watched the clock intently, like a fat kid waiting for the lunch bell at school on pizza day.

Sure enough when I arrived home it was sitting there on the front porch. Oh bliss! Oh happiness! Oh gore soaked zombie shooting mania! At last it was mine!

I wasted no time firing it up. It had been awhile since I played the other Resident Evils but I still remembered the basic gist of things. I was greeted with a sweet opening cinematic... apparently this time I was a special agent tasked with saving the president's daughter. Whatever. The point was I had a gun for zombie killin', and I had no doubt all plot paths would soon lead to undead.

I took a few minutes to run around in a circle and get the control scheme sorted out. There was a handy guide inside the actual game, and I tried out all the moves. It was not nearly as complicated as Zelda or Madden, which was a good sign. Full of confidence, I sent my guy on screen straight into the first mysterious village. A rather predictable cutscene played as the character stumbled across his first zombie. Now we're talking.

It took approximately 10 seconds for the screen "YOU ARE DEAD", dripping with blood, to appear.

I blinked. I really had no idea what just happened. I must have screwed something up pretty badly. That's okay, I thought, just the learning curve kicking in. I hit "Retry" and away I went again.

Same cutscene, blah blah blah ZOMBIE. This time I unloaded about 19 of my 20 bullets on this guy and brought him down. Ah, satisfying!

Unfortunately, you really need bullets in this game. I walked down the next hill and was beset upon by about 3 more hulking monsters who tore me and my remaining bullet to pieces.

Things went on like this for about 20 minutes. I couldn't seem to figure out how to look around and shoot at the same time. It was actually IMPOSSIBLE (as in, not allowed by mechanics) to move and shoot at the same time (actually not that surprising, the other RE games work that way). The combination of being a stationary target and fumbling with the Wiimote/Nunchuck combo lead me to be torn to pieces by hungry zombies at a rate of 2.5 times every 60 seconds. "YOU ARE DEAD" began to get burned into my retinas.

At least three times I got killed without even seeing who or what it was that was attacking me. I would hear a threatening "GRRRR" from somewhere, try to turn around to see where it was coming from, and then my head would explode in a spray of blood followed immediately by "YOU ARE DEAD".

Now, I expected to die a few times. Resident Evil is one of those games where you die a lot, especially the first time through a new area. But I wasn't even getting close to making progress. I thought I had mistakenly put the game on "Hard", but sure enough I had it on the easiest possible setting.

Eventually I was forced to give up before going blind with rage and frustration. It had only taken 45 minutes for me to be beaten into submission.


Are my motor skills really that out of whack? I'm good at these games, dammit! I can still hold my own against my coworkers in Quake. I can play Guitar Hero, that requires a bit of dexterity. What the heck is going on here?

For whatever reason, I just can not seem to wrap my head around this freakin' Wii control scheme. At one point I was trying to run away from a large group of zombies and instead of running my guy took out a knife and gave it a swing. I didn't even have enough time to scream "RUN YOU IDIOT" before I got a pitchfork in the face from one of the zombies and that firk ding blastin' "YOU ARE DEAD" screen.

It's got to be me at this point though. I've played and failed miserably at the two games on the Wii that are supposed to be the best the system has to offer right now. I don't get it, I'm usually at least passable at these types of games.

Am I really just completely falling behind the curve? Am I ever going to figure this stupid machine out? Or do I really just need a cane and a rocking chair to go along with my complaints about these kids and their new fangled technologies?

Whatever the case, that little white box is making me feel pretty old and slow.

I'm going to hang on to the game a little while longer and see if I can get a little better with the controls, because if I don't learn how to handle my Wii now, I might not be able to call myself a man (ZING).

I also really, really want to kill zombies.

In conclusion, here is a link to many of the ways you can die in this game (pretty graphic). I've really only seen the same death over and over again because you need to actually make progress in the game to see some of these other animations, but it certainly doesn't appear things get much easier. Maybe I should stick to checkers.


John said...

You are too stuck in your old (29 going on 60) ways to enjoy a new gaming paradigm!!! Be open to change. It will be good for you.

robustyoungsoul said...

Get off my lawn.

DM Osbon said...

I had a gamecube...I got shot of it then RE4 came out & a co-worker raved about it. I have missed the boat on it for now but may look to get a copy on the old faithful PS2.

Wii's haven't convinced me yet that they are worth the money. I have been a little unsure of the controller & will hold my thoughts until I get to try one out.

I read you can select which controller to use for the game, be it the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, the GameCube Controller and the Classic Controller. Or is it more the fact that identifying where the zombie is is making this hard work?

Hmmm £11.99 for PS2 version...

robustyoungsoul said...

Yeah you can use other controllers. I may try plugging in a GameCube controller. I gave it another spin last night with the Wiimote and had similar results, the problem is getting turned around quickly enough to see where the zombies are coming from!

LastBestAngryMan said...

Time to put away these newfangled videah machines and get yerself a whittlin' stick.

Whittlin' sticks don't cause no aggravation.

Whittlin' sticks help keep the humors balanced.

Videah machines just angry up the liver.

chornbe said...

k, I'm not even done reading yet and this line is fantastic.

"Although her approach is far more practical, it does not result in me shooting zombies wirelessly."

I hope the rest of the article holds up, I'm going to come play on your lawn.

chornbe said...

Ok, I watched the death video and it makes me wish the good old days when zombies were slow and lumbering. Some of those things are intense!!!

Catherine said...

yo bro...try super paper mario...its classic fun plus this time you get to spin into different dimensions, get to flip through different characters and have an array of pixies. THE BEST PART FOR YOU...is that the wii remote is held from the side...yes, no torturing yourself with flicking the wrist or maintaining proprioception when in the game are no longer a concern. its like sitting back as you have always remembered.
i do warn you...the ridiculous storyline coupled with a 3rd graders writing can be a bit excruciating. i love you!

Greencookie said...

I love RE4, although I haven't played it on the Wii..yet. I play it on my Cube.

On my GC controller I tap back on analog key and at the same time hit the 'B' button and Leon gives a swift turn around.

Helps me keep them zombies off my back;)