Video Game Consoles
Reviews of the hottest game consoles
by Mark Hughes
Wii | Xbox 360 | PlayStation 3
Release Date: November 19, 2006
Nintendo has done an amazing job with the Wii. Never before has a gaming system been so easy for anyone to pick up and start playing. The Wii is good for individual play, with amazing games like Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, but the games for group play are what make this system so enjoyable.
Games such as Wii Sports, Mario Party 8, and the much anticipated Super Smash Bros. Brawl use the full power of the Wii for group play. In many of these games, you and your friends can choose to play as a team or to compete against each other.
Wii Controllers Encourage Players to Get Up and Move!
The wireless Wii controller is the size of a TV remote. You can make almost any motion with the it thanks to the presence of an accelerometer. If you’re playing tennis, swing the controller like a racket. If you are herding sheep, simply use it to nudge the flock into the barn.
The Wii nunchuk, which plugs into main controller, is needed for games like Super Mario Galaxy. At first you might think it a bit unwieldy, but using the nunchuk and controller together is extremely comfortable. In Super Mario Galaxy, you will use the controller to click, jump, and spin while the nunchuk is used to move you around in the game.
Even games like Super Mario Galaxy that are designed for a single player can involve more than one person. If you have another controller, give it to a friend to help Mario gather all of the gems to gain an extra life or just to shoot at one of the many enemies.
The Wii is also backward compatible, meaning it will play all of your old GameCube games. The only drawback to playing older games is the difference in controllers. Games made for the GameCube were not created with the Wii’s wand and nunchuk in mind. A GameCube game like Resident Evil 4 is fun to play on the Wii, but some actions and motions feel clumsy when using the Wii versus the Gamecube’s controller.
Graphic-wise the Wii is about the same as the GameCube. Nintendo seems to have put more effort into designing the revolutionary wand controller than in upgrading the graphics. One possible reason for this is Nintendo’s desire to keep the Wii affordable, something the other consoles—Xbox 360 and PS3—have struggled with.
Overall, the Wii is an absolute blast! It is a wonderful system that will bring delight to solo players and groups alike.
Wii | Xbox 360 | PlayStation 3
Release date: November 22, 2005
PC-quality graphics, a responsive and comfortable wireless controller, and a wide array of immersive games prove that the Xbox 360 is a gaming system to reckon with. Add in HD video, DVD playback, an easily navigable menu, and gamers have a system that is worth the price and immensely enjoyable.
Unlike the Wii, which works well for group play, the Xbox 360 is a more traditional gaming system that is designed for the solo player. Games such as Halo 3 and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion were made for the single player, but where they may be lacking in group play they more than make up for it with beautiful graphics and immersive adventures. Gamers feeling the urge to play with others can go online with games like Halo 3 to do four-player cooperative missions.
Problem Solving to Get Better and Better
The Xbox 360 is a powerful system, but it is not without problems. Early Xbox 360s suffered from overheating, which would often result in annoying experiences, including your games freezing up. Some gamers combated this by suspending their system or power cords in the air, an ingenious but admittedly unwieldy solution. Fortunately, Microsoft has solved this issue in the newer models of the system.
If you are a gamer interested in realistic graphics with rich game play, than the Xbox 360 is for you. The price for the system has dropped in the last couple of years, making it far more affordable for everyone.
Release date: November 19, 2006
The Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) seems like it should be an impressive system. Technologically it is very advanced. It features an engine capable of parallel processing, a 60-gigabyte hard drive, high definition, and digital media storage through the Blu-ray disc drive, free access to online content, backwards compatibility with PS1 and PS2 games, and more. Unfortunately, its high price and lack of new and compelling games makes the PS3 a hard system to sell.
Many of the games that are available for the PS3 are also on the Xbox 360. Such games are usually based on a product, such as a movie, which is why they are made for multiple systems. It should be noted that games appearing on both systems often look better on the Xbox 360 than they do on the PS3.
Will Blu-ray Make a Difference?
The fact that the system uses Blu-ray may make the system more attractive. For the last few years there has been a format war between Sony's Blu-ray and Toshiba's HD-DVD. In February 2008, the war ended with Toshiba declaring they would stop making HD-DVD systems and discs. This leaves Sony's Blu-ray the winner; it will be the format in which movies and games are offered more and more.
Since its release in 2006, there has been much criticism about the price and lack of games for the PS3. Sony has made efforts to address those issues. For instance, the release of a 40 GB PS3 (the original was 60 GB) dropped a couple of hundred dollars off the initial price tag.
Ultimately, the PlayStation 3 leaves gamers wanting more. Being able to play PS1 and PS2 games on it is nice, but they certainly do not take advantage of the high technology within the system. New games must be created that really use the system’s abilities; otherwise the PS3 will remain a very expensive, powerful, but disappointing gaming system.