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Wii Music - WII - Preview

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Posted by: jkdmedia

E3 2008 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

Is Guitar Hero getting you down? Do you hate it when you strum with all your might, only to have those fast-flying notes slip away, reducing your success rate to zero? If so, Nintendo has the game for you: Wii Music. Developed more as a plaything for parties than an actual game, Wii Music allows you to control over 50 instruments. It sounds cool, looks cool, and is easy enough for anyone -- even those who have never touched a controller before -- to play.

Wii Would Like To Strum

As revealed at Nintendo's E3 media briefing, Wii Music doesn't have any notes to follow or music to synch up with. Instead, players freestyle by holding the remote and Nunchuk like the instrument they're trying to play, and then shake the remote feverishly to jam like an air guitar pro. Or air violin pro. How about... an air drumming pro? That has a nice ring to it.

Only five songs were available in the demo, four of which were classical and didn't seem too enthusiastic. Hence the reason why most players flocked to the theme from Super Mario Bros. -- a whacky, super-quirky version with added sounds as you play along (shake the remote) with the game. You'll notice that, as you increase or decrease the speed at which you shake, the sound that follows is changed accordingly. This is one of the game's few points of interactivity.

Wii Music Wii screenshots

Without any challenges to take on, it wasn't long before I wanted something more. That something came in the form of the full drum mode, which incorporates the aforementioned Balance Board and uses both the Wii remote and Nunchuk to simulate two drum sticks. The drum kit looks great, but at this stage in development, it's not ready for a full-blown concert. Given Nintendo's unofficial admission that the Wii remote isn't as sensitive as it should be (hence the development of Wii MotionPlus), Wii Music doesn't allow you to point your controllers at the screen and drum anywhere like you would a real drum kit. Instead, players have to hold the D-pad, shoulder buttons and push the thumbstick to change which drum is being hit. The Balance Board worked great (it's very responsive) but the actual drumming was a bit off. No matter how slow I moved, I couldn't get the game to respond to an accurate drum beat. It kind of went off on its own and did its own thing -- a far cry from the drumming experience demoed at the media briefing.

Nintendo isn't typically a company that shows games before they're ready to go, but I'm hoping this one is nowhere near completion. The concept is solid and the full drum mode could be spectacular if a few significant changes are made. Assuming the release date sticks, you can look for Wii Music by Christmas 2008.

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