Siliconera Speaks Up: Motion Control Winners

By Louise Yang . July 5, 2009 . 7:31am



This week’s question may be a little Wii-centric, but with Microsoft jumping into the motion control competition, it’s fitting. What games make the best use of motion control?


Jenni: This is a kind of difficult question for me to answer, because most of the Wii games I’ve played don’t focus on motion controls. I suppose Resident Evil 4 has offered the best controls so far, mainly because I normally am horrible at shooting games and I have no trouble playing it. (Plus it’s a fantastic game in general.)


I’d like to nominate Family Part 30 Great Games for worst motion controls though! And yet, despite the horrible controls, it still manages to be a constant source of amusement for my friends and me. Perhaps because we look so ridiculous trying to play it and actually succeed?


Louise: I’m not easily swayed by gimmicky uses of motion control because most of the time. The traditional controls are more accurate, but there are certain games that are just plain impossible without motion control, and one of these games is Trauma Center. Before it came out for the Wii, I played the DS version and I thought the game would be frustrating to play because of the inaccuracies associated with moving your arm around, but boy was I wrong. I can’t think of a better way to control Trauma Center other than the wiimote and nunchuck. It adds a layer of immersion to performing the fictional operations because holding the controllers like that feels like holding precise surgery instruments.


Games like Trauma Center which were built around the use motion controls instead of games that are ported and then have motion control added in have an advantage of not feeling gimmicky. A more recent example of this is The Conduit. Despite my other complaints of the game, the controls are solid and an intuitive way to play an FPS.


Spencer: I guess Wii Sports Resort since Motion Plus adds extra precision, but Trauma Center implements motion control the best by far. Dragon Quest Swords had a lot of potential too, Ever since video games were invented I wanted a sword slashing game and I’m sure I’m not the only one. The problem was precision and with all of these other motion control systems coming out someone will nail the formula.


However, I think motion control can go beyond using objects as tools, or in the case of video games swords and guns. Let’s Tap took motion control in a new direction by sensing vibrations. Yeah, it’s gimmicky, but Tap Runner is a lot of fun if you four players and four cereal boxes. Perhaps, someone will invent a puzzle game where players rotate the remote to stack blocks or a Minority Report style real time strategy game.


Ishaan: I’m going to have to go with Resident Evil 4 and MadWorld. Both games make the smartest use of motion controls on the Wii. RE4 Wii Edition makes some excellent use of the pointer while preserving the game’s mechanics and difficulty, while MadWorld incorporates actual motion controls — note that this is different from waggle — in its battles while ensuring they remain responsive and accurate.


In general, most pointer-based games on the Wii are the ones that make the best use of its capabilities; although, two areas I’m very interested in seeing developers explore further are Nunchuk-based motion control and MotionPlus integration. I’m cautiously optimistic for Sky Crawlers and Red Steel 2 for this reason.

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  • I agree that pointer based stuff like Trauma Center and House of the Dead Overkill make great use of the controls as opposed to normal buttons.

    I’m among those who don’t mind waggle if the game is actually good though (like De Blob). I do feel disappointed with waggle but still…
    I agree with the fact that dev teams may have to think outside the box otherwise, like Let’s Tap.

  • James

    No mention of zack and wiki :O

    • MadMirko

      Or Boom Blox. :(

    • Ah, I totally forgot about Zack and Wiki, but I haven’t played it so I can’t say much about it. Point and Click adventures from the PC days do seem like they’d fit perfectly on the Wii.

      • You know, if you REALLY think about it, there’s quite a long list. Wii Sports, Boom Blox, Zack & Wiki, Boom Blox Bash Party, Excite Truck, Excitebots, Lost Winds, World of Goo, Overlord: Dark Legend, Space Invaders Get Even, any Wii FPS (barring Red Steel), every lightgun game/railshooter, Pikmin, Pro Evo Soccer, EA’s sports games…

        Yea, there’s quite a lot. The reason I mentioned MadWorld and RE4 though is because both those games seem like nothing was sacrificed in order to implement and perfect motion control. I’m sure MadWorld had a few things cut from it during production like all games, but there’s still quite a bit of replay and a lot of different moves/items in the game. And RE4 technically had a 3+ year development cycle if you add up the Gamecube + Wii dev time.

  • Malek86

    The vast majority of the people (me included) seem to prefer the Wiimote for its IR pointer. Because otherwise, there aren’t that many games to make good use of the motion capabilities. Most times, motion controls will either feel tacked on or imprecise.

    Let’s see if the WM+ can change that. Grand Slam Tennis is a step in the right direction, I think.

  • Chow

    I’ll have to agree that the best use of the Wii Remote is for the pointer, and that waggle controls work, only if it makes sense for it to work. Games like Trauma Centre, Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles, and Wario Ware make really good use of it. In a game like Mario Galaxy, it’s just tacked on for no reason and could’ve just been mapped to a button.

    Microsoft’s Project Natal really intrigues me, but I really don’t see it working as precisely as they would have you believe, based on the mockup video they showed at E3. It still seems so far off to me to have what they did in that video, so if they really pull it off 100%, I’ll honestly be surprised.

    I honestly didn’t really care for Sony’s wand thing when I heard about it, but I finally watched the E3 video demoing it, and it seems to have promise. Just as long as they don’t make you do something in person that has no relation to what you’re doing onscreen (stares at a majority of older Wii games).

    In the end, I hope that they keep the pointer technology, but keep the waggle controls to a minimum, or at least provide an option for it.

  • Ereek

    Flower had amazing use of motion controls, even if not in the same way the Wii uses it. Folklore was quite nice, as well.

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