Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nintendo Wii Zapper

Though we've had the Japanese Wii Zapper in the office for quite a while, we've been waiting to receive the U.S. one in the hopes that it would be...well...better, somehow. While Link's Crossbow Training -- bundled with the Zapper -- is definitely a worthwhile $20 investment by itself, it's vastly more playable and more fun with simply a Wii Remote and Nunchuk, sans Zapper.

Some thoughts on the Zapper, culled from our Link's Crossbow Training review:

"I suppose I should probably explain why the Zapper is so disposable. The concept of a firearm-shaped casing for a controller that so naturally lends itself to lightgun games was perhaps an obvious one, but nonetheless exciting for shooter fans. For those weaned on the point-and-click goodness of the NES Zapper and the likes of Duckhunt, there's a lot to like about the idea of kicking back with an RC Cola and shooting at your television. Alas, due to some obtuse design decisions and the family friendly Nintendo approach of making sure it doesn't really look like a gun, the Zapper lacks even the simple ergonomic prowess of its 22-year old father. The trigger is simultaneously mushy while feeling like it has a pebble jammed somewhere in it, the hand grips are clumsy and slippery, and due to the elongated, two-handle design, there's no terribly comfy way to hold it. It's not terrible, but it doesn't add anything to the experience beyond what the Wii remote provides itself (besides the extra weight), and hampers its performance unnecessarily."

We'd love to imagine the prospect of a game that truly sells the peripheral, but you can't really beat the functional simplicity of the Wii remote by itself. Whether you're training with Link, laying out zombies in Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles or gunning down military goons in Ghost Squad, you'll likely ditch the Zapper after a few awkward sessions. It might seem like a bargain at $20 -- which it is, Crossbow Training considered -- but if you're actually in it for the visceral addition of holding a gun while you game, you're probably better off looking into the myriad third-party options available.