With Kinect and Move both gaining new games and momentum, some may think that Wii is losing some of its novelty. After all, the Move Wand and its sub-controller look very close to the Wii remote and Nunchuk. However, better tech doesn’t always translate into better games, and since Wii has had motion control much longer than its competitors, some experiences on Wii cannot be matched by those on other consoles, and will not be able to be matched for some time.
While it was Wii Sports that made believers out of millions of gamers around the world, those that played Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition would be convinced that not only do motion controls work, but they do in fact make games better. I’d lost count of how many times I’d played through Resident Evil 4 on GameCube, but that wasn’t going to stop me from seeing whether motion controls could work for hardcore games. After all, Resident Evil 4 was one of the best games of its generation, so if they added motion controls that improved the experience, and added in the extras from the PS2 version, it would be worth buying all over again, right? Right.
The Wii version of the title was indeed the definitive version of the game, and playing it made me realize just how special it was. Here, the motion controls didn’t feel tacked on. They felt natural, and a lot of that is because of the design of the Wii remote. You would move Leon with the control stick on the nunchuk, and the targeting reticule on the screen by moving the Wii remote. Then, aim by pressing and holding the “B” button, and fire by pressing the “A” button. If you wanted to knife an object in the game, all you had to do was shake the remote, and Leon would automatically lock on to the object and cut it to pieces. Minor actions in the game were mapped to the remote and nunchuk’s other buttons, but let’s face it; Resident Evil 4 was about killing Ganados, and it was never easier than it was on Wii. The consensus around the gaming world was the same, that Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition was the definitive version of the game, and that the motion controls added a whole new layer of realism to an already fantastic game. It went on to sell over a million copies, and to date is still the best selling mature rated game on Wii.
It would go unopposed as the only Resident Evil game to utilize motion controls this gaming generation until last year, when they were added to the PlayStation 3 version of Resident Evil 5. The fifth title in the Resident Evil series was a shock for many RE fans, as the game left its puzzle and horror elements for an approach that was mostly action-based. However, could Move reinvigorate Resident Evil 5 the same way Wii did for Resident Evil 4? As it turns out, the answer seems to have been a “no.” This doesn’t seem to make much sense, as the Move features technology that is more advanced than that of the Wii remote, so shouldn’t the motion controls implemented for RE5 be better than those of RE4: Wii? Well, yes and no. Controls for RE5 were an afterthought, as opposed to those of RE4: Wii, which were the only way to play the game. When Capcom was porting Resident Evil 4 to Wii, it was with motion controls in mind, and they probably devoted more time to finding a control scheme that worked, and worked well, with Wii. After all, it had to be good, as it was the only way to play.
When RE5 was being made, it was created for use with a traditional controller, with Move controls added later. Those who already owned RE5 could download the motion controls, and those that didn’t already have the game could buy Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, which would come with the motion controls. Capcom would give Move users two control options to play the game with, and neither are particularly fantastic. Both schemes feature controls that don’t really seem right, as the trigger button on the Wand isn’t used to aim or shoot for either of them, while some of the controls seem like they mapped without much play testing. In the case of RE5, these controls feel, and really were, tacked on, while RE4: Wii‘s were created to improve the gaming experience from the start.
Is this Capcom’s fault though? It did a fantastic job with motion controls in RE4: Wii, so how could it do such a horrid job with the motion controls in the fifth entry in the series? The answer is all in the tech. While the Move Wand is superior to the Wii remote in terms of technology, the Wii remote is vastly superior to the Move Wand in its design and button layout. The Move Wand and sub-controller both have “O” and “X” buttons for some reason, and all of the buttons on both controls are a bit on the small side. However, thanks to the design and button layout of the Wii remote and nunchuk, the best Resident Evil motion controls are on Wii.