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Developer:
Konami
Publisher: Konami
Platform: Wii
Release Date: December 12, 2006

by Felipe Faria Lemos




The Nintendo Wii has become more and more a platform for different and original ideas, geared mainly towards gameplay (and leaving graphics concerns behind). Following Nintendoís innovative philosophy, Konami delivers Elebits, a brand new IP exclusive on the Nintendo console, which stands as one of the best games to be picked up for the Wii in the current line-up.


Elebits is a great experience on the Nintendo console, and although flawed in some aspects, it is one of the most unique games on any system. The Wii remote is definitely a revolutionary piece of gaming equipment, and through it is how Elebits truly shines. Graphically speaking, the game is a disappointment. There seems to be no reason this game wouldnít run just as well on a GameCube as it runs on the Wii. Overall, the sharpness is below average and even the frame rate drops at times Even though it is not a major problem, it can hinder the experience a bit. There is a great variety of items, but not a great variety of areas, and both of these look as though they belong on the past generation of consoles. The story is told using still, amazing artwork in a high resolution and effects, which looks much like a slide show. It works fine, and the artwork in the game is impressive. Rather unimpressive however, is the awful voice work found in the game. The voice of the main character is so bland and boring, you canít tell if it is a boy or girl, and makes the player want to skip the story portion. It sure detracts from the overall appeal of the story sequences.


Talking about the story, it goes a bit like this: the Elebits supposedly are the main source of energy in this alternate world, where fossil fuels and nuclear power are non-existent. All power is drawn from them, and they have been friends with people since time immemorial. However, one stormy night this all changes, and the Elebits go into hiding. This is where the game starts off, with the main character, Kai, a 10-year-old boy, picking up his dadís capture gun (who, along with his mom, is a world-famous Elebits researcher) and searching for Elebits around the house in order to watch his favorite TV show.


As said before, graphics was not the main concern, and it can easily be overlooked, simply because playing the game is fun. If the graphics disappoint, the gameplay more than makes up for it with its amazing sense of immersion and reaching a new level of interactivity. The folks at Konami really did a great job with the physics in the game, and the vast majority of the objects feel like they are quite real and react as expected when picked up. However, the objects can be thrown freely around, and few of them actually break, with most just bouncing as if they were rubber balls. This does not spoil the fun though, and making a huge mess of the rooms you go through is a lot of fun in itself. The number of objects on the screen at a certain point can be vast, and it only adds to the mess you can create. After some practice, using the capture gun will become natural to the player, and you will find yourself capturing Elebits, throwing a TV across the room, practically juggling smaller items, and opening doors in a believable manner. There are also many different items found throughout the house that can be activated or used along with the capture gun that spice things up. Some of them are used to attract the Elebits, or cancel the noise you create, others, such as the homing laser, help you capture Elebits faster. Fortunately, the majority of these items are fun to use, and really are useful, creating a sense of accomplishment since you are racing the clock to find Elebits.


The sound in the game is fine, and does not add or detract from the overall quality of the package. The sound effects are varied, and do a good job in matching the objects they are linked to. The music, on the other hand, is very generic, and will not get stuck in your head anytime soon. Before starting a mission, the player has the chance to choose the song track desired, which only matters if you truly dislike one of the plain tracks available. Nevertheless, the laser sound that plays when the player shoots the capture gun repeats so frequently, that a player may find himself or herself just tired of listening to it.


Overall, Elebits is an above average game, mainly due to its new and interesting game mechanics, and the ability to create huge messes is a lot of fun. However, where it shines in the fun factor, it is quite dim when it comes to graphics and sound. In the end, it turns out to be a good choice in order to enjoy a new (and definitely different) game experience. Moreover, there is a lot of content to be explored (with a browser of all the objects you found, with detailed descriptions), movie gallery, multiplayer modes, online features (share levels and screenshots, which are interestingly limited to sending one daily), and extra missions. All this certainly bumps up the replay level, and will keep dedicated players coming back. Elebits is a fine example of what a first wave game can be in a new generation of consoles, and hopefully in the future we will see more games with the gameplay quality of Elebits, but more polished around the edges.


Final Grade: 87%




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