[b]I know this is completely OT, but I wanted to share my experiences with the new game I have rent yesterday. Its the new Transformers game for WII that cought my attention but what am I supposed to say? The User Interface is just awkward.
Why? Well, lets start from the beginning…
In case you want to skip the detailed stuff, just go to the next bold chapter.
When you launch the game, you normally press the “A”-Button to get into menu. Its a big shiny thing that does screams to be pressed whenever there is something that might wanted to be confirmed.
Now lets see what Transformers uses for it… ah, right:
“+” In case you wonder where this button is: Its the nearly invisible little dot where you can control the loudness of the WiiMote controller.
Ok, first step done. Now lets try to set up things first. Lets go into menu. For Wii, there was this sensational new thing called WiiMote controlling where you can point onto the screen and mark things with an onscreen cursor. Don’t expect this to be used. They use the cursorcross to navigate inside the config menu.
Ok, to the next obstacle…
Once you navigated to a submenu from the settings a new problem occurs. From within the sub-menues there is a entry that let you return to the main config options screen. But well, don’t expect to have a return button HERE.
You get a small hint at the bottom of the screen to use one of the loudness buttons to get back to the title screen.
Ok, now lets start a game. Maybe things get better there.
Hmmm… when choosing the Sides (Autobots or Decepticons?)… did I mention already that this could have been solved with point-and-click since its a major new feature of the WII?
- Choosing Autobots for now - liking being the good guys.
Ahhh… now we are in the game. The Bot is controlled using the 8way-navigation-stick - what makes sense.
Camera however, is something different. Instead of having a real tutorial you are thrown right into the game. Now try to figure out that if the WiiMote is not being in “screen”, the camera just goes havoc… don’t expect to have a camera that does follow the bot in a 3rd person manner. Well, in the end you will manage even this.
Now lets get into real action. You start in a area with many things you could pick up. A funny “C” is marked at them when you get near them. What to say? It means that you can press “C”-Button to pick up these things. Following intuitive games I have seen on Wii before a short break in the game would do the trick much better - showing you graphically what button on the WiiMote/Nunchuck you have to press - and to tell whats the button going to do.
Ah yea… got that. Now lets transform (well, they don’t tell you to do it - you will see it yourself when you stomp as a Robot in the city and police is shooting at you) to prevent too much trouble. Now thats where the trouble begins. While in BOT-Mode, the navigation stick was there to be able to move into the 4 directions, now you do have a completely upside-down behavior. The good things first: steering left and right do still remain on the 8way navigation stick. - But thats it.
Speeding up and breaking isn’t controlled using up and down on the stick - no, its “Z” and “C” on the Nunchuck. So pressing up and down on the stick just ends up in changing nothing. Not to mention that HERE (in CAR mode) the camera is fixed in 3rd person. When you start the car mode, a big Text is shown that tells you to launch the nitro by pressing the “DOWN”-Key on the cursor cross. Whow… finally you see a useable description of what to do. But well, basically its fu******* annoying to get something like this into the screen just to get a declaration. What if I don’t want to use the Nitro right now? No chance… the screen blocking text does not disappear until I hit the nitro. Note that the Nitro (which is a speed burst to get AHEAD) lies on the part of the cross which normally helps you to get backwards. Well, thats what I call pure logics!
Ok, to the next level. Decepticons (Drones) do appear - you have to fight them. Don’t expect to get a tutorial on how to aim at them, show advantages or disadvantages of melee or simply tell you how to get auto-aim working (once a target is locked, you can automatically aim at it using a key). Also no word about the funny thing that the bigger Decepticons have shields so that you HAVE to melee them. You will see yourself that your ranged fire just gets reflected. Now the good thing is: Fire is redirected to the place where your crosshair is on screen. Woohoo!
Next mission is going to let you hunt down 2 Drones in car mode. NOW we have a fixed crosshair in the middle of the screen. Now it gets weird again… the crosshair isn’t the target any more where your rockets reach the obstacle - its just a sign to show you vertical line where targets are aimed at automatically.
Thats where we go for the intuitive part again.
Thats where I shut down the console and brought the game back to the rental service yesterday. The devs have had NO idea of the capabilities of the console’s controllers - nor a slight idea of how to create a consistant and self descriptive interface.
In case someone whats to argue: If they would have a glimpse of the game - then why create a button called “Pause” when the Console does that itself when pressing the “Home” Button?
You can - of course - see this as an off-topic ranting (what it basically is) or you can see this as an help how to NOT develop a game. I still do wonder how many things you can do wrong within a single game.
So please think three times about the user interface before you release something that just sucks…