Here is my newest ‘game usability problem’: In the last days I played ‘Madworld’ which has really great production values and makes good use of the wii motion controls BUT even after some hours of play I still have problems with the camera control. You run around in a third-person perspective (which is pretty close on Jack, the protagonist) and the camera perspective tends to change sometimes depending on the combo moves and the level design. Hitting a nunchuck button will set the cam straight forward again (see video for some gameplay impressions).
But what I miss is a precise camera control or at least a quick turn-around (like Resident Evil uses) in some situations. Shortly before facing the boss of the first epsiode named ‘Little Eddie’ you encounter a smaller boss mob looking like a footballer with bull-head and a huuuge chainsaw. I faced him at a train platform which creates a long level tube you can run up and down. To get out of his chainsaw range I ran around but I had no indicator how close he was behind me. Trying to use the typical combo stuff like garbage cans at the platform, turned out to be really frustrating cause you never know when the bull is going to hit you from behind. I stopped trying to use combo stuff and ran down the train platform to its end, turning around and waited two seconds till the bull arrived to bring my own chainsaw into play. Well, you can win easily doing so, but I really missed the chance to use the whole combo stuff on him which is an important part of the game.
My first thought: Give me a 2nd analog stick to take a look around while running. But wait – there are already 3rd person games on the Wii where I had no problems with the standard cam. Mario Galaxy pulls the camera very far away from Mario, giving the player enough time to react if something appears in behind. The boost ball sequences of Metroid Prime work very well, too. But I still wonder if the lack of good 3rd person games on the Wii is in consideration of the fact that the console has not enough cpu power to show a rich world in combination with a lot of character animations OR if it is difficult to develop a proper control scheme on Wii Mote and Nunchuck…
I think the problem with the Madworld cam is a result of the combination of several design decisions:
- The camera is pretty close on Jack.
- There are several narrow level tubes which often challenge the cam.
- Combo moves sometimes change the camera perspective.
As already mentioned, Madworld does a lot of things right but the camera really flaws some moments of the game. Not as bad as the crazy camera in some narrow levels of ‘The Force Unleashed’, but I think both issues are related. I assume that some changes in the level designs could lead to less cam problems but hey, we all know that train stations with spiked trains running through cannot be substituted.