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E3 06: Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam

The basic premise with most Wii games is "simplicity." Thus, a trick-heavy, fully customizable Tony Hawk series may not be the best way to introduce people to the motion-sensing Wii wand. That's where Downhill Jam comes into play - it's a dead-simple, all-downhill racer that's easy enough to pick up, but may be hanging on to too many elements of the regular series.

So you're a punky skater kid rolling down the absurdly hilly streets of San Francisco. To steer, the wand is held sideways like a steering wheel (a stance used in Sonic Wildfire as well) and you tilt it as if you were driving. Sounds simple enough, but doing this while pulling off indy nosebones, grinding on awnings and looking for secret paths is awfully confusing.



The two surface buttons of the wand make your racer crouch, jump and whip out easy, mid-air moves. The problem comes from the B trigger underneath the wand - you know, the one that your index finger snuggles up to when you're holding the wand normally. That trigger is used for grab moves... but it's not really meant for that. Keeping track of the wand's location, plus cramming your fingers around the buttons and trigger makes watching the downhill path troublesome.

That's not to say you can't get used to the setup - it's just not very intuitive from the start, and that's one of Wii's biggest draws.

May 12, 2006

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