Controller Review: Wii MotionPlus Combo
by Matt Yeager on September 20, 2011

Memorex Wii MotionPlus Controller
MSRP: $29.99
Buy it at Amazon.com
.

Ask any person who has been playing video games for a long time about their experience with third party controllers, and you will likely hear an angry rant against them. Whether it is from memory cards, controllers, or other peripherals (with the exception of arcade sticks), every gamer I know has some tale of regret. Personally, I’ve gone through several disappointing third party devices. This is because I get blinded by the cheaper prices, which is apparently enough to override any lessons I might have learned.

Memorex has decided to jump into gaming by releasing their own controllers, and I was able to try their Memorex Wii MotionPlus Controller. While I always try to keep an open mind with new products, it’s hard to erase the apprehension caused by all the bad experiences I’ve had in the past. Thankfully I can say that the Memorex Wii MotionPlus Controller is probably the best third party controller I’ve ever used.

The controller is the same size as an average Wii remote. I asked for the black version, and strangely the black controller is only black on the top and white on the bottom, like a half eaten Oreo. Not sure why this is, as pictures I’ve seen of it were black all around, but it didn’t make a difference. The controller easily synced to the system once I put batteries in, and there are blue LEDs that surround the directional pad, blue circle of lights for the speaker and so on that were to me aesthetically pleasing. I like shiny objects.

There are some slight differences on how the controller is laid out. The D-pad is actually a soft rubber circle instead of the four directional plastic cross on the Nintendo controller. The A button is slightly larger and convex. The 1 and 2 buttons are much larger on the Memorex controller than on the Nintendo controller. Since I just bought a Wii for my grandparents, I can see them enjoying the larger buttons. I do not know the specs on the speaker, but it sounded slightly better than the Nintendo remote.

I tried a few games out with the controller. Since it has built in MotionPlus, I tried the game with Wii Sports Resort. The controller worked perfectly, and it might have been my imagination, but it seemed to calibrate faster than the Nintendo controller. There are times the game asks you to set the controller face down on a flat surface and it recalibrates right away. I tried some of the sword games and the response time was exactly the same as the Nintendo Wii remote.

I also tested the controller on Kirby’s Epic Yarn. I like playing side-scrolling games and many of those titles that are released on the Wii lately require holding the controller sideways. I was concerned about the accuracy of the 360 directional pad versus the 4 way cross, but the D-pad on the Memorex controller was great. Not only did it work well, it felt a lot better on my thumb than the Nintendo remote. Same with the 1 and 2 buttons. Their larger size made it more comfortable to use the controller sideways.

The only thing that disappointed me with the controller is that I use third party (non-Memorex) rechargable battery packs with my Nintendo remotes, and these did not appear to work with the Memorex controller. In all the important aspects the controller worked perfectly, felt durable, and was much more comfortable to use than the official Nintendo controller. The MSRP of the controller appears to be about $5 cheaper than the official controller, but even if they were the same price I’d prefer to use the Memorex Wii MotionPlus Controller over the official Wii MotionPlus controller.

Update: I recently had the chance to try out the Wireless Nunchuck attachment for this controller, sold as part of a bundle with the Wii MotionPlus Controller. The nunchuck came with an attachment that you need to plug into the base of the Wii Controller, and the only issue I have with this is that the controller is rounded at the bottom, where the attachment is squared, though this is purely a personal aesthetic dislike and doesn’t make the attachment feel awkward or have any effect on the use of the device.

Once plugged in you can shift the attachment up and down, though you need to shift it up in order for it to sync with the nunchuck. I mention this because I missed this fact in the instructions and couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. The nunchuck came pre-charged, and comes with a cord to plug in to recharge it. The charge lasts quite a while though, and really I wish that the controller itself came with a similar rechargable battery pack. It is similar in appearance to the controller, black on top and white on the bottom, and features similar blue LED lights that ring the joystick.

Functionally, it works perfectly. I never noticed any lag from the wireless connection or the controller dropping the signal. I liked the nunchuck far more than the wired Nintendo version for many reasons. I’m a little over six feet tall, and while playing any game that makes constant use of both, I’d sometimes stretch my arms to the limit of the cord’s extension. Given how the demo of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword played with the controller acting as the sword and the nunchuck as the shield, I already know that this is the controller I plan on using. Also, I have cats. My cats see that cord dangling between the controllers and think that it looks like a fun toy to destroy, so a wireless controller makes life a lot easier.

I tested the Nunchuck through Metroid Prime 3 and Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles with no problems. For the latter I used the PerfectShot gun shell and the wireless attachment worked wonderfully with it.

Pros:
+ MotionPlus built in
+ Comfortable
+ Larger buttons might be preferable for older gamers
+ Works as well and in some ways slightly better than the official controller
+Wireless nunchuck works seamlessly and is preferable to the corded version

Cons:
– Can’t use other third party battery packs.



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Matt Yeager

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