I’ve lost count of the number of developers that have stated that their PS3 / Xbox 360 game could not be ported to the Wii because it would be rendered unplayable in the conversion. This explanation seemed reasonable enough at the time due to the obvious differences in power between the Wii and the PS3 / Xbox 360 and I, like most gamers, accepted it.
So, when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Reflex was announced my eyeballs rolled about as far back in my head as possible. A two year old HD title, even if the game in question happened to be one of the best of this generation, being ported to the Wii did not sound like a good idea. And after seeing some initial screenshots my original assumption seemed to be confirmed and I pretty much took Reflex off my radar.
However, all that changed when the first gameplay videos began to surface. Against all odds Treyarch seemed to have done the impossible and made Modern Warfare look pretty good on the Wii. Those YouTube videos changed my mind about Reflex and I really wanted to see for myself how it stacked up against its HD brothers.
This isn’t meant to be a full review of the title but I’ve put several hours into both the single and multi-player modes in Reflex and I’m happy, and shocked, to report that Treyarch pulled it off and successfully ported over a HD title to the Wii that looks decent (of course it clearly doesn’t hold up to the PS3 / Xbox 360 but it is good enough to not be a distraction from the gameplay), is engaging and every bit as fun as the other versions. Best of all Treyarch has taken a page from The Conduit’s playbook and made the controls completely customizable. In my opinion, Reflex’s controls are every bit as good as the best shooters on the system (Metroid Prime, Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 and the above mentioned The Conduit to name a few) and far better than anything that uses dual analog.
More importantly than any actual review of Modern Warfare Reflex is this, Treyarch proved that it is possible to take a game created for the HD systems, successfully port it to the Wii and end up with a great title. There are other reasons why developers might not want to port any given HD title to the Wii (concern over sales for example) but in most cases the argument that “the Wii is not capable of providing the intended experience so we might as well not try” is a false one.
Congratulations Treyarch. You have succeeded where many other developers have not even bothered to try.