Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Nyko Frontman Guitar for Nintendo Wii Review (& Circuit City online)

Two reviews today, first of the product, then of the place from which I bought it.

Since getting Guitar Hero III for the Wii late last year, my roommate and I have been itching to be able to play head to head and cooperatively, especially since a handful of songs can only be unlocked during multiplayer. Unfortunately, it wasn't until last month that standalone guitars hit the stores.

The official Activision Gibson guitars that are identical to the guitars sold with the game were unfortunately being sold for an exorbitant 70 dollars, which was ridiculous since the guitars still needed a Wiimote, sold separately.

The only third-party guitar out right now is the Nyko Frontman guitar, which was selling online and at Circuit City for 50 dollars, much more doable. I wasn't crazy about getting a third party controller since I'd found myself really not liking the official Rock Band guitar, and I knew I'd be very sensitive to using a different guitar. However, the price was right.

The guitar is great, and definitely a better value than the official guitar. The strum bar snaps better than the official guitar, in my opinion (which is the opposite of the Rock band guitar, which is way softer). The whammy bar is a little stiffer, but I think it'll loosen up with continuous use.

The fret buttons ARE on the softer side, and this was perhaps the part that felt the most different from the official guitar. They're spaced basically the same, though recessed a little bit more. I'd say it's somewhere between the official guitar and the Rock Band version.

One odd thing is that the + and - buttons were switched, which is annoying because the + button is in a far less accessible place than before, which makes it hard when you need to pause the game quickly.

Build quality was solid. It's lighter than the official guitar, though it's about an inch or two longer. This creates a different weight distribution, where the Nyko's heavier towards the neck. Speaking of neck, the neck cannot be removed like the official axe, which makes it harder to take on trips.

The seam that runs along the top edge of the guitar also seems to be narrower, which helps because the seam in the official guitar hit my thumb's joint and caused me to develop a callous.

The guitars, by the way, come in two colors: white and yellow. The box indicates what color is inside, but there was no way for me to select it when ordering online (I got yellow). The package also comes with two pick guard colors, white and black. I stuck with the black.

Overall, I'm happy so far with the guitar. It takes some getting used to, of course, but it's surprisingly easy to pick up after having played with the original guitar for 6 months. Highly recommended, at least until the official guitar lowers its price.
Circuit City

As previously mentioned, I ended up ordering the product online at Circuit City. They offered free shipping on items over 25 dollars, so at 50 dollars, this was a large item being shipped free. Awesome, since none of the Circuit City stores in the area seem to carry the item at all.

They luckily offer ordering without setting up an account, and it worked smoothly and quickly even without doing so. I received a confirmation email after ordering, and you can check the status of your order online by entering your order number (all of this would be easier if you'd signed up for an account online, but I didn't feel like it).

The main surprise came when my guitar arrived two days after I ordered. Why surprise? The site had indicated to me that it would take two WEEKS! Honestly, I figure that's just Circuit City covering their butts, but I also admit there's something about beating expectations, even if they're low.

Overall, a very satisfied customer!

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Garrett said...

"since none of the Circuit City stores in the area seem to not carry the item at all."

Man, that was confusing. I'm not a grammar Nazi by nature, but that double negative was really mind twisting.

Arvin Bautista said...

Corrected! Although by now maybe Circuit City actually is selling them in stores.