Nyko Action Pak


posted 12/23/2009 by Sean Colleli
other articles by Sean Colleli
One Page Platforms: Wii
But what if you have a game where the functionality of the A and B buttons is reversed (for example, A shoots and B reloads)? No worries—the Pistol Grip has a switch on the base of the grip that swaps the A and B buttons back and forth between the trigger and hammer.

Of course, not all Wii lightgun games use just the Wii remote; some use the Nunchuk too, and that’s why the Zapper has a cradle for the Nunchuk. The Pistol Grip has the same feature but does it a little differently. Right next to the swap switch is a socket for plugging in compatible accessories. The socket links any accessories digitally through the Pistol Grip to the Wand that is already plugged in. I tested it with the Nunchuk and Nyko’s Wired Kama, and both work fine. This socket is the same as the one on the back of the Wand and it has the same Trans-Port contacts, so you get the same perks from compatible Nyko accessories; for example, I still got rumble feedback from the Wired Kama when it was plugged into the bottom of the Pistol Grip.

So the Pistol Grip has plenty of bells and whistles, but how does it perform in the field? Setup was quick and easy, and much simpler than slotting everything into the Zapper. The Pistol Grip’s main slot has the same shape and tabs as the Wand’s battery door, so you remove the door from your Wand, hook the Pistol Grip’s tabs into the Wand and snap the end of the Wand into place. The back of the Pistol Grip’s body contains the digital connector, and slides back for loading the Wand, so once the Wand is in place you slide that up and clip it snugly into the Wand’s Trans-Port socket. The action is rather satisfying, kind of like cocking a real pistol.

I got off to sort of a false start by first testing the Pistol Grip with Dead Space Extraction. Don’t get me wrong—the controller and the game are both great, they just aren’t a good match for each other. Extraction’s environments are littered with ammo, items and secrets you must grab by spamming the A button. This is perfectly comfortable with a standalone Wii remote or Wand, but constantly flicking the Pistol Grip’s hammer tired my thumb out quickly. The Pistol Grip’s accuracy and handling are fine with Extraction, but the game is more of an on-rails adventure than a straight-up lightgun shooter.

The Pistol Grip is far more suited to a fast paced, balls-to-the-wall zombie killer, so I used just such a game for serious testing: House of the Dead Overkill. The Pistol Grip’s performance was exemplary. It’s accurate and comfortable to use, with almost no noticeable cursor lag or dropped signals. Holding it like a real pistol has a very natural feel and can enhance your own accuracy—curling your finger over a real trigger instead of the Wii remote’s B button is simply a more comfortable hand position. I turned off the crosshair and aimed down the Pistol Grip’s sights, so to speak, and even that was pretty accurate.

HotD Overkill lets you reload by either shaking the Wii remote or pressing the A button, so while I could shake the Pistol Grip to refresh my clip, thumbing the hammer is simpler and just feels cool. The Pistol Grip is a perfect fit for a game like Overkill, and I don’t play with anything else now.
If my aim was ever off I could access Overkill’s calibration screen, so the gun’s precision might be the result of my own tweaking. That said, Overkill pretty much set the bar for Wii lightgun games, so I wouldn’t expect any huge difficulties with the Pistol Grip in other games.

The Pistol Grip works best at around 5 to 7 feet away from the screen. If you’re playing in close quarters your aim might by skewed up or down a bit but you can remedy this by firing from the hip. With any lightgun game ideally you want to play in a larger space, and standing up in a proper firing stance just makes it more like an authentic arcade experience.

About the only serious drawback I found with the Pistol Grip is that, by nature of the Trans-Port tech, it only works with a Nyko Wand. I plugged a regular Wii remote in to make sure, and the Pistol Grip doesn’t recognize it. The accessory jack works with a regular Nunchuk but the main dock only works with a Wand. Those three little pins are what communicate the Pistol Grip’s input to the Wand, so a Wii remote just can’t receive the commands.

This would be a drawback if the Pistol Grip was sold separately, but it comes bundled with a Wand anyway so you’re set to go. In my Wand review I discovered that it’s easily as good as the Wii remote, maybe better, so if you need an extra controller the Action Pack is a solid deal at $40. When used together, the Pistol Grip and Wand make the sleekest, most elegant lightgun for the Wii. It’s easily in the top tier of Wii gun shells, and possibly the best one on the market right now.

At $40 Nyko's Action Pak is more expensive than the Wii Zapper and most other gun shells on the market, but the quality you get is worth it. For the money you get the already great Nyko Wand, and the Pistol Grip, one of the best lightgun controllers available. If you're a fan of Wii rail shooters, the Action Pak is necessary equipment.

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