Graphics aside, Wii starting to match Xbox 360, PS3 features

Not the 'GameCube 2.0'

Just like its portable cousin the Nintendo DS, the Wii is starting to show it is indeed a "slow cooker" system that started life with a whimper, but will finish with a roar that includes features once only thought possible on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Just this week, a series of third party announcements about the system's online play and shoehorning the Call of Duty 4 engine into what many detractors call the "GameCube 2.0" could have Wii detractors eating a bit of crow.

First, the Call of Duty 4 engine. During the official unveiling of Call of Duty: World at War this week, Wii version developer Treyarch confirmed that what gamers get on PS3 and Xbox 360, they'll be able to find on the Wii, too.

Said Treyarch senior producer Noah Heller in an interview with videogamer: "It's going to look better than any Wii game I've ever seen on the market."

But looks aren't everything, and Heller said that like its "next-gen" brethren, the Wii version will have a co-op mode and support multiplayer. "For all intents and purposes it's the same game," he said.

But how about that other hotly anticipated online-enabled 2008 title, Guitar Hero: World Tour? Ditto, said Vicarious Visions CEO Karthik Bala in an interview with GameDaily.

"Guitar Hero World Tour will be the first Wii game to offer downloadable songs through an in-game music store. Players can preview, purchase and download songs using Wii Points and we'll have new songs available on a regular basis," he said.

Better yet, the songs can go straight to an SD card (called the "Rock Archive") without issue. Online play for the Wii version is also experiencing an expansion, with eight-player head to head (2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3 or Band vs. Band), cooperative or online career modes all available to the previously online-gimped system.

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GamePro staff

GamePro (online)

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